I instantly understood what he meant. The city centre is referred to as ‘civic’ and until you know where to look, it’s almost as if all the eateries and shops have been hidden somewhere. The other centre ‘The parliamentary Zone’, where most of your museums are, seems close on the map but it’s actually 3 kilometres away. Therefore the biggest top tip for anyone considering a trip to Canberra: a car is essential.
I'd been given a list of some 'must see' destinations if you had one day to spend in Canberra, so I did them first with some friends: Parliament, the War Memorial and cocktails at The Hyatt.
But first we drove up Mount Ainslie to get an idea of the city's layout.
The War Memorial is just staggering. I was very keen to see the Commemorative Courtyard and the Roll of Honour, as I'd seen them so many times in the course of producing news programmes for the ABC. What I didn't realise was just how many names there'd be. The roll of honour lists virtually every Australian who'd ever died in war since 1885, and to quote the website that's over 102,000 people. My friend Bert said he felt sick. I was absolutely gobsmacked. Australia's population is small nowadays, so imagine what it must have been like to lose 60,000 people in one war alone (that was the ball-park figure lost in WWI).
I rang home owner Terry, and upon asking him what he thought I should do, he replied in the most Australian way....'get yourself a beer'!!
In the end the amazing 'firies' got control of the situation but the flames were reportedly 20 metres from houses. And this was how the area looked afterwards.
But then the heatwave came and I saw a post on the ABC's Facebook page about a guy who had put water out for his local wildlife. So I followed suit and started a craze amongst my new roo friends! They began to visit during the day, so I was finally able to get a couple of shots.
This one was a regular visitor but my kangaroo highlight has to be when the alpha male came to visit one night. What huge beasts they are!
It's one of three centres that are spaced 120 degrees apart, across the earth. Here, Spain and California. This satellite dish - the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere - was talking to a craft near pluto while I was there! It then moved to talk to something else. I wasn't expecting to see this 70 metre dish (DSS43) move, and it's quite a sight!
On arrival we had the opportunity to be photographed with the ICC Cricket World Cup. I reluctantly agreed as I had no make up on and was dressed to cope with the forecast 37 degrees but they make it look ok with all those logos!
The idea of this annual game, as I understand it, is that the Prime Minister of Australia picks a team and they play against an overseas team.
In my case it was England...I suppose because they were already in the country following their Ashes defeat...or maybe there's more to it than that! I am no sports expert.
So I got to see Prime Minister Tony Abbott walk onto Manuka Oval to be greeted by Alastair Cook. You can recognise Tony Abbott from miles away. He has a very interesting walking style....
Click HERE for a full match report from someone who understands sport.....
I was also thoroughly entertained by the most hospitable of neighbours, and also the family whose house I was in, once they'd returned from their holiday in Tasmania. I was blown away by everyones kindness and I look forward to the day when I can visit again.
I'll leave you with a few of the stunning skies I captured during my stay. And don't ever believe anyone who says Canberra's boring. They secret is knowing where to look.