Flowers, coins and Kung-fu Panda in Canberra

We arrived back yesterday from a couple of nights in Canberra. The three of us drove down there on Tuesday, staying in a two bedroom apartment at the new and rather nice Deco Hotel. We were all rather tired and the weather was grey and miserable, so the only thing of note I did was to ride the length of the new light rail system from Civic to the Gungahlin Town Centre.

Though the scenery outside was not particularly noteworthy, I rather enjoyed the smooth ride. There’s something special about rail travel and I’m happy to see Canberra get such a system.

Wednesday saw us doing a tour of the Royal Australian Mint, where the nation’s coins are manufactured. There wasn’t much activity going on, but the process itself is interesting, as was the display of the history of Australian coins.

The next destination was the National Museum of Australia. Most of the visit was spent in the non-Australian Dreamworks Animation Exhibition, featuring sketches, models and videos of a variety of their characters and locations, including Flushed Away, Shrek and Kung-fu Panda. It was very interesting.

Alex cried over the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) exhibit, mourning their extinction and the stupid selfishness of humanity. I would like to have seen more of the main museum, but by now Alex was desperate to enjoy the sun outside.

We drove up to the National Arboretum with its spectacular views across the nation’s capital, but it was a rare still day, the few light gusts insufficient to keep a kite afloat at a location that is normally superb for such activities.

Driving down to the lake we discovered that our bike hire shop was closed. All that was left was to explore Floriade, the annual flower festival.

It was, as always, very pretty. But Alex was tired and disappointed, then feeling a bit queasy from the shaky ferris wheel ride. We grabbed disappointing dinner from Dickson Asian Noodles and returned to the hotel to relax.

We returned to the lake on the final morning, watching the Captain Cook jet spray high into the air as school kids argued as they learned to sail. Alex rode his scooter along the lakeside while I admired the cherry blossoms of the sakura trees donated by sister city Nara.

Then it was time to drive home, our brief term break holiday at an end.

There is still much remaining to be seen in Canberra, if only we can convince Alex to enjoy some history over physical activity. It was nice to visit for a holiday instead of work.