Monthly Archives: August 2013

Sydney 2

On Monday, we took a train into town and dad got interviewed by Rove!
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He was invited to talk about Adventure Racing. We don’t know how they found out about Dad but you can’t say no when asked to go on TV. But more about that later. When we got to the station, we walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge which was built in 1880. You got a great view of the Sydney Opera House and the marina. Then we walked to The Rocks and looked around a museum. The Rocks is a very old part of Sydney that is now mostly full of shops and cafes. Then we walked around Circular Quay to the Sydney Opera House. Did you know that the roof of the Opera House is actually made of separate tiles? Mum says some people say it looks like nuns in a scrum but it is really meant to look like boat sails, and it kindo’ does. Up close, it was much bigger than you’d think.
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We had lunch in the gardens and walked to Darling Harbour to visit Madame Tussauds, Sydney. Madame Tussauds is a branch of a museum in London which is very old. Apparently, Madame Tussaud began her career just before the French Revolution and made death masks of King Louis and Marie Antoinette. It is a museum of life sized wax figures of celebs and famous people – Nicole Kidman, Queen Elizabeth the second, Barack Obama, Aussie sports people and Prime Ministers(just in case you forget you’re in Aus). It was pretty cool. E loved it – she rode with ET, sang with Slim Dusty, had open heart surgery, met Ironman, helped Capt Cook read his maps, had breakfast at Tiffany’s with Audrey Hepburn and flew with Kingsford-Smith. Fact: It takes 3 months to make one figure!! And no, Dad didn’t really get interviewed by Rove. Looks good, though – I think he’d be a ‘natural’!
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We then walked to the Queen Victoria Building, which is a shopping centre with tiled mosaic floors, old lamps and window frames and caught the train back to Berowra, where we were staying.
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Sydney 1

From Lake Burrill, we drove to Sydney. On the way, we stopped at a memorial to Charles Kingsford-Smith, who was the first person o fly across the Tasman Sea. The memorial was above the beach he left from when he made this flight. He landed in New Plymouth. We have learned a lot about him that we didn’t know before. he was from Brisbane, not England like Mum and Dad thought. He was also an amputee – he lost his foot when he was shot down in WW 1. The memorial was in the shape of his plane. It was hard to get a photo of but we did our best.
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In Sydney, we went to the Australian Reptile Park!! YAY :)!!!
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We watched some female Funnelweb spiders get milked. Spiders don’t have an udder so to milk them, they annoy them with tongs and suck the venom off the tips of the fangs so they can make an anti venom. Then we wandered around the lizard and snake enclosures. Some of the snakes were moving! They had my fave snake in captivity a King Cobra YAY!! Then we walked down to the show pit to watch a reptile show. The had a few lizards out and the man got cut by a male Fijian green iguana. Then he called someone out to hold a huge snake and that was the end of the show.
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While we were waiting for the Tasmanian Devils to get fed we looked at sleeping wombats, cute dingos, bats climbing around the top of their enclosure, kangaroos and some wallabies. We watched the Tas Devils get fed and walked over to Elvis’ enclosure where he got fed by the man holding pieces of bamboo. By the way, Elvis is a croc, not a human. Then we went to Pie in the Sky for, not surprisingly, pies.
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Canberra

On the way to Canberra we crossed 2 state borders, the Victoria-NSW(New South Wales) one and the NSW-ACT(Australian Capital Territory) one. ACT was created just to be the Capital city. Apparently, they couldn’t decide between the 2 largest cities at the time, Melbourne and Sydney, so they made a new State just for the capital, Canberra. It is celebrating it’s centenary this year. On the way there, We went through Glenrowan, where Ned Kelly grew up and also where he was caught. After Glenrowan we over the Snowy Mountains and into the Kosciusko National Park, named after the tallest mountain in Australia. A few kangaroos jumped over the road in front of us. We drove to Khancoban but had to turn around because the road we wanted to take was closed due to a rock slide. The road we took ended up being nicer and there was even some snow on the side of the road right near the top of the hills.
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While we were in Canberra, we went to the parliament buildings and wandered around there for a while. We saw the debating chambers. They have 2 – one for the Senate and one for the Federal Parliament. Their government is set up differently to ours. We also saw the desk Queen Victoria used when she signed the document that allowed Australia to have its own government and a copy of the Magna Carta, a very old and important legal document that meant the Kings and Queens were not as powerful and had to obey the law. We were able to go up onto the roof terrace and see over the city.
Then we walked to a hands on science museum called Questacon. It was soo much fun! My favourite part was a deep sea creatures part and a room of illusions. We watched a show about moving things faster called ‘Move It!’ We spent almost 4 hrs at Questacon.
The following day, we went to the National War Memorial Museum. I found it very interesting. They had lots of facts about different wars like WWI and WWII even the Boer war and the Vietnam war. In the grounds and along ANZAC Parade, there were lots of states and sculptures honouring the part people have played in different wars.
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This is a statue of Simpson and his donkey transporting a wounded man.
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From the steps of the War Memorial Museum, you can see down ANZAC Parade to the Houses of Parliament. The white buildings in the middle are the old parliament buildings.
When we left we drove straight to Lake Burrill, on the NSW coast.
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Echuca

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We left Halls Gap and drove to Echuca. Echuca is a small town on the Murray River. Mum says that years ago, there was a TV programme based there about the families that owned the paddle steamers. The steamer that we went on was in it. At Echuca, we looked at the paddle steamers while we were on a cruise on the Murray River on board the paddle steamer Emmylou. She was a very nice boat. She had a big wheel that made her move when it turned. It was turned by a big steam engine.
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The cruise was alright. The Murray River is the same colour as the Northern Wairoa but the gum tree lined banks are quite high and the earth is a reddish colour. We got to go under 2 bridges. One was aย  bridge with 3 or 4 arches and the other one was an ordinary concreteย rail bridge, but it was cool because it had lines up it from floods. There was a bright red door painted on a tree on the bank. I thought it was like Moonface’s slippery slide from Enid Blytons book The Magic Faraway Tree. When we got off the Emmylou we drove to Shepparton. Shepparton is the fruit and vege area of Victoria.
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The Grampians

While we were in the Grampians we went to the Brambuk Cultural Centre. The building is shaped like a cockatoo in flight. Inside they had some short movies. One was about the dreamtime story of the Grampians and the other was about what you could do there and the history. The dreamtime story is the only traditional story from the time before the Europeans that is still remembered by the local aborigine, which is kind of sad. All their other stories have been lost forever. We had a nibble of some kangaroo meat, emu sausage, smoked duck meat and some delish croc meat. E and I had SUPER delicious milkshakes. We hopped in the car and drove to the Grand Canyon, which, just like Invercargill’s Niagara Falls, isn’t as impressive as it sounds. The walk was really cool because when you reached the top you would look down into the valley and see the mist swirling around because it was raining.
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We also walked to the McKenzie falls, which weren’t that good, and to 2 look outs from which you could see mist shooting up out of the valley. Then we drove to 2 aboriginal shelters that had rock drawings, one had paintings of the right hands of 8-12 year old children and the other had white people dancing.
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On the way back to Halls Gap(the town in the Grampians) we saw lots and lots of wild kangaroos, emu and wallabies.
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