I was so excited for this trip. It feels like I’ve been waiting to visit Australia for as long as I can remember.
My grandmother is Australian and used to go back for frequent visits to see her brothers. I remember her bringing back goodies for us after her trips when I was little, and I always loved listening to her accent. Twelve of us – my mother, aunt and some cousins – decided to finally make the trip with her this year.
Our first stop was Sydney, and then after a few days we all piled into two rental cars and drove south to Canberra, where my grandmother grew up.
My cousin had a few days practice driving on the left side of the road but it was the first time for my mom. The most difficult part was figuring out how to center the car in the lane, since the driver seat gets swapped to the opposite side. Just imagine a car full of people yelling, “move right, move left!” while we flew along the highway. It was a little hectic to say the least.
Even though Canberra is the capital, it had a small city feel. There’s an urban downtown area with shops, restaurants and government buildings and then the suburbs are pretty much in “the bush.”
My great aunt and uncle, live right outside of Canberra and Mt Painter is practically their backyard. We hiked to the top, which isn’t far at all, for some amazing views of the surrounding bush and the Canberra skyline in the distance.
Since it was hot in the late afternoon, we couldn’t spot any kangaroos. We were told that we’d have better luck at sunrise or sunset.
So the next morning we hiked up just after breakfast (let’s be honest, sunrise wasn’t happening on this particular day) thinking we may have missed them again. But we were wrong! There was one hanging out under a nearby tree for shade, and where there is one kangaroo, there are many.
The thing is, they are really good at hiding. The kangaroos blend right into the bushy terrain and the only indication they are out there is when they hop along, popping above the tall grass. If you zoom in to the center of that photo above you can spot two little kangaroos hanging out in the grass!
That’s the best shot I could get, so you’re just going to have to go kangaroo spotting on your own to see how freakin’ cute they are hopping around!
Before long though, the sun got hot overhead and we decided it was time to walk to the local coffee shop, Little Oink, for breakfast. This place was seriously the cutest and a must if you ever find yourself hiking Mount Painter.
It was pretty cool going back to the place where my grandmother grew up, and with her nonetheless. And it didn’t hurt that the views were gorgeous.
Sandwiched between a few days exploring cosmopolitan Sydney and beachy Byron Bay, Canberra was the perfect dose of an authentic feeling Australian adventure, hitting all the stereotypical checkboxes I had imagined.