Not going to lie. I’ve rather enjoyed this little enforced hibernation we’ve been having of late. Of course, I wasn’t sick, I didn’t lose my job and I don’t live alone so I had a lot of advantages others didn’t have, but for me it felt like a becalmed spot in the swirling oceans of life in which to catch up and recharge.
Being the ‘Bush Capital’, Canberra has a plethora of big outdoors locations and places to take a stroll in the sun so getting out and about was always on the activity menu. I’ve even made it to my favourite photography location, the arboretum, a couple of times to take in a sunrise. (Sunrise I say!) There’s no lack of social distancing there and some pretty speci views.
But there were a few things in Canberra I actually rather missed. In good news, they’re starting to come back online again and now we can resume our visits. Here are some of my faves.
This haven of green in a fairly green city is a firm favourite in our family and great for all ages. Housing a collection of plants from the entire country, it’s also the perfect spot to take the little ones or older ones for some fresh air and a walkabout on one of their many trails. There’s stepping stones to jump across, ponds and ducks, lizards lounging in the sun and flowers and plants galore for photography. The misty rainforest gully walk has not opened up yet but hopefully will soon. The cafe has been closed (another firm favourite) but now it’s open for takeaways. Only downside is they give you take away cups which I avoid like the plague. Pity we’ve had to revert temporarily away from keep cups when the nation has been making such great inroads into educating people about the waste through disposable cups.
Whoever made the decision to convert this grand old building which previously housed our federal government into a museum and place of discovery should be given a knighthood, or a least a rousing round of applause should you be a republican. They have a marvellous array of tours on tap, including the regular Behind the Lines political cartoons exhibition and various other displays. It’s also just marvellous to roam around the parquetry corridors of former power where history was made and even explore the PM’s previous office (straight out the front of the building with direct access to the street and the rest of the world, back in the days when security wasn’t much of an issue) and the tiny, tiny nook that long served as the media centre.
Old Parliament House (OPH) – or Museum of Australian Democracy as it’s called now -also houses the marvellous PlayUp activity centre for little people which is just brilliant and a godsend on rainy days and days when little people are grumpy and need something different to do.
One thing I’m actually really bummed about is I was scheduled to go on a Top Secret Tour of OPH with Tim the Yowie Man (and yes, that’s his real name) which got cancelled in all this kerfuffle, but hopefully they’ll be able to resurrect them shortly. I’ll report back.
Okay, this massive nature reserve on the outskirts of Canberra wasn’t on my frequently visited list but should have been. I admitted a while back that I only visited this place for the first time quite recently, but now that I’ve discovered what it’s all about I was keen to go back for more. It hasn’t been possible this year (fires, smoke, virus) but now it is – just in time for winter! That’s what jackets are for! A terrific place to do a bit of walking and exploring, with or without the assistance of a ranger, and learn the history of the area. You can also meet a myriad of Aussie animals in their natural environment—it’s one of the few places you’ll be able to watch playpuses at play. What a treat.
The National Gallery has just opened its doors to the pubic again in the last couple of days. Sadly for them, the Matisse to Picasso blockbuster exhibition was rudely interrupted and came to an early end, but there’s plenty more to see in their regular collections and upcoming events. At the moment you have to book a timed session, limited to an hour and a half, and it’s always possible to wander through the outdoors sculpture garden. Time it right (between 12.30 and 2pm each day) and you can experience it with the wafts of mist in operation to add a bit more atmosphere.
Well, that was my husband’s suggestion to include that in the list. Yes, I have studiously avoided Coles and all other supermarkets in fact for eight whole weeks but no, I haven’t missed it at all. (Actually, full disclosure: I did make one brief visit where I managed to get in and out in about five minutes and didn’t touch anything except the items I was buying.) Good job I have a man around the house who looks after me exceptionally well and does the shopping. I claim my immuno-compromised status as my justification. Soon he will expect me to resume some shopping duties myself but I’m still milking it while I can.
And just quietly, I didn’t really miss the gym either although my tightening pants are suggesting otherwise.
If you come to Canberra, make sure you put these places onto your itineraries. Possibly not Coles unless you’re self-catering.
And don’t forget – even though we’re opening things up, that virus is still lurking, so keep your distance, keep safe and keep washing your hands.
What did you miss going to most during shutdown?