Australia’s capital city is not any of the places you would likely guess. It is a small city of less than a million in the state know as ACT, Australian Capital Territory. Canberra, pronounced Canbra by the Aussies, sits in this incredible valley surrounded by mountain ranges. It is about 3 hours from Sydney and 5 hours from Melbourne on the east coast.
When I ventured over there for an event and told friends I was staying the weekend, most of them rolled their eyes and said “ok, well you don’t need more than a weekend”. Getting the impression this capital was not much to write about I tried to find some activities before arriving. I would agree, I got a good enough experience after 2 days. With so much of Australia worth seeing, and most of it being nature, this city is not a must see.
But if you do happen to find yourself around there here’s what you can do. Hey, in times of COVID one cannot be too picky and must travel where you can.
There are endless walks you can do around Canberra. The easiest to get to is two bridges. This is right from the center of town and takes you around the lake. You walk through the federal triangle with all the Parliament buildings and pass most of the memorials. On a sunny Saturday it is packed with locals enjoying a coffee and walking around.
I ended up stopping at the old parliament building and speaking to a couple women outside the aboriginal camp grounds there. After 5 minutes of this woman telling me Obama and Hilary Clinton used to eat babies I politely excused myself. Outside of that, this is a beautiful way to spend the afternoon.
I went to kingston, this little marina town for lunch and grabbed a beer and a burger. Braddon seems to be the culture-ish area. There were some bars, restaurants, and a bit more of a social scene. Outside of that I really did not see much life and/or culture. Compared to Sydney and Melbourne which are exploding with character this was a bit odd.
I decided to escape the city on Sunday and found a couple hikes. The bullen range national reserve has a centennial path that actually would have been better in a bike than walking I think. I walked from the Kambah pools and followed the river towards the Red Rocks gorge. The claimed 2 hour hike took me 45 mins, I arrived to the gorge a little annoyed but enjoyed it none-the-less. I did see two kangaroos along my way so it was still a beautiful Australian experience for me.
From there I went to Mount Urambi. This slow climb up had me out of breathe all the way to the top. The view was worth it and even hosted a group of 15 kangaroos in one of the valleys. Gorgeous!
The sunrises and sunsets while I was there were stunning. In order to get the best view there are a ton of different view points to choose from. I did Mount Ainslie and National Arboretum at Dairy Farmers hill for sunset, and Black Mountain for sunrise. You can hike up both of the mountains instead of driving up for a different experience. I was lucky and had clear mornings and evenings for beautiful sunrises and sets.
The arboretum was definitely not something worth seeing. It was basically a zoo for trees. They are all planted in perfect geometric squares and are too young to even see. Really odd experience but the look out is worth it. From there I had the most beautiful full moon rising (start photo).
On the way home I stopped in the town of Yass. The boys from Queer Eye went there and helped fix up a bar so I had to check it out. The name was the really only fun part of the town. From there I headed back to Sydney through the dense fog.
My coworkers told me there was a sheep statue for all the farming of merino wool done in the region I should check out. So I popped into Goulburn to see it. It sits 5 stories easy high and is the oddest thing ever. Apparently Australia has an affinity for enlarged things because this is one of many things you can see along the countryside.
Fitting end to my odd trip, nice to get out of New South Wales though since we had been locked in since March. I am looking forward to these boarders opening asap.