A weekend of Aussie wonders

Last weekend was a most amazingly diverse kaleidoscope of a few of my very favourite things – from ancient maps and antique ships at two museums…to a light show festival…to the waters of Sydney Harbour…to coffee by a fountain and brunch by a lake!

Ok, they were not all off the beaten track – but sometimes you’ve got to play ‘tourist’ in your own backyard too!

Here is a smattering of the pics I took (although I didn’t take the new camera or tripod, being ‘on the hoof’ and à la backpack).

It was the most wondrous weekend and it looked something like this:

Friday night: Night session at the ‘Mapping Our World’ exhibition at the National Library of Australia in Canberra

Friday night was one of the special event openings of this exhibition. It was great to be able to wander through after hours.

Many of the maps have never been seen in Australia, some have never been out of their home country. They included:

* the maps made by Captain Cook, who charted the east coast of Australia, paving the way for the penal colony of New South Wales * Matthew Flinders’ instruments and charts * Medieval maps of the ‘known world’ and a few guesses at the unknown * Maps from the 9th to 11th centuries, including a reproduction of the work of Ptolemy from the 2nd century AD.

It was so engrossing, two hours flew by. I was awestruck to see artifacts that are so old and to gain insight into how people viewed the world then.

ENLIGHTEN Festival, Canberra

We then wandered outside in the Parliamentary Triangle to see the national buildings illuminated with intricate slides and patterns. There was a food fair, music and performances in the gardens and parks between the monumental buildings of Canberra. Just magical!

Saturday: Lake Burrinjuck picnic via Good Hope Rd, Yass NSW

Cows grazing on Burrinjuck lakebed, Good Hope Road via Yass, NSW, Australia

Just our little old picnic spot down the road!

After the late night we decided on a lazy picnic at one of our favourite spots. Cue meandering cows, a flock of pelicans soaring and landing on the dwindled lake, a sea eagle overhead, (the only faint hum of) wave jumpers and water skiers, all with a backdrop of an ancient rock wall and a purple, swelling storm front.

Sunday: Drive to Sydney via the Southern Highlands detour, to stay at Ultimo

A great Wotif.com discovery of a large double room with balcony, 2 blocks from the Powerhouse Museum and a nice easy walk past terraced houses and converted historic warehouses to Darling Harbour. All for only AUD $130 per night!

Monday: (Canberra long weekend)

Lunch cruise on Sydney Harbour, wander around Darling Harbour

Sydney Harbour on Fusion lunch cruise

Stunning Sydney Harbour

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With some time before our harbour cruise we wandered through the beautiful Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour.

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour, Sydney

Then after the cruise we strolled around Darling Harbour some more, having coffee at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe by the brolga fountain, browsed the shops at Harbourside, and pottered around the antique ships moored at the National Maritime Museum.

We’ll be back to Darling Harbour some time as I want to explore inside the Onslow submarine and the replica of the ‘Endeavour’, the ship that Captain Cook sailed to Australia and the Pacific in 1770.

Oh and we bought the obligatory tacky souvenir magnet for the fridge!  ♦

The next few posts will feature these destinations with more photos.

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Photos taken with my old Canon Powershot A550, 8-10 March 2014

Paddock Perfect: the pastoral way, not the Highway

Bookham – Illalong Rd South – Bowning (New South Wales, Australia)

On a beautiful, gloriously golden, sunny afternoon on the June long weekend we opened the sun roof on ‘the buggy’ and rumbled out for a drive and a cuppa.

Illalong Rd near Bookham, New South Wales

Illalong Rd near Bookham, NSW

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Our TOP 10 ‘Hidden Treasure’ day trips (Part 1)

Canberra region

One of our favourite things to do is to pour over maps on the lounge room floor looking for a road we haven’t been on and which can be conquered on a weekend day trip.

Our old map with our routes marked - NRMA Canberra & SE NSW Touring Map 2 (1999-2001)

Beloved old map with our routes marked in black

Over twenty years of country lane cruising, dirt bashing and map meandering in the country around the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) we have been some places!  So with not-so-flexi knees now we’ll get down on the rug to scan our beloved map and pick out the best of the ‘hidden’ day trips we’ve enjoyed.

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