Capitol Adventures

You may have noticed I’ve been quieter than usual this weekend. That’s because I’ve been on a (mini) holiday! We had a public holiday here, which made a three-day weekend. So hubby and I took advantage to go somewhere we’ve never been before; Australia’s capitol city, Canberra.

Canberra (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

While we came for a reason – to see an art exhibition – we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how delightful our nation’s capitol is. So much to see and do! In fact, we didn’t see even half of the things we’d like to see, so we’re planning another trip later in the year.

What we did see however was the National Gallery with some incredible works by well-knowns – Matisse, Dali, Magritte, Cezane – but more impressive was the special one-time only PRE-RAPHAELITE EXHIBITION. Wow. Just, wow. To see the pieces I have reproduction prints of, in the flesh, was an ultimate thrill. Masterpieces by Millais, Rosetti, Waterhouse… just breathtaking. If the Tait collection ever comes to your country, get your bum along and go see them!

Waterhouse’s Lady of Shallot (image courtesy of
Millais’s Ophelia (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

While in Canberra we also popped along to Old Parliament House, where Australia’s democracy was born. Old Parliament House was abandoned in the 1970s for New Parliament House (a few kilometres up the hill), and it’s been preserved like a time capsule of the seventies – complete with packets of cigarettes on desks, colour-coded papers and Manila folders, and a cassette tape of Boomtown Rats beside a cassette deck! We were also able to wander through the House of Representatives and the Senate – Australia’s two most important rooms, and then able to stroll through the Prime Minister’s quarters and the PMs secret cabinet room, behind a five-inch thick steel door. Great stuff.

Old Parliament House (Image courtesy Wikipedia)

To finish the experience, we decided to check out New Parliament House. We were stunned to find out we could still wander around virtually the whole building without pause. The House of Reps and the Senate were available for us to view from the viewing galleries. We could wander the hallways and cafeterias where current politicians work every single day. And all we saw were a few unarmed security guards, and two Feds. It really hit home how relaxed our country is. Oh, and we saw the Magna Carta too!

New Parliament House (image courtesy of

But there’s still so much more to see! There’s our National War Memorial, National Museum, National Zoo and Aquarium, the High Court, and a working Carillon to visit (we were treated to a song from the Carillon as we sat at the water’s edge… wow.) It will take at least a week here to see it all.

It got me thinking, how many of you have visited your capitol city? What did you think of it? Hubby and I have been to Washington and found it (like Canberra) to be one of the most interesting and impressive cities in the States – in my opinion, as impressive as NYC. Sometimes I think we shy away from capitols in favour of the glitzy cities and do ourselves a huge disservice. So how about it? Does your capitol city stack up?

**Note** not much to report on the WIP front. Finalising some editing, all cover art now complete.

21 thoughts on “Capitol Adventures

  1. I’m so glad you and your sweetie had a wonderful time. I have been to our capital (Washington, D.C.), but actually, I’ve found interesting things to do in all sorts of cities, big or small. I guess it matters whether or not you have your adventure hat on!

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  2. Jessica, I must admit I knew nothing about Canberra so thank you for your enlightening post! Wow! How lucky to see the special exhibition … I’m so envious! 😀😀 The parliament buildings looks beautiful, your photos are brilliant and I love the one in the sunset. How a amazing to be able to wander around so freely … unheard of in our security conscious countries always on hyper-alert! A delightful post and joy to join you on your sightseeing! 😀

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    1. Thanks Annika – it really was a lovely weekend. Sadly, the photos aren’t mine – hubby still hasn’t downloaded ours yet 😉
      Australia is pretty relaxed about security. It’s nice – makes for a comfortable life!

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  3. What a great mini-vacation! I love discovering new places and exploring. I have been to Washington D.C. in the past, but it was decades ago. I still remember being awed by the stately buildings.

    I live about 12 miles shy of my state capitol and enjoy visiting the museum there. The city itself is not a place where I’d want to hang out, but the museum rocks!

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  4. Very interesting portrayal of Australia’s capital city, I was quite fascinated. I have been to Washington DC and it is as you say. The last time was 15 years ago when I took Mrs 80smetalman, before she became Mrs and she was very impressed with it too. I lived in London for 6 years 1986-92 and taught there another year when I first qualified as a teacher in 1997. It is a great place to visit and I’ve been to Amsterdam but it wasn’t their government buildings that interested me at the time.

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