Saturday, May 05, 2012

Adventuring Part 1 - the nation's capital!

We ran away from home this week! Actually, we had to head to Canberra for an engagement party and then stayed away for a few days to recharge the batteries and go exploring.

There are a lot of people who don't like Australia's capital city (Canberra, for those who are wondering). The entire populations of Sydney and Melbourne are two, because they didn't win the competition to become the national capital - Canberra did. Neither does Craig Ferguson (whoever he is when he's about). It's a planned city and according to some people, very boring. But you are only allowed to hold that opinion if you actually live in Canberra.

We, on the other hand, LOVE Canberra. If we were to move anywhere else in Australia, it would be to Canberra - in fact, I think Video Boy wants to actually live at Questacon.

There is so much to see and do. Every time we visit, we can see something new such as:
And we could easily revisit these places time and again, either because we didn't get to see everything the first time or the kids have gotten older and can appreciate more (and hopefully avoid toddler tantrums).

This trip, we avoided the Kings Highway which had only just reopened after a huge landslide:

and instead headed north, via Tianjara Falls:

The party was fun - it was interesting watching the kids "socialise" with the only other child there who wasn't crawling and when he left, with the adults. I think we all ended up having a nice time:

Canberra in autumn is a stunning place and we took full advantage of the deciduous trees we don't have at home:

Once we got that out of our systems, it was time to check out the Antarctica exhibition at the National Archives:

I would have taken more pics, but I finally noticed the big "NO PHOTOS" signs everywhere....

Anyway, after that very enjoyable hour or so learning about Australia's Antarctic environment and explorers, Hubby and I were starting to suffer the after-effects of our fun last night, so it was coffee time! We wandered down the lawns and gardens of Canberra in search of...

Looking down toward the War Memorial

Old Parliament House

Swans on Lake Burley Griffin

Keep runnin' up that hill!

We enjoyed a couple of cafe lunches in Canberra - lovely food, nice coffee, horrific prices. We paid nearly $80 at the cafe at the National Portrait Gallery!!!

Expensive macaroons...

We popped into the (free!) National Portrait Gallery - Hubby and I could have spent a bit more time there, wandering around, but the kids were getting antsy - they didn't recognise many people. But they enjoyed the sculpture and fountains out the front!

Video Boy was desperate to go on a Segway tour, but you have to be 12 or over, so poor Wombat Girl would have missed out - next visit, we promise!

Looked like so much fun!!

We also walked past the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and tried to explain to Wombat Girl (who asked) what "sovereignty" was about and why it is relevant to the indigenous people of Australia.

Because we had been studying democracy and also Federation, I was very keen to visit Old Parliament House which now houses the Museum of Australian Democracy. The kids? Not so much. I won, however, and despite their lack of initial enthusiasm, we actually spent quite a few hours exploring. I cannot believe they were going to knock this building down! It was only ever built as a "provisional" Parliament House and after they built the new one, it was scheduled for demolition. Well, now it houses the most interesting and educational displays on Australia's political and social history. Well worth a visit and at only $5.00 per family, a bargain!!

Wombat Girl makes a Federation Lantern (who says we don't do art)

Video Boy checks out electorates and Aboriginal nations
A weary Wombat Girl in the Senate (upper house)

Future Senator??

Wombat Girl researching in the Opposition party room

The press gallery

House of Representatives (lower house)

A replica of the Speaker's chair used in TV show

Democracy wall

Making friends outside!

The next day we decided to "pop in" to the new (current) Parliament House. It was fabulous to have a look around after the old one...

Apparently they banned people from
running down the roof after 9/11 -
good to see they lifted that ban!

Beautiful coloured granite used to...

...make an indigenous dot mosaic!

Surely it can't just be my kids who jump into fountains...

The Great Hall uses lots of Australian timbers

The huge Great Hall Tapestry and Embroidery
references settlement and cultivation of the land
The Arthur Boyd painting of the banks of the
Shoalhaven River used as a basis for the tapestry in the Great Hall

The Inspeximus edition of the Magna Carta,
written in 1297 - one of only four editions in the world

Checking out our elected representatives

Current Senate (Upper House)

Current House of Representatives (Lower House) -
lots of school excursions happening that day!
View to Old Parliament House and the War Memorial

For some unknown reason Wombat Girl was
keen to have her photo taken with the Queen

There were a number of people who questioned the kids as to why they weren't in school - Wombat Girl gladly pipes up every time "Oh we homeschool! We are on an excursion!". I don't mind this (happy to raise the profile of homeschooling) but it does get a bit tedious then answering the inevitable questions that follow. And quite hysterical, given that just about everywhere we went we spent time avoiding flocks of classes of schoolkids on excursions!

Another expensive lunch in a cafe later, it was time to get in the car and head to Part 2 of our adventure! Stay tuned kiddies!


  1. Wonderful pictures! I can't wait to see the rest of the journey.

    1. Thank you - we had a lovely time exploring!

  2. Looks like some grand adventuring :)

  3. A most memorable trip:)
    I've just awarded you the Liebster award


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