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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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