Travel News – Australian Capital Territory

Canberra (ACT) – Doolans Bend (Victoria)

23/10/18  We were fortunate to get a caravan site in Canberra. Schools in ACT and NSW were back from holidays, Canberra’s Floriade festival had finished, and there were no big events on in town, so there should have been sites aplenty. I wasn’t going to ring ahead and book but the Chair of the Board insisted. And we learned that, for some inexplicable reason, all caravan parks were chockers. Charm won the day and we scraped in a spot at the showground, Exhibition Park. We were in Canberra for an impromptu catch up with our niece, Heather, and Andrew and their two boys, Nicholas and Alexander. We had a lovely time with them. It was just a shame that Andrew was away on business. So we drank his wine.

This was our second visit to the national capital and, as before, I could not get my head around the layout and the annoying number of roundabouts. Canberrans used to be called ‘Roundabout-abouters’ for good reason. As also noted on our previous visit, the lack of attention to grass cutting in Canberra. Puzzling. Just about every lawn, footpath and nature strip looked neglected and overgrown. Certainly a shaggy look that our capital is presenting to visitors. I didn’t think it could due to the current drought – it was the same when we were there four years ago. It must a Canberra thing.

Leaving Canberra after a couple of days, we headed to Yass where we had a leg stretch down the main street, picked up some local wine and a couple of really nice looking rib eye fillets that went on the Weber a couple of nights later…mmm. At Yass, we got onto the Hume Highway that runs inland, carrying loads of traffic between Sydney to Melbourne. It probably serves a good purpose but I reckon it has to be the dead set most boring bit of road ever, without a doubt. The highway manages to not only bypass just about every town but absolutely everything of interest worth looking at. It’s like a committee got together and mapped out all the interesting spots, then made the highway go everywhere else. So you just motor along it in a sort of lobotomised stupor.

Further west of Yass, I roused myself from the road trance in time to turn off to the small town of Jugiong, and our overnight camp in the showground. The field is bordered on one side by the Murrumbidgee River and we pulled the van in along the edge of the high riverbank, giving us a great view out over the water.

Back on the Hume Highway the next morning, we’d been tootling along for a little while – starting to feel like a long, long while – so it was good to turn off at Gundagai onto a pleasant backroad that took us through rolling pasture country to Sandy Beach Reserve, again on the banks of the Murrumbidgee. What a magic spot – alongside the clear river, in amongst ancient river red gums. Di braved the cold waters for a very invigorating dip. I wimped out, preferring warm and smelly. We stayed for a couple of days before continuing on our way south.

Back on the Hume Highway again (sigh), at Albury, NSW, we crossed the Murray River to Wodonga, VIC, on the other side and exited onto a backroad to Doolans Bend, one of the many bush camps dotted along the Murray. Camp was set up on a nice open grassy patch not three metres from the water’s edge, with a few very fat Hereford cattle for company. What a spot. I got out the rod, but the Murray Cod obviously hadn’t gotten the memo. There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the bank looking like an idiot, so the rod went away and I settled into a book instead. Di went for a quick dip in the river, coaxing me in as well this time. Man, was it cold. Quite literally, numbing – and yet, refreshing in a somewhat sadomasochistic kind of way.

The days have been pleasant and the nights cold. It’s lovely in the chilly mornings to see a mist hanging low over the water. All we need is the paddle steamer, PS Philadelphia, to come chuffing around the bend with Sigrid Thornton up in the wheelhouse pashing John Waters and we’d have a scene straight out of All the Rivers Run.

And in closing, the family haven’t had a Dad Joke from me for a while, so…

Did you hear about the camper who broke his left arm and left leg? He’s all right now.

Categories: Travel News, Travel News - Australian Capital Territory, Travel News - Multiple States, Travel News - New South Wales, Travel News - Victoria | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Canberra (ACT)

21/11/2014  Driving into Canberra is not at all as we expected with fairly hilly, dry countryside right to its doorstep. We are staying in the EPIC Park Campgrounds right in the centre of Canberra. It is expensive for showground conditions but worth it for the convenience. We keep waiting for traffic conditions just like Brisbane but it’s so easy to drive around the city that I even feel I could do it. We struck peak hour traffic one afternoon – it went for two blocks and that was regarded as bad.

The highlight for us in Canberra has been spending time with our niece Heather, her husband Andrew and their gorgeous son Nicholas. They have generously fed us and shown us their beautiful home and city. We enjoyed an evening out with them at Jamie Oliver’s Restaurant, followed by delicious chocolates from Koko Black, in the centre of Canberra.

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Pete had organised for the Disco to be serviced whilst in town and of course they found two major items that needed repairing – the lower control arms and the steering rods. Big cost unfortunately on top of the service but necessary for safe driving.

We spent a very windy, cold Sunday at the Australian War Memorial – such an incredible display of war artefacts. Placing a poppy on the Roll of Honour was a very moving experience for Pete and I. We had lunch at Poppy’s Restaurant and it was a great place to rest after lots and lots of walking. Pete would love to come again as we didn’t get to see all the displays and a fabulous new WW1 display will be opening in December.

A highlight of the visit to Canberra for Pete was a visit to the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia at the National Arboretum Canberra. He is now all inspired to use native Australian trees in his collection, as we saw bonsai swamp eucalypts, smooth barked apple trees (eucalypts) and bottlebrushes.

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We visited the Royal Australian Mint on Tuesday but it is currently undergoing renovations to their viewing area ready for their 50th Anniversary in February. There were no coins being minted at the time of our visit which was rather disappointing. We did get to mint our own coins for Charlotte and Anna which was fun though.

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Tomorrow we are going to be heading south towards Sale (East Gippsland) ready for our nephew Alec’s wedding to the beautiful Candice, in her home town of Maffra. We are looking forward to seeing Deb, Stuart, David, Suellen and some of the nieces and nephews again.

Categories: Travel News, Travel News - Australian Capital Territory | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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