We drove into Camberra, the capital of Australia, nice and early. We were plesantly surprised with the driving as the roads wernt too busy and the traffic system was set in circles so it was very easy to navigate. There was also no toll roads and loads of free outdoor parking right next to all the attractions we visited. We also had a good map before we entered the city, which made for a very stressless drive.
First stop was the royal mint where we could watch actually circulating coins being made. It was quite interesting along with the displays of rare and special edition coins and coins with print mistakes. All free, ironicaly.
Next we headed to Parliment hill where we took a free tour around all the major rooms including the house of representatives and the senet. Quite spectacular. The building it's self was very interestingly drained and modern, using all native Australian materials. There's also a lift which takes you onto the roof which is grassy because the houses of parliment are all set inside parliment hill, so in theory, if the barriers wern't there you could roll down the grass to the bottom. The idea behind it is that the general public can sit on the heads of the people who rule the country. We were lucky again today as as we were on the roof a milarary hellicopter came and hovered over us, then four more flew up the valley and surrounded the building. We were all wondering what was going on but as we left we were told that it was just a practice routine. We were lucky to catch that.
From the roof we could see that the building had four main avenues comming from it and looking down each one you could see a different landmark. We walked down one so Louise could look around the tempoary old house of parliment which is now a museum. We joined a staff practice for a tour which is only ran once a year, so asinine we were lucky with timing. It was reinacting a past presidents dismissal, and it lasted for two hours. Two whole hours of my life I will never see again. But at least Louise enjoyed it and we got pieces to read out so we got a laugh, and a cringe in parts.
We drove over the river but still in line with one of the avenues to get to the Australian national war memorial. It's a shame we wern't here yesterday but I'm glad we got a chance to visit and they were still selling poppies (quite hard to buy in Australia, very unlike England). Again the building was contempoary and very well done. We just got enough time to rush round the museum before it shut, but it meant that we were there for the closing ceremony, which was a performance of the last stand on a bugel. Timing was brilliant again as we didn't know it was going to happen and I'm glad we were there for it.
On the way out we went to see possibly the most dissapointing place of interest. It was on a small island of it's own and was a 'giant musical instrument'. It was a (small) tower which housed 53 bells but you couldn't actually see any of them. It was quite impressive to find that they were controlled from a keyboard, but nothing to see, and we had to disturb a couples wedding photoshoot twice crossing the footbridge to see it. Surroundings were nice though. I think it's a good idea to have the countries political capital seperate to it's cultural capital. Much less stressful. Had a lot for tourists aswel, there were many more free attractions we could have visited.
As it was still relatively early when everything closed we drove as far as we could towards Sydney and realised that we would be able to get into the city tomorrow, giving ourselves an extra day. Magic.
We parked in a suburb found a good place in a free carpark, swung our headlights round and realised that it was backed onto a graveyard, typical after lastnights scare!