After we had left the airport Wayne and I were ready to leave the Melbourne area, so we got on to the Hume Highway and headed North towards the New South Wales border. We drove for about an hour that night and then found a rest stop to camp at. The next morning we were off relatively early we were heading to Canberra about 700km from where we were, so we had a long day driving ahead of us. The highway was having a massive upgrade so there were roadwork's all the way along which slowed us up and got quite frustrating. At one stage I was diving and following a few cars we had all slowed through the roadwork's and at the end had sped up we then went through a small township, I was following the speed of the other cars closely. At the end of the town there was a downward hill and we were off again with trees either side, then I heard a siren and looked in the mirror and saw a flashing blue light, I slowed and looked again he was indicating for me to pull over. I did and he said that I had been speeding through the last township apparently I was doing 87 in a 70 zone. He went away and checked my licence. Both Wayne and I were surprised as the van struggles to reach that speed even when going downhill and all the other cars would have been going as fast if not faster than me, maybe I was the last in the line and the one he could catch. He wandered back to the van asked us if we were on holiday and how long we were here for. We told him and he then said as I was over 15km over the speed limit that he would have to give me a ticket, but as I was a visitor he would give me the benefit of the doubt and instead of a $220 fine I received a $79 one. He then said I could pay it at any post office, but if I was not returning to Australia then I didn't have to pay it if I didn't want to but if I returned and had not paid then I may have trouble getting back in to the country! We made a lunch stop at a very remote town and then drove on for a coffee stop at a McDonalds. We finally reached Canberra about 5pm, we searched out map for a place to free camp and found a rest stop by the side of a highway. We cooked some pasta with salami and then went to sleep, it was pretty noisy but we didn't sleep too badly.
We drove in to the centre of Canberra, the nations capital, the next morning stopping briefly at the information centre on the way. The place is very strange, it is a purpose built City in the middle of nowhere, built because the government were unsure whether to have Sydney or Melbourne as the capital city. The location of Canberra was chosen as it is between both cities but not further than 120km from Sydney, the stipulations given when the location was being sourced. The layout of the City was then determined by a competition, the winner deciding on what when where and how it would look. As we drove in I felt that reminded me of Milton Keynes, maybe that was because I knew it had been planned like the English town. We drove to capital hill and the houses of parliament separated from the town by roundabouts and parallel roads. From the front of the building looking back towards the city there were good views of . park and the former houses of parliament. The current building however was set in to a hill and had grass on the roof. We went in and were in time for the free guided tour, which took in the main hall, the senate, the house of representatives and the magna carta. We were told the buildings history, designed by an architect who had again won a completion to make the building. The whole place had lots of symbolism within it's design, the colours of the chambers were in keeping with the natural resources, for example the green colour of the walls in the house of representatives has different shades this is like the eucalyptus tree. The wood also used throughout is jarrah wood, a native tree to Australia. One of the exhibitions explained the parliamentary history of Australia and the former prime ministers. There is also a gallery with all of their portraits along with those of the head of the senate and head of the house of representatives.
It was an interesting tour.
We then made our way to the War Memorial, Mum and Dad had warned us that this might be tricky to reach because of the road layouts, roundabout and lnking straight roads. When they were here they could see where the wanted to get to, but ended up going around in circles, we however made it straight there, without one wrong turn. The road leading up to the museum had different monuments on either side, for all of the conflicts the Australians have been involved with. The museum was excellent and it would have taken days to see it all thoroughly. We did however manage to have a good few hours exploring the displays of the first and second world wars and also some of the articles on later conflicts. It was interesting to see the wars from a different perspective, as Australia is in the Pacific there was more confrontation with Japan than the Germans although many Germans living in Australia at the time were putting in to camps to avoid their involvement. Many Australians and New Zealanders (ANZAC's) were stationed in Turkey during the first world war and it was interesting to see why Gallipoli was such an important battle for the corps. In world war 2 many troops were sent off to Asia and the Pacific Islands, many were held hostage during that time. This is something which we were unaware of as we are only used to the British side of the battles and not the war as a whole, it was quite an eye-opener. We finally left as the building was closing and so we decided to get away from Canberra, on the Kings Highway we went until we reached Warri Reserve campground, just of the highway, it was busy and dark by the time we got there so we cooked out pork chops outside in the cold and dashed into the van for an early night.
The next day we drove on to Batemans bay, we were expecting it to be lovely, but we were cold and it was rainy so we were a little disappointed. When the weather is bad and you are driving the coastal routes it is sometimes hard to find things that you want to do and you just want to head on to a City or the next stop as there is not much to see I think that this was our problem in Batemans bay, if it had been a sunny day we would have loved it. Instead we drove on up the highway, we stopped for a home-made noodle soup at a sodden rest stop and then decided that we would just keep driving. We stopped for the night at Nowra, there was a rest area at the beginning of town so after finding ourselves in McDonalds for a coffee and to read a chapter of our book we stopped at the rest stop. Parked under a light so that we could our pork bolognaise and then ate it outside, it is very strange to have been there as we were sat on the side of the road really under a light with our plates on our laps, if we had seen that in England we would be calling the Gypsies, but here in Australia it is perfectly acceptable.
The following day was brighter which cheered our spirits a lot, we doubled backed on ourselves about 15km and went to Jervis Bay another top destination for travellers on this coast. We stopped at Huskinson and took a walk along a lovely beach the sun was shining ad it was a pretty spot. We then lapped back to the car park along the Esplanade path, where we were met by a dog show. All types of dogs dressed in the bizzarest outfits, superman to a ballerina, Wayne marched on, cruelty to animals. We drove around the headland in search of beaches but only found some boat ramps so we headed straight back on to the highway and up the coast. Our next stop of the day, after a detour onto the coastal drive was at Shoalhaven heads. A very small village where we headed to the beachfront, there were not many people around a few walking along the beach and the surf lifesavers practising on a dummy. We sat on the sand dunes watching the waves, something caught my eye, but I said nothing the next thing Wayne said did you see that dolphin, that must have been what it was so we sat looking out at the water. It was not long before another broke the surface and then another, we think that we saw about 12 bobbing out of the water, it was great and in such a secluded spot, made our day. Further North we stopped at Gerinong, as we came over the brow of the hill we saw the lovely sandy bay. We stopped and set ourselves up on the picnic benches for some lunch. Afterwards we made our way to a sheltered part of the bay and led for an hour on the sand with our books and a fleece. Our final port of call for the day was Kiama, it was a big town and the highlight was a blowhole lit up at night. We had a walk around the bay and stopped in a cafe (the only one on the high street that seemed to be open) for a coffee, as the area was so deserted we drove to a rest stop on the highway and had kangaroo for dinner.