Visited during the trip: Parliament House, War Memorial, Royal Australian Mint, Floriade, Lake George, Lake Alexandria, Lake George Winery and Vineyard.
Canberra Floriade is Australia’s celebration of spring, featuring more than a million blooms as a backdrop, Commonwealth Park in Canberra explodes into colourful bloom with fantastic entertainment, displays and a whole program celebrating a set theme each year.
It was because of this event that motivated us to travel and set foot in the Capital Territory, Canberra.
Floriade … it’s all about flowers, and most of them were tulips, tulips everywhere, beautiful flowers all over the place! Mad place to go, really good for flower enthusiasts!
There were exhibitions and displays to inspire a taste of fresh and healthy living, spring sensations including fashion displays, floral art, crafts and fine art, horticultural displays and practical tips and advice on home gardening and outdoor living from noted celebrities and experts and a dazzling entertainment including music concert when we were here.
Also, I was amazed at the numbers of visitors wanting to see the floriade, which means the numbers speak well of people who profoundly love the art of gardening – plants and flowers.
We encountered heavy, chaotic traffic when we came here for the floriade and spent a quarter of an hour looking for a place to park our cars. We found one, but we still had to walk a distance to reach the Floriade site. Just an advice, this will surely be the situation you’ll encounter when you go for the city’s Floriade Festival.
When we drove up to Canberra spring of 2011, we had our lunch at the lake George basin not far from the freeway. From where we stopped, you can see and appreciate the scenic view overlooking the Lake George and its surroundings.
The Parliament House has become a top tourist destination in the city. When we came here a detailed body scan for all of us was undertaken and one has to pass by a metallic detector to get through.
Security is too tight, guards were all over the place, even on roof tops in addition to cameras. A wide parking space is provided at the basement of the building.
Well, we had a wonderful tour of the Senate and the Lower House of the parliament, and all sections there that were opened to the public.
The main foyer has a marble staircase and leads to the Great Hall which has a large tapestry on display. The House of Representatives chamber is decorated green while the Senate chamber has a red colour scheme. Between the two chambers is the Members’ Hall which has a water feature and is not open to the public. The Ministerial Wing houses the office of the Prime Minister and other Ministers.
Australian War Memorial
Another important icon of the city we visited is the Australian War Memorial. It is Australia’s national memorial to the members of all its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in the wars of the Commonwealth of Australia. The memorial includes an extensive national military museum, was opened in 1941, and is widely regarded as one of the most significant memorials of its type in the world.
The Australian War Memorial consists of three parts: the Commemorative Area (shrine) including the Hall of Memory with the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, the Memorial’s galleries (museum) and Research Centre (records). The Memorial also has an outdoor Sculpture Garden.
This is another icon most visited by tourists, and like us we had an awesome day here exploring all the display, memorabilia, history, and many more that I believe it wouldn’t take a day to finish the tour.
Australian Royal Mint
We continued our trip and landed at the Australian Mint. The Royal Australian Mint is a prescribed agency within the portfolio of the Department of the Treasury, with responsibility for producing circulating and numismatic coin for Australia. As well as being the sole producer of Australia’s circulating coin, the Mint has struck coins for a number of South Pacific nations; produces a range of collector coin products in precious metal and base metal, for sale in Australian and overseas markets; and manufactures medals, medallions, seals and tokens for private and public sectors and sporting and tourism groups, both nationally and internationally.
The Mint is also a major tourist attraction in Canberra.
The Camp Ground
We had our two nights stay at the Country Holiday Village (Formerly White Ibis Holiday Village) which is 14 kilometres north of Canberra. Some facilities in the park are good; they have swimming pool, basketball court, volley ball, tennis, jumping pillow, putt-putt, kitchen, toilet/bath, and a function room. But the kids just loved the jumping pillow, and a bit of the putt-putt. We didn’t use the swimming pool because it was too chilly at that time, and a bit small in size compared to the swimming pools of Melaleuca in Port Macquarie or in Milton Tourist Park.
Weather wasn’t good enough during that time, it was very chilly, windy even, and it rained too. Others have to sleep inside their cars because it was too cold especially at dawn. The main attraction of the park was its man-made lake that added beauty to it.
Also, there were some kangaroos that always wanted to get closer to the campsite in search for food but they run instantly away once they felt you getting closer to them.
Lake George Winery and Vineyard
We also were able to visit the lake George Winery and Vineyard but only for about half an hour. It is a huge vineyard but we weren’t able to enter into their cellar as it was close at that time we were there.
Lake Alexandria, Mittagong
We had our first stop on our way to Canberra at Mittagong in New South Wales. Mittagong is a town located in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, in Wingecarribee Shire and is the home to many wineries of the Southern Highlands which has been a recent growing wine and cellar door region.
We bought some foods at the MCDonald’s here and drove on to a nearby park called Lake Alexandria where we had our coffee break.
They say that this was a man-made lake which started life as a dam supplying water for engines hauling coal to the Fitzroy iron mines almost 140 years ago. A park land reserve surrounds the lake and birdlife lives in profusion on the water and shores. Barbecue facilities and shelter sheds are available. The whole area has recently been revamped and renovated. Though we had a brief stopover here, everybody seemed to have enjoyed the beauty of the place especially the newly renovated lake.
Big Merino, Goulburn
On our way home, we stopped at Goulburn for a pictorial with the Big Merino there. It’s a huge statue and travellers love and enjoy taking some photos with it. We arrived at this place at around seven in the evening and so we decided to have our dinner here.