Two Days in Canterbury

We’re nearing the end of a couple of days of sightseeing in beautiful Canterbury. Like Cambridge, Canterbury is overrun with history and tourists. But Canterbury has a better scale than Cambridge. It’s a town that isn’t trying to be everything all at once, as Cambridge is prone to be. And the place appears to have more independence about it – it is not the exclusive domain of national and multinational chains – be they cafes, restaurants or bookshops. It’s quirky to Cambridge’s predictability.

We’re staying in the elegant Abode Hotel which is slap-bang in the centre of town, and have enjoyed the Cathedral….

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…and the local Sewing Machine repair shop.

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Sledging

So, we were told that the wrong kind of snow for snowmen is the right kind of snow for sledging.

Turns out that was right.

We went sledging this afternoon on the Gog Magog Downs.

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Of course, sledging is easier if you have a couple of reindeer to pull you !

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Our snowman lacks something…

It was the wrong kind of snow. At least that’s our excuse. If anyone can explain why we were unable to make a proper snowman in the back garden this morning, we would be delighted to know.

He’s more of a snowblob than a snowman.

It was fun, anyway.

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The snow is here

We woke up on Friday morning, treated with a few inches of snow. It made the journey to school even more of an adventure than normal.

Here is a ‘before’ photo – I don’t think Jem quite knows what’s coming!

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That fat lady is tuning up….

So there you have it. Seven flights, just short of 10,000KM of driving, countless beaches, rainforests, deserts, ice creams and koalas.

Just another 17,000KM to go. I can’t say we’re looking forward to the 23 hours of flight QF31 from Sydney to London, but here we are waiting to get on the plane, and there’s just time to share pictures of our luggage mountain and Qantas’ Spirit of Australia which will take us from here to Singapore and then on to London.

More about the next great adventure, currently in the planning, soon…..

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Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens

Right next to the Central Business District in Sydney, in the heart of the city, lie the much treasured Royal Botanic Gardens. Occupying about 30 hectares of the Farm Cove area, the gardens offer some of the best views of Sydney Harbour. There are also some great plants to hide behind, and cockatoos to chase.

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The sun came out for us on our last day in Sydney, and indeed in Australia. With weather as warm, sights as stunning, and people as friendly as these it’s easy to promise we’ll be back.

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Lunch with Lloyd and Susan

Our last full day in Australia. We were treated to a wonderful lunch at Lloyd and Susan’s house in Carlton. If we needed another reason to come back to Australia some day, then the lunch would do it! Thanks guys.

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Bondi Beach

Is this the most famous beach in Australia ? It might be, and it’s certainly great for surfing – as evidenced by the twenty or more lifesavers on duty here this morning.

Here are the smallest two that we spotted.

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We only had a short time at Bondi. Just long enough, though, to get the sand between our toes – perhaps for the last time in Australia, for now at least.

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Life’s flat without bubbles

So it’s not like we visited all 120 of the wineries round here, but they do all seem to have a similar feel inside. Lots of wood, a bit musty, and usually there’s some old boy behind a long oak bar who will serve you a glass of wine or two.

Not Peterson’s Champagne House, though. This place is fizzing and from the moment we walked in we knew we were going to have a good time.

The company was great, the ambiance was fun, so I’m sure it wasn’t just the bottle (or more?) of champagne we got through before lunch that made this place memorable.

Champagne and Oysters for lunch – what a great way to remember our time in the Hunter Valley.

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Hunter Valley Gardens

Of course if you’re under 18 then the Cellar Door of a winery holds less appeal. But the Hunter Valley Gardens (the largest gardens in Australia, of course!) are great fun.

We could show you pictures of the many many different styles of formal gardens here, and they are indeed beautiful. We could tell you about the most fragrant rose garden. But we had the most fun in the kids’ garden.

Statues of storybook and nursery rhyme characters, and a circus skills workshop too!

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We spotted a koala up a tree, and got up close to a smart looking zebra.

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