At long last, I am posting the trip report from my 2-week Australian vacation earlier this year. I started in Sydney and continued on to Canberra, Melbourne, Cairns, and Brisbane. Below is the Canberra section of my trip. Note that any unfamiliar references probably refer to the San Francisco Bay Area, which is where I live. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 30
With a 6:00 wake-up call and a quick dash to Central Station, I caught the 6:58 train to Canberra. Friends A and B picked me up at the train station and whisked me off to a café in Monuka for a bite to eat. Afterward, they took me to Telstra Tower to see the Canberra skyline. Considering the size of the city, I was quite impressed.
From there, we visited the National Museum of Australia for a quick look-see and then went to the Parliament House and discussed politics (amongst ourselves, not with the legislators). We then made a brief stop at the National Carillon and heard the bell sound. Next stop was City Walk in Civic, where we took inappropriate photos of sheep statues and had dessert at Koko Black.
Friend C dropped us off at Friend B's home, and after putting my things away and visiting IGA, we headed back to Civic to meet Husband B, Friend C, and Husband C for dinner at a Sri Lankan restaurant named Banana Leaf. We went to Koko Black for a second time, then made a later evening arrival back home.
Friday, May 1
After a good night's rest, I experimented with Australian breakfast as well as Vegemite, which if you haven't heard, isn't very good. Friend B and I were picked up by Friend C, and we went across town (to the “dark side”) to Cockington Green Gardens. Cockington Green is a uniquely tacky collection of models of buildings, trains, historic monuments, etc. with a special focus on the UK. I wouldn't encourage a visit Canberra just to see it, but it was worth a gander because I usually do a good job of avoiding tourist traps.
Once we gathered ourselves at Cafe Injoy, the three of us went to the National Film and Sound Archive to explore some intriguing and even slightly inappropriate exhibits of music videos, commercials, etc. “Bicentennial Rap,” for example, was so cheesy it was good! Afterward, we visited the stately Australian War Memorial for more photos and also saw Husband B's grandfather's name on the wall of soldiers who died in war.
Friend C dropped us off at home once again, and then Friend B and I went up the hillside near there and hunted kangaroos. (Actually, we just took photos of them.) The five of us got together later that night and had take-out Turkish for dinner. I showed them some photos and before we knew it it was too late for a game of Scrabble. Darn! Better luck next time.
Saturday, May 2
Friend B and Husband B saw me off at the airport far too early this morning, and after a pleasant flight on Virgin Blue departing at 6:30, I arrived at the hotel in Melbourne by 8:45.
Continued in the Melbourne forum.