While Sydney swelters

This is the fourth summer holiday in a row we have escaped some of Sydney’s heat and humidity for a bit. Not to the beach. Not the great exodus north. 

This year we went south. Again. 

First stop Canberra. OK, being inland it can get hot but it doesn’t have the humidity of Sydney. And we were there for museums so revelled in air conditioning. 

We saw the National Portrait Gallery which has this painting of Captain Cook. 


On loan to the gallery was the death mask of Ned Kelly. It was ghastly. You can see the indentation of the rope from his hanging. I don’t know how I feel about it. Should it be displayed? It’s not like a painting or photo. It just seems too invasive of the man. 

Then we walked over to the National Art Gallery. It was late and we’d seen enough art in the Portrait Gallery but we went straight to Sidney Nolan series on, yes, Ned Kelly. (My interest continues!) We exited through some nineteenth century Australian art. 

That evening we stopped for some pre-dinner drinks at a popular but unimpressive pub. The weather was perfect for sitting outside. Then we had dinner at a contemporary Indian which was not your normal premade jar curry. Very fresh and and flavoursome. 

Day two was the real reason for our visit to Canberra. The exhibition at the National Museum of Australia from the British Museum: History of the World in 100 Objects. Boy it was crowded! And for good reason. It was very interesting. Those Pommies collected/stole some amazing objects. Mr S says that there was no stealing as so much was actually in The British Empire so they owned the objects anyway. (This is all meant tongue in cheek. I know for some the topic is serious.)

I am not sure that I agree with all the objects as representative of the history of the world. Either way it provokes thought and discussion. The continual creativity and ingenuity of mankind! This is why I rail against dystopian novels that have us reduced to fighting and scavenging. We always have done much more, even when subsistence living. 

We walked around the rest of the museum, starting with the novel rotating theatre. All up we spent nearly four hours there!

It was a day of museums. After lunch we went to  the Australian War Memorial. A few hours is not enough here. The World War One galleries are a must. They have been massively overhauled since I last came here. Mr S and I agree, its better than the British Imperial War Museum. 

In the WWII exhibit we stood on the model of a Lancaster bomber while it went on its raid – very moving. 

Mr S always has to see G for George. (Dam busters is a favourite Sunday matinee movie of his.) They’ve built a new exhibition space to incorporate more audio-visual narratives. We have to go back for this as we missed it. We closed our visit with the Last Post ceremony. Every afternoon they recite the Ode, play a tune on the bagpipes, read the biography of one of the too many who have died, lay a wreath and of course play the Last Post. On our day the brief biography was a man who died in the Cowra POW breakout. He manned the guns to stop the Japanese from escaping, until he was overpowered and killed. It’s so hard to understand why we keep killing one another. 

Can’t Segway in any meaningful way from that, so straight onto dinner. I picked the restaurant ranked one on TripAdvisor, Pomegranate. It was divine! I had the best ever zucchini flowers stuffed with the softest cheese and then Balmain bugs. And the dessert!!! Three scoops of sorbet: coconut, orange and passionfruit, and raspberry and pomegranate. 

The next day we went to Lake Crackenback Resort just below Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains. On the way we stopped at the only physical store of an online retailer, Birdsnest. I had to visit as I love how this online store gives you options to see clothes worn by models of different sizes! 10,12 or 14. How cools is that? I bought two dresses. Cool and flowing, perfect for back in Sydney’s heat. And the dress comes with pockets. I love a dress with pockets!!!

I bought one in blue and one in pink.


At Lake Crackenback the weather was perfect. Cool nights, mild and sunny days. One windy and rainy night that only made sleep more peaceful. It’s when it doesn’t get cool at night that the heat becomes unbearable! 


And ahhhh, the peace and quiet! Kangaroos at our back verandah. 


It was like a sports and rec camp for middle class adults. We walked 18km to the top of Kosciusko, did some cross-country Segway riding, swam, and relaxed. 

The Lake was perfect for swimmimg


We will definitely return and stay longer, try some mountain biking and river sledding next time. 

Our villa under the blue sky and at the base of the National Park


I could live there for a month!

On a previous roadtrip I wrote about how surprisingly green the countryside was. This trip the countryside was its normal grey and browns. So for you Dar, this is what the fields normally look like. Apologies for the bluriness and reflections, as this was taken from the car while driving at 100km/h. 

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20 thoughts on “While Sydney swelters

  1. I agree – War Memorial has improved so much since my last visit (a long time) and is a must see for visitors to Canberra. The 3D diaramas and touchscreen exhibits were great and I shed tears just looking at the photos of the young soldiers.
    Your holiday sounded fantastic – an ideal combination of R & R.
    And I certainly didn’t know Birdsnest clothing had a shop! Jealous

  2. I love planning trips around museum visits. My limit is 2 in a day, though! I didn’t dare look at the death mask, but the Nolan paintings of Ned Kelly were cool. Link’s grandfather was an airframe technician during WW2 (Canadian serving in the UK) and he worked on Avro Lancasters. He took us to see one at an aviation museum. Yes, those subtle sage greens are exactly what I would have expected, not the bright green! Your time at Lake Crackenback sounds wonderful. Are you back to work next week?

    • My English grandfather was a mechanic in the Air Force in WWII too. Don’t know what he did exactly but know he was based in Wales.

      Back at work next Friday. Yes, one day and then we have the weekend!

  3. I’m not sure if I told you that my family lived in Jindy for a year, my first year at uni (2003). It was an interesting experience, but I’m not made for small towns! How’d your feet hold up to all that musuem and gallery wandering – that’s always the biggest issue I have.

    • Yes, small towns can be hard. That’s why I know I couldn’t live there for long. But I could go for a regular escape.

      My feet were fine. Comfortable shoes. What goes on me is my lower back from all the slow walking and standing.

    • I was in awe of many items, for their age, ingenuity or artistry. Two items that stood out where number 2 & 3.

      The second item is a stone axe, 1.2-1.4 million years old. It showed a whole raft of conceptual development and was symmetrical, so not only utilitarian but showed development of the idea of beauty.

      The third, 13-14,000 years old, is a drawing of a bison on a piece of stone found in Montastruc, France.

      Shame the Rosetta Stone couldn’t travel. But gee, lots of the other items were amazing. Or really what they showed about culture and society at the times was amazing. Humans are amazing.

      • I love that Neolithic art too, especially as a lot of it just looks like lumps of stone that we might find in the garden.
        I missed this exhibition in the UK and I wish I’d gone now.

      • To be honest, I’ve been going to the British Museum my whole life and I still haven’t scratched the surface. Nowadays I just pop in to see a particular exhibit because it’s so overwhelming. We >>ahem<< rescued an awful lot of stuff.

  4. So impressed that you did the walk to the top of Kosciusko! That’s been on my bucket list forever. 18km is not to be sneezed at. Not to mention your Segwaying, riding and swimming. A very active holiday!

    Love the notes on the Museums. I still don’t understand how people can possibly call Canberra ‘boring’. I love it. Clicked through to the NMA site and was traumatised to see the Exhibition closes on the 29th Jan. It looks amazing. But so did the rest of the NMA website.

    I’m not sure where I’ve seen the Ned Kelly death mask before but it seems to be a staple spooky thing that children in Victoria have all seen. I think they have a replica here in the State Library.

    The Birdsnest site is awesome – thank you so much! I have committed to buying lots more dresses this year (I am down to only 2.) They have lots of stuff I really like (and will probably buy online tonight!)

    • Only two dresses! Is that even possible? Sorry, I don’t mean to be disparaging and contradict your minimalist decluttering approach but I just couldn’t imagine anyone not living in Little House on the Prairie only having two dresses.

      I’m not good buying online. I have to feel the material and try the items on. I tried two other dresses on. One, while similar to the two I bought, definitely didn’t suit me and didn’t look as good on.

      Canberra is not boring at all. Drive up next week to see the exhibit. A family road trip!

      Next time we will do the shorter walk up Kosciusko using the Thredbo chairlift.

      • I have other clothes apart from the 2 dresses! But I just went through a ‘no dress’ phase. They’re unitaskers because you can’t mix-and-match them like pants, tops and jackets. But while I was in France I revised that because they had sooo many beautiful dresses and life is too short not to wear them!

        Did you see that the Birdsnest site has pre-prepared ‘capsule’ wardrobes? So exciting.

        We are back at work with staff meetings from Monday, all next week 😦 Otherwise I was daydreaming about doing a quick trip up to Canberra.

      • Oh, I know you have other clothes, Fi, but I just prefer dresses and can’t imagine only having two. The no mix and match is what makes them better. Quick and easy to decide. No worry if the matching top is not washed or worn out. And I love no waistband to annoy. In summer dresses are the only way to go.

        A friend mentioned the capsule wardrobe yesterday. May have to look into it.

        So private schools may break up earlier but you go back earlier too. You could go up for this weekend. When parliament is not sitting, great accommodation deals.

      • House move Saturday so sadly, we will miss out 😦 I can’t picture at all what size wardrobe we have in the new house but I know we have a built-in. If it has enough hanging space I might relent and buy *all* the dresses!

  5. A trip to our neck of the woods!

    I do love Birdsnest. I tend to spend a chunk of time at home looking on their website. Then when I go in I can quickly order a bunch of stuff to be brought from out the back to the tried on. Very streamlined. And I’m lucky to be able to keep things on my watchlist and if they go on sale or nearly sell out I can duck in and buy them!

    We went to Lake Crackenback last summer. Such a lovely day. Only $35 a day for a family to visit and use all the non-motorised activities. We enjoyed the archery, frisbee golf (saw a snake!), kayaking, some tennis, etc.

    You did well to do the Kosi walk from the bottom. We’ve made two attempts (one successful) and each time we’ve used the chairlift for that first section.

    I was only just looking at the website for the 100 Objects exhibition. I don’t think we will get there, but are booked in to go to the Versailles exhibition next month.

    The cool nights have definitely been glorious. It feels almost like autumn overnight and in the mornings, with the cool breeze coming in all the windows. But still warm and sunny enough today for me to wash our doona before the real cold weather comes!

    • You live in a lovely part of the world. I wondered about the frisbee golf, seeing the frisbees. How did it work?

      Next time we’ll do the walk with the Thredbo lift, rather than the walk from Charlotte’s Pass.

      Birdsnest watch list! Now I that’s an idea. The two dresses I bought have just gone on special. I didn’t think. Rumour has it the shop/warehouse will take over the Rivers site. If there’s a store that deserves to do well, it is Birdsnest. Great setup. And love how thy have different model sizes. Lots of my friends have got onto the site.

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