Thursday the 8th of Feb we woke early in Batemans Bay packed up the Bus and Van and hit the road for the 150kms that lay ahead of us on our way to our nations capital Canberra. The Kings Highway from Batemans Bay to Canberra was a bit of a challenging drive with the first 30 kms pretty steep and winding climbing up the mountain ranges, towing a van even though only a small one wasn’t ideal and we had a bit of a drama on the way back down a few days later but I will let belle fill you all in on that in the next blog. Once over the mountain range it was pretty smooth sailing the rest of the drive once the landscape flattened out with a few nice little townships we drove threw on the way, one was called Braidwood the name is cemented in my mind because of living with Braiden and Woody in Hill Street, Smithton a few years back. I could write a pretty entertaining blog about those days but our parents would disown us I reckon!
It was a beautiful little town with the majority of its buildings along the main drag exactly the same as they would have been in the late 1800s early 1900s. We stopped here for a coffee and sausage roll on the way back threw to Ulladulla in a few days time. We hit Canberra in pretty good time arriving abit after midday. I checked the forecast a few days before we left and it was going to be low 30s the whole time we were here so we made sure our caravan park had a pool, it was called Alvio Tourist Park. Worst thing was they failed to mention the pool was out of action at check in we didn’t find out until later in the afternoon when we got back from doing some exploring! Lucky it was back in action the following day because the temperatures kept rising every day we were there.
The girls have been a bit obsessed with the kids movie Land Before Time lately so our first stop was the National Dinosaur Museum. The girls were in heaven when we pulled into the carpark and saw all the dinosaur statues out the front of the building.
Inside was pretty cool with a lot of information, full dinosaur skeletons, fossils, and animatronic dinosaurs aswell. The girls were a little bit hesitant with a few of these but we could talk them around to walk past most of them until we got to the T-Rex! That was the end of the line for poor old Frankie and Lila-Rae so we headed back downstairs to the interactive classroom which had some comfy couches that Belle tested out because the girls wouldn’t let het help, while I helped the girls do a puzzle each. Frankie’s was easy of Sarah the triceratops but Lila-Raes Little Foot puzzle took some time and patience and a few under the breath F#%K Sakes from dad but after about half hour we got there. Belle got bored waiting so went for a walk in the gift shop and found some Amethyst Gemstones. The big ones were priced at $60,000!
After a woolies trip we headed back to the caravan park for a swim but this was when we found out it was closed they assured us it would be open the next morning it was a bit disappointing because it was pretty hot. First world problems. We picked up our bottom lips and went for another drive, we did a drive bye of the War Memorial and Parliament House which we we were planning on visiting over the next few days, we drove through about twenty round abouts the Nations capital just loves its roundabouts. Then headed for Telstra Tower which sits atop of Black Mountain and over looks the entire city with 360 degree views made me laugh though we were up in the viewing platform of Telstra Tower and I checked my phone and it only had about two bars. The view made up for it though it was pretty speccy. Definant must do if your in Canberra.When paying to get in I said to the worker the girls were only 3 it was going to cost another $20 them being four as soon as I said the girls were only 3 both the girls started saying at the top of there lungs are we still 4 mum! I don’t want to be 3 again! Is our birthday tomorrow? Belle was in stitches by the time we got into the elevator.
Belle and the girls posted Kevin a postcard from Canberra’s highest post box!
Friday morning we woke early had breakfast and headed for the War Memorial, we arrived about 5 mins before the gates actually opened which worked out well because there wasn’t to many people around at this stage. I’d been looking forward to coming back here ever since we planned our trip and decided to visit Canberra it is absolutely brilliant I just can’t put into words how good it actually is. I’d been here about 15 years ago on our Smithton High Grade ten school trip it was probably about the only place on that whole trip I actually took in and appreciated it for what it is.
From an early age I’ve always had a pretty keen interest in our war history and I think watching my older sister Tatum go into the defence force halfway through High School heightened that interest to the point I always planned on joining the army after school but such is life your life takes a different path sometimes. I reckon since I visited on that school trip it has tripled in size it is unbelievable the amount of information they have in there to see it all you would need a good two or three full days there to take it all in. I’m not even exaggerating. It really hits home when you walk in and see all the names along the walls with poppies along side and the names that have only recently been added from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Going with the girls being the age they are was hard to take it all in especially for Belle but at the same time it was amazing to hear the questions they were asking their little minds working over a time and I can’t wait to bring them back one day when they are at a good age to experience this place and appreciate what people sacrificed for us to live the way we do today. I think every Australian needs to experience the War Memorial at least once in their life. The girls got a little put off with a few of the sound effects that were playing in some of the exhibitions but we were told as we entered the building about children story time outside the second world war section so Belle took the girls while I kept looking around time just gets away in this place, 2 hours passed Belle had msg me they had gone to the cafe for a milkshake and ended up sitting in the shade outside while they waited for me. 2 hours and I hadn’t even scratched the surface. I owe Belle big time because we decided that I would drop her off for a few hours by herself the next morning but somehow I ended up back again for another two hours the next morning and I can’t thank her enough. I think we will do a trip kid free oneday soon. Two of the exhibits that stuck out the most of the ones I got to really spend some time at were the Kokoda exhibit that blew my mind what they were up against and its really got me keen to do the Kokoda trail one day maybe Dad and Tatum might like to join me. And the other was the exhibit about the prisoners of the second world war in Sandakan North Borneo. Of the 2500 Australian and British prisoners only 6 survived, they had video clips of one of the survivors in his later years telling his stories. I’m not ashamed to admit I had a few tears it really smacked you in face and put things into perspective. The thing that stuck out the most was him talking about the British soldiers telling them your a different breed you Aussies you just stick together and that was the key word Mateship thats what kept him going in his darkest days. It was brilliant I just can’t praise this place up enough and if you’ve never been get off your arse and get there. Walking out of the memorial and through the gift shop I found a book about the Prisoners in Sandakan and I can’t wait to start reading it and I also bought myself a bronze statue simply titled Mateship and I just had to have it it wasn’t cheap but it will be a forever reminder for me and my family to never forget the sacrifice they made for us to live in this beautiful country of ours.
Lest We Forget
We headed to Questacon next which of course occupied the girls bit longer then the War Memorial. After 2 hours we had to physically drag them out of the place because our parking ticket was about to expire. Questacon was awesome full of hands-on science exhibits awesome for both kids and adults another must do for families if you’re ever in Canberra.
We headed back to the caravan park to finish the day off with a well deserved swim in the pool that was finally open, good thing the temperature was still hovering in the low 30s late that arvo.
Saturday we rose for breakfast, Belle dropped me off at the War Memorial for another couple of hours while her and the girls headed to a shopping centre hoping for a cruisy couple of hours in the shops. I learnt when she picked me up that it was the complete opposite after they couldn’t find a red dress in the whole complex, and then she made it halfway back to the car with 2 screaming kids but had forgotten to pay for parking. We’ve said it a few times in our blogs as good as this trip has been travelling with two 4 year olds defiantly has its moments and I owe Belle a couple of hours or whole day kid free and some point. She forever questions herself but she does an absolutely amazing job with the girls and I can’t thank her enough.
Parliament House was our next stop we missed the free guided tour by about 10 minutes due to the girls shenanigans with Belle at the shopping centre but we weren’t to fussed its an amazing building the workmanship and materials and sheer size is something else. The portraits of former Prime Ministers are amazing Belle was disappointed we couldn’t find Kevin or Tony. Nearly the highlight of the trip so far came when we were in the viewing area of the house of representatives, I was showing Belle and the girls about the area I fell asleep in my chair on the guided tour on my school trip there were a heap of Chinese tourists sitting just over from us and Lila-Rae was asking us a question when she let go this massive fart that went for a good 4 seconds! The Chinese tourists got out of there in 3 seconds flat I thought Belle was going to wet herself she was laughing that hard I said to Lila-Rae I reckon thats the most sensible thing ever said in this room! Man it was gold!!
Belle had been in touch with Ebony Grey a few days prior to us arriving in Canberra and Ebony offered to give us a guided tour of the inner sanctum of Parliament House. Ebony being a security guard there could pull a few strings it was awesome and we can’t thank her enough for doing it she was full of information and to see that side of parliament house made it that bit more exciting than what you would expect visiting it! The sheer size of the place was even more amazing seeing the lengths of corridors in and underneath in the basement area as well the amount of artwork around the place has to be seen to believed and Ebony said there is a whole department simply allocated for artwork around the place, we even got to walk past Malcolms office we weren’t allowed inside obviously but we were both tempted to slip a few notes under his door for some suggestions mainly the price of daycare for your average middle income worker. It was great to catch up with Ebony and to see her side of her everyday worklife and like I said we can’t thank her enough for the guided tour. Belle is still angry we didn’t get a photo all together for the blog!
We left parliament house back to the caravan park for another swim and early night ready to pack up the van for our next stop Ulladulla. Canberra was a great experience I highly recommend it and look forward to another trip back oneday kid free or when the girls are at a better age to fully appreciate visiting the War Memorial. I will say it again if you’ve never been get of your arse and get there it won’t disappoint!
Stay tuned for our adventures in Ulladulla!