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Canberra
26 Jan 2016

Here’s my sixth answer to the list of questions in Stephanie Fox’s Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge:

6. If you were taking a ‘staycation’ in your home town, where would it be and what would you recommend others to do?

Canberra, Australia’s federal capital. Full of museums, galleries, libraries and such. Read the travel brochures, visit them, knock yourself out on the checklist.

The main image shows Canberra from Mount Ainslie. A smokey day, it reminds me of that awful afternoon in 2003 when a bushfire destroyed five hundred houses in an hour. I drove up to the lookout, and a silent crowd watched the huge smoke cloud rising from the western suburbs.

The central avenue of Anzac Parade divides the “Parliamentary Triangle” along its land axis. The city was drawn up according to the plans of a Chicago architect, Walter Burley Griffin, and is remarkably formal and symmetrical, at least in the older areas.

Stay at the Hyatt Hotel on Commonwealth Avenue. Still Canberra’s best, has been for about ninety years. The doormen in their caps and plus fours are a sight, and the high tea is a treat.

Kangaroos and other wildlife can be seen any day. Visit the War Memorial after sunset, they’ll come down from the bushland on Mount Ainslie to nibble the green lawns. Here’s one of the many parrots – a Crimson Rosella. If you look, echidnas, possums, snakes, lizards, wombats can be found in the wild.

Perhaps Australia’s most liberal city, conservative views are not widely held, except amongst the large defence force sector at the service colleges and in the offices housing Defence HQ and the intelligence bureaux.

The population is young and progressive. Maybe we’re not so wild as some, but by and large Canberrans are well-educated, broad-minded, and very well-travelled. There is a colourful diplomatic crowd, swirling around the embassies, holding national celebrations, dressing in robes and uniforms. I love the diversity of views here.

In summer, open-air music concerts, film screenings, celebrations of various kinds are held on the extensive open areas and parklands in the central area. A bit like the Mall in Washington DC, or Central Park in Manhattan, there’s always something going on.

My home town, and despite all the amazing places I’ve seen, there’s no other place quite like Canberra in all the world. We have a beautiful bushland setting, the people are creative, cranky and quirky, the native animals nibble at the edges, and the food is fabulous, with restaurants and cafes offering a global diversity.

For more on the Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge visit The Sane Travel (another great blog title!) – where Anita Sane displays her grand view of the world. Dramatic photographs abound. To participate, ask Stephanie at her Facebook group here.

Pete

3 Comments

  1. Lovely post. Canberra really is a wonderful place that few people intentionally get to know. Like most, I found myself there because of work or study, only to fall in love with the place!

    1. It was better before self-government, but it’s still a very livable city. I like that it’s small, as cities go, but has some superb facilities.

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