A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

Summary: A-Z of Canberra

A summary of my A-Z Challenge posts for 2020, and links to each post, can be found below:

A is for ACT

B is for Breweries

C is for Cycle Paths

D is for Democracy

E is for Enlighten

F is for Floriade

G is for Green Machine

H is for History

I is for Institutions

J is for Jolly Good Food

K is for Kaleidoscope

L is for Lakes

M is for Mountains

N is for Ngunnawal

O is for Offices

P is for Penis Owl

Q is for Questacon

R is for Roundabouts

S is for Suburbs

T is for Telstra Tower

U is for Underrated

V is for Vineyards

W is for Walks

X is for X-Rated

Y is for Y-Number Plates

Z is for Zoom

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

Z is for Zoom

Well here we are, the final day of my 2020 A – Z Challenge!

I truly hope you have enjoyed (and been inspired by) my virtual tour of Canberra.

At the moment, travel and tourism is on hold due to COVID-19. But I certainly hope once things are back to “normal” you will get those skates on and ZOOM to visit our national capital!

It’s Australia’s best kept secret. It is so much more than politicians, public servants and porn! It’s a hidden gem and the place I’m proud to call “home”.

To recap (or reread) my A-Z if Canberra, I’ve linked to all my posts for the month of April 2020 HERE.

A – Z of Canberra – Z

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

Y is for Y (Number Plates)

The majority of ACT vehicles receive a standard ‘Y’ series number plate.

However, you can choose a non-standard (personalised) number plate – for an extra cost of course.

Public, government, diplomatic or heavy vehicles have special number plates.

The ‘Y’ number plates are distinctive to the ACT featuring blue lettering on a reflective white background.  The ACT has been using ‘Y’ for number plates since 1948.

This came about when larger states were given a range of letters. For example, New South Wales was allocated AAA-000 to FZZ-999.

The ACT was given a single letter, which explains why number plates starting with the letter Y are so easy to spot.

A few years ago YOB-0 was quite popular because that it spelled out “YOBO”. In case you don’t see the humour here, a little background information…

Yobbo is Australia slang for someone who is uncouth, badly behaved and obnoxious. Loud and drunk are also characteristics.

Yep! Aussie Aussie Aussie!

A – Z Challenge – Y

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X is for X-Rated

The suburb of Fyshwick is probably Canberra’s most “famous” suburb. Everyone that’s never been to Canberra knows about Fyshwick and once someone finds out you’re from Canberra they will probably ask “Can you still get fireworks and/or porn at Fyshwick?”

Fyshwick is an industrial suburb. Porn, brothels and pyrotechnics gained it its reputation as the sex capital of Australia.

Since the 1980s Canberra has been synonymous with sex in the minds of many Australians. Twenty years have passed since it became legal to sell X-rated videos in the ACT and the adult industry has gone through periods of growth, boom and, pardon the pun, “bust”.

A – Z of Canberra – X

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

W is for Walks

Canberra is basically just one big national park. For walkers, Canberra is truly the “Bush Capital”. In just minutes you can leave the city behind and feel like you’re a million miles away. Bush trails, alluring hills and mountains frame the picture for Canberra’s many many walks.

The choice for wanderers, is HUGE, but never fear, you will find what you’re after in at least one of these 10 tantalising trails.


A rosy-cheek-producing walk (4.5 kilometres return), that rises up directly behind the Australian War Memorial. There are very steep paths that wind up through shrubby woodland. You can enjoy birdsong as you walk to the summit. At the top, you can enjoy a 270-degree view over the Parliamentary Triangle.

Don’t forget to stop and look around on the way for candid views, plaques commemorating the Kokoda Track and the memorial to Aboriginal soldiers.


One Tree Hill Lookout is a 90 minute return walk presenting the walker with Brindabella mountain range vistas. It’s remoteness on the Northside is reminiscent of what Canberra’s earliest inhabitants would have experienced, however, the Southside provides a developer’s view with newer suburbs Moncrieff and Taylor creeping closer up the hill. The incline is mostly gentle on the way up, with a steep section toward the end.


The wetlands is a secluded slice of nature only 10 minutes’ drive from the city. Five timber bird hideouts help you get intimate with Kellys Swamp’s 200-plus bird species. Wander along the boardwalk, with popping frogs as your soundtrack, on the look-out for eastern long-necked tortoises, while Black Angus cows graze incongruently nearby.


The 106,000-hectare Namadgi National Park, borders Kosciuszko National Park and is a trekker’s dream daytrip. Taking up almost half the ACT’s land area, it offers a selection of short and long hikes (up to seven-hour treks) through alpine meadows and snow gum forest.

My favourite trails are:

  • Booroomba Rocks (four kilometres return, and STEEP), which provide stunning panoramas of the ACT
  • Yankee Hat Rock Shelter (six kilometres return, two-and-a-half hours) which explores an indigenous rock art site that was the first-ever identified in the ACT. It is protected by the Ngunnawal people – refer to my post “N is for Ngunnawal”)
  • Gibraltar Peak (four hour, moderate to hard trek) where you can expect to see glades interrupted by spiky grass trees, barely babbling creeks, plus impressively expansive views, once you reach the (somewhat phallic) boulders at the summit.
  • Square Rock (8.5 kilometres, 4 hours) where you can explore huge granite boulders, Alpine Ash forests and Snow Gum woodlands. The Square Rock Lookout is around 1400 metres above sea level with stunning views of the Australian bush.


A stroll around the glistening Lake Burley Griffin is always a glorious. This walk takes you 5km around from the Commonwealth Bridge to the Kings Avenue Bridge. Take in the lake views whilst walking by Canberra’s iconic attractions including the National Carillon, National Library, Captain Cook Fountain and more. There are even coffee trucks along the way. It hardly feels like exercise!


Taking you around Canberra’s south, this 27km walk takes you via Point Hut Crossing, past Pine Island and Kambah Pool, and finishes at the peaceful Casuarina Sands. Whether you choose to walk a section or walk the entire length, the walk won’t be short of natural riverine, rare plant species, unique rock formations and cascading waters.


The gorgeous National Arboretum is home to widespread trees, forests and unique plant species. This 2.2km trail starts near Pod Playground, and winds through five forests, past the Wide Brown Land sculpture and onto the majestic Himalayan Cedar Forest. Reward yourself with a picnic at the end with free barbeque facilities. You may like to return the same way or continue onto the Cork Oak Trail.

Walking in Canberra

As with any bushwalk or hike, check weather conditions before you go and let someone know your plans before you leave. There isn’t always mobile reception in the bush, so make sure you’re prepared before setting out.

My husband and I love, and highly recommend, the book “Walking Canberra – 101 Ways To See The Nation’s Capital On Foot.” We are currently working our way through the list to appreciate all the beauty of our nation’s capital.

A – Z Challenge – W

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V is for Vineyard

Canberra has an established wine growing region, with more than 30 wineries within a 35 minute drive of the city. Our boutique cellar doors offer an opportunity to meet the vignerons, share a yarn and taste the local creations, made with grapes including Riesling, Viognier or Tempranillo. There are also a variety of indulgent dining experiences to match your wines – from fine dining to wood-fired pizzas – plus tours and events. 

Cool climate wines and regional terroir

The district’s vineyards cover a large altitudinal range averaging from 300 to 800 metres. There’s also a distinct variation in temperature, vineyard elevations, and different soil types including granites and volcanics.

These elements, combined with the skills and character of the winemaker, reap varieties in styles such as Sangiovese, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, Tempranillo and include rare varieties like Gruner Veltliner.

The ability to ripen the same fruit across the whole region provides great diversity within styles – so you may need to taste them all!

Arrive during harvest time so you can celebrate the joys of the humble grape at the Canberra District Wine Harvest Festival. 

Canberra’s Top Five Wineries (in my opinion!)


Mount Majura Vineyard lies near the top of the Majura Valley, just outside Canberra. Every Mount Majura Vineyard wine always has been, and always will be, made exclusively from their single vineyard.

Friendly and knowledgeable Cellar Door staff invite you to relax and enjoy a seated tasting. Taste as many or as few wines as you like. With an extensive range, from sparkling wine and dry whites, to reds and sweet wines, there is something for everyone. With a number of wines to taste side-by-side, it’s a great educational experience for everyone from the wine novice to the serious connoisseur.

Tastings cost $10 per person with an additional charge of $5 if you wish to taste the single-site Tempranillo wines. Tasting fees are waived on purchase of wine. Cheese plates and regional tasting plates are available for purchase.


Gundog Estate is a James Halliday-rated five red star boutique winery offering a wide range of premium wines. This includes a Cabernet-based Rosé, Shiraz and Riesling from the Canberra District, Hunter Valley Semillon and Shiraz and Hilltops Shiraz.

Set in old 19th century stables in the Gundaroo village, the Cork St Cellar offers cheese and charcuterie plates, coffee, and gourmet pantry items featuring local produce.


Established in 1971 this vineyard is celebrated as one of the best, most iconic in the country. Murrumbateman and Shiraz are one of those rare combinations in the world of wine that can produce something truly exciting.


Ken Helm is a 4th generation descendant of German vignerons who planted vines in Albury/ Rutherglen in 1850s. Helm Wines of Murrumbateman, established by Ken and Judith Helm in 1973, are pioneers of the Canberra District, specialising in Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wines have a long reputation for quality and consistency. The winery enjoys a five red star rating by James Halliday and in Huon Hooke’s 2018 Top Wineries of Australia. The Cellar Door is the heritage listed 1888 Toual School House, which has been faithfully restored.


You can find Lerida Estate at the foothills of the Cullerin Range, a short 30 min drive from Canberra. They produce a range of exceptional, unique, cool climate wines made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Riesling and more!

Enjoy a tasting in at the beautiful cellar door, or stop for a meal in their award winning restaurant. This winery also offers magnificent sweeping views over the mysterious Lake George.

Liquid Geography Map

The Canberra District Wine Industry Association has created a website where you can plan your wineries trip, as well as a downloadable PDF Map.

  • Click HERE to access the website.


  • Download the map HERE.

A – Z Challenge – V

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

U is for Underrated

Canberra is arguably, Australia’s most underrated city! If anything is gained from this year’s A-Z of Canberra, it is hopefully the realisation of this fact.

It’s time that Australians stopped rolling their eyes at the mere mention of the nation’s capital; and time that international visitors made a bee-line to Canberra instead of Sydney or Melbourne.

Far from it’s unfair reputation of being just a city of roundabouts, freezing weather and politicians, the nation’s capital offers game-changing hotels, a plethora of funky bars, cafes and restaurants, and an extensive menu of cultural and leisure activities.

Canberra is easy to get around, has minimal peak hour, lots of places to see and things to do, capped off with a heap of wide open spaces.

Here is my Top 5 things that Canberra gets right…

1. Wine. All the wine.

There are more than 30 cellar doors within a 35-minute drive of Canberra. One of them, Mount Majura Vineyard, is located within the ACT, just 15 minutes from the Parliament House. That’s a win, right there.

2. The weather is actually fantastic.

Yes, it gets a little chilly in winter, but Canberra is also Australia’s third sunniest city – sorry, Sydney and Melbourne.

In summer, Canberrans (is that a word?) get to enjoy long, hot days with low humidity (ie no hair frizz) and during spring and autumn nature turns it on, with pretty blooms and colourful leaves everywhere.

3. One word: Floriade.

Floriade is Australia’s biggest celebration of spring. Every year, more than one million flowers are planted in 13 (massive) flower beds for the festival, which runs from mid-September until mid-October. There’s great food, drinks and activities to keep everyone occupied and entertained and then, there’s Floriade NightFest. Refer to my post “F is for Floriade“.

4. Canberra can rock a festival.

Canberra has an annual hot air balloon festival. I’ll repeat that – they have a festival entirely dedicated to hot air balloons. How is that not worth a visit? The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is held in March and it is, indeed, spectacular.

There’s also Enlighten, which is Canberra’s answer to Vivid and sees the city lit up for 10 nights in autumn, while Skyfire is an annual March fireworks show held over Lake Burley Griffin. Refer to my post “E is for Enlighten“.

5. The classic attractions.

Questacon. Parliament House. Cockington Green. The Australian War Memorial. Yes, you probably saw them as a kid on a school excursion, but you’ll see them in a whole new light when you come back as an adult…

And if all of the above, fails to sway you that Canberra deserves to be on your radar as a must see destination, you can also sleep with lions. Really.

Canberra is the only place in Australia where you can sleep next to a tiger, lion or bear (with just a glass wall separating you). If animals are your thing, book a sleepover with a difference at Jamala Wildlife Lodge within the National Zoo and Aquarium.

A-Z Challenge – U

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T is for Telstra Tower

Telstra Tower is Canberra’s iconic telecommunication tower rising 195.2 meters above the summit of Black Mountain.

It is not only a landmark and one of Canberra’s most visited tourist destinations but also offers 360 degree panoramic views of Canberra and its surrounding countryside. You can take in the spectacular scenery from an indoor observation deck, and two outdoor viewing platforms.

The tower was primarily built telecommunications purposes and has extensive facilities of this nature on the tower. However, it also has a café and Conference Centre offering spectacular outlooks.

The lower level of the Tower’s entrance foyer, houses the Telstra Heritage Exhibition which traces the history of Australian telecommunications as well as a theatre showcasing a video, produced shortly after the Tower opened in 1980 on the tower’s design and construction. Click HERE for the link.

The Tower has won two awards for outstanding design. The first was in 1979 when the Tower was nearing completion, for imaginative and effective use of concrete in a building. The second award was in 1980 where it won the Civic Design Award of the ACT Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

This is another MUST see on your Canberra itinerary. It gives you a sense of the space and design of the city as well as a definite understanding of the nickname, “bush capital. I like to think of it as a sentinel – no matter where you are in Canberra, it can be seen, watching over you!

From the base of the tower
View of Canberra from the outside viewing platform

Telecommunications facilities

View from afar
Panoramic views from the tower

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S is for Suburbs

The suburbs of Canberra are organised into a hierarchy of districts, town centres, suburbs, industrial areas and villages.

While these divisions have no formal role in the governance or administration of the city, they formed a basis for the planning and development of Canberra and are significant to its commercial and social activities.

Canberra’s residential districts were developed with the intention of being semi-self-contained satellite towns with a population of about 80,000 people. The districts contain town centres which serve as commercial, transport and employment nodes. Each district is separated by nature reserves.

There are seven major districts in Canberra, with each divided into an average of eighteen suburbs.

In 1927, Canberra established the National Memorials Committee to deal with the character and location of national memorials and the nomenclature of divisions of and public places in the Australian Capital Territory. The original plan of Canberra contained a number of local names and others which had already been applied.

The Committee adopted a unique scheme of nomenclature for suburbs, and decided to group together themes of (for example) governors, statesmen, explorers, navigators, scientists and others significant names that represent the patriotism and flavour of Australian history.

As such, each Canberra suburb is named after a significant person, with street names following the theme of that person. For example, my suburb of Moncrieff is named after Gladys Moncrieff, a famous Australian musician; therefore all street names are Australian music related.

I find this to be a quirky and novel way of naming suburbs and streets and am a huge fan of it! Certainly more original than Melbourne or Sydney who just “borrowed” from England…

Here is a list of each suburb in Canberra and it’s relevant street “theme”.

Source: ACT Archives

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R is for Roundabouts

Tourists often poke fun at Canberra’s apparent love of the humble roundabout but does the city really have more roundabouts than most?

In 2016, Roads ACT Director Tony Gill provided the hard numbers.

“Canberra has 406 roundabouts and 276 sets of traffic lights,” he said.

“Most of the roundabouts are in residential areas and most of the traffic lights are on the main road network.”

Number of roundabouts per capita:

• Canberra: 1,000 people per roundabout

• Melbourne: 1,200 people per roundabout

• Sydney: 1,600 people per roundabout

• Adelaide: 1,700 people per roundabout

Canberra has a long history with traffic circles. Academic in the field of urban design and architecture, Dr Cameron Gordon from the University of Canberra, explains.

“The traditional justification for roundabouts is safety,” he said.

“The thing road safety people are thinking about is – how do we design the safest intersections? And that’s two-fold, minimising accidents and when you have an accident, it’s less serious.”

Dr Gordon said that roundabouts are safer than other intersections, in part because they force drivers to slow down.

Source: ABC Canberra

So the bottom line is, Canberra does not have an exceptionally high number of roundabouts proportionate to its people. The primary function of roundabouts is for safety and traffic flow. As the newest and only purpose built city in Australia, this makes sense.

Perhaps Canberra’s poor roundabout reputation has less to do with the number of roundabouts, and more to do with the actual urban design which is unique and confusing to those not familiar with it?

Rainbow Roundabout, Braddon ACT

State Circle, Barton ACT

Signalised Barton Hwy Roundabout, Giralang ACT

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Q is for Questacon

Questacon is Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre. It contributes to science engagement in Canberra, across Australia and internationally.

In Canberra, Questacon galleries and programs provide the local community, tourists and school groups with hands-on science experiences. The opening of Questacon’s latest venture in Canberra, the Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre, expands opportunities to explore the role of innovation.

Across Australia, Questacon runs programs to reach people in cities, regions and remote communities. Touring exhibitions take hands-on experiences far beyond Canberra.

Questacon also works in collaboration with state and territory governments, universities, research institutions and many others to engage more and more Australians in science.

Questacon is located within the “parliamentary triangle” which contains most of the important national institutions. Its street address is King Edward Terrace, Parkes (Canberra, ACT).

Questacon is a MUST on your Canberra itinerary and delivers the joy and magic of science and technology for children and adults alike.

You can also check out some DIY simple science experiments put together by Questacon.

Click the link HERE.

A-Z Challenge – Q

Challenges by Sarah, Mindlovemisery's Menagerie - Saturday Mix

Saturday Mix – Lucky Dip, 18 April 2020

Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

Welcome to the Saturday Mix – Lucky Dip,18 April 2020!

For this week’s Lucky Dip, I have reached into my mystery bag and pulled out a Roundabout.The topic is up to you!

You may be thinking to yourself, What on earth is a Roundabout?

Luckily, Writer’s Digest has an explanation…

Roundabout Poems

Invented by Sara Diane Doyle and David Edwards, who incoporated every poetic element that they really liked.David came up with the meter and feet and Sara added in the repeating line. The rhyme scheme and length was decided on together.The result is a form called the Roundabout. In this form, the rhyme scheme comes full circle while offering repetition of one line in each rhyme set.

The Roundabout is a four stanza poem, with each stanza consisting of 5 lines.The poem is written in iambic and the lines have 4 feet, 3 feet, 2 feet, 2 feet…

View original post 164 more words

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

P is for Penis Owl

Now that I have your attention….yes. You read that correctly. Canberra does indeed have a “Penis Owl”.

The ACT is home to a diverse collection of public artwork that has been commissioned by the ACT Government and Australian Governments, as well as the private and community sectors.

The ACT Government is committed to high quality public space and public art is an integral part of urban spaces in Canberra. Public art is important to our community because it is the most accessible of the visual arts – it is for everyone and is owned by the community.

While some of these pieces are truly beautiful and enhance the urban space around them, some others leave us scratching our heads and thinking, “WTF?”

The penis owl is an example of public artwork gone wrong…

The sculpture “Icarus” is just downright creepy…

Moth ascending? More like mutant moths descending…

Red and Blue….Giant button?

But as always with any art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All these public artworks contribute to the unique fabric and spirit of the Canberra community.

Some of my absolute FAVOURITE public artworks are:

The Carousel

Nest III


Wide Brown Land

Dinornis Maximus

And of course, the Penis Owl…

A full list (alphabetical) of all Canberra’s public artwork can be accessed via the link: Public Artwork List

A-Z Challenge – P

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O is for Offices

Because Canberra was founded as the nation’s capital, and its home of government, a large proportion of its workers are public servants. Initially, public servants were brought in from other places such as Melbourne and Sydney. People who knew Canberra in the early days would say there were more public servants than other workers.

According to the Australian Public Service Commission, 152,095 people work for the Australian Federal Government nationwide (excluding the Australian Defence Force).

A large chunk of that workforce — 38% to be exact — is based in Canberra, meaning you’re much more likely to bump into a public servant in the ACT than elsewhere.

Then there are the ACT Government jobs. Of course, 100 per cent of ACT Government jobs are located within the territory. The ACT Government employs 21,950 public servants.

So, either way you look at it, when you combine the Federal and Territory Governments public service workforce, that’s a LOT of offices!

Edmund Barton Building, Canberra

New ASIO Office Building, Canberra

Treasury Offices, Canberra

Office buildings, Canberra CBD

A-Z Challenge – O

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N is for Ngunnawal

Canberra is Ngunnawal country (pronounced: nun-na-woll). The Ngunnawal are the Indigenous people of this region, that is, its first inhabitants. Canberra is a harsh climate and difficult country for hunter-gatherers. To live here required great knowledge of the environment, skilful custodianship and cooperation.

People normally moved in small family groups but there were, on special occasions, big gatherings that came together to make use of resources which were seasonally abundant (most famously the Bogong moth and the Yam Daisy). Important ceremonies were held, art was painted in rock shelters, marriages were arranged, goods were traded, important news was shared and old friends met again.

Indigenous people have been living here for at least 20 000 years. The hunter-gatherer lifestyle continued to be practised into the 1800s, until the arrival of Europeans with their sheep flocks and cattle herds. Their arrival also introduced diseases, like smallpox and measles, which quickly affected the indigenous.

The Ngunnawal people have always remained in the area, and with greater recognition of their history and importance, they have become more visible in the general community.

Ngunnawal Rock Paintings at Yankee Hat, Namadgi National Park

A-Z Challenge – N

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M is for Mountains

Credit to “Out In Canberra” for their fantastic article about the 8 Best Mountain Walks of Canberra. I can’t improve on perfection.

One of the best things about living in Canberra is the accessibility to an abundance of unspoilt mountains without even leaving the city.

In fact, Canberra takes the name of ‘bush capital’ to new heights. Its mountain trails offer bountiful views and a wealth of benefits beyond the physical. Setting foot to higher altitudes improves mental agility, self esteem, stress levels and general wellbeing all whilst improving stamina, endurance and strength in the upper and lower body. Plus, the views at the peak are simply spectacular.


This 4.5km hike is steep but also hosts the most iconic sights of Canberra. Enjoy the peak’s stunning 360 views of the Brindabella mountains, the Parliamentary Triangle, Lake Burley Griffin and surrounding suburbs. Access from behind the War Memorial at Treloar Cres, Campbell.


The highest peak in the Canberra metro area, Mount Majura Circuit is a 6.1km hike that provides expansive views over the city and Majura Valley. Providing more remoteness to others, this hike will leave you feeling like you have left the city in the surrounds of native birds, wildlife, yellow box and red brittle gum. Follow the zig-zag Casuarina Trail before joining the steep fire trail to the top. Access at Hackett Gate, Mackenzie Street, Hackett.


Home to the Eiffel Tower of Canberra (otherwise known as the Telstra Tower), Black Mountain’s Forest Track is a 3.5km return walk. The track is well kept and bountiful with wildflowers and orchids. Access at the ACTEW Electricity Sub Station on Frith Road, Acton.


Mount Painter is a 3.7km hike suitable for walkers of all levels and makes for a great walk all year round. The summit area comprises three separate lookouts with unhindered views of the Brindabella ranges and rolling hills. Access at the trail head on Bindubi Street towards the suburb of Cook.


One of Canberra’s most popular urban hikes, Mount Taylor is a 3.8km return walk. The peak uniquely provides a stunning view of the Tuggeranong Valley on one side and the Woden Valley on the other. There are a few park benches along the way to take in the view or go without stopping and you’ll be sure to break a sweat. Access this walk from the carpark on Sulwood Drive at the Mannheim Street Intersection, Kambah.


You’ll need the day for this escape located 45 minutes from the city. Access this walking trail via Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. This 8.2km hike has it all from house-sized boulders, views of the picturesque falls and creeks, native wildlife and enchanting flora. If you need to cool off afterwards, take a dip in the stunning Gibraltar Falls.


For experienced hikers or those after a challenge, Mount Tennant is must do. Take a day trip as this is located out past Tharwa, roughly 1 hour 15 minutes from the city. Take time to stock up on snacks, maps and weather information at the Visitors Centre. This walk ascends for the first 5km through magnificent bushland towards the Cypress Pine lookout and continues up the fire trail to the summit. After exploring the remote wilderness through the crisp air, expect mind blowing views towards Canberra and the Bimberi Wilderness. Access from Namadgi National Park Visitor Information Centre.


A shorter hike that is equally as rewarding, this suburban gem is perfect for a short weekend stint before brunch.  As part of the Cooleman Ridge Nature Trail, Mount Arawang is a 1.3km hike. The summit offers views of the Woden and Tuggeranong Valley on one side and the rolling Brindabella ranges and Telstra Tower on the other. Access from Lincoln Place or for a longer walk park at Namatjira Drive in Chapman.

Source: Out In Canberra – 8 Best Mountain Hikes

A-Z Challenge – M

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L is for Lakes

The ACT boasts two major lakes, and 116 ponds and wetlands within its urban areas. These water areas provide a host of sporting and recreation opportunities for Canberrans. For the purposes of my A-Z challenge, I am going to focus on the two main lakes.

Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial lake in the centre of Canberra. It was completed in 1963 after the Molonglo River (which ran between the city centre and Parliamentary Triangle) was dammed. The lake is named after Walter Burley Griffin, the American architect who won the competition to design the city of Canberra (see my “H is for History” post)

Griffin designed the lake with many geometric motifs, so that the axes of his design lined up with natural geographical landmarks in the area. The lake was formally inaugurated on 17 October 1964.

The lake is the approximate geographic centre of the city, and is the centrepiece of the capital in accordance with Griffin’s original designs. Numerous important institutions, such as the National Gallery, National Museum, National Library, Australian National University and the High Court were built on its shores. Its surrounds, consist mainly of parklands, and are popular with recreational users. Though swimming in the lake is uncommon, it is used for a wide variety of other activities, such as rowing, fishing, and sailing.

The lake is mostly an “ornamental” body of water that creates a beautiful centrepiece for the city. It has a length of 11 kilometres and an average depth of 4 metres. Its flow is regulated by nearby Scrivener Dam.

Lake Ginninderra

Lake Ginninderra is an artificial lake located on Ginninderra Creek in Canberra. It is adjacent to the Belconnen Town Centre. The lake was constructed in 1974 to collect stormwater discharge from the surrounding suburbs of Aranda, Macquarie, Cook, Bruce, Belconnen, McKellar, Giralang, Kaleen in the eastern areas of Belconnen.

The lake is home to much wildlife, such as the Black swan, moorhens, ducks and the Rakali. There are walking tracks, parkland and bicycle paths surrounding the lake, making it popular for recreation. There are a few swimming holes with man made beaches.

The lake has a surface area of 1.05 square kilometres and an average depth of 3.5 metres.

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J is for Jolly-good Food

Many people overlook Canberra as a fine food destination, but they are wrong to do so.

Canberra has begun to really shine as a foodie’s capital, with many great chefs and restaurants calling Canberra home.

Canberra boasts a host of one, and two hat, restaurants, according to the 2020 Good Food Guide.

So who are Canberra’s hatted restaurants?


  • Aubergine, Griffith – A sleek fine diner minutes from Capital Hill.


  • Bar Rochford, City – Next-level bar food and natural wines.
  • Chairman and Yip, Barton – Modern Asian fusion.
  • Courgette, City – Fine dining with finesse.
  • Italian and Sons, Braddon – Bold Italian flavours in bustling Braddon.
  • Morks, Kingston – Thai classics turned into fine dining masterpieces, with waterfront views.
  • Ottoman Cuisine, Barton – Modern Turkish done with fresh, quality ingredients, warmth and class.
  • Pilot, Ainslie – Dining among the leafy streets of residential Canberra
  • Temporada, City – A “do-it-all” city bistro that delivers.
  • XO, Narrabundah – Innovative Asian cuisine with an attractive twist.

Source: The Canberra Times, 1 October 2019

But you don’t need to spend a fortune, to find great quality food in Canberra. The national capital also offers a vast array of cheap eats, all of these are among my favourites:

Akiba (Japanese)


Grease Monkey

CBD Dumpling House

Two Before Ten

Casey Jones

George Harcourt Inn

Old Canberra Inn

1882 Bar and Grill

There are also an number of clubs such as, The Irish Club, Southern Cross Club, Burns Club , Raiders’ and Ainslie Football Club that offer sensational meals at reasonable prices…especially with member discounts.

Anyway, all this talk of food is making me hungry – so I’ll see you back here tomorrow. I’m off to eat!

A-Z Challenge – J

Challenges by Sarah, Mindlovemisery's Menagerie - Saturday Mix

Saturday Mix – Opposing Forces, 11 April 2020

Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

Welcome to the Saturday Mix, 11 April 2020!

This week we are dipping our toes into the pool of OPPOSITES. Our challenge is all about “opposing forces” and the use of antithesis in our writing. You will need to use the two opposing words in your response – which can be poetry or prose.

Our words this week are:

– rough and gentle

– same and different

You may be asking yourself, How can I use antithetical statements in my writing?

Luckily, Kat from Literary Devices has some examples for you.

Common Antithesis Examples
Some famous antithetical statements have become part of our everyday speech and are frequently used in arguments and discussions. Below is the list of some antithetical statements:

You are easy on the eyes, but hard on the heart.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing.

View original post 235 more words

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

I is for Institutions

Australia’s national capital boasts some of our country’s most important cultural, historic and arts institutions. An exploration of Canberra’s national attractions helps to tell a story that is uniquely Australian.

Canberra’s national institutions really offer something to appeal to every visitor – you can discover gardens, dinosaurs, science, art, sculpture, animals, coins, film, sport and much more! Many of Canberra’s national attractions are easily accessible around Lake Burley Griffin and the Parliamentary Triangle.

At a glance, Canberra boasts:

– Australian Institute of Sport
– Australian War Memorial
– High Court of Australia
– National Arboretum
– National Film and Sound Archives
– National Gallery of Australia (NGA)
– National Library
– National Museum of Australia
– Nationa Portrait Gallery
– National Zoo and Aquarium
– Parliament House (old and new)
– Questacon
– Royal Australian Mint
– Telstra Tower

Australian War Memorial, Canberra

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

National Arboretum, Canberra

National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra

High Court of Australia, Canberra

Australian National Library, Canberra

Old Parliament House (fore) with Parliament House, Canberra

A-Z Challenge – I

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

H is for History

Following Australia’s Federation in 1901, years of passionate haggling between NSW and Victorian politicians begat arguments that Sydney or Melbourne should be the rightful capital of Australia.

However, a compromise was needed, in order to establish a national capital location that met the requirements of the Australian Constitution. According to the Constitution, the new seat of Government for the Commonwealth of Australia had to be not less than 160 km from Sydney – but not in Sydney, to appease those from other states of Australia.

While this resolved the issue of favouritism between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, it posed a raft of challenges for those in charge of finding just the right site.

Years were spent in search of a location – and consideration was given to sites including Dalgety, Bathurst, Orange, Albury and Bombala. And after plenty of debate, studies and inspections, Canberra was finally chosen as the ideal option in 1909, and legislated in 1911.

In 1911, the Australian Government launched an international competition for the design of a new capital. From Chicago, Walter Burley Griffin submitted designs drawn by his wife, Marion Mahony Griffin, and beat 136 other entrants to win the competition.

Known as Ngunnawal country to the Indigenous people of the region, Canberra was officially named as the capital of Australia on 12 March 1913. This is celebrated each year with Canberra Day.

Walter Burley Griffin’s design for the Federal Capital of Australia, as shown in his 1913 preliminary plan. Picture: National Library of Australia

A-Z Challenge – H

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

G is for Green Machine

Canberra Raiders’ uniform

The Canberra Raiders are a rugby league football club based in Canberra. They have competed in Australasia’s National Rugby League (NRL) since 1982. Over this period the club has won 3 premierships, (out of 6 Grand Finals played). They have not won a grand final since 1994 and last played in a grand final in 2019. They have received 1 wooden spoon.

The Raiders’ current home ground is Canberra Stadium (GIO Stadium) in Bruce, ACT.

The official symbol for the Canberra Raiders is the Viking. The Viking, is also the team’s mascot who is known as “Victor the Viking”. At the start of each home game the Raiders do the “Viking Clap”.

“So why Green Machine?” I hear you say.

It is the club’s nickname, due to the distinctive lime green uniform.

An interesting fact: the Canberra Raiders’ team song “Green Machine” once held the #1 song in Canberra for 5 months! Click here to hear it!

Here’s a taste of a Raiders’ home game, including the Viking clap…

A-Z Challenge – G

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

F is for Floriade

Floriade is Australia’s biggest celebration of spring. It is held annually in Commonwealth Park in Canberra from mid September until early October.

Boasting over one million blooms on display and free entry, Floriade is the perfect place to experience the beauty of spring.

It schedules a diverse program of music, cultural celebrations, food and wine, as well as horticultural workshops, market traders, artistic displays, entertainment, recreational activities and more.

There really is something for everyone at Floriade and if you are planning on visiting Canberra, spring time is the time to do it, so that you can include this on your itinerary.

Here are some photos from Floriade 2019. Unfortunately Floriade 2020 has been cancelled due to COVID-19 but there are already plans underway for its return – bigger and better than ever – in 2021.

A-Z Challenge – F

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

E is for Enlighten

Enlighten Festival, is held annually over 17 days from the end of February to mid March.

Canberra comes alive with a range of illuminations, as architectural projections light up the national attractions and institutions such as Questacon, Parliament House, National Gallery of Australia, and National Library.

You can also indulge your inner foodie at the Canberra Night Noodle Markets and receive exclusive access to explore the national attractions after dark.

Here are some pictures from this year’s Enlighten Festival…

A-Z Challenge – E

Free Verse, Poetry by Sarah


The situation is dire
We are walking a wire
Between life and a fire

May our efforts not tire
‘Though stuck in the mire
Community spirit soars higher

COVID-19 a qualifier
to be a lesson in the quire
The world changed from its prior

By Sarah ©️2020

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Saturday Mix – Rhyme Time, 4 April 2020

Challenges by Sarah, Mindlovemisery's Menagerie - Saturday Mix

Saturday Mix – Rhyme Time, 4 April 2020

Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

Welcome to the Saturday Mix, 4 April 2020!

This week we are “writing away, and having a play, with rhyming words for you today” with Rhyme Time.

‘Rhyme Time’ focuses on the use of rhyme to build your writing piece. You will be given six rhyming words* and need to use all of them (but not limited to these) in your response, which should be a poetry form of your choice.

*Homophones can be used as alternatives to the challenge words.

Our rhyming words this week are:

  1. wire
  2. dire
  3. fire
  4. mire
  5. tyre (or tire)
  6. quire (or choir)

You may be thinking to yourself, How can I use rhyme in my writing?
Luckily, Kat at Literary Devices, has some examples for you.

Examples of Rhyme in Poetry
A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounding words, occurring at the end of lines in poems or songs. A rhyme is…

View original post 341 more words

A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

D is for Democracy

Australia is a representative democracy. In this political system, eligible people vote for candidates to govern on their behalf. Australia’s system of government—its institutions and practices—reflect British and North American traditions combined in a way that is uniquely Australian.

Australia is a federation, a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy.

This means that Australia:

– Has a Queen, who resides in the United Kingdom and is represented in Australia by a Governor-General.

– Is governed by a ministry headed by the Prime Minister.

– Has a two-chamber Commonwealth Parliament to make laws.

– A government, led by the Prime Minister, which must have a majority of seats in the House of Representatives.

– Has eight State and Territory Parliaments.

Canberra is the heart of Australia’s democracy. As the national capital, parliament convenes here in our unique Parliament House.

View of Old Parliament House (front white building) and Parliament House, from Anzac Parade, Canberra ACT

Parliament House, Canberra ACT

A-Z Challenge – D