In years to come, I think I will be able to pinpoint the moment when I finally got it. The moment when I stopped agonising and analysing our move and just relaxed into it.
A few months ago, I asked the question: where do you go on holiday when you’ve just moved to your dream destination?
Several readers posted great suggestions and a few weeks ago, we had a long weekend away to check out a place that probably outscored other recommendations by about three to one – Merimbula.
Luck is a funny thing. When we first arrived in Canberra, last November, one of the things I was sure I’d miss most about Europe was football and supporting my favourite team, Liverpool. More than that, I was concerned that I’d struggle to fill the gap that left in my life.
As a potential solution – and as part of my policy of ‘make the most of your new life by trying new things’ – I signed up for a season ticket (known as a membership here) for Canberra’s local rugby league team the Canberra Raiders.
What do you buy the person who has everything is often cited as the classic conundrum, but we’ve recently chanced upon a new one: where do you go on holiday when you’ve just emigrated to your dream destination?
Tucked away in one of Canberra’s northern suburbs is a university-like campus which serves as a training centre for Australia’s prospective Olympic athletes. Such a purpose suggests a secret camp with high security fencing but, in fact, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) offers daily public tours of its facilities, where you can see how Australia prepares its future champions… and you don’t even have to be an Aussie to go along.
As well as being home to many of the institutions that preserve and re-tell Australia’s history, Canberra has a pretty interesting story of its own to tell, but uncovering it has been a frustrating and, ultimately rather unsatisfying experience so far.
Having visitors is always a good prod to get out and about in your home town and so, when Nanny CBRbound came to visit from England recently, we did a grand tour of all the things Canberra has to offer.
High on our list of ‘must visits’ were the two parliament buildings – I’d been to Old Parliament House once before, briefly, when they held their grand Easter egg hunt for kids, but the place was packed out and I wanted to return on a quiet day to more fully take things in. And despite driving past ‘New’ Parliament House dozens of times, and even running past it during the Canberra 5km, I’d never ventured inside.
Canberra has its fair share of critics, and much of the mud thrown at the city is unwarranted, so I want to be careful about criticising any of the capital’s attractions, lest I should unwittingly join the ranks of the Canberra-bashers.
But there’s one feature here that really could do with a little more imagination and TLC than it seems to have received of late, and that’s the needlepoint landmark that is Telstra Tower.
It may sound strange to have saved our most anticipated family day out for nearly six months but, as I have written before, there really is so much to do in Canberra.
But all this time, ever since our plane’s wheels first touched down here, discussions of every CBRbound clan day out have been punctuated regularly with a single interjection from the kids: “Questacon.”
Something we’ve come to appreciate about Canberra is that, unlike other cities of a similar size, which may boast one or two minor tourist attractions to bring in out-of-towners and entertain locals, Canberra’s status as Australia’s capital means it is disproportionately bursting with things to do from its outer suburbs to the city centre.
It’s taking us a while to get through them all – partly because our initial burst of new arrivals’ excitement has been replaced by getting on with real life, but also because we’ve been keeping a few things up our sleeves for when the kids deserved a treat or just needed to get out of the house. Continue reading