Holiday: Return to Oz – Day 12 (of 18): Coaching for Beginners

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SATURDAY the 2nd March.

6.15am: Welcome Wombats! ? A better night’s sleep (thankfully) so I’m almost ready to take on the world.

So far this holiday, we’ve used planes, trains and automobiles PLUS boats, taxis, hire-cars, the Metro – and our own two (four?) feet. It’s now time for something completely different, and only two options remain: by kangaroo or by coach! ?

Coaching for Beginners

We chose ‘by coach’ – they have more room and our one had a loo!??

More specifically, it’s with Australia’s well-known Murray’s Coaches. Founded in the 50s by Bill Murray (no, not that Bill Murray!), it’s now led by another minted Murray – Ron – with his 171-strong fleet covering four major routes (Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and the Gold Coast).


We’re travelling all the way from Sydney to the capital, Canberra (population c410 000 +2!) on a journey of around 170 miles lasting around three-and-a-bit hours.

Scorchio! (again!)

10.00am: 9.40am: We’re off! It’s a super-comfy coach, air-conditioned – and full! Clearly, this is a popular route! The traffic out of Sydney was pretty busy (given it’s a Saturday) but we were soon on the Freeway and heading south-west.


1.30pm: 1.25pm: We’ve arrived! Slightly ahead of schedule and Matt our Driver was soon off-loading everyone’s luggage. This had been a good decision – much more relaxing and more time-efficient than flying. Oh! and cheaper too as it had only cost A$78 in total for the both of us. ??

1.35pm: There were plenty of Taxis available the other side of the Bus Terminus, and A$10 later we arrived at our home for the next few nights…

The Crowne Plaza, Canberra …and Room 203.

Lobby interior…
Room 203

2.15pm: It was just a quick unpacking of the essentials before we went exploring. ?

2.25pm: We headed out of the Hotel in the direction of the footbridge that crosses the Highway and leads to Commonwealth Park. First impressions were strong ones: “Where is everyone?”

Canberra – The gateway to everywhere else! – Bill Bryson

Certainly the birds, in these early stages of our ‘voyage of discovery’, were outnumbering the humans in the ratio of 10:1! It was a spooky experience – it was like everyone had been told to leave! Either that, or they were all hiding from us tourists, just waiting to re-emerge when we’d gone back to our Hotel.

2.45pm: We stopped off at the ‘The Deck’ hoping to get something to eat, but ironically, it was closed for hot food because of a ‘large party’ attending a Wedding event later! Oh, the irony! How we laughed and how our stomachs gurgled!! ?

3.00pm: We grabbed a few slices of cake, before stopping off at the nearby National Capital Exhibition

This contained a fascinating account of how (and why!) Australia’s  capital city Canberra was built. A great series of presentations – and free too!

3.30pm: Back on the trail and heading back to the Hotel, we hoped to run into a crowd-or-two, but it proved fruitless! Not quite true, there was more fruit than people! Was Canberra normally really this quiet? Maybe it’s because it’s a Saturday and this immediate area is simply a Monday-to-Friday area?

4.00pm: We stopped off at the only shop we could find open – a Newsagents near the Hotel for some provisions. After we commented how quiet the area was, we were informed that we needed to head-off in a slightly different direction, as we were indeed in the business-related area that tended to be a ‘ghost-town’ on the weekends.

6.10pm: We left our Hotel to look for people.. places… restaurants… anything (or anyone) really, that proved that whoever ‘stole the horse’ from this one-horse-town, missed a few horses. We’re on the hunt for ‘Canberra’s Saturday night action’… the ‘Night life’ of the Capital… ‘the local buzz’!

We’ll let you know later! ?

7.55pm: We’re back! And I’m pleased to report that all is well in Canberra! ??

The mass abduction by Aliens earlier had seen them return everyone in time for our walk into the ‘main strip’ (as suggested by the lady earlier in the newsagents!). The main drag had a real ‘Saturday night feel’ to it – Restaurants were buzzing (dozens of them), Dudes were cruisin’ (with their stereos thumping) and Bars were already spilling into the street (and it was only 7pm!)

A superb meal!

We even found ourselves a Malaysian Restaurant where Sammy’s hard work in the kitchen paid-off by serving us one of the tastiest meals we’ve had when travelling! Top marks! ?

Wow! That’s a relief! For a moment, we thought we’d picked the ‘Marie Celeste’ city of Australia!

8.15pm: Saturday night and we stayed up late! ?

Tomorrow we plan to visit the Parliament Building, Anzac War Memorial, National Portrait Gallery – and anything else in that area (they’re all pretty close to each other). One thing is sure, I don’t think we’ll be queuing for anything! ?

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