29.05.2012 – 01.06.2012 Sunny 19°C
I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Canberra after having such a blast in Sydney. I enjoyed Sydney far more than I had expected, ended up being better than the piss fuelled week I had with my two mates five years earlier. Must be maturing…
Our Greyhound arrived at 8am on the dot outside Central Station, we jumped on and settled in for our four-hour ride. Typically boring, I caught up on some sleep. Once in Canberra we got off and went to look for somewhere to store our bags, as time was tight, we’d already booked the bus out of Canberra, bound for Melbourne for twelve hours time. I’m glad we did too.
The Greyhound counter in the bus station did offer to look after our bags but only until 6pm, when they closed, and for a five buck fee each. Fuck that, the greedy charlatans.
B suggested looking for a hostel and paying them the cash, that way we would be bag free all day. Rather a good idea, I was surprised I didn’t think of it myself, well, I was tired. We found a YHA after walking through an ugly concrete shopping complex and the Eastern European bird with rough hair on reception pointed us to paid-for lockers around the corner. $5 for a small locker for twenty-four hours, perfect. Bag-less we walked off towards Parliament House, the new and the old buildings. It’s a fair walk, around 3km and on the way we looked through a tourist booklet ‘things to do in Canberra’. We weren’t impressed. Pretty much the only thing that looked worth doing was the mint, where they make the Aussie wonga and that was a further 2km walk out from Parliament.
Still walking, we crossed a green slimy river using a bridge (clever ah?) and finally made it to the old building. I noted the distinct lack of pathways, road crossings and signs for pedestrians. There are a few places where you can cross roads, as the curb flattens but you’re expected to walk on the grass verge by the side of the road once you have crossed. Not very well thought out so far.
Parliament was soul destroyingly disappointing. I don’t know if our hammering of Sydney’s sights and early mornings had caught up with me and I was just exhausted but it really was crap. Imagine a school built in the 70’s. Imagine it painted pure white. That’s the old Parliament building. The grounds were a state, the fountains in the lakes were switched off and the water surrounding them was murky and full of bird shit from the resident Cockatoo’s not to mention that there was no information around whatsoever. We walked up to the building and there was sign reading ‘Conference in progress’. I suggested crashing whatever posh idiots were sitting in the meeting but B didn’t think it was a very good idea. After having the life force sucked out of us through our eyes, we both decided against even walking up to the new parliament building, shunned the mint because of the distance, and walked back to the concrete jungle that Canberra calls its centre.
With seven hours still to kill before our bus, it was taxing. We had a proper walk around the town, which incidentally is a double of Stevenage in Hertfordshire minus the young mums with prams, and went to trusty McDonald’s for a 30c ice cream cone and a two buck double cheeseburger. The town really is a dump. It’s completely lifeless and has no vibe or anything about it. All the buildings look as though they were thrown up in the 70’s, with stone covered walls and ugly brown tinted glass. Lovely place.
Just to make sure we were in the right place and there wasn’t hundreds of pulse racing, intriguing attractions around the corner, I Tripadvisor’d Canberra. We were in the right place and there wasn’t any pulse racing, intriguing attractions around the corner. Hungry and not wanting to eat fucking McDonald’s yet again we went to look for some dinner, a place like in Sydney where we could get a porterhouse steak and mash for eight bucks would have been a godsend. After knocking countless places for being too posh or too expensive, we found The Mongoose pub and ordered a $11 Hawaiian Pizza, a beer and a diet coke. Much to our delight the pizza was bloody good and with nowhere to go we sat in there abusing their Wi-Fi for something to do. After the second time they came and asked if they ‘could get us anything else?’, we packed up and left for the YHA where we sat reading until our bus came.
I didn’t know what was in Canberra before we arrived so had no preconceptions but it was a joke. There is nothing there. An absolute waste of time and Aus should be ashamed for making that their capital. I don’t care about the row between Sydney and Melbourne of who got to be the capital, giving it to a place like that is a crime. The joint-worst capital I have been to (the other being Laos’ Vientiane).
Roll on Melbourne…