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The Rock-itt : November 2010
Canberra, the nation’s capital, the funny place three and a half hours down the road from Sydney and not top of many people’s list for a holiday, does have its attractions, and at this time of the year, Canberra tries harder with its annual flower show, The Floriade. Flowers a go go all the way to the big wheel, it’s Floriade 2010 It’s the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere and runs for a month from the second weekend of September into October. It’s not just flowers though, it boasts national and International entertainers dotted about the grounds along with garden workshops, kids entertainment and presentations and tastings of food and wine from around the ACT region. There is also a Night Fest for five nights of the event with outdoor film showings and live music. One of the music highlights this year was Katie Noonan with her new band, The Captains. The Night Fest costs $20 per night. This was my second visit to the event, the first time I went was in its last week and to be honest I saw more green stalks than flowers but it was still an interesting proposition. This time we went early but unfortunately the night before we arrived they had a torrential storm and the flowers had taken a battering! It was good though, the Sun shone and the flowers made a brave attempt at shaking themselves dry and looking lovely. Good news for tight wads like me is that it’s free to get in during the day. It’s held in Commonwealth Park on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin and is attended by about 360,000 people each year. It started in 1986 as a celebration of Canberra’s 75th Birthday and Australia’s Bicentenary. This year’s theme was “Imagination: Where will yours take you?” We enjoyed the day, it’s quite a compact event but there was a lot to see and my Mrs. got some really good ideas for our much smaller back yard! Contained within the grounds was a marquee holding the ‘Da Vinci Machines Exhibition’ which I had meant to go and see when it was in Sydney. This bit wasn’t free and I stumped up my $20 to see what I missed in Sydney and found it really interesting. I couldn’t really understand why it was part of the Floriade but I suppose they had to put it somewhere. It was easy to spot people who were down for the Floriade around the city, lots of ladies in sensible shoes wandering around in small groups, Hells Grannies! I have a soft spot for Canberra, it’s a bit like a place called Milton Keynes in the UK, a new town built on a grid system but perhaps lacking a bit of soul. Canberra is blessed with quite a few attributes missing in Milton Keynes, for a start it’s the centre of Government for our great nation. It has some wonderful Art Galleries and museums, in particular the War Museum which is one of the best in the World, brilliantly put together and always a moving experience. This time we decided on a couple of things we hadn’t done before. Keeping with the Floriade theme we visited Canberra’s Botanical gardens. The Australian National Botanic Gardens to give it its full title is in Acton just below Black Mountain to the W est of the City, a thirty minute walk from the CBD if you are feeling fit and it’s free as well! I’m definitely not a gardener but you can’t help but be impressed at what is on show, Australia’s native flora is very spectacular. I am a bit of a bird watcher though and the Gardens didn’t disappoint “Eastern Spinebill” was the highlight bird. One of the games stalls at the Floriade or is it Human Nature in rehearsal?? The shadow of the Telstra Tower pointing to the heart of Canberra