Canberra Trip October 2023

      6 Vans, 10 members arrived at Canberra Park Caravan Park. The sites are concrete and large. New clean amenities and a HUGE FABULOUS Camp Kitchen. Can see this getting some use. Happy Hour we have outside the kitchen on their tables and chairs. Ivan is turning 80 and the friendly staff member wishes him Happy Birthday then comes back with a Gelato Ice Cream. Nice thought. When it gets cool we move into the camp kitchen. WOW...3 fridges, microwaves, electric BBQ's. Plus 3 ovens and gas tops. Also 2 sinks and 2 TV's. 

       Next day we take the light rail into town. The lovely station attendants tell us all we need to do is show our Seniors Card for free travel. Must say the stops along the way are not interesting enough to get off for a look. We arrive in Canberra, north side of Lake Burley Griffin. We do some walking them Deb finds a coffee shop. The crockery is so elegant and coffee not bad either. Then some more walking. We can see the large water spout, Captain Cook Memorial Jet, we find out later in the distance and I say "Let's find it, carn't be far ", well didn't look it on the map. We walk and walk then across the walkway over the highway, carn't be far now. Into Commonwealth Park where they are unpacking from Floriade. Found it, finally. Lake Burley Griffin is large and the spout is rising into the air. Impressive .We are getting hungry so into the Information Centre which is close by. No food. Ron asks about catching a bus to town as we have walked a long way. Lady says yes and need a pass but don't have to tap on or off as free....OK. We organize this then across the road and few minutes later we are on the bus back into town. When passing a park we see 100's and 100's of rabbits. They are happily eating the grass.The large shopping centre has a food court .Our hunger pains are now quiet. Back on the light rail and we decide to go to Gungalhin, other end of the track. Great town. Has Coles, Woolies, Aldi, KMart plus heaps smaller shops well set out. Very clean but nowhere to buy an Ice Cream. Damn. On the way back on the light rail an inspector tells us that we have to ap on and off. Gee wish they could all be on the same page. Also in town their are electric scooter you can hire - jump on - jump off. They are left everywhere. Over the days we even see them in the suburbs just left where they want. 

      When in Canberra a must visit is the War Museum. As they are doing renovations you have to purchase tickets for 2 hours only. When inside we join a tour which is very informative but ourtime is up. Then off to Mount Ainsley for our picnic lunch. Great views but unfortunately no shade at the picnic tables. Ian suggests the Botanical Gardens where we find a lovely shady spot. After lunch take drive to Black Mountain. The Telecom Tower is closed. The concrete going up to it is crumbling. Still ok view. That night we have decided to have hamburgers for tea. Bev and Sue go shopping for everyone.  After happy hour Trev starts to cook the burgers with others slicing onions, lettuce, tomatoes  etc. Those who didn't help prepare wash up and dry up after the meal. Great teamwork. Once sitting down again, Sue and Bev bring out cones and ice cream. Plus Freddo Frogs. Went down well.

       Next day off to Cockington Green.  Beautiful manicure lawns and the trees bonsai'd to fit with the small homes and characters. Long time since I've been here but I'm sure the streaker was at the cricket match. Well he's progressed to the soccer match. The larger train wasn't working but the small one was. I find it fascinating watching it go around. The international countries display was excellent. Was a great day. As we had left over salad from last night we decided to buy a couple cooked chooks from Coles. After tea the games come out. Tenzia - Dice Game, Spot It - Card game, so much fun and the old favourite Rummy - O. Trev doesn't want to play BUT starts telling Sue what tiles to put down. Really.

      Saturday morning sees us all in camp kitchen cooking bacon and eggs for breakfast. Sue and Trev off to see relatives while Ian and Marcella go to catch up with a friend. Glenore and Ivan want a relaxing day around camp. That leaves 4 and  we want to explore more. A drive around Lake Burley Griffin it is. Pack picnic lunch and off we go. Bev drives with Ron and Deb navigating. First stop Black Mountain Peninsula. Heaps of cars and kids on the playground equipment. Great spot for families. The lookout over the lake to the library and Telecom Tower is good. Then drive up to the Aboretum where some fantastic views. The dam near Government House wasn't much. We are getting hungry and find a good spot near the lake where the sailing boats are out. On way home into Macca's for cone. Good day.

      At new Parliment House outside there is 3 policemen, 2 with shortened rifles. Marcella goes to talk to them then next thing we know, one of them (the one without the rifle ) comes own and takes our photo...all 10 of us. We thanked him but his mates are laughing at  him...jokingly. Standing looking towards the War Museum is brilliant. This is the street I remember. Wide and colourful.Other views outsidde are magnificent.  Inside we see The Senate, House of Representatives, Main Hall and paintings of all the past Prime Ministers. We go to the cafeteria for a nice lunch. It's not everyone who can say " I had lunch at Parliment House. "  In the arvo Marcella, Ian and myself go to the National Portrait Gallery to see 100 years of The Archibald prize. The stand out ones were David Helcott, Roy and HG plus paintings of elderly ladies. We did wonder with a couple of them "What were they thinking!!!!"

       We travel to the Arboretum next day, what another great spot. We did a short tour to hear how it all began, over 44,000 trees from 100 countries across 250 hectares, is one of the worlds living collections of rare, endangered and significant trees, interesting. Will be worth another trip in years to come when the trees have grow.  Fabulous views to Canberra, kids flying kites on the hill. The Bonsai collection is magnificent - some dating back 100 years. The Discovery Garden showed how to be water efficient for flowers, veggys and cactus. Also a kids garden with small ponds and a maze. Great day. That afternoon we went  back to the War Memorial for  The Last Post Ceremony. They tell a story of someone who died from World War 1. Was an 18 year old from Gosford. Went into the Air Force but was unfortunally killed at a training mission overseas. There was a Japanese Cadet group, about 30, who stood at attention while a few laid wreaths. Then the Bagpipes and Bugle sounded. Very moving.  Lasagna for a shared tea.

        Next day we say bye to Trev and Sue plus Ivan and Glenore.  The 6 left head off to Bungendore. It's a small village and quaint. Has a HUGE wood display shop with a HUGE price tags. Pie at the Bakery, which is OK. Ian suggests a drive to Captains Flat....why not we say. The country is very dry and flat. Finally drive into town where pub, garage, store all closed and boarded up. Bugger no Ice Cream. We check out the2  houses Marcella's brother built then off to Queanbeyan for a MacDonald's Ice Cream.

       We have seen New Parliment House so decide to see Old Parliment House. Definately a step back in time. The offices are small and the furniture basic. We see where they did the broadcast from, small again. Was good to see. In the arvo a couple of us visit the Dinosaur Museum. Great replica's but thought would be more fossils.  Next stop The Mint. Excellent display. Showed coins with the mistakes that could happen. Dissappointed that no coins were being printed. Another great day.

       Next morning we say bye to Deb and Col -- 6 minus 2 is 4. Pack picnic lunch and off to the Botanical Gardens. We wander through the Rainforest Gully, Red Centre Garden, Grassy Woodlands and the Syney Region Flora Garden . Was a great relaxing day. That night for Happy Hour was quiet. 

      Well next morning Ian and Marcella and Ron leave. I am now on my own for 4 days to finish exploring. First stop the Zoo and Aquarium. I do the Aquarium and Snakes first. Good display. Then you follow a numbered adventure trail. Very easy to follow and I don't miss any of the animals. Their pens are huge and plenty of room for them to wander around. I enjoyed.  That night I didn't go to the camp kitchen. I actually cooked my tea in the van - had to turn on the gas first. 

      Next day I go to the Rose Garden at Old Parliment House. Magnificent. Then to National Archives which has information on the starting of the Federation. I then take a wander around the sculptures at the National Gallery. Not impressed. The library has a display on "Gold" - Sports in Australia. Was very interesting. Pictures of women playing cricket and soccer back in the late 1800's. The Museum of Australia was a huge building but dark not impressed with the displays. Last stop for the day was National Film and Sound Museum. It had a short movie of life in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney back in the 60's. Bought back good and happy memories. Canberra has paid parking everywhere - $4  hour or $16 for the day. Week ends are free, this is why I did the museum's on Saturday.

      Shopping and easy day today. I would like to see the War Museum again. No tour just wander through. Yes there are vacancies. So for 2 hours I walk through WW1 and WW2.  Well worth the visit again, but so sad.

      My last day in Canberra and I choose to do a tour at the Australian Institute of Sport. The first stop is in a simulator room. I get to kick a soccer ball intp a net. Yes I scored 1 goal. Throw a cricket ball, ride a racing bike (seat so uncomfortable ), rowing machine and ski's which I didnt try. Also the basketball hoop was so high I didn't score. I don't remember it being that tall. Was fun. Then onto the volleyball court where we watched an athlete practising. Then where they do Judo, Karate etc followed by the Gymnastic's room. The gym had soooo much equipment. Basketball court, 4 of them, was impressive and finished at the pool. Looked inviting.

     Next day I packed up and said Farewell to Canberra. Was a great trip. Having the Camp Kitchen was a bonus. We all ate together and had a good laugh. MacDonald,s on the way home from outings was a bonus too. Loved the Ice Creams.

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