Today was a designated rest day after several days of solid driving so we allowed ourselves a bit of a sleep in and a lazy day in general. It wasn’t quite as cold this morning but we were very glad of our new heater to warm up the van. Outside it was another crispy, clear sunny day with blue skies. It might be cold but at least it isn’t raining!
After fiddling around in the van for a while we went for a walk into town to stretch our legs and enjoy the sunshine. We stopped for lunch in a small coffee shop and then continued on our walk. Eventually we went our separate ways and Ann went to a fabric shop and I went to a second hand bookshop. We were both very pleased with our purchases!
We then walked back to the van for a short rest before heading off in the Ute to the Cowra Japanese Garden. This is an amazing place and we come here every time we visit Cowra. Many travellers will remember that Cowra was the site for internment camps for the Japanese and Italians in WW2 – there was even a film about the Cowra Breakout. Ann’s father had been stationed in Cowra at some stage in his military service. The Japanese Garden is a beautiful commemoration of the now friendly relations between Japan and Australia.
The Japanese Garden is a very peaceful place to visit with a weight seeming to be lifted off your shoulders almost as soon as you enter. It has all the traditional Japanese features including ponds and waterfalls, raked pebble gardens, curved paths, rock formations, clipped hedges, traditional buildings and so much more. All this is in a typical Australian environment where the eucalyptus trees combine wonderfully with the Japanese elements of the garden. There are several small buildings and plenty of benches and seats so you can just sit and contemplate in the peace and quiet.
In addition there is a cultural centre with displays including Japanese traditional culture, warriors and samurais, architecture and buildings, bonsai plants, pottery and sculpture, and so on. There is an audio tour device that will help guide you around the various exhibits. There is also a café and a gift shop.
Interesting Facts about the Cowra Japanese Garden:
- The Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre was opened in October 1979, with Stage 2 opening in November 1986
- The garden covers 5 hectares and is designed to represent the entire landscape of Japan
- It is the largest Japanese garden in the Southern Hemisphere
On the way back to the caravan park we stopped off for some supplies. I then made various preparations for our departure tomorrow before we both settled into the van for the evening, by the heater.
Still living the dream – but perhaps wishing that it was a bit warmer here!