After celebrating the wedding outside of Melbourne, I booked a Greyhound night bus from Melbourne to Canberra. The bus left at 22.00 and we were in the capital around 6.00. I was so knackered from the wedding, that I slept almost the whole ride (bring earplugs and a warm scarf to use as a blanket!).
When planning my trip, Canberra seemed to divide other travellers’ opinions. Some said you just skip the city as it is just a dull administrative city whereas others said it is worth a visit. I’m glad I listened to the latter group and decided to stay there. It’s not as lively as Melbourne or Sydney, but Canberra has its own charm. Whether Canberra is for you or not depends on what you want to do. I viewed my stay as a cultural stop and Canberra delivered that.
I dropped my bags at YHA Canberra. It was a nice hostel with a spectacular small rooftop terrace, that I only discovered when I was trying to find a place to eat (a delicious sour dough bread with brie, figs, honey and pistachios) before going to the bus station, which meant it was far too late for me to enjoy the hammocks.
Since I had so little time to spend in Canberra and I wasn’t that tired, I decided to walk straight to the Australian War Memorial because I’m a bit of a history nut.
I was there just before opening time and managed to join the free tour. I’ve been to the London Imperial War Museum and it left me speechless (they have a harrowing Holocaust exhibition). This Memorial did the same thing. There is just something about the juxtaposition between total disregard and respect for human life, that leaves me speechless.
Apparently at sundown, they read the life story of one of the names on the wall. This a must visit in Canberra!
After visiting the Memorial, I walked back to the hostel for tea and WiFi. I looked the directions on how to get to the National Museum of Australia. Their website states that you are supposed to hop off at New Acton stop. I sat in the bus waiting for the stop to come up on the screen and since it didn’t come up (or I somehow missed it) I had a good sightseeing tour of the city. I looked at my map and decided to hop off at a stop that looked to be close and walk the rest of the way. I nearly lost my faith in getting there as I had to cross the motorway and walk on grass. Luckily, the museum is so big you have a clear point to navigate towards. The Museum is worth a visit if you learn more about Australian history, but maybe just take the bus (81/891 route 7 on weekdays and 934 on weekends) and pay for the ticket.
On my last day in Canberra I decided to walk to the Parliament.
It’s a bit disconcerting how little we know about the struggle of minorities in other countries. Only after I visited New Zealand did I understand Maori resistance. I think it is not so present in the European media because of the distance. I took a wrong turn (those are the best!) when trying to get back to the city centre and was met with this sight.
I didn’t even know that Aboriginal people had their own flag. You learn so much when you travel!
It turned out that I had an odd bunch of clips from Canberra so the video is a bit random.