On the wish list for this trip was the Antarctic Exhibition at the National Museum of Australia – a modern architectural building situated on the banks of Lake Burley-Griffin. The entrance and gardens are being updated, so a bit spoilt by construction fencing and materials.We had time before the Antarctic show to explore the ‘Defining Moments in Australian History’ displays which included the Melbourne Cup winning horse ‘Phar Lap’s heart…a bit gruesome but interesting!
National Museum of Australia
Following a picnic lunch on the shores of Lake Burley-Griffin, we headed up Black Mountain to enjoy the view from the Telstra Tower. We braved the outdoors on the topmost viewing deck, but it was so windy and cold that it was unnerving and unpleasant…the lower enclosed deck was much calmer.
View of Lake Burley-Griffin from the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain
With rain and wind forecast for the next day, we took advantage of a perfect winter’s day and drove out to the National Arboretum. The landscape looked a bit stark with a lot of deciduous trees now bare, however the beautiful building was a prominent feature on the drive up the mountain. The National Bonsai and Penjing Collection was fabulous, as was the Discovery Garden focussing on sustainable container gardening.
The National Arboretum Canberra
Features 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from around Australia and the world. Many of the trees are still young but two of the forests are over 100 hundred years old. Over 44,000 trees from over 100 countries are growing across the huge 250 hectare site, making it one of the world’s largest living collections of rare, endangered and significant trees.
The predicted bad weather arrived, so it was a day for indoor sights. Firstly we visited the National Gallery of Art and before entering the building my attention was drawn to the fabulous sculptures outside.
National Gallery of Art – Sculpture Gardens
Diamonds (Neil Dawson); Eran (Thanakupi); Pears – version number 2 (George Baldessin); Skyspace Within without (James Turrell);
Orangutan foot (Lisa Roet); Cones (Bert Flugelman); Penelope (Emile Bourdelle); Andries d’Andres, Jean d’Aire, Eustache de Saint Pierre and Pierre de Wiessant (Auguste Rodin)
Burial poles (Pukamani); Foggy wake in a desert: An ecosphere (Fujiko Nakaya); Hill arches (Henry Moore); Heads from the North (Dadang Christano); Floating figure (Gaston Lachaise); Angel of the North (Anthony Gormley)
National Gallery of Art
Old Parliament House – Museum of Australian Democracy