Archive for ‘tourism’

August 13, 2017

Sunday in the Capital

Today I had an adventure a bit closer to home. I set off for the Australian Reptile Centre in Nicholls and was soon at my destination as I live on the northside anyhow; however, as Canberrans have told me on many occasions, 30 minutes is the longest time you will ever spend driving from one place to another in this city.

I paid my $16 adult admission fee and entered the centre. I was told there were snakes and other reptiles which could be patted which the child in me found very exciting. I looked at blue tongue, bearded and frill-necked lizards, skinks and goannas.

I met a saltwater crocodile called Charlie and spied some freshwater ones too (in another tank.) I saw cute little skinks and turtles, some of which I was able to pat. I patted a blue tongue lizard too.

I walked through a dark passage with small, nocturnal reptiles and then it was snakes! I patted a python and beheld others which were not to be patted like the boa constrictor and the eastern and king brown or mulga snakes. I also beheld the beauty of an olive python which is not venemous. Then I went to the Walk in Aviary which was a short distance away and also in Nicholls.

I paid my $13 adult admission fee and was soon feeding the birds as I got a cut up apple and meal worms to feed them in a bowl and container respectively. The kaleidoscopic beauty of the rainbow lorikeets enthralled me, as did the many other birds which also included zebra finches and cockatiels. Then I had half a pint of Kilkenny at the George Harcourt which is a great English pub in the area. I enjoyed my beverage outside in the sun as I listened to musicians perform for the hefty crowd of revellers. Click the “Sunday in the Capital” link to see a clip I took of a band performing at The George Harcourt this afternoon.
Sunday in the Capital

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August 12, 2017

Day Trip to Young

Today I did a day trip to a town famous for cherries which had been recommended to me by a childhood friend. Yes, I am talking about the town of Young in NSW which is roughly two hours drive from Canberra. I set off around 8.30AM and drove along the Barton and Hume highways before going onto country roads. There were a couple of potholes here and there but overall it was a pretty smooth drive. Soon green fields and crops appeared, as did fluffy white sheep and cattle grazing on the fields beside the road. I spied the bright green and red of rosellas and saw a flash of white as a sulphur crested cockatoo soared overhead.

After about two hours, I was in Young! I passed a sign adorned with cherries (a motif I would see repeated everywhere) and parked at the well-sign-posted and easy to find information centre, which was housed in what appeared to be a rather historical-looking building. I entered through the doors and was greeted by wonderfully friendly staff. I received a map of the town and was asked if there was anything in particular I would like to see. I said I was interested in the museum I had seen a sign for further down the road. The lady helpfully explained the way there and circled the location on the map for me. She also circled a nearby park and said there was a good cafe’ behind the museum.

I thanked her and had a look around the information centre. I picked up some leaflets about Young and other regions in NSW. Then I bought a postcard of Young, some cherry jam and a bottle of pinot noir I saw in the wine cellar. After depositing the goods in my car, I milled around the art gallery which had free admission. There were lots of pretty works of art to be seen, including still life and landscapes but with figures in the pictures. My favourite picture was of two men looking out to a glorious sunset with their dogs at their side. I thought it was brilliant.

Then I left my car in the 2P free car park and set off on a walk around the town. I passed a playground and stopped off at a fudge factory. I saw loads of lollies but settled on a chocolate cherry liqueur, sticky date and butter pecan fudge pieces respectively. They came all nicely wrapped up in a little box and in a pretty pink and white striped bag. I continued my way around the town and read lots of information signs about historical buildings including the bank and old school which is now a museum. I also bought an oil burner and a nice romantic fiction book. I eventually completed my journey around the town and ended up where I had began. Then I bought a 1.5L bottle of water from IGA and put the street address of the museum into my GPS as I didn’t quite know my way well enough around the town just yet.

It led me straight to the museum where I parked my car. It was now about lunch time so I decided to have lunch first and then visit the museum; I wasn’t in a hurry after all. I bought a cappuccino in a mug and a slice of someone’s mum’s famous carrot cake. I also ordered a chicken salad with pumpkin and cous cous. All of it was absolutely delicious and was enjoyed out in the courtyard in the winter sun as I read my Paddington book by Michael Bond.


After having a delicious lunch and reading a fair bit of my novel, I headed off to the museum. I paid the very affordable $6 admission fee for an adult and entered the museum. I was met with a whole lot of history about the Gold Rush era and the town of Young and the people who had lived there in times past. There was an old horse carriage and many other old devices. There were old war medals and an afternoon dress and wedding dresses. There was history about so many events and it fascinated the hell out of me.


After quite a long time wandering around the museum and reading all of the information, I headed back outside and crossed the road to the park that had been recommended to me back at the information centre. I walked through an archway with the name of the park and read a sign saying a rose garden was dedicated to someone. I walked along a gravelly path and up into a gazebo with the sunlight streaming through the gaps in the wood. The gazebo gave me a good view of the park and to the Catholic church beside it. I walked out of the gazebo and walked the length of the park.

There was a children’s birthday party happening near the end of the park and there were blue balloons everywhere. I walked back through the park opposite the Catholic church and settled on the well-mown green, soft grass and continued reading my book in the winter sun; it was just gorgeous. Then I drove to the Chinese tribute garden and parked my car there. It was only about 3km away up the road. I walked across a little bridge and past two great granite lions and a great red archway. I walked around a little path which led around the central water feature of the garden. I also passed a lovely little waterfall.

I saw there were fish in the surrounding water and one was bright orange. Having completed my circuit around the garden and finding some early spring daffodils, I settled on some grass near the dam on the other side and continued reading my book again in the winter sun. After that I drove off back to Canberra, passing a sign saying Thankyou for visiting as I did.

 

June 1, 2017

Birthday Weekend in Sydney!

Last weekend, mum and I decided to both go to Sydney-me from Canberra and she from Brisbane, to celebrate our combined 26th and 50th birthdays and watch Sydney’s famous Vivid show. Mum flew down and I caught the bus up. She checked into the accommodation at the Rocks (beautiful area but rather a lot of stairs and cobble stones) before me and I met her there. I can tell you it was quite an effort lugging my 20 or so kg suitcase up many flights of stairs, but when I got to the rooftop terrace I saw the most wonderful view over Sydney Harbour which stretched out to Manly and encompassed the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

We went out to a lovely restaurant called the Argyle where we had some glasses of white wine and I had a Tigerlily cocktail. We also shared a pizza and caught up on the past two months (since I’d last been up at the Goldy for a high school friend’s wedding.) Then we ventured down to Sydney Harbour and watched Vivid light up the Opera House and surrounding buildings with a theme I could hazard a guess as being the Great Barrier Reef as it included coral spawning. The atmosphere was electric and the crowds were heaving. Then we went back to our accommodation.

The next day mum asked what I would really like to do in Sydney and I said to visit Bondi Beach of course! I told her I was a big fan of the TV show Bondi Rescue which had even got fans in the UK (which I found out when I lived there for a year.) We found out that Sundays have a $2.50 maximum spend on public transport which includes ferries so it was a perfect day to make the trek to Bondi! We scanned our Opal cards (purchasable from many shops and the train station) and hopped on a bus from Alfred Street headed for Bondi Beach. It was quite a busy bus but after all, it was a cheap day for public transport.

Within about half an hour we had arrived at our destination. Bondi Beach stretched out before us in all its aquamarine glory. It had the famous lifeguard tower at one end and a promenade dotted with little cafe’s along the way to the other end. Mum and I walked along the prom to the other end of the beach and had breakfast and coffee at a cafe’ called Speedo’s. I was excited to spot one of the famous Bondi lifeguards on his phone at a lookout outside and even more excited when he came into the cafe’ we were in to grab a coffee. Then mum and I headed back along the beach. We spotted another Bondi lifeguard and this time asked to have a photo. He immediately posed for one-what a nice guy! Then we finished our walk along the beach and started the Bondi to Coogee walk which a friend who used to live in Sydney had highly recommended to me.

Mum and I had worn enclosed shoes and walked past the famous Icebergs Pool and along the clifftop walk. It was beautiful from every angle and we took a fair few photos. It was nice to watch the surfers catching the waves in. We even walked up Bronte’ hill which was a very steep incline but afforded a marvelous view of our surrounds. Then we decided to catch the bus back to Bondi, however it just went to Bondi Junction so we had to change buses there and catch a different one back to Circular Quay. Then we went out again for dinner and drinks, this time the ferry by night to Manly which is about 30 minutes away. It was marvelous to pass the buildings, opera house and bridge all lit up with Vivid. I felt like Rose from Titanic, standing at the front of the large ferry as it glided smoothly across the harbour to Manly’s distant shores. We noticed seagulls gliding on the wind the ferry generated as they accompanied us to the other end of the harbour.

Once we reached Manly, we disembarked the ferry and headed along the promenade to a restaurant mum wanted to take me to: Manly Wine. We were seated at a little table near the windows where we could look out onto the dark ocean and surrounding lights. We ordered our meals and shared a bottle of a delicious Pinot Grigio from Victoria called White Stripes. Then we caught the ferry back to Circular Quay and went back to our accommodation.

On Monday (my 26th birthday) we had a little bit of a sleep in and then headed to Darling Harbour for breakfast which was walking distance away. It was a pretty little harbour and had shops dotted around it and boats floating around it. We spotted a Navy ship which was part of the Australian National Maritime Museum. We visited a shopping centre and had a look at the shops. Then we returned to Circular Quay and explored the Royal Botanical Gardens which were also walking distance away. We sat on the sunny green lawn past the black gates with crowns on them for Government House and watched the boats go by. Then we walked up the stairs of the Sydney Opera House (which is pretty high up by the way.)

We looked at beautiful views around Sydney and took photos. Then we decided to visit Manly in the day time (the last time before last night that I had been there was when I was 18 which was almost a whole ten years ago!) We caught the ferry there and walked along the esplanade for the length of the beach. Then we rounded some corners, passed a “mermaid pool” which was like an infinity pool before the ocean, walked up and around a steep little headland and through leaf tunnels along a winding pathway, before looking inside a quaint little shop selling sea shells and other gifts.

Then I waded in the “mermaid pool” and mum took some photos, including of figures in the stones on the side of the path, like weedy seahorses. Then I waded in Shelly Beach, which is around the corner from Manly Beach before wading in Manly Beach. Then, as the sun went down we headed to a German restaurant called The Bavarian Manly Wharf. This was my birthday dinner! We sat at a comfortable table by a gas fire place as the sun set over the ocean through the windows beyond. Mum ordered a kransky sausage with cheese and I ordered a jaegerschnitzel which was a delicious chicken schnitzel with a delicious mushroom sauce on top. Both dishes were divine. Mum had a rice beer and I had a mango beer which a friend had recommended to me. We said cheers and clinked our glasses as the fire warmed us and the ocean roared in the background. What a fabulous birthday weekend in Sydney! Then we caught the ferry back past the bright lights of Sydney Harbour and past the glowing Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge-what an adventure!

 

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Watch the video of Vivid Sydney

 

Watch the video of my trip on Sydney Harbour

 

 

 

May 8, 2017

Cruise on Lake Burley Griffin

This weekend I had pre-booked a ticket to a cruise on Lake Burley Griffin so on Saturday morning, just before 10am, I headed off to the lake (as I live on the north side, this is about a 30 minute drive away.) I parked the car (free parking on weekends yay!) and headed off to the boat ramp. The boat was already there and most people were already on board. I told the driver my name, hopped on board and grabbed a seat by the window. Soon we were off. The boat is non-pollutive so had a really gentle, smooth and quiet movement.

We glided around the lake with the driver at the wheel in his hat telling us all about this history of the area, revealing secrets of the lake and pointing out various landmarks as we passed them like a memorial to the police force, a navy memorial, the National Gallery, National Museum of Australia and so on. I enjoyed the autumn colours of red, orange and gold as we passed by. After the cruise I thanked the driver and headed off to Canberra Yacht Club for a delicious hot cappuccino by the stone fire. It was extremely cosy looking outside the windows and being seated on a large leather chair with a silk-like cushion. That night I headed to Piallago Estate for a friend’s birthday dinner which was amazing!

The next day I headed to my favourite markets in Canberra-Hall Markets before going to my regular Sunday ballet class. What a weekend!

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April 29, 2017

Epic Farmers’ Markets and Canberra Heritage Festival

Today I set my alarm early so I could not miss out on the Epic (Exhibition Park in Canberra) Farmers’ or Capital Region Farmers’ Markets which run from about 7.30AM-11.30AM on Saturdays. I got there at about 9ish and managed to find a car park not too far from the entrance (or one of many entrances.) I walked underneath golden hued trees with leaves crunching under my feet to one of these entrances. I came in at a back corner of the markets which had lots of delicious apples on display, including Golden Delicious apples-my favourite! I promptly bought some of these apples and mulled around the markets, drinking in all the sights and scents around me.

I bought an organic chocolate which was also vegan and milk free-it was delicious! I also bought a bees wax candle, a plum, persimmon, an Italian bread, a tin of Chai tea and a cappuccino and chocolate croissant which I sat down to enjoy at a table. The markets were quite busy. I passed flowers, preserves, fruit, vegies, tea, coffee, dog treats and so on. Finally done with my purchases, I headed back to my car and drove to a little village called Hall.

I had been to Hall since I was little as our doctor had a surgery there at the time and there used to be an old two person seated swing which has since disappeared. I parked at the Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre which I knew was doing special exhibitions for the Heritage Festival weekend. I headed inside (entry is free but donations are welcomed as it is run by volunteers.) I was directed to the Heritage Festival exhibition which was a collection of Aboriginal artifacts from a collector from the 1970s before they were protected and left where they were found. The collection was very large. I looked at lots of different stone tools from blades, to anvils and others.

A very knowledgeable historian guide told me about all of the objects on display, including a number from Black Mountain Peninsula which is where the National Museum of Australia sits today. There were some Aboriginal artefacts found there which were more associated with tribes from South Australia which is quite interesting. I imagined the Aboriginal society which would have existed back then without the need for money. I imagined tribes which lived in the desert, in forests or by the water, their many different dialects and customs. I was told that tribes married outside their tribes so traditions and customs could transcend different tribes. After this I paid my donation and poured myself a cup of tea and helped myself to a couple of biscuits.

Then I meandered around the museum, which I had visited previously but enjoy coming back to. I passed the history of the local area, including a story about a local blacksmith and stories of education here. I passed the section commemorating and telling stories of the Anzacs and bought a home made quince tart. Then I was on my way.

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April 23, 2017

Visit to a Winery

Today I journeyed across the border to Murrumbateman, New South Wales. Canberra suburbs were replaced by green hills springing up out of fields, dotted with black cattle or white fluffy sheep. I also spotted some beautiful horses. Soon I was at my destination-Four Winds Winery. Vines crept up the walls and brightly coloured flowers lined the path leading inside. I crossed over the threshold and tasted some wines-Riesling, Rose’ and Shiraz. They were lovely. Then I ordered a glass of Riesling, bought a bottle of Rose’ with strawberry,  watermelon and peach flavours to take away and ordered a BBQ chicken wood fired pizza.  I ventured outside with my Riesling and was bathed in sunlight which shone gold on the surrounding vineyard.  Green hills surrounded me and soon my wood fired pizza was ready-in fact I had seen

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it being made at the outdoor wood fired pizza oven-yum!

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April 22, 2017

Exploring Namadji National Park

20170422_141142.jpgToday I drove past the south side of Canberra and to Namadji National Park. The visitor centre was easy enough to find, was clearly signposted and had plenty of parking.

The lady there was very friendly and knowledgeable as she told us all about the park and its various walks. I left the visitor centre, map in hand and set off around the woodland walk which was immediately outside the visitor centre. It had lots of useful information and a shelter with window panes built like an old style homestead. Apparently there were a few homesteads around which were built by Europeans; some were intact and others in ruins. I also read about different tyes of wildflowers and gumtrees including snow gums which grow higher up and mountain ash which grow lower down.

I wandered off this track and did the Cypress Pine Lookout walk. It was quite steep but very pretty, especially once you got to the lookout at the top! After that I finished the woodland walk and drove to the Aboriginal rock art walk which was a 40 minute drive away. This walk was open and grassy with markers and a number of curious kangaroos.  It was also only reachable by dirt road but it was a fine journey in a two wheel drive-even through little pools of water! The rock art and views of surrounding mountains were magic!

April 17, 2017

Corin Forest Adventure

Today I drove past the southside of Canberra (a side I rarely visit as I am a proud northsider-once you’ve lived in Canberra a little while you will understand the north/south divide.) I passed Gibraltar Falls which I had visited previously (it is gorgeous and has stunning views) and continued my climb (in my car) upwards. In not much time at all I reached the carpark for Corin Forest which was somewhat hidden on the right-hand side of the road. I parked my car and strolled inside where I picked up a brochure of the place. I walked around the outside grassy area which was near Gibraltar Creek and was dotted with picnic tables and shady trees. I settled myself down at one of the tables and delved into a chapter of the book I was reading.

After being lost in a hilarious chapter I snapped my book shut and walked around the area. I saw a number of steps leading upwards and saw a sign saying to purchase a ticket at reception before ascending. I did just that and bought a ticket to the Alpine Slide-something I have not ridden on since I was about 9 years old (a whole 17 years ago!) There was a bit of a line and I was waiting 30 minutes but after you go to the Palace of Versailles in European summer where you wait 3 hours to go in well a 30 minute wait doesn’t seem so bad! Soon it was my turn and I climbed into the cart, pushed down the lever to go and ascended up a couple of steep hills. Once at the top we queued up in our carts and then went one at a time, leaving a good safety distance between us.

Then I was off! I pushed my lever down to the go position and slid along the tube-like slide-it was fun! There were a few loops and I got a good view of my surroundings. Then I was back at the bottom. I exited the cart and headed back on the path underneath the trees, looking at the pine forest in the distance with its dark green leafy needles.

April 17, 2017

Nostalgic stroll around Mount Rogers Reserve

Ever since I was little, back when we were living in Fraser and I went to the local primary school there and dad rode his bike sometimes to his job in the city, we sometimes grabbed our kelpie cross blue heeler dog, one of us was in the pram or in the baby seat at the back of mum’s bike and we would go for a walk around Mount Rogers. This walk has always and will always be absolutely beautiful. We used to munch on peeled apples and toddle along next to mum or ride our bikes around the circular trail. We would stop at the playgrounds on both sides of the walk-one near Fraser and one nearer Flynn and play on them too. We would scramble up great grey rocks and survey the bushland around us complete with flowering wattle and gumnuts on the gumtrees. You were always sure to see some kind of native wildlife, whether it be a kookaburra, magpie, great Red or Eastern Grey kangaroo peering out at you from behind some trees or quickly hopping across the path. On my walk I saw birds and butterflies-a beautiful Golden Wanderer butterfly included. So I did this beautiful walk and heard the birdsong, saw the little lamp posts among the European types of trees near little paths winding to houses in the surrounding suburbs and drank in the views of the distant blue Brindabella Ranges. It was absolutely beautiful.

April 17, 2017

Raiders vs Warriors Game

On Saturday evening I headed off to watch the Raiders vs Warriors game at GIO Stadium. The Uber dropped me off just outside the stadium. I scanned the ticket I had on my phone on the electronic scanner and the turnstile let me in. I also got my bag checked by security.

Once inside the stadium, I headed around to my bay and seat which was in the silver inner bowl and had a good view of the players. I sat down and watched the game. I thought the game was very exciting. At first it seemed like the Raiders were going to lose as the Warriors seemed very strong and had a good offence. At half time I grabbed a beer and some hot chips with tomato sauce. The sky darkened and I put on my coat, scarf and gloves as a chill crept into the air. The Raiders really picked up their pace and had a stunning victory against the Warriors-20-8! We all filed out of the stadium and I did find the free shuttle bus back to Belconnen-yay!