Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…done with Australia

I can now say I’ve done Australia, I seen it all and done everything. By that, I, of course, mean that I’ve now visited all states and mainland territories after spending the weekend in Canberra.

Canberra was originally a sheep station (“A good sheep paddock spoiled”) but it was designed and upgraded to become the nation’s capital as it was in between Melbourne and Sydney and no one could decide which of those should be the ruling city of Australia. Why they didn’t choose some non-descript place a bit closer to halfway, more towards Melbourne, no one can tell me.

Canberra has very much been designed to be a modern city, which has its pros and cons. Unlike many large urban dwellings, it has a well thought out road system that’s easy to navigate, especially for tourists who don’t really know their way around and have to make minor corrections to their route every now and then. Contrast this with Sydney which if you make a wrong turn can often lead you a long way from your destination before you’re allowed to correct yourself.

On the other hand, the place does seem a bit soulless. With so few people there (maybe just for our weekend, there was snow [snow!] just outside the city which may have had a magnetic effect on many people), the grand buildings and wide roads made it feel a bit like driving on a film set.

Canberra’s pretty much famous for housing the parliament, which is on a big hill and has a massive flag. It also has many, many embassies which are all big, grand buildings. A lot of them are located in the same area which is an interesting place to drive around. All of these embassies also get a flag down by the lake, which makes for an interesting guessing game until you realise they’re arranged in alphabetical order. Still, I won, so thumbs up to that game.

The city is also full of museums (including one that has James Cook’s original journal) and galleries (including one with many portraits of men with great beards) and also Questacon, which is a bit like Satrosphere. The only thing spoiling it was the fact that I went on a school holiday. Stupid kids.

There was also a micro-brewery that made pretty good beer (by Australian standards, at least) but it seemed to be in the middle of nowhere with no other restaurants or bars nearby. We didn’t really find anything that resembled night life, but maye that’s just because it’s a massive retirement village and all the workers are responsible government types.

On the way back we went through a small town called Gold Creek that had a quaint little shopping village and a walk-in aviary, which gives me photographic proof that birds flock to me. Especially when I have slices of apple. (I had no apple on my shoulder, that one just liked me.)

There’s probably a few weekends’ worth of entertainment to be had from the capital so I reckon I’ll go back at some point. I know I definitely have to go back at least once, if not for the waterside Segways, because I forgot to take something very important with me: Wallace. I’m such a bad friend.

Filed under: australia, , , ,

4 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    I saw real-life Segways for the first time today. Exactly as underwhelming as I imagined.

    • Oliver says:

      Did you have a go? In the future no one will walk and everyone will use them! I’m so excited about them!

      • Dave says:

        I don’t see how there was any gap in the market there, waiting to be filled. Why can’t they invent something that’s desperately needed, like a tool designed for freeing the toast when it gets caught in that bit of the toaster grille and all you can do is break bits off (but then they fall down and become smoking cinders in subsequent toastings), and you don’t want to use the knife because that might electrocute you?

        Or a cure for cancer, which Dean Kamen could obviously have come up with if he hadn’t wasted his time designing Segways. It’s one or the other, Dean, and you let all those people die.

  2. Lyndsay says:

    I love the beard photo! Brilliant!

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