After breakfast Tony heads off to explore, Cynthea takes a rest day. The bus website is bloody frustrating to follow (even the locals tell you it is crap), Mr Google is slightly better at delivering the goods, but Tony still manages to miss the bus into town. He hurries around the corner to catch another bus, but the information to change in town is sadly lacking. He is heading for Parliament buildings, but the website tells there is an hour wait – nah, there are buses every few minutes. So he heads to where he hopes the right will bus will leave from. It does arrive quite soon, and it is not long before he is at the (new) Parliament Buildings. From there he takes the long walk to the National War Memorial, via the (old) Parliament Buildings, which are now a museum to democracy. Across the road the local indigenous community have a long-standing campsite claiming sovereignty over the country. They have been there in their tents for many years, but lately have installed a couple of old shipping containers as offices.
It is a great walk around Lake Burley Griffin, then along ANZAC Parade to the war memorial building. There are a large number of memorials along the way, recognising the different conflicts Australians have been involved in. The New Zealand Memorial is two kete (basket) handles, separated by the wide road, symbolising the connection of the two countries fighting together as ANZACs. Under each handle, is buried soil from Gallipoli.
The National War Memorial is a fantastic building, and well worth the time to visit. Tony walks back to the centre of town (14km covered so far, including the wee bit where he read the compass wrong and took off in the wrong direction – sigh). A bus ride back to the motel, and time to put feet up while enjoying a wee wine – Aussie red of course :-)
Blue sky and sunshine today, a bit on the breezy side but it is not cold (by kiwi standards). Robin and Dennis Brosnan pick us up around 10.30. They are chauffeur and tour guide for the day. We are feeling really spoilt. First stop is Black Mountain, and a visit up the Telstra Tower. We have wonderful views of ACT. We go to the outside viewing platform, but it is very windy, and there are a few signs to beware of the Bull ants. Tony and Robin are only wearing sandals, so they feel that their feet are a wee bit vulnerable. Robin and Cynthea head back inside, Tony does a quick lap looking for bull ants, but they must have all been blown away.
At the bottom of the mountain are the Botanical Gardens, we have a good walk through here, signs are up warning that snakes are about. We are instructed that if we see them to remain still, if the snake doesn’t move off, then we have to back off slowly, and report the sighting to a ranger. I imagine many will forget the instructions and head off screaming down the path. We didn’t see any today. The main track is “step free”, so it is suitable for all to wander through. We come to the red dessert centre area, Tony thinks this is great because now we have seen it, we don’t have to spend hundred’s going there, and suffering the boredom and heat… Cynthea disagrees.
After the gardens we have lunch at the Yacht Club (noses in the air please). A lovely fish and chip lunch for the others (Dennis had his in a burger), and a burger and chips for Tony. It is very windy down here on the lake though.
Next on the agenda is the Royal Mint, a fascinating look at the processes involved. The stairs to the upper level have 5c coins and coin blanks embedded in the risers, thousands of them! Tony sees lots that interests him as a collector and Robin points out a coin for his collection, a 1kg silver one. It is most appropriate as it is for year of the dog, Tony’s Chinese animal sign. It is even on special, but no one picks up the broad hint that it was recently his birthday… probably the A$1500 price tag put them off…
The next stop is the National Arboretum, we only have a few minutes here before it closes. A sign near the entrance warrants closer inspection, all the letters on it are cleverly made up of tools from a workshop. We visit the Bonsai display, we both love this art form. There is an amazing collection here, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to see it, even if it is a brief look. We head up to Diary Farmers Hill lookout, and are impressed by The Nest sculpture that is made up of scrap metal, mainly from old farming implements. We head off around the hill, where it is less windy, for a cuppa while we take in the great view. Then it is back to the motel, with a quick stop at the pub for pint (well, it was happy hour).
Tomorrow we are off to Melbourne...