helping keep hungry backpackers fed:

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Epic Aussi Adventure: Canberra, The Snowy Mountains and the Victorian Alps

Todays Scenery:
The view between parliament house and the ANZAC museum

Today's Travelling Track:
Rage Against the Machine- Killing in the Name of

Oh dear, I really have a lot of catching up to do on this blog. As I write this we are currently in Coober Pedy, an opal mining town in the middle of the desert, on our way up to Ayres Rock and Alice Springs and yet according to you guys we’ve only just left Sydney! My apologies, time to get myself organised and write some blog!!

 The BF was extremely unenthusiastic about visiting Canberra. Despite my protests that it was the capital city of his country and should hold some kind of special place in his heart he was pretty determined that it was going to be boring and characterless and persuaded me that it wasn’t worth staying longer than one night. In all fairness he was probably right, I felt that we were able to see everything of interest in our short stay, however there were a lot of things I really liked about the city:
1. Everything was free- we went to parliament house, the royal mint, the ANZAC museum and drove around all of the embassies and we didn’t pay a cent for any of it. We also found free parking a 5 minute walk from the centre of the city.
2. Driving around was easy- the crazy spiralling circle design of the roads meant that none of them were ever at all congested or busy, they were however somewhat confusing
3. The food was excellent- we walked from our caravan park to Richmond, and found an array of reasonably priced Asian restaurants and pubs and had a fantastic Malaysian meal, the next day at lunchtime we went into the commercial centre and found an number of cafes and restaurants. We ate at a bustling bakery/takeaway/café which served amazing, simple food in massive portions at local bakery prices.
4. Everything was very clean and shiny- nothing really looked old or disused.
5. Some of the architecture was stunning- it may have cost a ridiculous amount to build, but parliament house is quite breathtaking and there are great views from it to the ANZAC museum and vice versa.

 So Canberra was a pleasant surprise for both of us but not the sort of place really worthy of a proper holiday.

Lake Jindabyne
Returning to New South Wales we decided to check out a few of Australia’s ski resorts. We are planning on spending a few months in this area after our road trip is over. We drove to Jindabyne, a pretty little town on a very attractive lake. Obviously since we were visiting in the spring it was far quieter than it would be in the midst of the winter season but a few of the shops and restaurants were still open and we spent a happy afternoon browsing a variety of snowboarding gear and meandering around the lake. The next morning we drove up to the resorts of Perisher Blue and Thredbo to see the actual skiing areas, although it’s very hard to visualise how they will look in snow. The drives themselves convinced us that ideally we’d like to find a resort with staff accommodation next to the slopes; Jindabyne was over 40km from both and we could imagine the roads to be difficult in snow. After a stunning but scary drive on an extremely narrow road which wound through the ranges (and upon which motorcyclists and trucks decided it was appropriate to charge around blind, narrow corners at about 150km/h) we arrived in the town of Mansfield. The next morning we drove up to Mount Buller and did our final ski resort town inspection.

At this point I had started to go a little bit crazy, even though we’d visited lots of mountains we hadn’t really had time to explore any of them properly or let off any steam. Now, whilst the BF can quite happily spend a whole (non-hung-over) day lounging around in bed, I am the kind of person who would get bored of this relatively quickly and need to go for a walk or a run or a cycle ride, all of which were great activities to do in the towns we were passing through. We decided to head down to Wilson’s Promontory to spend a couple of days hiking around and to expel some of my hyperactivity. After another beautiful but scary mountain road we ended up in the town of Healesville, where the BF told me there was a famous wildlife sanctuary. After the tense, winding road I had become restless and annoying (I am as bad as a child, honestly) and we decided to stop for some lunch. When I suggested an upmarket winery the BF was surprisingly enthusiastic- I think the idea of forcing some alcohol on me was appealing as it was likely to calm me down…

 The Innocent Bystander turned out to be one of the most confusing places I have ever entered, with an artisan bakery, cheese tasting, wine tasting and restaurant all in one building. Lines of people snaked in various directions and the smells of all the delicious food wafted around temptingly. The building was like a giant converted warehouse with open kitchens all down one side and decking with extra seating on the other. Eventually we located a waiter who spent some time using a piece of space-aged high tech equipment to find us an empty table (which ended up being the one literally in front of him). The food was quite pricey but we decided to share one of their gourmet pizzas and a serve of homemade fries and even managed to steer ourselves away from our usual carnivorous leanings and order an entirely vegetarian pizza, with pumpkin, goats cheese and pinenuts. With a glass of sparkly wine in my hand and chaos all around me I finally managed to calm down. The food was amazing, and due to the waiter making an error and bringing us the wrong pizza (resulting in us waiting about 3 minutes longer than we should have done) we ended up only paying for the chips and wine. Good result in my eyes. So if you’re ever in Healesville go to Innocent Bystander, I promise you won’t regret it! 

Turk Visits....Poop Fell On Me Creek
Turk had a little giggle at this hillariously edited sign


  1. Hey not so bad for a trip I think. I have not visited Canberra yet but after reading your blog I am thinking to plan a visit their.I would definitely want to take a snap by that Sign post shown at the end.