Monday, June 12, 2006

Centennial Park

I had to keep Charlee and Adam busy to keep their minds off dropping Heidi off at the airport earlier in the day so I took them to Centennial Park near the centre of Sydney. 360 hectares of parkland used for cycling, running, rollerblading, horseback riding, soccer, rugby, picnics, walking and plain ol' relaxing! Today was sunny and cool - perfect for biking!

Beautiful trees throughout!

Sports fields in the distance.

Several large ponds.


The kids spotted Centre Point Tower in the distance.

Rugby statue erected in 1893. They do love their rugby in Oz!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Canberra - Australia's Capital

Having a long weekend was good enough reason to plan a road trip so off to Canberra we went. We met the Violins in Goulbourn - home of the "Big Merino (sheep)". Not much here besides the wooly one and not much between Goulbourn and Canberra. We had heard Canberra can be a bit slow and many people said "you should go there while you're here" which basically meant it's OK for tourists but not the rest of us. We met up with the DiNuccis at the hotel Heidi had arranged - suites (with enough beds to sleep the Violin 7), indoor pool, buffet breakfast, and close to all the attractions.

The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that Canberra is a planned city that is relatively new (construction started in 1913). After getting lost several times in the first 15 minutes, we assumed that the architect must have been severely stoned when he designed the city. The best way to describe the layout is that it's like one of those corn mazes (except corn mazes can be fun).

I wouldn't say we found the Parliment Buildings as much as we spun around in circles until we were spit out on it's door step. The outside of the building is not the most attractive but the inside was better. The tour was a bit on the dry side as Australia's house of commons and senate are basically the same as Canada's but not a bad venue for a very wet Saturday afternoon.

After spinning in circles for several minutes we headed back to the hotel for some munchies and beverages. With names like the Violins and the DiNuccis, you can imagine what we watched on TV - the World Cup of course! The kids had a ball watching movies and partying in three different hotel rooms.

The next day we drove in circles until we were coughed out at the Questacon science centre that the kids loved. Charlee had already been during the year 5/6 class trip a couple of months ago. Basically tons of interactive stations for the kids to play with.

We then decided we should visit the National War Memorial just to say we did. After missing several turns we found our way to the Anzac Pde and the Memorial. Within in a few minutes of touring the building, we realized we should have left ourselves more time. It was full of amazing wartime artifacts and stories. Unfortunately we were given the heave hoe after only 1/2 an hour but we did get to witness the daily closing ceremony performed by a bugler.

All in all a nice weekend away. Next time we're bringing a GPS system!