Today we set off to explore Australia’s official (and sometimes forgotten) capital city, Canberra. I’ve got to warn you beforehand – the weather was shocking! We probably couldn’t have picked a worse day for our travels there, ironically.
On the bright side, a lot of the day was to be spent driving down to Capital Territory, so at least we weren’t out about about all day.
Our first stop was Mount Ainslie, which normally offers clear, sprawling views of Canberra for as far as the eye can see. Sadly, it wasn’t quite the view we’d anticipated thanks to the cloud and mist, but it was still a pretty cool sight across the city.
You can just about see the red mall which takes you to the Australian War Memorial, with the red stones representing the blood shed from the wars.
Our next stop was the Australian War Memorial itself.
It’s a really beautiful monument that’s there to cherish those who lost their lives fighting for Australia. It’s very peaceful and calm, and a little eerie. There’s nowhere quite like it. Guests can also purchase a poppy for a donation, and join in those remembering all those that have been lost.
A flame burns on in memory of all of the lost too.
We wandered inside the memorial to explore the impressive ceiling and stained glass windows.
Once our tour guide had finished showing us around the memorial, we shuffled on to our next stop: the National Gallery of Australia. Although I couldn’t take any pictures, it’s most definitely worth a visit, and I wish we could have had a little longer to explore the awesome works and exhibitions in there.
We whizzed our way around some fascinating Aboriginal pieces that represented a few really harrowing truths, and some more contemporary Australian art also. The Ned Kelly paintings are a highlight in particular. If that’s not your thing, you can always feast your eyes on Monet’s waterlilies and some other European classics if you visit soon.
One of my personal highlights was the Pollock painting thrown in amongst the pop art displays. A very controversial – and expensive – painting, it really is one you either love or hate. Once we’d finished up our brief tour, it was back on the road. This time, to the Australian Parliament Buildings.
We had to clear security for obvious reasons, so once again unfortunately I was unable to take any snaps. The experience was really interesting – I was amazed at how much you can see on the inside, and we actually watched parliamentary debates which got very heated! It was good entertainment that’s worth catching.
Afterwards, we’d finished in parliament, we had a quick detour to see the embassies. Each embassy is built and decorated in the style of its respective country, which was pretty cool. The British Embassy looked very authentic, with roses and ivy trawling across the building. The American Embassy was also pretty interesting – supposedly the biggest and built on real, imported American soil! Make of that what you will. It felt like a super speedy tour around the world in just a short drive.
That was it for our flying visit to Canberra! What a pleasure it was, and I’d love to see more. Back on the road, and back to New South Wales (if only for a short while) for another day in Sydney.