We enjoyed several days in Canberra catching up with Katie and Mick, and generally winding down before our final run home to Melbourne. We visit Canberra on a semi-regular basis and there are always new and interesting things to see and do. This time Floriade was on, as was the Thai Food and Cultural Festival. Plus we went to the Saturday morning Farmers Market at EPIC and had a good look around Gold Creek Historic Village.
Our focus was, however, on family time, and we shared several meals with Mick and Katie, including a delicious dinner at the Taj Agra Indian restaurant. The highlight of this particular trip was a scenic drive around Canberra with Mick as our Tour Guide. We saw some great scenery including Cotter Dam, Uriarra Crossing, a pumping station, and enjoyed coffee and cake with a view at the Scope Cafe at Mount Stromlo Observatory. It is ten years since the devastating ACT bushfires in 2003 which destroyed five telescopes, workshops, seven homes and the heritage listed administration building at Mount Stromlo. The only telescope to escape the fires was the 1868 15-centimetre Farnham telescope. The Café houses an art exhibition and articles and artifacts from the fires as a reminder of that terrible time ten years ago.
Back on the Road:
After saying our farewells to Katie and Mick, from Canberra we headed back to the Hume Highway towards home – the BT-50 was pretty well on auto-pilot. We had a quick coffee stop at Bookham some 90 kms from Canberra and another stop at Tarcutta to refuel and to visit the Truck Drivers Memorial which commemorates truckies who have died on the roads across Australia. It is a very moving and sobering memorial.
For lunch we stopped at Jags Café in Holbrook – a town perhaps best known for its submarine. We have regularly stayed at Holbrook on our way to or from Canberra but this is the first time we had visited since the highway bypass has been finished. Time will tell what effect the bypass will have on the town. From there it was on to Painters Island Caravan Park in Wangaratta for an overnight stop. It seemed only fitting that we should spend the last night of our trip at Painters Island as this was where we spent our first night away from home on our 2013 Big Adventure.
From Wang it was a pretty straight forward trip down the Hume then across to the Tullamarine Freeway and eventually across Bolte Bridge and onto the Monash and home.
We had a little difficulty getting the fiver in through the back gates as the olive tree has grown considerably since we left. Fortunately our neighbours Barbara and Len helped out – we tied a rope around the olive tree and they pulled it back over the fence to make a bit more room for us to squeeze the van past. The secateurs will be out there shortly.
So, finally we were home after almost exactly four months away and covering 15,999 kilometres. Barbara and Len were kind enough to invite us in for a cup of tea and lunch, which was a great way to settle back home. Now begins the job of emptying and cleaning the fiver, and preparing it for our next Big Adventure.
We can’t wait!