Weekend in Canberra

Last weekend I went on a mini-solo-road trip to visit my lovely Mark in Canberra.  He is researching in the Summer Scholars Programme at ANU.  He is in Canberra for 8 weeks and we just passed week 5 – yay!  I left on Friday afternoon and drove 2 and a half hours through the middle of nowhere in 38 degree heat to eventually arrive at the surprise city of Canberra.  Now I say surprise city because there is paddocks, trees, grass, nothing… CITY! There are no warning suburbs or towns, just a surprise city.   To be fair, there is not nothing between Camden and Canberra, there’s a lot of stuff.  One place of particular interest is Lake George..  The lake fills and empties dramatically, but has been nearly empty since 2002.  My Grandpa thinks Lake George would the optimal site for the hotly debated second international airport for Sydney.  He’s certainly got some good points: the flat area of the lake is enormous and even blocking only part of it off for water would be more than enough room, an airport would facilitate growth in regional areas rather than pumping more people into already over-crowded Sydney and it could serve both Sydney and Canberra.  Driving past the lake I certainly see his point, but reading some articles on the lake I think it might be a bit too special of a landmark.  Perhaps there is a better site nearby.

Lake George
Lake George

In Canberra Mark and I enjoyed the 41 degree Celsius Saturday by walking across the city to our segway tour.  The tour was awesome, we zoomed around the beautiful city of Canberra and particularly enjoyed any breeze off Lake Burley Griffin or the shade of leafy trees.

View over the bridge in Canberra
View over the bridge in Canberra
Lake Burley Griffin
Lake Burley Griffin
Driving around on the grass
Driving around on the grass

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Segwaying in front of Old Parliament House
Segwaying in front of Old Parliament House
We travelled around the lake
We traveled around the lake

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I may be winning this race...
I may be winning this race…
Chatting on segways
Chatting on segways
It was 40 degrees
It was 40 degrees

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Beautiful trees in Canberra
Beautiful trees in Canberra

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We were lathered in sunscreen so didn’t get burnt on the segways, but the hour long walk back across Canberra at 1pm was a little torturous.  I don’t think I will be venturing too far from some sort of wheeled transport next time the temperature goes over 40.

On Sunday we decided to take it easy and do any physical activity early before secluding ourselves in air-conditioned ventures.  It was going to be another scorching day, so we strolled around the Australian National Botanic Gardens before the sun got too high in the sky.

Rainforest board walk in the Botanic Gardens
Rainforest board walk in the Botanic Gardens
Awesome big lizard
Awesome big lizard
Gorgeous waterfall
Gorgeous waterfall
Mark's classic tourist pose in the Australian National Botanic Gardens
Mark’s classic tourist pose in the Australian National Botanic Gardens
Beautiful Crimson Rosella
Beautiful Crimson Rosella
Interesting weather information, basically if you're hot, go to the rainforest.
Interesting weather information, basically if you’re hot, go to the rainforest.

Lovely rainforest

Pensive beard stroking
Pensive beard stroking

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Joesph Banks surrounded by banksias
Joesph Banks surrounded by banksias
The first Sturt Desert Pea I have ever seen in real life
The first Sturt Desert Pea I have ever seen in real life

After the gardens we made a quick visit to the National Museum of Australia and enjoyed its very funky architecture before heading over to Questacon.  I used to love Questacon as a kid.  It’s full of fun things to spin and throw, all while unknowingly learning about science.  Mark f the had a fantastic time exploring all the exhibitions and complained to me more than once that most of the people weren’t getting the point o f the activities.  While kids and adults alike were happy to throw a puck across a spinning board, Mark was only content when he did it the way that proved the conservation of momentum.  I must admit, his way was always more impressive.

Oceans exhibition in Questacon
Oceans exhibition in Questacon
Mark was in his element at Questacon
Mark was in his element at Questacon
Agressive-looking angler fish sculpture
Agressive-looking angler fish sculpture

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My silhouette enjoying the art and science exhibition at Questacon
My silhouette enjoying the art and science exhibition at Questacon
Mark and I had an awesome time with a mini free fall slide
Mark and I had an awesome time with a mini free fall slide

After an awesome time in Questacon we walked back to the car to hear a little girl screaming “It’s too hot! It’s too hot!”.  As I opened our car door and was hit with a wall of heat I knew what she was screaming about.  It was so hot in the car that it had melted Mark’s air freshener.  We endured the heat for a few minutes before parking under the National Portrait Gallery and recharging amoungst the refreshing white walls and quiet atmosphere of the gallery.  After a bit of a relaxing we headed into the botanic gardens again to enjoy jazz at the Summer Concert (on every weekend in January to celebrate Canberra’s 100th birthday).

Jazz on the eucalypt lawn at the botanic gardens
Jazz on the eucalypt lawn at the botanic gardens

On our way out of the gardens we met four kangaroos.  Then we walked a little further and saw more kangaroos in the carpark!  In what other national capital in the world would you see kangaroos in a carpark?  I’m betting none.

Kangaroos at the botanic gardens

Lake George on the way home
Lake George on the way home

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