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Monday, October 21, 2013

Spring Holidays - Road Trip to Canberra

On the second week of our holidays we drove to Canberra. It took us 7 hours to get there, and we had only 2 days to see everything we wanted to, so we packed heaps in!

Canberra is the capital of Australia and is located between Melbourne and Sydney in the Australian Capital Territory. Much like Ottawa, it's a government city with a high number of public servants, but also with lots to see and do.

It's a lovely green city with plenty of gardens, trees and long wide footpaths.

The International flag display acknowledges the United Nations and those that maintain a diplomatic presence in the capital.

We of course had to make a trip to embassy row and check out the Canadian Embassy.

Parliament House is this amazing building on Capital Hill. We toured the inside checking out the house and the senate, and of course rolling down the hill afterwards.

Hannah tells us that the Kangaroo and the Emu can only move forward showing the progress of the country.  
From the top of Parliament House you can see the old
parliament house and the war memorial just beyond that.
One of our favourite stops of the day was the Australian National War Memorial. It was absolutely gorgeous. It's a wonderful memorial and a full war museum as well. So of course we spent a few hours here looking through the exhibits for the first and second world wars, the aircraft hall, and the ANZAC hall where we saw aircraft bombers and submarines.

The amazing view from the top of the steps at the memorial
 (old and new parliament houses are visible beyond the Anzac Parade)
Directly inside the war memorial is the Memorial Courtyard, the Pool of Reflection and the Eternal Flame.

Surrounding the courtyard behind the arches is the Roll of Honour. Virtually every Australian that has ever died serving the country since 1885 has their name inscribed here (more than 102, 000 names). Paper poppies have been placed in the niches beside many of the names.

We finished off our day with a visit to the Telstra Tower, a 195 metre tower atop Black Mountain.

From the viewing deck in the tower there is a 360 degree view of Canberra. And while the view is spectacular, is also has a use being an essential communications facility for the capital city.

We had spent our first day in Canberra seeing all the National highlights, and we thought the second day should be all about fun. So we all channelled our inner nerds and headed to Questacon - the National Science and Technology Centre.

As we walked into the foyer, Scott looked up and exclaimed 'Omg it's a cam wave!'
Btw I still have no idea what that is...
The kids had a blast (and we did too!) Each floor had it's own hands on exhibit with staff there to help the kids learn along the way. There was an exhibit about the ocean with a full size giant squid and a diving ball, there was one all about water, one all about the earth.

The kids by far had the most fun in the QLab where they got to work with staff scientists is hands on experiments and the Excite@Q gallery which was all in black light and had huge exhibits you could play in. Like this one...where they hung the kids on a bar over a 6 metre slide and let them go so that they could experience the body's natural fear response and weightlessness. Crazy children...

Yep, this was definitely Scotts' happy place :)

We left Canberra the next morning and drove down through the snowy mountains to the coast and pulled into Tathra Beach for a couple of days. Eager not to miss a moment of warm sunshine we immediately went for a walk along the beach and up to the wharf.

The next morning we drove down the coast to Merimbula to do some shopping and go whale watching. The water was cold and the wind even colder but the kids took it all knowing they were going to get to see some of the humpback whales migrating up the coast.

We had to travel out past a sandbar that protects Merimbula, but we were only a few minutes out of the bay and we spotted some whales straight away. They were amazing, and so big!

It was a rewarding adventure, and after a cold afternoon out on the water, a much needed warm up was to be had afterwards.

That marks the end of our last school break here in Australia. We're back to school for term 4 and looking forward to some warmer weather for our last few months. 

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