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Saturday 29 Nov 2003
Canberra, Australia

In da REAL capital

Well after many months touring this grand land Ive finally come to the capital of Oz. Many people abroad think that Sydney or Melbourne is the capital (even some Ozzies, hence probably the reason why Canberra registered cars have "CANBERRA: THE NATIONS CAPITAL" as the subtext on the licence plates!). On first impressions Canberra is a relatively quiet city; few people walking around this evening and all the shops closed at 6pm despite it being Saturday.. strange. The place is COVERED with trees with small modern unimposing buildings in between, its almost like an hightech industrial complex or oversized diplomatic district than a normal busy working city. Thankfully this city (being the newest in Oz) was planned from the start so the road system is an ease to navigate. Heres a summary of the past few days...

27th Nov

Well whaddya know, no sooner had I finished writing the diary entry than Jonny gave me a buzz saying he was giving up on the job and wanted to head to Sydney instead. Cool!

We took a direct course down to Philip Island about 2 hours from Melbourne. I went here because you can see "Little Penguins" without having to go to Kangaroo Island (and having to pay that whopping 220 dollars). At 8.15pm the Penguin Parade began (cost 15 dollars though): the cutest little guys you can ever see. Jonny and myself got a great seat on the sand right in the direct walking line of hundreds of Little Penguins waddling ashore to mate in an orgy of squaks and fighting males! Memorable stuff!

28th Nov

Left our campsite at Philip Isle in the morning (at 5am!!!). Mad Jonny didnt manage to get any sleep sittin in the front seat.. Id only gotten about 4 hours! PLus it was terribly cold all night so it wasnt too damn comfortable. Still we didnt have to pay for the night!! Eventually we crossed in New South Wales having navigated the coastline (no shortcuts here mate).. almost "home"!!

Stopped at a town called Eden. Lush green countryside justifies the name! Jonny stayed at Australasia Hostel and I parked out back. Easy access to free TV and showers from the back door of the hostel too..

29th Nov

Left Eden this morning and took the Princes Highway up to Batemans Bay before turning off along the Kings Highway up to Canberra. Lots of mountains on this drive and its was a bit of a trial for the old car, nevertheless we passed some beautiful green mountain scenery and various lagoons (Narooma being of particular note).

Also I had to get a water pipe fixed on the van this morning in Eden (it had been leaking coolant since yesterday and was causing the engine to almost over-heat.. it certainly would have if I hadnt seen the green fluorescent water drops under the car this morning.) and that cost another 140 dollars. Argh!

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