Sunday, 16 April 2017

Canberra, a planned city, but is it part of my plan ?

So grabaseat had one of those deals a while back. You know, the hard to resist ones. So we bought tickets. But this time we thought we'd go exploring somewhere different.

March rolled around and we flew to Sydney, picked up a rental car and drove to Canberra. Never been there before - apart from a whistle-stop detour once. But only to the outlet mall to get food and find restrooms on our way back from a tiki tour from Nowra.

We'd done a fair amount of research prior to this trip, places to eat, places to stay, places to visit, how to get around.

Canberra is young city, just 104 years old in the form it is now. The area has been inhabited by European settlers (some free some not) since the early 1800's. The city as it is was designed, a planned city. People rave on about the roundabouts - I didn't find them that confusing. What did surprise me was the size of the city, for a small city, with a small population as cities go, there is a lot of wide open spaces. The centres of Belconnen, Woden etc look fairly close on a map - and are when you consider the sprawling chaos that is Auckland. But actually getting there on ring roads, means driving through vast tracts of unpopulated or industrialised land. There are possibly more direct ways, but we didn't find them.

We loved the CBD, the inner suburbs of Kingston, Manuka, Barton, Forrest, Braddon, New Acton. The sunsets, and the ever changing vistas across the lake. The orderliness of it's being. Canberra is shaking off the mantle of boring city, filled with stuffy public servants and becoming quite hip. Great food places, cafes, food trucks, coffee, bars can be found all around. It isn't super crowded busy bustling city either. The pace of life seems very relaxed. It is filled with great attractions, museums, art galleries, libraries, zoo, parks, parliamentary life, memorials, an arboretum. It is driving distance to the ski fields in winter, the coast, wineries, markets. There are many cultural events as well to appeal to all spectrums.

I could live there, I would in fact, if I could get myself a job. Direct flights back to Wellington - just an added bonus.

We fluked being the week that Enlighten was on and also the beginning of the balloon festival. 

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