Respite from the rain

Trip Start Dec 29, 2010
Trip End Dec 05, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , Australian Capital Territory,
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Having had 5 days of torrential rain we headed inland to Canberra in search of warm, dry entertainment, in the form of a multiplex cinema and with any luck TGIs for dinner....
The drive up through the Great Divide mountain range was pretty and we arrived in Canberra in time for a quick drive past the Parliament Building and a picnic lunch by the lake.   The area of Canberra around the government buildings is quite attractive, and there are nice views out towards the mountains.  The Parliament Building looks a bit like the telly-tubby house, being partly underground under sloping roofs of grass.  The children were more impressed with the array of international flags....
The shopping area of Canberra is tiny - we parked our beast just a few blocks away and already it was incredibly spacious and more rural than the outskirts of most British market towns, let alone a city.  The residential areas really are quite depressing, all built in the '60s and like some of the more depressing parts of a UK housing estate.  The Aussies could learn a thing or two from Barratt Homes. 
We headed for our first choice of campsite and were stunned to be told that it was full, the reason being that parliament is in session this week.  What all the mps and their staff are doing staying in campsites is beyond me.....
Anyway our second, third and fourth choices were also full for the same reason (!) so we ended up in the absolute worst of the worst campsites, amongst the tattoed and beer-bellied Bogans (Aussie word for Chav).  Brad struggled to maintain his sense of humour....I literally cried I laughed so hard.....
Still we duly paid our camping fee then headed straight back into town where me, Jamie and Zach went to the cinema and Brad and Benji stayed in the campervan doing admin.  We went to see Rango - pretty bad but the kids seemed to think it was ok, and afterwards we managed to find the only happening bit of Canberra and found Wagamama's, drawn in by the 'kids eat for free' sign.   Then back to Bogansville where we swore that we would get up and go early in the morning, in time for the National Museum to open at 9am.

In the cold light of day, Bogansville was ok, at least the showers were clean and hot, and actually the kids slept in again (til 7.30) so we got to the Museum later than planned.  We had a quick look around the Aborigine section, then the Garden of Dreams, then Brad managed to get his flat white coffee in before we headed off again back towards the coast, this time to Pambula, on the Sapphire coast, not too far from the border with Victoria. 

Today was probably the first big drive we've done, and it did not disappoint.  Some of the scenery we drove through was truly stunning, some of it typical Australian grassland/sheep country, some of it stunning green mountains and valleys.  We stopped at Brown Mountain on the way down from the top of the Great Dividing Range to look at the view from the look-out - even the boys appreciated the beauty of the place.  We drove through some very small towns, many of which had quite a lot of character in their wooden houses with verandahs, and we drove through Coonga which seemed to be a place where people go to rent skis to head off to the ski slopes of the Snowy Mountains.  

The countryside just inland from the coast was absolutely stunning - rolling green hills with hardly a house to be seen.  Coming down from the mountains we witnessed some of the devestation caused by the heavy rains of recent days. Some of the rivers must have risen close to 3m, causing huge destruction of trees, vegetation, and some big landslides. Talking to some of the people here it looks like the storm of the last few days had been a once in 10 year event.

Finally we arrived in Merimbula in time to do the supermarket shop.  This is becoming quite a family affair and we are learning to turn it into a form of entertainment, which makes it altogether much more fun for everyone....

Loaded up with supplies for the next day we headed to the Big 4 campsite right on Pambula beach.  This is our first experience of kid-tastic campsite, complete with swimming pool, bouncy pillow, playground and 3 big trampolines.  The kids could not believe their eyes when they saw that the campsite was also home to tons and tons of wallabies, just nibbling grass behind people's caravans and in front of the toilet block.  Amazing!  Zach got really close to a few, and Benjamin squeeled and pointed frantically....Jamie said 'where's the playground'.....

The big boys haired around on their scooters while Brad cooked up a barbecue, then everyone crashed listening to the surf crashing right on the beach literally steps from the campervan.   

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Rick on

Great blogs guys...takes me back to all of my old haunts! I laughed when I saw the reference to bogans...where beerguts, flannelette shirts and thongs are all the rage!

laterallife on

Glad to see things are improving Brad - head West and I am sure the sun will come out like it has been here - tee hee!! Got a sun tan in March in Devon this we but still prefer to be in your shoes!!! Cheers N

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