Today the abroad group started off with a hardy breakfast at 7:30 AM before a full day of fun. Once the spaghetti and Vegemite settled with us we were off for our Canberra tour with our tour guide for the day, Paul. Along the half hour ride to Canberra Paul gave us a number of interesting facts over Canberra and the other 4 cities surrounding it, including that the city made up 50 km of space but only housed roughly 350,000 people inside of the area.
Our first stop on the tour was at the national arboretum (pictured below) where Paul showed us around the area and gave us a great view of the city below. Paul explained that the arboretum was used as a research and conservation method for the various trees within it's area. We also grabbed a quick group photo in as well.
The arboretum and the city below
As we descended into the city we were told that the reason that the buildings in Canberra were so short was because there was a zoning law within the city that the buildings could only be a certain height above sea level. The first stop of many in the city was through Embassy Road where the group was able to look at and guess what the different embassies were based on the styles of architecture. Some were easier to guess such as the United State's embassy or the Japanese embassy where others were more difficult. There were many different embassies along this stretch and the size/shape of the embassy showed a lot about the country (obviously the USA embassy was overwhelming).
Just a fragment of the USA embassy
Once done with the tour of the embassies Paul showed us a big part of Canberra history, and Trevor's personal favorite part of the tour, the first building in Canberra.
This lovely building was the first building because the surveyor behind Canberra, Charles Scrivener, needed a place to put his equipment and various other belongings.
After coming down from all of the excitement surrounding the first building we were on our toes for the next place Paul would take us. As we came up to capitol hill we were able to view the New Parliament in all of it's glory. Not pictured, but on either side of the building are hills that actually go over the top of parliament so that symbolically any man or woman can walk across the government.
This building was amazing to behold and as we entered through security the inside was just as beautiful as the outside. The Senate (pictured below) was not in session on that day so we were able to visit it and take pictures while the House of Representatives was in session so we were not able to take pictures inside. We were however able to sit in on park of the House discussion over taxes on small businesses which was very interesting.
As you can see everyone was enthralled with the New Parliament Building and it's wifi
We were told on our tour that the Senate and House colors, the Senate a dark pink and the House an in style mint color, are from a specific flower of the native gum tree. A fun fact on the Senate is that in the Senate there can not be any bill introduced that involves money or taxes. The Senate and House were widely structured around the good ol' USA's government structures, another fun fact of the day. When we were leaving the New Parliament building Paul suggested someone roll down the grassy hill covering the building and Ryan immediately jumped at the opportunity which was a lot of fun to watch.
After the roll down the hill the group ate our lovely boxed lunches next to the river which was close by the Australian High Court (much like the Supreme Court for the Americans reading this).
Back on the bus the next stop was the National Museum of Australia where the group was able to learn about the different Australian landmarks, the aboriginal people, and how life was like for the Australians during their over 200 years here. The museum was very interesting and took up the full hour we were given walking through the various exhibits.
Next we took a driving tour of the Royal Ministry College and learned from Paul about the different military backgrounds of education around the area. The group had the chance to see a military parade as we were driving through by the famous Campbell house on our way up to the top of a nearby hill where we saw a breathtaking view of the city (pictured below).
Once we rode back down the hill with the occasional kangaroo spotting we came down to the last landmark of the day's tour, the Australian War Memorial. This memorial was beautifully constructed and as we were told earlier in our tour of New Parliament it was set directly in the line of sight of the Prime Minister's office so whenever he thinks of war he will have to see the War Memorial. Throughout the Memorial there was the Roll of Honour (where friends and family could view the name of their fallen heroes), the timely changing of the guard throughout the day, and the museum which showed Australia's roll in both WWI/WWII as well as the various wars throughout Australia's history. A very interesting part of the museum was the Anzac light show where it showcased an aircraft raid through the voices of the pilots/aircrew. Finally we were able to view the Guard Last Post ceremony where the guard was changed one last time for the night at 5 PM.
The day could not have gone any better until, as we were walking out of the memorial back to the bus, I spotted a kangaroo being casual out front.
After a quick picture we were back on the bus and back to the lovely AIS for dinner and sleep.
Thank you all for reading and hope you have a great day!