Just two days before the winter my wife & I planned our weekend to Canberra, which is just around 3 hours drive from Sydney. Canberra is very well connected to Sydney with options to travel by road, rail or air. For that is reason it can also be a perfect base for exploring natural attractions like snowy mountains.
Day 1 We started our trip to Canberra early morning to board the express coach from Pitt st at Sydney Central. The coach started from Central at 7:30am via the international airport to Canberra Jolimont. Once the coach crossed the city it was an amazing trip. We could enjoy the mesmerising countryside glide sitting comfortably in an air-conditioned coach. We reached Canberra at 10:30am. Collected our bags and headed towards the city centre which is just 10 minutes walk from Jolimont bus station. There are lots of options for breakfast in the city.
After the breakfast we headed towards the hotel as we had requested for early check-in. Later we headed for a trip to what Canberra is most famous for - the Parliament house. We took a taxi to the parliament as it was just over 3kms from our hotel. Alternatively there are public buses available too.
Australian Flag at the parliament
The House is open to the public every day of the year. We opted for the free guided tour at 1am which goes for around 40 minutes. It was great way to learn about some of the features of Parliament House. As I'm very much interested in politics, I was totally engaged listening to the tour guide.
The sunset is really amazing in Canberra. We had an option to go to Mt Ainslie lookout or head to Telstra tower to enjoy 360 degree panoramic view of Canberra city and its surroundings. Both places are just around 6kms from the city. As we didn't have a car to travel going to Telstra tower was a better option as public transport would be easily available.
The tower is open from 9am to 10pm everyday and the admission fee is $7.50/adult. We paid the admission fee and ran towards the observation deck as we were so eager to check out the view. Though winter was still about to arrive it was quite cold and windy at the observation desk. However it still did not stop us from hanging in there to enjoy the breathtaking view. We were simply captivated by the 360 degree view over the city of Canberra and its surrounding mountain ranges. It was also sunset time, so you can only imagine what a picturesque moment it would have been. After soaking up the view and taking umpteen pictures, it was time to get indoors. Luckily there was also a coffee shop inside the tower. Having a sip of coffee we were still enjoying the view, however this time we were indoors.
There are lot of restaurants in the city for dinner and if you wish to explore, then there are a few clubs and even Casino Canberra right next to hotel crown plaza.
Day 2 After a lovely buffet breakfast we checked out of the hotel, left our bags at the hotel concierge and headed towards Cockington green gardens which is around 15kms from the city. We decided to try the bus service of the capital city. Took bus no 900 from London circuit to Westfield bus station and changed to bus no 951 to O'hanlon place after Gold Creek road. Just at the other side of the road is Cockington Green gardens. There are various ticket options available. We opted for all in one option. There was a beautiful display of crafted miniature buildings set within attractively landscaped gardens.
It features houses and monuments from more than 30 different countries, from Peru's Machu Picchu to Red Fort in India. The miniature steam train was also fun. We got so engrossed looking at the tiny structures that we forgot that we had to get back to the city by lunch time, so our return trip to the city was by taxi.
After lunch we collected our luggage from the hotel and were on our return journey to catch the train to Sydney. While we were just wandering at Kingston railway station as we had some time to board the train. The guard at the railway station suggested us to visit the Old Bus Depot Markets which was just 10 minutes from the station. The market featuring over 200 stalls is held in an old industrial building every Sunday. There are some lovely hand-crafted items created by local and regional creative. The market was surprisingly busy. We also bought a few things.
It was time to head back to the station to catch our train to Sydney. The train was very comfortable. Surprisingly there was dinner available on the train for a nominal cost. It was a comfortable 3 hours journey back home.