Jim, Lisa and the World
A trip of global proportions
About Us (2)
Costa Rica (2)
New Zealand (11)
* The Red Center
* Cruising and Noodling
* The Great Ocean Road
* Melbourne part II
* Up the Coast
* Capital Good Times
* Missy the Beasty
* The Seperation of Wife and Mate
* Rugby, Navigation and Magellen
* It's a small world after all!
* Free! Free Falling!
* Attack of the Sandflies!
* A Puzzling World Indeed
* Surfing with dolphins!
* The Cook Strait
* Tangariro Crossing
* From Beaches to Caves
* Miles of Surf
March 31, 2005
Capital Good Times
I emerged from the mountains like some kind of primitive man. I was road-weary, unkempt and completely unshowered. I was starting to appreciate just how big this country was. Granted I was not taking the most direct route but I was still only halfway to Sydney after a few days.
I now had to decide if I was going to make the detour to visit this nation's capital. That's right a visit to the capital really does neccesitate a detour because it is well off the main highway between Sydney and Melbourne. In fact there are only two roads of any significance that approach the remote city.
Now before I continue, ask yourself if you actaully know what the capital of Australia is?
Canberra! That's right it isn't just a cheese spread anymore (?) it is a capital city! Don't feel bad if you didn't know that. Even in Australia it is something of an obscure city considering that the head of government sits there. More or less it arose as a compromise between Melbourne and Sydney over who should become the capital.
I was uncertain about visiting simply because Canberra has a reputation for being a bit boring. I decided to go for it anyway, that way the rest would be exciting by comparison right?
I pulled into Canberra in the mid afternoon and found a campsite near the center of the city. That's another odd thing about Canberra: It is a city of over 300,000 people but it still has the feel of a giant park. There are probably 5 trees for every person. I got settled, took a much deserved shower and did a bit of laundry.
Soon I set out to explore the capital. I decided that the recently finished National Museum of Australia (2001) was worth my attention. So I parked near midtown and set off on foot with my map. Here's were I discovered that, perhaps in an effort to reflect the nation itself, teh capital was really spread out. It took me half an hour to walk what seemed a trivial distance on my map.
I tell you though it was well worth it. The museum is impressive from the onset with its striking post-modern architecture (contraversial of course). It only continues to delight once you go inside. I started with a moving film presentation on the three themes of the museum: Land, Nation, People. I mean moving in every sense because the theatre actually rotated between each theme. Then I went off to explore the wide range of interesting exhibitions - A huge section on aboriginal australians, colonial history, lots of interactive exhibits including one where I got to design my "home of the future" and then watch it in a 3-D movie theater.
Now it was time to vistit the government area itself. I knew now that the bus service was to be my friend in this city so I caught a bus down to Parliment. Ausralia is a young country and its capital is even younger. The city site wasn't picked until the turn of the 20th century and parliment didn't move here until decades later. The current parliment building wasn't inagurated until 1988. Again worth the wait I think. The buildings are impressive - combining classic with modern well. I toured the buildings for a while - they just let you wander anywhere and take pictures! I felt like I could practically introduce a bill if I wanted.
As I headed out of town later the next day I had fond feelings of Canberra in my heart. I looked im my review mirror to bid farewell and noticed that my laundry was still hanging up in the back window! I guess, in a city filled with embassies, I was flying my own kind of flag in salute to the capital :)
Posted by Jim & Lisa on March 31, 2005 12:45 AM
Email this page