To make the trip more relaxed we went the day before and stayed at our favourite hotel, the Aria, in Ainslie.
On the way up we stopped in the historic town of Braidwood and had lunch at The Albion. This is an old country pub that has been converted to a cafe/restaurant.
The food here is 'modern' Australian and is always good. Very popular for a family Sunday lunch judging from the crowd.
Ainslie is next to the suburb of Dickson. This is a well known Asian restaurant hub in Canberra and there are multiple choices.
We selected Rasa Sayang which is a bit of an institution having been around for almost 30 years.
They specialize in Malaysian cuisine and it did not disappoint.
The Beef Rendang and Kung Po chicken together with coconut rice were delicious.
We also snuck in a shared steamed dim sum starter.
Next morning we headed into the CBD (downtown) and had our usual great breakfast at Debacle.
They had moved a few doors down the same street into new modern premises and have maintained the same high standard. It is basically a bar and while it apparently 'rocks' in the evening, it caters to the breakfast and coffee crowd in the morning.
While the co driver was at the Department of Immigration, I drove up to the top of Mount Ainslie to once again enjoy the view across Lake Burley Griffin with many of Canberra's national attractions (Australian War Memorial, Anzac Parade, the new and old Parliament Houses) and the mountain ranges (some with a touch of snow) surrounding the city in the background.
I wasn't alone.
Two bus tours full of noisy school kids must have also had an early start to their day.
What you notice when you have driven up the winding Clyde Mountain pass from the coast onto the Great Diving Range in winter is the significant drop in temperature. Canberra was -4°C in the morning. We have had a particularly cold winter this year with snow falls in places where it usually doesn't. Major roads have been closed for significant periods (no one has snow clearing equipment) and many schools have had 'snow days'.
This has made the news all over the world. The picture below was in a German newspaper (thanks Dieter) and is of a vineyard in the Orange District of New South Wales. Orange is no stranger to snow however. I studied horticulture at the University there and was snowed on a few times doing pruning practicals in the apple orchards.
|Photo: Bill Shrapnel, Colmar Estate, Orange|