A trip across The Ditch: Canberra

Friday night saw me heading out to the airport to catch a flight to Canberra. As it turned out, it was the first anniversary of Singapore Airlines’ flights from Wellington to Canberra, and there was a wee celebratory party at the gate. Garage Project beer, ‘bubbles’ (ie sparkling wine), canapés and cake were served, and the captain and co-pilot cut the cake.

Smoked salmon, roasted veggies and bubbles
The cake

After watching two episodes of Maigret (Rowan Atkinson showing us he is an actor, and not Mr Bean), we landed in Canberra.  It was late, but I was so happy to see Karl after being apart for nearly 5 weeks, that we stayed up even later catching up.

Canberra is an odd place. Established as the federal capital in 1913, it has grown up by town planning rather than organically, like many other cities. There is an odd mix of buildings, with many brutalist 1950s constructions that remind one of East Berlin, interwoven with modern office blocks. Planned development slowed during th depression in the 1930s and during the war, picking up again in the 1950s. Where we stayed, on the campus of Australian National University (ANU), was a good example of 1950s architecture. The building complex, opened in 1953, is now used for guests and functions, and retains original features such as the furniture in the rooms.

ANU University House
The Film and Sound Archives

The most famous landmarks I guess are the Parliament (the current building was opened in 1983) and the war memorial, which as you can see from the map below, are set opposite each other across the lake. The headline picture is taken from Parliament looking out.

A map of Canberra

On Saturday morning, we wandered into the town centre with its shopping malls, stopping now and again to take in the feel of the place. There is more to Canberra than its reputation would have you believe, and it is surrounded by beautiful countryside. It is only just over a hundred years old, and still has a newness about it, but worth visiting for something different.

Coming up…flora, fauna and…outer space…

As seen in town

There will be no Small Pleasures post this week due to holidays 🙂

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook and Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.





  1. I’ve never seen a gate party! Haha! It looks very funny and delicious!
    Canberra looks interesting but so sad in the same time. Architecture is nice but yhea.. like the nazist one.

    Hope you have an amazing holiday! xx


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