Thursday, January 31, 2013

Our Holiday.....Making Our Way Home

Thursday 24th January, 2013

After breakfast and checking out of the motel we had to find our way out of Canberra.  

Lake Burley Griffen......Canberra is built around it

City shopping centre

A couple of wrong turns and still thinking we were heading in the wrong direction we finally found the sign for the next town that we had to head to......Yass.

From Yass we made our way down the Hume Highway to Albury Wodonga.  As we travelled down the highway we came across the town of Gundagai.  We stopped here for coffee.  In the park were these bronzed statues of Dad, Dave, Mum and Mabel.

When I was growing up as a young child radio serials were all we listened to as we didn't have television.  One of these radio serials was called "Dad and Dave".  They lived in Snake Gully and as I recall Dave got up to all sorts of mischief.  His girlfriend was Mabel.

About 8 kilometres out of Gundagai is the "Dog on the Tuckerbox".  We went back to show Katie and ended up having some lunch.  In the late 1830's this area was well known for bushrangers including Ned Kelly and his gang paying the town a visit.

After lunch we made our way down the Highway to Albury Wodonga. 

Travelling the Hume Highway

As we were heading south we came across a small town of Holbrook.  There in the middle of town, in a park was this......... a submarine!!!

Albury is on the New South Wales side of the River Murray, Wodonga is on the Victorian side.  We had a short drive around Albury and I found it to be quite a nice  town.  We plan on going back and staying for a day or two.

Main street of Albury

I just liked the name Yackandandah

As it was still early we decided to go onto Wagga Wagga and spend the night there.  Wagga has the Kapooka Army Base nearby.  We found a motel, booked in and went off to have some dinner.  When we came back Katie and Tony went swimming.  

This morning, Friday, we head into Victoria and Swan Hill.  Our plan is to spend the night there.  

Still got a way to go

After yesterdays temperature of 40C, today was a bit cooler.  Most of the day the temperature hovered around 35-38C.  Thank god for car air conditioning.

Around lunch time we came to Jerilderie, a small town of around 700 people just 45 kms (28 miles) north of the Victorian border.  We stopped at the local bakery for lunch.

In the 1870's Ned Kelly and his gang terrorised this town.

While Tony filled the car with petrol Katie washed the windscreen.

Back on the road we made our way to Victoria.  We passed through Echuca, a river port on the Murray River.  This is another place we would like to come back and visit.

Hey Bob, that's a nice size fish!!

We finally made it to Swan Hill.  

Forgetting that this weekend was a long weekend because of Australia Day, we had some trouble booking into a motel.  We finally found one, Swan Hill Resort.

What a place!  They had everything, indoor/outdoor pools, spa, mini golf, tennis, pool tables, table tennis tables and barbques.  It was a shame we were only staying for the night.
No prizes for guessing what we did after dinner.

Finally it was Saturday and we had made it to the last day of our holiday.  We still had about a 6 hour drive ahead of us.  That's not including any stops.  We had to head to Mildura, Renmark and then onto Adelaide.  When we reached Robinvale we had to cross the river back into New South Wales and travel to Mildura. 

We saw a sign that said Sydney, it was tempting to take that road.  

We stopped in Mildura for lunch.  Then it was onto South Australia. How good was it to see this?

Won't be long before we are home now!

While driving through Paringa we made a stop at the cemetery.  Katie was 21 months old when my Mum died and 5 years old when my Dad passed away.  It was the first time she had been to the cemetery to see where their ashes had been placed.

I showed her my grandparents grave, and some other family members.  She wandered off looking at the other graves, Tony and I stopped to look at some others.  

I wondered where she was.  Thinking that she may have gone back and sat in the car this is what we saw.....

I wondered what she was thinking.

We finally made it home around 5.15pm.  Kahra and Darrin called by shortly after to pick Katie up.

We had had a fantastic time.  Katie was so excited telling Kahra and Darrin about her trip.  In all we traveled a total of 3545 kilometres.

Now to plan our next trip away.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Our Holiday.....Off To Canberra

Tuesday 22nd January, 2012

Today we left Sydney for Canberra.  After packing up the car and checking out of the motel we drove into Manly and decided to take one final trip on the ferry.  We all agreed that we'd be back again one day.

Once back in Manly we got the car and started our trip towards Canberra.  We headed out towards the Great Western Highway as I thought I had seen a sign pointing to Canberra on our way in.  After a few false exits we eventually found the exit to Wollongong.

 Heading out of the city

Crossing Anzac Bridge

After we left the outer suburbs of Sydney the weather changed.  We found ourselves in the middle of a thunderstorm.  At times we could barely see past the bonnet of the car as the rain was coming down that hard.

Soon the rain stopped and we ended up driving through some lovely country.  There were hills and mountains on either side of us.  We could understand that when bushfires go through this particular country side the fire is just left to burn, it really is inaccessible country.

Cloud over the mountains

Giant Ram  -  Goulburn

We arrived in Canberra late afternoon.  Driving into Canberra was like driving into any normal city.  In the distance we could see Parliament House sitting on top of the hill.  Once we were past Parliament House we ended up on a freeway.

Tony and I remarked to each other surely that wasn't Canberra!  No, it wasn't.  All the suburbs of Canberra were in and behind the freeway.  What a nightmare trying to find your way around.  We made several wrong turns, drove the freeway for kilometres until we could find an exit to turn around......what an experience!

I can also understand why Canberra lost several houses and property to bushfires a few years ago.  The city is surrounded by bushland.

Thank goodness for the GPS in the car.  We would have had no hope of ever finding the motel if we didn't have it.  We booked in and thankfully they had a bistro where we could go for dinner.  Katie was happy, she finally got to go for a swim.

The motel also provided a Continental buffet breakfast or you could have a fully cooked one.  Tony opted for the cooked breakfast, Katie and I were happy with toast.

Our first stop on Wednesday was Parliament House.  Katie was looking forward to having a look inside.  To her, Julia Gillard, our Prime Minister, is Canberra.  She was so excited to see where Parliament sits and then to go and see where the Senate sits.  She just didn't understand what the Senate meant.  She declared she wants to go back when Parliament is sitting.

The Great Hall was being set up for a function, we weren't allowed inside

Parliament House chairs

Australia's Coat of Arms

Artists impressions of ex Prime Ministers

House of Representatives

The Senate

On the roof of Parliament House looking towards the Australian War Museum

From Parliament House our next place we wanted to go to was the War Memorial Museum.  Perhaps I should not be saying this.  For several years I have always thought Anzac Day, the day we remember our fallen heroes during the wars that Australians have fought in, should not have the reverence placed on it that it does.

Simpson and his donkey

The entrance to the Museum

Looking down Anzac Parade towards Parliament House

To me nearly all of the diggers from World War 1 have passed on, most from World War 2 are no longer with us and nearly all the wars since WW2 have been political......Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.  So what was the point of Anzac Day?

HOW WRONG WAS I!!!  To me EVERY Australian should go and visit this museum.  It is so emotional and I unashamedly say that as I stood in front of the memorial walls the tears flowed.

We took one of the guided tours that was offered and what a plethora of information the tour guide gave us.  It was so informative and immediately changed my mind in regards to Anzac Day.  I now know why we must ALWAYS remember our fallen soldiers.  I also didn't know how revered our Diggers were to other nations.

Stained glass windows inside the tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Katie reading names on the wall

The following are a selection of the dioramas on display

After the tour was over we watched film archive of bombings,  air raids and dog fights.  At times you felt as if you were in the midst of them.

Tony was in his element walking through the exhibition looking at the aircraft associated with the War.  He was like a kid in a candy store. 

The only disappointing thing about our visit was that we didn't go there first.  We could have easily spent the whole day there.  Katie was also overwhelmed by it all.  We left there at closing time.  

Apparently everyday at 5.00pm they play the Reveille.  Today they had a lone piper playing "The Flowers O' The Forest" in front of the Unknown Soldiers tomb.   That also had my eyes well up with tears.

We left the War Museum and tried to find the Prime Minister's residence.....The Lodge.  That had us going round in circles too.

Back at the motel we went to the Bistro for dinner and Katie had another swim in the pool.  Tonight she didn't stay in as long as the evening was cool.

Tomorrow we start making our way back to Adelaide.