10 June 2011

Six Senses Tour - Australia's Capital - Canberra

Hi there, well winter has well and truly taken a hold in my pocket of the world as I know it has for many of you living in Southern climes.  Whilst my friends residing above the equator are reaching for cool refreshments and taking a dip in the blue waters of your closest ocean - mmmm bliss!
That's what I love about blogging, our capacity to come together, no matter where we live and enjoy time spent sharing ideas and images.
That's exactly what the 'Six Senses' tours are all about and I hope that you're enjoying visiting different pocket of the world in addition to meeting other Gifters who follow this blog.  
Today you'll need to rug up no matter where you're from because we are about to embark on an adventure into a chilly zone hosted by one of my special Blogerista friends, I know you'll enjoy it....

Greetings all, my name is Jennie McClelland from the Posie Patchwork blog & welcome to the national capital of Australia . . . Canberra.  For players outside Australia, the national capital is not Sydney!!  
My husband & I were raised in Sydney, our four children were born in Darwin, but Canberra is where we will settle & call home.  We arrived here in 2008 & have since found a fantastic country area to build a homestead & start a farm (near Bungendore).  

I’m thrilled Felicity offered the job of hosting Canberra to me, as I still feel very much a visitor & get excited about our local offerings, not to mention . . . I still get lost spinning off our enormous roundabouts & dizzy in a city designed in circles.
As most capital cities do, we have a Parliament House, War Memorial, Galleries, Museums, Embassies & an abundance of “Places of Interest” that you must see.  
My starting point would be to drive down ANZAC Parade & pull up at Commonwealth Park.  
From here you have the War Memorial behind you & the beautiful Old Parliament House in front of the amazing new Parliament House, across Lake Burley Griffen. It gives you a great perspective of this serious, uniform & planned city, the CBD to your right, Royal Military College to the left, then all the galleries, museums & historic government department buildings like Treasury, framed by the bridges. 
Many people (who loathe politicians) describe Canberra as a “good way to ruin a sheep paddock” as it is prized farmland nestled within the Great Dividing Range & Brindabella Mountains.  

Canberra will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2013, we’re still a young city & have kept much grazing land in the surrounds with large green areas between the townships. These offer the most amazing sunsets into the distant hills.  With a population under 500 000 people it’s not polluted or overcrowded & you don’t have to go far to find a lovely camping spot.  So I would say, with our clear starry skies & regional sprawl, you don’t have to go far from the city to hear the silence of nature.
I don’t drink alcohol so I can’t rate the vineyards for you, however, there is one special restaurant which my husband & I love, Poacher’s Pantry.  
Over 20 years the Poachers’ family has built up a tree lined driveway leading you to a trout lake & farm where they smoke their meats to perfection & serve amazing meals at their rustic restaurant among the vineyards.  

They also have a pantry filled with local preserves, handmade chocolates & all their smoked goodness in the cool room.  You have to walk past the smoke house to the restaurant, it’s just a big tease of your tastebuds.
Canberra most definitely has all the seasons covered – smack in your face hot, dry Summer; crunchy ochre leaf filled streets of Autumn; wind chill factors, snowy, frosty Winters; & the most amazing array of flowers come Spring.  There are festivals to celebrate most of these seasons, most famously Floriade which is a month long celebration of flowers around October each year.  With bush fires sizzling the countryside in Summer & log fires roasting homes in Winter, it’s my favourite smell, smokey & organic. 
As a military family, I find the most emotional & thought provoking experience in Canberra is The War Memorial.  It touches the soul.  There are memorials, photos, displays & exhibitions, but most sacred of all is the Wall of Remembrance with rows & rows of the names of the fallen, some are our ancestors & friends.  

Our children place poppies at different places each time we visit, it is heart breaking & exhilarating at the same time – there are names of young boys who went overseas to fight for our freedom.  We are a rare country, we have never had an enemy step foot on our soil yet we go to so many other countries to serve Australia. 

I try to visit The War Memorial every few months, sometimes with my handsome soldier, or the children, but most often alone.  Many tour guides are returned service men & women – there are some particularly cheeky ones at the Vietnam exhibit, complete with helicopters.
Just past the Victoria Cross Hall of Fame there are some amazing air battle movies directed gratis by famous New Zealander, Peter Jackson - "Over The Front" & "The Great War In The Air".  

One exhibition which truly touched my heart was “Letters from War” which is particularly close to my heart as my husband has been deployed four times and we've conducted much of our fourteen year marriage via letters.
Many visitors comical notion of Australia is that we have kangaroos hopping down the main streets, koalas up our garden trees & crocodiles in our pools.  This is not far from the truth, really.  

After living in the Northern Territory for over 6 years, a week could not pass by without some bizarre crocodile-in-a-pool front page story; we have seen koalas up trees & witnessed kangaroos in the main streets of the Canberra CBD!!  We drive through farm land to get to school each day & see kangaroos at dawn & dusk, very nonchalantly chowing down on grass, watching us all zoom on by.  

There are many reserves to visit & you don’t have to go far to find the kangaroos in their natural habitat, makes for a very Australian bush walk indeed.  

That said, our National Zoo & Aquarium is fantastic – head over Commonwealth Bridge, around Parliament House, past The Lodge (Prime Minister’s residence), take the Governor General’s House exit & aim for Yarramundi!!
Thank you so much Jennie!
I've visited Canberra several times and must admit that the War Memorial has been a highlight, the next time will be all the more special having received insight from you about the personal element that it represents.  I will also be making my way to Poacher's Pantry and the National Zoo & Aquarium which I'm ashamed to say I didn't know existed. Expect a call though because the roundabouts in your pocket of the world are a nightmare and I'd prefer to have a local guiding me through than forever going round in circles!

Now dear Gifters you know what to do, be your fabulous selves and thank our wonderful guide for her tour and let Jennie know what you enjoyed most about this trip.
If you live within the Canberra vicinity, you're in luck because you can get to meet Jennie herself as she'll have a stall overflowing with amazing goodies at this Saturday's Handmade Market.  If you're a Canberran I'm sure you're probably one of the 12 000 people who have it marked with a gold star on their calendar - lucky you!  For the rest of us, we can have the pleasure of ordering directly from Jennie's online store or visiting her via her blog. Whatever you do, be sure to take the time to interact with this amazing lady she is a true gift indeed!


  1. what a neat feature! a tour of a city by someone who brings it to life and to our senses via the web. :)

    i loved that aerial photo and the roundabout street design!!! beautiful! i'm just glad i don't have to live there!

  2. Loved the description of the Canberra seasons, Jennie. I've only been there for a few visits and have frozen each time! Would love to see Floriade one day... gxo

  3. So much fun to get such a great tour sitting in the comfort of my cozy chair in Michigan, taking in the sites a world away. Thanks Jennie!

  4. So great to see one of my favourite bloggers here. Now being a bit closer to Canberra very useful to have this info to entice us down.

    Love the kangaroo shots.

  5. Loved living in Canberra - a tip that my FIL told me was if I could see where I wanted to get to in my revision mirror I was infact heading in the correct direction.
    Thanks for the memories Jennie.

  6. yay for Ms Posie, love her tour, makes me want to go to Canberra now ♥
    thanks Ms Posie!

  7. Thats great asking Jennie Felicity I really enjoyed that I felt like putting on some boots, warm clothes & heading on over to Canberra, sounds like a great place to go! :) x

  8. What did I like best??? Well, Poacher’s Pantry sounds divine, mmm as if the photo of yummy treats wasn't enough, the fact it's up a tree lined drive & set in a vineyard, ahh sounds like a fantastic secret hideaway shared - great post & thanks for the tour!

  9. I know Canberra is much maligned but Jenny's tour really bought it to life, and made me think it wouldn't be such a bad place to live! That sunset looks so stunning, irresistible!

    Though I have to say that photo of the food at Poacher's Pantry was just plain cruel, it is so hard to get good 'deli' style food in Seoul. Australia is bursting with such great produce, cheese and meats - don't take it for granted!

  10. Ah, that was a brilliant tour, Jennie. Most informative and yes, The Poacher's Pantry sounds fabulous! J x

  11. Oh finally able to leave comments, thanks everyone for enjoying my tour, please pop by & say hello if you're ever in town, love Posie


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Felicity x