Canberra Day Fifteen

Strictly speaking not a Canberra day at all, but it’s all linked to Canberra so here we go.

Possibly one of the most exciting days of my life! I have been wanting to see whales in the wild probably since I was born, maybe a little after. Currently I subscribe to a tantalizing blog that sends me an alert from anywhere along the Great Ocean Road that a whale is sighted so that potentially I can go and see it. Of course I live in Melbourne and so the closest sighting has still been 2 hours away, the furthest one a ridiculous 4 or 5 hours. So in order to make this work for me, I set up a spreadsheet earlier in the year and put in all the sightings with where, when, what type of whale and how far off shore the sightings were so that I could pin my money on the most common places and take a driving holiday. That hasn’t really eventuated, but I still dream about it. Now that I’m living inland it’s quite of all moot, and even if I were in Melbourne and free to go on a 4 hour round trip for the sake of a possible sighting, I couldn’t because the Great Ocean Road is shut with landslides!

So, where is this all heading? Today we decided to go and check out Kiama and everything that is between Shoalhaven Heads and there. Lots of stunning lush scenery, beautiful hills, brilliant ocean views, just lovely to be enjoying it all, soaking it up. I’ve been to Kiama once only for half a day on band camp, but I remembered the blowhole so we headed there. It was a bit of a wash out due to flat seas, no wind etc but we heard people CASUALLY (how could they?!?) talking about taking photos of whales. I was like, where’s this? And it was a few hundred metres of shore happening right there and then!! Excitement plus; doesn’t even describe the happiness!! This is the best photo, they were a fair way off, but this shows what others thought was a mother and calf on her far side plus another whale in front flipping its tail!!! WHALES!!!!! I saw them! With my own eyes and through my 300mm zoom lens!! Oh of all the days I wished I’d spent those few thousand dollars on a 600mm lens…not really though, I have a great editing program that let’s me crop a lot of the photo away. I’ll put what my camera got as the header; what my eyes got was a lot less. Although I think when the header image gets cropped it does zoom in a bit.

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Well! What to say after that?! We enjoyed more driving once the rain set in after a sunny morning, the dramatic skies were a highlight and the scenery everywhere was just delightful. We drove a couple of roads that hubby hopes to climb another time; he needs to go home and get more gears!! It was seriously steep, we were wondering if we’d tip over backwards!! And we drove down in first gear and still sat at 30kmph! Fascinating. We saw some gorgeous sandstone cliffs, mountains, farming and horsey farms, little seaside villages and it was just a lovely day seeing new things and having new experiences!

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Canberra Day Fourteen

Today was so satisfying.

We were planning to go away for the ACT long weekend. Ever since we first found out that we were coming up here we’re planned to explore the area around Canberra and into NSW while we’re nearby. So, first long weekend, what to do? Unfortunately the week just flew by and it was Friday night before we knew it and we hadn’t organized anything. Don’t panic, all is not lost. As it turns out hubby wanted to do a morning bunch ride which would get him back home by 9.30am, and I really wanted to attend the Government House open day at 11am because I had heard that these days don’t come around often, and it’s something I’ve never done. So we happily “compromised”. Read: not really, we just changed our thinking from what we “should do” i.e. leave Friday night after work, to what we wanted to do and what worked much better for us. A victory over the “should”s.)

Hubby did a ride, and then another ride; very excited to be out riding and out riding with a group of like-minded people who wanted to push themselves, and I’m thrilled that he’s back out because he really needs his riding to keep everything else in balance. No riding for hubby=no joy for wife. I went to Government House and was blown away by the sheer crowds of other people wanting to do the same thing! Seriously, it was incredible! And the whole Government House experience was worth it, for sure. The old English style very much prevailing in old fashioned buildings. Hubby feels sorry for the Queen who never gets to say in upscale modern buildings with all the mod cons. But there’s something so familiar about these old places; or maybe that from my grandparents-in-law’s sitting room…the exact same floor rugs and carpets, tea settings, sofa chairs; the list goes on! Even a cushion in the EXACT same fabric. Sadly you couldn’t take photos inside.

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So mission accomplished for both of us. Then time to chill and check out accommodation without rushing, and set off on our holiday, still with two days ahead of us. We might do it this way again; it really worked for us. A gorgeous drive over through the dramatic and scenic Kangaroo Valley and surrounding mountains which should be worth visiting on the way back, and arriving just in time for a walk along the bay/river at Shoalhaven Heads where we’re staying at the hotel. A yummy dinner in the hotel restaurant watching Bulldogs reign supreme over GWS in the proper football code on the big screen, then a baffling time trying to figure out what the Raiders and Storm were doing; and don’t dare barrack for Melbourne in that room!! So much to look forward to, so much enjoyed already. Life is good.