We left Bendigo on Friday morning and drove as far as Albury on the Victoria-New South Wales border. It wasn't a particularly interesting town but it's a popular stop off en route from Melbourne to Sydney as it's about half way and it had a lovely old English pub. We stayed there overnight and came on to Canberra on Sunday.
The landscape was ridiculously flat and dry so Australia is starting to live up to expectations! However the weather hasn't improved at all, it's about 25 degrees most days but every time the sun comes out it's followed by a storm and lots of rain.
We arrived in Canberra at about 2pm on Sunday and headed to the centre only to find all the shops shutting at 4pm! There was no life at all and we couldn't find a cheap place to eat. We ended up in an Irish Pub having pie and chips, it was nice to go somewhere different after six nights in a row at 'La Porchetta', the unbelievably cheap Italian place where we can both eat for $15 (about 6 pounds!).
On Monday we started touring the museums, which are basically the only attraction here. We went to the National Library and the High Court before the pouring rain drove us to hide in Starbucks with a nice warm coffee and read the paper! In the afternoon we went to Old Parliament House and saw the Aboriginal Tent Embassy which is a permanent protest at the way they are treated here which is unsurprisingly not very well. Finally we went to the National Archives where we saw Australia's 'birth certificate', the official letter which Queen Victoria signed to say they could become independent.
Canberra has no night life so we went back to the Irish pub where they had live jazz which was a nice change from dinner and early to bed!
On Tuesday we went to Parliament House and saw where their parliament sits (we really should do this in England one day!) and then on to the National Museum which was excellent. We learned all about how Australia came to be and lots about the wildlife here which is both interesting and terrifying, everything here is out to kill you! Finally we went to the Australian Mint and saw how and where money is made, would've been better if they had actually been making some but never mind!
We left Canberra on Wednesday and drove to the coast. We stopped at Bateman's Bay(Canberra's port) and Kangaroo Valley on our way to Nowra where we stopped overnight at a great campsite. On Thursday we stopped at Kiama to see the Blowhole, a natural hole in the rocks where the sea burst through every few seconds creating a sort of geezer.
With nothing else in the plan before Sydney we decided to drive straight there on Thursday.