Walking around Canberra is quite pleasant because drivers actually stop for pedestrians in crosswalks! (What a concept.) In fact, they slow down as they see you approach a marked crosswalk. It’s a nice feeling!! I walked every day – 90 minutes total – to and from the ANU campus, and by the second week, I could almost always remember to walk on the left side of the sidewalk. This was important, of course, when faced with on-coming bike or foot traffic. If I had to walk on the left, that means that cars also drove on the left, so I had to change my mindset, taught long ago by Dad, from “look left, right, then left again” before crossing the street (on foot or by car), to “look right, left, then right again”. Fortunately, the good people of Canberra thought to add reminders to street crossings.
Donna was kind enough to loan me a bike during my stay, and Marc loaned me a helmet. Donna’s son, George, calls the bike the “mean green machine” , and while it looks a little shabby, it rides well and it was nice to get some additional mobility. Of course, I had to wear a helmet (and usually did) because bike helmets are compulsory in Canberra (for now).
I rode my bike often, but mostly on the weekends so that I didn’t have to deal with the Canberra Civic traffic. I rode it to the 9/11 Memorial, to Floriade, to see the Queen, to and from campus, to the museums, and all around Lake Burley Griffin and Commonwealth Park. You can imagine how busy traffic gets when you have people like the Queen and President Obama visiting, and a bike makes getting around that much easier.
The bus system is also very good. A “MyWay” card for $20 makes it easy to pay for public transportation and I used the bus to get to some of the surrounding suburbs, including Belconnen, Woden, and Lyneham.
Of course, a car makes getting to places that much easier, and while I don’t have access to one, Meredith does! She has been FABULOUS about driving me to see different places, including a recent last-minute trip to Mt. Stromlo for observing. She also drove us up Mt. Ainslie one night for a nice view of Canberra.