Words by Michael Frith, and Photos by Paul Hollingworth
In anticipation of a long drive to come, we all met up at the BP petrol station to get some Breaky and top up with fuel for the long weekend trip away, to Canberra in the ACT.
We headed off jauntily up the Hume Highway, but it wasn’t long before we realized the recent rains had caused the Hume to develop many, many Potholes; some small, and some you could lose a small car into.
We were all doing our best to avoid as many as we could, however the inevitable happened when Chris Q found one in his VW Polo; the low-profile tire just couldn’t handle the depth of the crater-like hole, and thus caused our first tire blow out of the trip.
We all stopped to help, and gave the damaged and now even flatter low-profile tire to Chris and Leigh to drive ahead and get the tire replaced in Wodonga, as now the Polo would be speed limited to 80KPH on a space-saver tire.
By this time, we had all become proficient at avoiding most of the potholes, and some communication via Messenger courtesy of our Navigators assisted others about the larger ones.
We stopped at the Dog on the Tuckerbox for some snacks and the must-do Photo Opportunity with the Dog.
After our break, we headed off to continue our journey but now the road had turned to Concrete and thankfully had fewer potholes.
We finally arrived safe and sound at the Pavilion on Northbourne Avenue in Canberra, and checked into our rooms; we found the Atrium Bar and lounge a wonderful place to sit and relax. However, we also heard that Quintin, who was traveling from the North to join us, had also had a run-in with a Pothole, and had suffered two tire blowouts, both on the left side. He had called roadside assistance and they in turn had arranged a Tow to YASS, so I volunteered to go and get him, and off I went. I arrived at the sleepy town of YASS to find Quinton and his Barina at a closed Tyre outlet. Thankfully we made our way back to the Pavilion in Canberra without further tire issues and re-joined the others for dinner.
The next day we headed off to Old Parliament house where we had some time to explore, and Gordon C decided to see what it felt like to wear a wig and gown (Not his first time we suspect)
We then headed off to New Parliament House where we had time for morning tea on the Queen’s Terrace, before exploring the New Parliament House.
Afterward, we then headed to the National Arboretum for lunch and a wander around the large expanse of trees and shrubs. Another Photo opportunity arose from Dairy hill’s lookout.
Then we were off to the Australian War Memorial – which was undergoing extensive renovations and with a huge extension being undertaken. (Worth the trip back to see the finished building once it’s done)
From the Australian War Memorial we made our way to Phillip B’s house for some Pre-dinner drinks, and then dinner at a local eatery on the Edge of Lake Burley Griffin.
Then back to after-dinner drinks in the Atrium bar at the Pavilion.
The following day after a good rest, we all met for Breaky and headed off to the National Gallery, where the schedule was to view the Portrait gallery but with diminishing interest, we decided to head to the Canberra Train Museum (Yes they have one!)
The Lady behind the desk asked if I was eligible for a seniors discount? There’s a first time for everything, and it will happen to us all at some point LOL; we all got our train fix – some were more excited than others.
Heading off to a winery for lunch – we enjoyed a lovely day; the sun was shining but it was a little cool when in the shade. The lunch at the winery was great and we found out Philip doesn’t like Pinot. We had some free time to relax before dinner at Philip’s place where we had a lovely meal amid great company.
The following morning, we all had breaky in the Atrium, and as the weather was not great we headed back to Old Parliament house, as we all agreed we needed more time to explore. From there we headed to the National Museum where we had lunch and explored the museum – during our Tour of the Mint we sadly found out that they don’t give out samples HAHA!
As the day wound down, we headed back to our Accommodation for some much-needed rest, followed by dinner later at a local venue, and then back to our Hotel for more drinks at the Atrium.
The next morning, and the last day of the trip, we all met up and escorted Quintin back to YASS where they had fixed his Tyres, and we said our goodbyes and parted ways, as he was heading North and we were all heading South, back home to Melbourne.
The journey home was thankfully uneventful as regards potholes and tire blowouts, and we stopped for Lunch in Albury before making the final kilometers journey back to Melbourne.
It was a very enjoyable long weekend away and an opportunity to see some of the many varied sights and attractions of Canberra and the ACT.
Many thanks to Chris and the Events Team for organizing a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding time away with Motafrenz…