Our capital city of Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory and is completely surrounded by the state of New South Wales. That’s how we found ourselves 10 minutes from the city but staying at Queanbeyan caravan park in NSW! It reminded us of Washington DC in the USA, where we were surprised to hear that the locals there have no representation in parliament but still have to pay taxes…
One reason for our return visit to Canberra was to revisit the Australian War Memorial. A bonus was catching up with Ian’s army colleague Adrian Roberts at the lovely Southern Cross Yacht Club in Yarralumla, as well as our Perth friends Jude and Bob. Ian was able to give Bob an insider’s view of the Vietnam War displays at the museum, and had been anticipating viewing the new World War 1 dioramas. This is the period of history that he is most interested in (watch our for a future blog on his two trips to the Western Front and his hero Monash!) Unfortunately these displays will not be completed until 2015.
The Last Post Ceremony is held at 4.55 pm daily to honour the dead. We first experienced this concept at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium where a very moving service is held every evening at 8 pm to honour the soldiers from the many countries who lost their lives on the Western Front. We weren’t sure what to expect in Canberra, but also found this an emotional experience.
Mobs of school children – all very well behaved – and clockwork precision proceeded for 25 minutes. Each day the story behind just one of the 100,000+ names on the Roll of Honour is told – such a great way to show the scale of death and the impact of war. Then the Ode of Remembrance is read:“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.”
And, joy of joys, a bugler who can bugle as no other then gives a beautiful rendition of ‘The Last Post’. Click here to see if you agree!
Ginny visited the Floriade, walking through this amazing and free ‘celebration of spring’. One million flowers come into bloom for four weeks each year in the Commonwealth Park, along with many gardening workshops and displays. Check out the photo gallery!
We fell in love with the Canton restaurant in Queanbeyan once we scored a table in this tiny restaurant specialising in Chinese/Malaysian cuisine. Everything we ordered on our first visit was superb (rocksalt and chilli squid was the standout dish), so a return visit was in order. Yum, fresh asparagus wok-fried with chicken and spicy plum sauce, plus lemongrass and chilli pork ribs with snow peas washed down with a BYO bottle of Oomoo Shiraz. Hmmm, I wonder if they will deliver takeaways to Perth?!
Bungendore is a historic country town (built in 1837) nestled in a pretty green valley about 30 minutes from Canberra. There are several cafes and galleries to browse but our favourite was the Wood Works Gallery, a magnificent display of Australian made wood furniture, craft and sculptures. Check out the famous Hannah cabinet – what a work of art – and these other two beautiful pieces below.
We think Canberra is an under-rated destination. In addition to the many outstanding attractions – for example our old Parliament House fairly echoes with history – there are many beautiful parks and gardens to relax in, and great food to be eaten! Go there, you won’t be sorry…. or better still, tell us about your favourite thing to do in Canberra?!