WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge  –  Tour Guide
Revisited for Ragtag Daily PromptRus-in-urbe

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge requires us to be a tour guide.  I’ve chosen Canberra, the national capital of Australia.  Canberra is located between Sydney and Melbourne, and is the site of Australia’s national government.  The current population is estimated at 390,000.  This compares with Sydney’s population of over 5 million.  Canberra is the only capital city of Australia that is located inland; the rest are located on the coastline.  It is often referred to as the Bush Capital.  The bush extends right into the centre of the city, so that seems to be a good place to start the tour.

Being located in the Australian bush is not without its risks.  In 2003, there was a major bush fire and over 500 homes were lost.  The fire reached almost to  Parliament House.  The fire burnt the pine plantations that lined the main road to the Central Business District, roaring in from the south and west.  In 2013, the local government established the National Arboretum Canberra where the pine plantations once were.  The Arboretum features 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from around Australia and the world.  With time, the Arboretum will begin to look more liked the forested hills that surround Canberra.

In 2003, the landscape was parched, as it is now.  Today, from the top of Dairy Farmers Hill, I photographed the drying land.  The wind was strong and the surrounding hills (the Brindabellas) were shrouded in smoke from grass fires that had started earlier in the day.  The suburbs are hidden from view.

National Arboretum Canberra

The tall buildings of the CBD can be just seen almost on the horizon to the left of the photo above.  Unlike other Australian cities, Canberra was planned from its infancy.  Lake Burley Griffith, named after the city’s designer, divides the city in two, with the CBD on the north and the Parliamentary Triangle on the south.

Below, a metal sculpture of an Australian wedge-tail eagle on its nest, sits atop of Dairy Farmers Hills.

Nest III by Richard Moffatt (2007)


View to South Canberra.  A tall building can be glimpsed on the extreme left.  This is the town centre of Woden.


View to Canberra’s west.  The metropolis of Belconnen is hidden behind the first ridge of hills.  Urban density is exceedingly low compared to other capital cities.

One of Canberra’s newest nature reserves is the Karma Nature Reserve in West Canberra.  Unfortunately paradise can’t last forever.  The paddocks surrounding the Reserve will soon be turned over to the ‘burbs.


Locals and tourists alike flock to the lakes and rivers in the region.

Uriarra Crossing

For those who are worried about snakes, there is still a lot fun to be had at one of the various festivals that are held each year, such as the National Folk Festival, the  Multicultural Festival, the Canberra Balloon Festival, or Floriade (tulip festival), to name a few.

Watching a street performer at the Folkie
Tulip Top Gardens (just outside of Canberra) opens its gardens to the public every year when the bigger (busier) Floriade Festival is on.

There are also plenty of hip (and not so hip) restaurants, cafes and bars.  I’ve included one that has regular literary events/guest speakers for all you writers out there.

The Muse, Manuka – I can vouch that their brunch is one of the best I’ve ever had.

Then there are all the national cultural institutions:  the National Gallery of Australia, Australian War Memorial, National Library, the National Museum of Australia, etc.   Ladies and gentlemen, please note that the following photos were taken with black and white film from a hot air balloon!  No drones here.

View of Australian Parliament House from hot air balloon (2006)
View of the National Museum of Australia from hot air balloon (2006)

But wait, there’s more, including my favourite building, the Shine Dome, and the Australian National Botanic Gardens.  The latter are so good I’ll have to save them for another day.

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8 thoughts on “The Bush Capital

  1. A very interesting read. I’ve immediately made a plan to visit the Arboretum on our trip down south in April. There’s also a wonderful growers’ Market in Canberra on Saturdays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the Saturday morning market is very popular. I tend to go to the Murrumbateman or Yass markets on Saturday mornings (depending on which is on). The Canberra one is a bit of a crush (but that’s just me). More time to chat at the smaller country markets, although less variety.


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