Tuesday, November 8, 2016


I was in Canberra last week for a workshop. Canberra is the capital of Australia. It's a lovely little city partway between Melbourne and Sydney, more than ten times smaller than Melbourne. What that means is that nature is not so far away from Canberra. On Wednesday night, I walked a few blocks through the suburbs into the hills and saw kangaroos.
There are kangaroos in this picture.
There are also a lot of birds, even on the university campus. Sulphur crested cockatoos, galah cockatoos. This time I saw a couple of gang gang cockatoos, which are more rare. Crimson rosellas, eastern rosellas.
This is a very tiny crimson rosella.
Tim and Jonathan came to visit for the weekend, to see some of the sights.

Here are the sights we chose to see.

The national science museum: Questacon. This is kind of like the Exploratorium in San Francisco, with lots of things to see and do. Here is a picture of Jonathan enjoying the view in the endless mirror room.

And building.

There was also an earthquake simulator, a lightning room, puzzles, microscopes, dry-ice asteroids, and other cool things.

From Questacon we walked through the Old Parliament gardens, which were very lovely in spring.

And then we wandered over to the National Museum of Australia, which is kind of a museum of stuff, showing stuff from the history of Australia. It seems I didn't take pictures. In addition to stuff from the natives, there were old vehicles, fancy outfits, and the record-breaking wool of a sheep that had been unshorn for five years. Kind of a random place.

Oooh. Here is a picture I did take, on the university campus. This is a statue of Churchill. He would look more impressive if that spider hadn't woven snot and drool all over his face....

We arrived home to find a new house guest: another huntsman spider, the size of my fist. Since it was too big to kill, and not moving, we left it alone entirely. Creepily, it was gone the next morning.

We left the next morning as well, and walked to the botanic gardens, arriving just in time to take a tour in the extended golf-cart bus. That was fun. We saw squiggly-bark eucalypts. Lots of native flowers.

And lots of large lizards.

No, lots and lots of them.

From the gardens, we climbed the summit trail. And climbed and climbed.

At the very top of the hill --- they call it "mountain," but I can't bring myself to say mountain if the top doesn't even make it out of the tree line --- at the very top there is a huge tower.

We paid a small fee to take an elevator to the observation level, where we ate lunch with spectacular panoramic views of the city.

And then we walked down, back through the botanic gardens...

... and then caught a taxi to the airport and flew home. 

Tim spent the whole weekend sneezing. The levels of pollen were super-duper extra high in Canberra. Poor red-eyed, red-nosed Tim huddled with his tissue box. He was very happy to leave. Poor Tim.

In any case, I agree that Canberra was nice to visit, but it is nice to be home.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful - except for the spider. Hopefully you left it there and it didn't stow away in your luggage.


Anonymous said...

Was that spider in your hotel??????