Friday, October 26, 2012

Getting settled in Canberra

I have just realised it has been about a month since I wrote a blog post, which is virtually unheard of since I started blogging back in 2007. The main reason for this is because I have been very busy settling into my new home and job in Canberra, Australia. So I have promised myself that I am going to catch you all up with my news, and develop a new routine that helps me get my blogging mojo back again.

No one wants to move to Canberra!
I must admit, when I first got my new job, I was a little concerned about moving to Canberra. Everyone I spoke to, especially Australians, said......"Why on earth do you want to move there! Nothing happens in's the most boring place in Australia". I have to say that I have been very pleasantly surprised now that I have started to settle here....Canberra has much more going for it than you would think.

Initial impressions
My feeling is that Canberra is more a place for families and more "mature" people like myself who are interested in family-friendly events and environments, than raging night clubs. There's two theatres...lots of fabulous little cafes and restaurants...and great places to run/cycle/walk, if you're interested in keeping fit. There's events on all the time, so much so, I struggle to make up my mind what to do every week. I have to say that we don't get the really big concerts and sporting events here, but Sydney is only 3 hours away, so if I am desperate to go to an international show, I can always take the bus up and a day, if I wish.

My top 5 things to do in Canberra
  1. Go to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. It has just about everything there with regards to fresh food except for a decent cheese stall. But as I am still on my diet, I am not allowed to eat much cheese, so I appreciate not having to deal with the temptation of buying it.
  2. Walk around the lake. We are having beautiful spring weather, so I have been making the most of the fact I can walk around the lake to work. I saw a duck-billed platypus the other day, and at the moment there are plenty of cute little ducklings out on the water. 
  3. Visit the Australian War Memorial. I have heard it criticised as an exploitation of a very serious issue to gain tourist visits. But I have found it to be a very sensitive place to go and reflect on the horrors of war, and human bravery and endurance.
  4. Explore the back streets to find interesting and "happening" cafes. It isn't obvious in Canberra where to go for good food and relaxing conversation, compared to places such as Melbourne. So you have to put in a little effort and hunt around for places to go. I have been getting ideas from the numerous free magazines about Canberra that can be picked up from supermarkets, as well as HerCanberra.
  5. Afternoon tea at the Hyatt Hotel. This is a lovely experience. Maybe not quite as posh as afternoon tea at The Savoy, in London - I was disappointed that there was no minimum dress code, especially as I made the effort to dress up in a dress and high heels. But you can eat all you like, which makes the afternoon really good value for money.
Long story short...I do miss Dunedin and have been heard to say that there is no where in the world like Dunedin on a good day. But I am loving Canberra and have a feeling I am going to become very fond of my new home. I do miss the sea, but the lovely weather here is going to make up for being land-locked.

So if you're ever in Canberra, let me know and I'll introduce you to its little, hidden treasures.

Image: 'We Will Remember Them'
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Nursing Job said...

So glad to hear that your back in blogging. Visited Canberra a year before and never really thought that you can find duck-billed platypus on the lake there.

McLean family said...

It is great to hear that you are enjoying Canberra, We also enjoyed Canberra on a recent visit, which kicked off our travels around Australia
There are always fabulous art exhibitions at the National gallery to look forward to and the beautiful beaches of the NSW south coast are not too far away. Canberra is a good spot.

sheena said...

Lovely to see you blogging again Sarah! I hope you are very happy indeed in Canberra...look forward to reading about all your activities! We are planning a trip to Australia early in the New Year as our son has just been offered a sponsorship! Just wanted to let you know that I have taken over running @WeNurses on Twitter, so I would love you to engage with us for some midwifery chit chat! Sheena :)

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi husband reckons I was imagining things, but I swear it was a platypus!

McLean family...we're off down to the NSW coast at the weekend so hope we get to see some whales...can't wait!

Sheena: would be lovely to see you if you make it down my way next year :)