I am so blessed. As I am stranded in a foreign land, I have awesome people around me. I meet new friends and reconnect with the old ones. One living proof of my luck was them assisting me in visiting Canberra. My new friend gave me a ride to Canberra and my old friend brought me around the city attractions. I am a lucky girl, for sure.
Canberra is the capital city of Australia in one of the less remembered states called Australia Capital Territory (ACT). The size of Canberra is about 815 square kilometer with population about 400,000 people. Canberra was selected as capital city as the mid-point between rival Sydney and Melbourne in early 1910s. Canberra is an entirely planned city by American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin featuring various geometric shapes.
As of today, Canberra is certainly not economic drive city. Most people living there are government officials. Tourists usually visit Canberra for a day, so did I. And this is my itinerary.
1. Floriade - Admission is free
Floriade is annual flower festival held annually in Canberra Commonwealth Park during early spring, from mid September to mid October. It showcases display of flower bulbs and entertainment throughout the whole month of celebration.
We reached Commonwealth Park around 10:30 am but the traffic was so bad we could not find parking for more than half an hour. In the end, we decided to park in Canberra Central and walk for ten minutes to the park.
The park was so crowded I kind of lost my euphoria. The flowers were not as many as I had expected and some of the bulbs were not in full bloom yet.
|There is a small lake in the middle of the park|
|One of the best area|
|Finally some tulips|
|Probably my favourite display for the day|
|White (me) - red - pink - yellow|
|No matter what, the companion is the most important|
2. Parliament House - Admission is free
Parliament House was opened in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II and is a meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. This Parliament House was built to overcome the shortage of space in the old Parliament House. The new Parliament House has 4,700 rooms and many areas are open to public. Public can also watch the debates held in the Chamber of Representative and Chamber of Senate.
This building gives me a sense of strength and power. The first impression I got was the magnificence of the building from the huge yard in front of it. And I was so lucky because we were there before the rooftop garden was closed. And yeah, that's really cool on top.
|Welcome to Parliament House|
|The main hall|
|The grand staircase|
|Chamber of Representatives|
|Chamber of Senates|
|The rooftop garden|
|Thanks to my sweet companion for the day|
3. Australian War Memorial - Admission is free, gold coin donation at the front door
As said above, Canberra is entirely planned from the start. It has two axes perpendicular to each other on the landmarks. On one axis, there is Parliament House and Australian War Memorial.
Australian War Memorial is dedicated for Australian armed forces and supporting organisations who have participated in the wars involving Australia. It consists of a shrine, a museum and a research centre.
I really love visiting Australian War Memorial as I think this place capture the whole atmosphere just right. These people deserved to be remembered with something special and the shrine speaks loudly enough. The museum is magnificent with all the displays and story-telling. I didn't visit the research centre though.
|Parliament House is far south there|
|Australian War Memorial from the front|
|The wall of memories with the names of all soldiers|
|The tomb for unknown soldiers inside the Hall of Memory|
|Diorama in the museums|
|How real they are!!!|
|An aircraft dropping rudal into the sea|
4. Mount Ainslie - Admission is free
Mount Ainslie is a hill (but called a mountain) within Canberra Nature Park that stands strong at the height of 843 metres. From Mount Ainslie lookout, one can see both axes of Canberra.
I was amazed to see how pretty a planned city could look. At one axis, I saw Parliament House and Australian War Memorial and at another axis, I saw an elongated lake called Lake Burley Griffin. And to my very surprise, Lake Burley Griffin is a man-made lake.
|Can you see the two axes?|
|The Griffin Plan|
|The landmarks explained|
Telstra Tower is known as Black Mountain Tower, is a telecommunication tower and lookout point located at the summit of Black Mountain. The Black Mountain has an elevation of 812 metres and the tower stands 195.2 metres on top of the summit.
To get to see three-sixty degree of Canberra, we went into the viewing gallery located at the height of 62 metres above the summit.
For me, it's a good way to see the aerial view of Canberra but you can actually see the interesting part for free atop Mount Ainslie.
|View from the viewing gallery|
I finished my day with early dinner at Canberra Central and catching the bus back to Sydney at 5:00 pm. Unfortunately, there was a big fire that day causing the highway to be closed. When I was on my way back, the road had been partially over but traffic jam was inevitable. I reached Sydney Central Station one hour later than planned.
Tired but happy.
Love is in the air,