After numerous day trips and passing through, we decided to stay a few days in our Nation’s capital to take in the different sightseeing destinations that we haven’t yet been able to take in. We were also going to revisit some places we enjoyed on a day trip about 6 years ago. It was a lovely quick family getaway – it’s always nice to spend some quality time away and do things we have talked about and experience them together. We were also fortunate to catch up with some good friends on one of the days as they were also staying in the Capital for a few days.
The day we started our trip, the weather in Sydney was balmy and warm, it was predicted to be a nice, sunny spring day. We knew we wouldn’t get to experience the warm weather as the temperatures and weather forecast for Canberra were going to cold with some showers. As a result, we put on light layers and slowly added more layers as we drove. The weather progressively cooled as we drove closer to Canberra! We made a pit stop for petrol, amenities and a snack but when I stepped out of the car, the wind and cold hit me in the face like a rude slap…and we were only half way there! We knew we were in for a cold weekend! At one stage we looked at the time in the car and realised the time matched the temperature outside – brrrr!
We finally arrived in the Capital after a ‘scenic’ route because my husband drove past the exit as he was enjoying the beautiful landscape passing by. It wasn’t until I realised we should have arrived by then and checked where we were on our GPS – exclaiming that we were on the wrong highway. We had driven about half an hour past Canberra! We turned back and headed in the right direction and finally arrived – about an hour later than expected. On the plus side though, we were able to check in early and then grab some much needed lunch! Then visit the first place on our list: Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre.
I had visited as a child while on a school excursion and had told my daughter about it who is also interested in Science and Technology and was looking forward to the visit. Needless to say, it didn’t disappoint. I’ve shared some photos below of the different things we saw – we spent about 2.5 hrs there and could have spent more as there was so much to see and do. There are 7 galleries to visit with different exhibits and activities as well as things to see in the foyer, shop and various exhibitions to explore as you walk up the ramp to the galleries. It has changed since I was there but it was still interesting, fun and informative.
The next day, we planned to catch up with friends while visiting Floriade and Cockington Green Gardens. When we woke, the morning was sunny and clear, not a cloud in the sky – we were blessed with a beautiful day to enjoy our outdoor attractions! We arrived at 9am to visit Floriade – it becomes very busy if you arrive later which creates an issue with finding parking. There was already a line at the entry gates when we arrived, where we met and surprised our friends’ daughters. We had kept it a secret from them so they could be surprised to see us there. They were happily surprised and asked us if we’d like to join them in the afternoon to visit Cockington Green Gardens (which we had already discussed) and replied “Of course”. Our friends’ girls are younger than our daughter but they all get on so well, they are like younger sisters so it was very cute to see their faces light up and exclaim to their parents that we would be spending the day together.
The tulips are just mesmerizing at Floriade – it is my absolute favourite flower (even though I have a few favourites, tulips top the list). I took many photos and have shared some here but not sure they do them justice. We rode on the giant Ferris wheel to see the varying patterns that the flowers are planted in, which you don’t see on the ground. We could see a giant tulip, ripples pattern, a rainbow and checked patterns from up high. Being up on the Ferris wheel gives you a great vantage point to see the floral displays and also take in the beautiful views of Canberra.
We left Floriade about lunchtime and headed over to Cockington Green Gardens. They have beautiful gardens with miniature replicas of UK landscapes, buildings and tourist attractions which is named the UK display. There is also a miniature International display of various buildings from around the world. Even though we had been there before, it was such a delight to enjoy it all again! I’ve inserted a slideshow of some of the displays that we enjoyed but not all, so as not to spoil the surprise if you are planning a trip!
That was our second day completed and two more attractions ticked off our list. We had one more day and another 3 attractions to take in. We set off the next morning to the ‘Meeting place of our nation’ – Australian Parliament House! We didn’t take the free tour because we wanted to see things at our own pace and in our own order. There are free tours held daily at 9.30am, 11.00am, 1.00pm, 2.00pm and 3.30pm. The duration for these free tours is 40 minutes with a maximum of 40 people per tour. We walked into the Great hall, saw the Senate and the House of Representatives. We also went to the roof and took some photos from the rooftop. There was some lovely artwork displayed on the second floor as well as the portraits of all the past and present Prime Ministers of Australia. It was interesting and a little surreal to be sitting in the Senate room because we mainly only see that on TV when they show Parliamentary sitting days.
Our next visit was to Old Parliament House which is now a museum. It is now known as the Museum of Australian Democracy. It was interesting to see how the old offices looked and were preserved back in the 1980’s – a major difference being that there were ashtrays on the desks as smoking was allowed! The offices were quite small, they felt quite claustrophobic and stuffy because there wasn’t a lot of room or natural light. It is also much smaller than the current Parliament House but still quite interesting with the different displays and exhibits to explore. The museum is open 9am – 5pm daily and has a small admission charge of $2 per adult, $1 for children and $5 family admission.
Our last stop was the War Memorial. This was our first visit here and I found the brevity of loss of life so heart wrenching and felt that it highlights even more how senseless war is. I thought that the amount of deaths immortalised on the Wall of Honour illustrates such a huge waste of young lives! A lot of them were boys who went to fight with the glorified ideas of war but the reality was far different from the stories they were told. These men were someone’s son, husband, brother, cousin, uncle and/or father – the loss of these men’s lives and the conditions they faced were heartbreaking. It made for such a heavy, sombre tone to our visit. In light of this visit, it just makes more sense not to resort to violence for violence does not end wars – love does. I feel we need to practice more love, understanding and empathy – hopefully educating our children in this way may help to make this a reality.
All in all, our short break in Canberra was interesting, educational and fun. There is much more to see and do in Canberra but we ran out of time – although, we did put in practice my motto of Laugh, Love, Live! We enjoyed our short sojourn and may may need to plan another trip to take in more sights and attractions in the Capital. It was nice to discover some familiar and new sights in the Capital. I enjoyed sharing our adventure with you – I hope you enjoyed sharing our adventure as much as we did! May you have your own adventures to enjoy!