Went to the Australian War Memorial. From the outside it is suitably monumental. I almost didn't go in, but decided I wasn't in a hurry. From the inside it's seems a lot larger. It's a well done multimedia display with lots of artifacts from various wars.
I don't like war museums. I think it's that I don't like to be reminded how weak civilization really is. It was so easy to look at the faces of the people in the hall of heroes - and so hard to imagine doing what they did. Yet if I'd been born at a slightly different time... These kind of things always depress me (Dachau left me in a funk for several days) but this was the first time I had tears in my eyes. I couldn't even begin to say why exactly, and it feels so inadequate to say I was sad - but I that's the best I can do. I wish I'd sat down and wrote what was in my mind immediately after leaving. It seemed like I understood a lot and it was definitely philosophical - yet all I can remember now is how important those thoughts seemed.
The drive from Canberra to the coast was an awesome surprise. The road wound out of the mountains through spectacular forests of giant trees and ferns with teasing glimpses of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The road was very steep with hairpin turns - slow going, but that was good, more time to enjoy it.
At the coast I turned on to the Princess Highway and followed the coast south. I was thinking of staying in Narooma because the guide book said the diving was good and I thought maybe I could get out tomorrow morning. Unfortunately at the dive shop I was told that tomorrow's dives had just been cancelled because the seas were picking up. So then I thought I'd drive to Bermagui and spend the rest of the day at the beach. But when I got there the beaches though beautiful looked unfriendly. It was windy and the water was choppy, so I moved on again.
I took the scenic route out of town. The road is only about half paved, but there were some fantastic long stretches of beach just south of Bermaui and in Biamanga National Park. I got out a couple times to look around, but the water always looked foreboding and in the heat (35°C - 95°F) I wanted to go someplace where I could swim. In Mimosa national Park I was exploring a dirt road up to a ridge and got stuck for the first time - luckily the four wheel drive performs as it's supposed to - so no dramas. Near the southern edge of the park I stopped at Middle Beach. It was still choppy, and the beach was relatively crowded (I could see three surfers and a couple a kilometer down the beach) but I decided to get wet. Spent a couple hours on the beach relaxing while repeatedly getting wet and drying off in the sun. It was great, I think tomorrow I'll plan on driving all day, but stopping frequently to enjoy the beaches. Stayed at an unexciting YHA in Bega.