Road Trips

Sorry for the lack of updates. I wanted to blog last week but I’ve been really busy and I haven’t had a day off for 2 weeks now. The reason for our topic today is because I took 2 roadtrips in a week during the 1st week of May. Joe and I drove up to Lumut early that week, together with our photographers and makeup artist and went over to Pangkor Laut Resort for our pre-wedding photoshoot.

Behind the scenes at our pre-wedding photoshoot

And then that Labour Day weekend, my family and I drove to Singapore to see my sister who is now 6 weeks away from giving birth! We also had our first proper proper family photoshoot in Singapore. Got back that weekend and had flu, sore throat and fever – don’t worry, I went for a checkup at the hospital and I don’t have the H1N1 virus….just your common cold. Feeling much better now.

Our extended family….baby makes 7!

Anyways, although road trips can be pretty tiring, especially if you’re the driver, you get so much more out of the trip. You get freedom, to see whatever you want to see, stop wherever you want to stop, plus, you get to enjoy the scenary of the place and how the land changes from one state to the other. Sometimes, on road trips, you can even stumble upon gems that are off the beaten track. Not only that, you get to bond with whoever’s in the car with you, you get to talk and laugh and listen to your favourite tunes all at the same time and most of all, taking road trips saves you money from flying internally in a country.

Joe and I used to take a lot of road trips when we were back in Australia. We didn’t even own a car then, it was relatively cheap to rent a car there and one convenience about renting a car in OZ is that you can rent it one way! For example, you can rent the car in Sydney but return it in Melbourne! Driving around OZ was easy, all you need is a map book and if you have some sense of direction, you won’t get lost.

Hunter’s Valley in 2003

Port Stephens also in 2003. We found this secluded cove while just driving around and decided to stop to take pictures. Hidden gems like these, that are not on the map are hard to find if you rush through your trip.

While browsing through pictures for my wedding montage, I was reminded of my previous road trips around OZ, to Port Stephens and Hunter’s Valley in New South Wales and more recently, another road trip I took with my family in Perth, Western Australia.

The neverending open road….

With my family at the Pinnacles, Western Australia

One particularly memorable road trip during my days as a student in OZ was my one day trip to Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, early 2005. It was my final week in Sydney after being there for 3 whole years and I haven’t set foot in the Nation’s capital yet, so Joe and I decided, since it was just about 3 hrs away, to drive there in the morning and come back in the evening.

There were signs at every juncture, it’s pretty impossible to get lost!

Before we knew it, we were in Canberra!

Because it was a day trip, I did my research beforehand on all the places I had wanted to visit. A great place to visit to get all the information is the Visit Canberra website. Of course the Parliament House was one of the highlights.

The 81-metre flagpole at the Parliament House can be seen from afar. Did you know that the Australian flag placed on that flagpole is bigger than a double-decker bus?

Unfortunately, when we were there, the Parliament House was undergoing some renovations so we couldn’t go in to walk around. On normal days however, you can enjoy panoramic views of Canberra from the roof top or stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens and enjoy the renowned collection of Australian contemporary art, all for FREE here at the Parliament House.

Another place which I earmarked to visit while I was in Canberra was the Australian War Memorial. Let me tell you, this place is by far the most serenely beautiful place that I’ve ever been so far.

The beautifully manicured courtyard

The plaque reads, “Displayed around this courtyard are the names of the major theatres of war in which Australians have been engaged. These inscriptions are representative of battles and theatres of war in which Australians have died.”

The Wall of Fallen Soldiers (Roll of Honour)

There’s also several exhibition halls in the Australian War Memorial itself where you can see various military and war relics. There are several permanent exhibits there and one such exhibit is what they call the Dioramas.

These are actually model size of battles which happened at various places during the First World War. According to the official website, one of the memorial’s founder, Mr Charles Bean wanted the dioramas to be more than simply battlefield models. He saw them as works of art, a way of helping people in Australia to understand the devastation and danger of battle, and the sacrifice and sufferings of the people to whom the Memorial is dedicated.

There’s also an Aircraft Hall where you get up close and personal with life-size classic aircrafts and learn how airpower affected everyday life during the Second World War and the Korean War.

Entry into the Australian War Memorial is FREE! So, if you ever go to Canberra, you have to visit this place!

Right in the heart of city lies Lake Burley Griffin. We were driving around looking for a place to have lunch and we stumbled upon the picturesque lake with a view of the Parliament House. We decided to buy some sandwiches and had a little impromptu picnic by the lake.

At first we didn’t even know the name of the lake and its significance. It was until I got back to Sydney and researched later that I found out that the lake was named after the architect who designed the city of Canberra in 1911.

We were there mid day on a weekday so it was practically deserted, but in the evenings and weekends, lots of activities happen in and around the lake. You can rent a kayak or paddle boat and cruise on the lake or if you’re more of a land person, you can rent a bike and cycle around the lake to check out other monuments in Canberra located around the lake.

Other places we managed to squeeze into our itinerary of the day….

The Australian National University (ANU), granted I just graduated at that point but I wanted to check out the campus for fun…who knows…might go back there to study again?

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is where all of Australia’s top atheletes train and not a very popular tourist destination. But, I just wanted to catch a glimpse of Ian Thorpe in the pool I guess…hehehe….There are guided tours of the AIS at various times but Joe and I just missed the 90 min tour when we got there so we just walked around the area for a while before moving on. Caught this guy though doing the Butterfly though…

Since I was and Mass Comm & Film Major, I thought it’d be a sin if I miss out on the National Film and Sound Archive.

Entry is again FREE and it’s basically a museum of Australia’s collection of audiovisual history including discs, films, videos and artefacts such as old cameras, costume, props and memorabilia.

Like this antique Cinema Projector which you had to crank for the film to move…imagine all those years ago, someone actually had to do at just the right pace and most probably in a small room, so our ancestors can enjoy a movie.

One thing that I didn’t plan, was for the day to end so soon and before I could make it to the National Museum of Australia (NMA), it was already after 5pm and most places including the NMA was already closed. So anyways, on our drive out of the city, we saw a sign which pointed to a lookout and since we weren’t in a rush to get back anyways, we turned into the exit and ended up here…..Till now I don’t know the name of this lookout and can’t explain to you how you can get there, but you can see the whole city of Canberra from here!

It was definitely a great way to sum up my culturally enriching road trip, on the top of the Nation’s capital.

This post might’ve been a couple years late but Canberra, Sydney and the rest of Australia will always have a soft spot in my heart. I’ve always had this plan to move back there, especially when I have a family of my own…so who knows….. I might be blogging about more great Australian road trips in the future, the ones that I’ll be taking with my own kids.

If you are planning a trip to Australia soon, why not check this website out first. There are many different routes that you can take to discover the Land Down Under and you too can experience your own great Australian road trip!! 

Love, Bel

0 comments on “Road Trips

  1. cindy khor

    oooo, wow, so there would be a wedding going on…. its double happiness to your family then…. flag = double-decker bus = wow!!! i never knew that a flag could be that big….

  2. Melissa

    Congrats, Bel 🙂 Btw, I must say, you don’t look you’ve aged one bit since 2003!! How do you manage to keep so well?? Do share!


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