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.

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