Friday, September 25, 2015

Ride the Capital

On the way out of Beechworth we made a stop at the bakery to grab a few supplies for the trip and then drove via Wentworth Falls for a squiz. This is a picturesque little spot, no doubt a summer haven for locals and tourists alike.
Wentworth Falls

We had a pit stop at the Dog on the Tuckerbox, 9 (or 5) miles from Gundagai to polish off the family sized bee sting we’d bought at the bakery. With Lee Kernaghan blasting from the cafĂ© and bus loads of tourists flooding the area, I felt quite at home in my uggs and the Akubra I bought in Alice Springs. A little oasis of Australiana right there on the side of the highway.

Accommodation is scarce in Canberra at this time of the year so we had booked into the Queanbeyan Riverside Caravan Park. Canberra is a beautifully set out, abeit kind of empty and sterile, city. Queanbeyan is like it’s bogan cousin who lives just down the road. The park brochure said the tourist park was ‘tranquil and leafy’. I guess we are just coming out of winter so I’m prepared to reserve judgement on the leafy bit and there are definitely pockets of tranquility here. A river runs through the back of the park. It has a lot of signs; no swimming, no boating, no fishing. It looks very dodgy so no one goes down there. I can, therefore, imagine that it might be quite tranquil by the water. Up here where our cabin is parked – I say parked because it’s sitting on blocks just waiting to be carted away – beside the major road, it’s a bit (very) noisy. Most of the residents are weekly permanents and Thursday must be pay day. When our neighbor arrived home at 4am, you could almost taste the tranquility!

Plenty to do here!
The plus side is that the local shopping mall is right next door so we were able to walk there last night to pick up a few necessities not included with the cabin; pillows, a fleece rug because we’re freezing at night, some duct tape to cover the draught coming through the hole in the wall and a heater for Lyle and Mark because there isn’t one in their motorhome. Unfortunately there were NO heaters for sale at K Mart or Target because ‘Winter is over, we only have fans’. Dudes, it was 0 C here last night. Run your stock by the weather, not the calendar.

This morning we drove in to Canberra and parked (for free) beside Lake Burley Griffin, unloaded our bikes and did almost the entire lake circuit. What a beautiful place for riding, with 28kms of bike path taking plenty of Canberra’s monuments in their stride. We stopped at the Old Parliament House for our first coffee stop and then at Floriade for a peek at the flowers.

Floriade is lovely and the admission price is excellent (it’s free). We were able to park our bikes at the entrance and just wander in. There’s a bit of everything at Floriade. It’s a bit like the Melbourne Show with flowers instead of horses, no crowds and reasonable prices for food and drink. We showed our appreciation by buying things; beautiful hanging chairs for Lyle & me (but shoosh because they’re being delivered for Christmas), hemp hats, again for Lyle and me and a lavender heat bag for Taine. Mark and Geoff bought a ridiculous amount of gourmet nuts and challenged each other to eat increasingly hot chilli samples. Small things ……

From Floriade we rode ALL the way back around the lake through picturesque little groves of trees that I could not identify and past a mob of collared kangaroos who barely glanced up at us as we rode by. I was pretty impressed with my own survival of such a long ride and I would certainly recommend it to anyone else traveling to Canberra. The city is made to be seen by bicycle.

A trip up the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain gave us the chance to see just how far we’d ridden. I guess a trip up the tower is important to get a bird’s eye of the city but it’s pretty tame compared to the Eureka Tower or Sky Tower (or Eiffel Tower – excuse my tower dropping).

On the way home we stopped at Parliament House to see who was in charge today. It was closed for the business and there was no sign of Julia/Kevin/Bill/Tony or Malcolm but Taine did get to see the view down ANZAC drive toward the War Memorial.

For dinner we walked across to the Canberra Raider’s Leagues Club. I had a parma that I think came from the breast of a pterodactyl; great value for money.

Now it’s time to hunker down in our little cabin of serenity and watch the footy before we drive to Sydney tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. The view from Mt Ainslie is definitely worth a's also the right price.