Canberra sojourn #3 – March long weekend

Dullsville?  We don’t think so, and whilst work has been really busy, and quite stressful this week, in our time off, Jules and I have tried to make the most of it.  So, this last week has seen us eat food at The Night Noodle Markets, watched Parliament House lit up by lasers, seen a mates Donkey be awarded National Champion, visited the Dog on his Tucker Box at Gundagai, see animals from all over the world and zip out to the coast for a sanga and coffee.

If you’re still reading and interested, here goes..

Thursday 7th March, after one of the most challenging days of my career, Jules and I decided to walk from our apartment, out to the Enlighten Festival at Reconciliation Park, about 2kms away. The Night Noodle Markets was in full swing and we tried a couple of different dishes but weren’t particularly blown away with the food we sampled.  Following the setting of the sun, the buildings including Parliament House in the Canberra Parliamentary Triangle, were lit up via lasers to display a variety of colourful scenes.  Meandering around the triangle Jules needed me to buy her a fairy light lit helium balloon as we ate gelato ice creams served out of a converted limousine.

Parliament House lit up @ Enlighten Festival
Parliament House lit up @ Enlighten Festival
National Library lit up @ Enlighten Festival
The converted Gelato Limousine
Street art at Enlighten
Street art at Enlighten
Street art at Enlighten
Street art at Enlighten
Street art at Enlighten

Next, what do you do on the Saturday of a long weekend?  Well, when you have a work mate (Anthony) who owns a donkey (Junior) whose wife (Kate) is showing said donkey at the DABSA (Donkey All Breeds Society of Australia) National Championships at Young, a mere 2hrs up the road, well the answer is easy, you go to the show!  Not being donkey aficionados I’d describe the show as a mix of wee little buggers through to what we were advised are actually ‘mammoth’ donkeys.  They were all pretty cute and bloody funny when they let out their characteristic ‘hee-haw’ bray.  Junior, Kate and Anthony’s donkey, is a rescue donkey which Kate has gradually integrated into their farm and established trust.  He’s your average, non-registered donkey, but was pretty happy grazing and braying at his neighbours.  Unfortunately, Jules and I were out exploring Young when Kate scored a solid 2nd place, followed by a 1st, Australian National Champion in the ‘unregistered class’, of which he was the only entry ?.  However, whilst some of the donkey showers were taking it a little too seriously, thinking coordinated boot-scooting attire for the whole family, Kate was rapt to simply have had a go and a chat.  Junior didn’t seem to give a shit and in fact, looked a little tired with the whole palaver.

Anthony’s Ass
Junior, Kate and Anthony’s donkey
An old cash register at the Young Musuem
Old gazettes at the Young Musuem
Jules and her “King Kebab”… Whilst I, and the shop dude, tried to explain to Jules that a “King Kebab” is actually a double length standard kebab, she was so fixated on picking her fillings that she didn’t hear us and ordered the biggest kebab known to man (or woman). Suffice to say, she didn’t get close to finishing it..
Kate and her Australian National award winning donkey, Junior

We took the scenic route home, dropping past the Dog on his Tucker Box monument in Gundagai, before driving 50’odd kms of very windy and hilly gravel tracks through the ranges back into Canberra.  En-route dropping through the very beautiful Brindabella valley.

The Dog on the Tucker Box in Gundagai

Sunday saw us doing the household chores, before shooting out to visit the National Zoo and Aquarium.  Nice little zoo, with plenty of big runs for the animals.  Unfortunately, it was midday and quite warm so many of the inhabitants were having a siesta but we got to see a few favourites.

At the zoo
At the zoo
At the zoo
At the zoo. Also in the pen is a dog!! This cheetah was orphaned and as they’re used to siblings, the zookeepers introduced her to a puppy as her sibling and the dog still shares her pen today
At the zoo
At the zoo. Not sure what the official name is, but I think he looks like Elvis!

Grabbing our weekly shopping on the way home, we were unpacked by mid-afternoon so took the opportunity to drop into Bentspoke for a quick ale (or two), before sampling the 200+ Gin list at the Tipsy Bull.  Dinner was had at Terra, a local (i.e. under our building), but quickly becoming a favourite dining place.

A beer or two at Bentspoke

If we weren’t as lazy, we would have gotten up early to view the local Hot Air Balloon festival where more than 30 balloons take off from the lawns of Parliament House.  Luckily our balcony has a very good view of Parliament House and we were up early enough to see 15 of the balloons floating past.

Monday was a slow start, before we decided to pop out to the coast, Batemans Bay, just 150kms away.  It was obvious early in the drive that we were heading against the traffic as the flow of cars back into Canberra was relentless, culminating in a 5km long traffic jam just out of Batemans, and then another 5km+ queue coming into Batemans from the south, on the Princess Hwy.  Given the traffic and queues, we opted to shoot south to Moruya which was much quieter and then took another, backroad gravel goat track from Moruya, through to Araluen, another very picturesque little town in the heart of a valley in the plateau.  Araluen is definitely a place we’ll revisit someday as the location is stunning.

The view out to the ranges from Araluen velley

So, that was our long weekend!  Very enjoyable, with lots of memories and great experiences to savour.  Hopefully this week proves a little less challenging than last week, but if not, then we have next weekend to look forward to as we’re off to Melbourne for the F1 Grand Prix which will be the subject of our next post.

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