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Australia: Melbourne, Sydney, Mackay, Hobart
Aleksandra Klimek   

Australia: Melbourne, Sydney, Mackay, Hobart


I think that each one of us when going travelling hold some images of the places that is one’s destination. We read, we search for information, we talk to people and we try to put together what we know already. We end up with the mental picture of the place which is very often not quite real and is to be verified on the spot. At least that was the case with me, when I travelled to Australia for a month with my friend.It turned out that my personal vision of this enormous country-continent does not meet the reality in couple of respects. Here in this short text, I would like to describe some of the “myths” that collapsed. So let’s go.


Australia – the country which is ALWAYS sunny and warm
Nothing more misleading! First, Austalia is a big continent (7,5 mln km2: Poland would fit in there 24 times:)) and covers couple of climate zones. Within the 30 days of our journey we had 5 days which were really nice and sunny. Maybe it’s the matter of bad luck or the travel schedule, but we wore rain coats and sweatshirts more often than we wore swim suits and shorts, and mind you, we were there end of January, beginning of February, which is the middle of the summer there. We experienced unexpected rain and arctic wind at the coast near Melbourne (Victoria) and equally unexpected rainfall and haze in Sydney (New South Wales) as well as completely expected flood and cyclone near the famous Hamilton Island (Queensland), as it was the rainy season there. In Hobart (Tasmania) in the morning it was 6 degrees Celsius and it was raining too, at the time when Victoria was fighting with bush fires. It is really interesting and unpredictable country!

Australia – one country

True, it is administratively one county, but it is huge! Its territory is not much smaller than the whole Europe. It’s the smallest continent, out there in the southern hemisphere, and apart from Tasmania (an island and the smallest state) it has other smaller islands at the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Australia is a 8 states, where everybody is a “local patriot”. The ones from Victoria don’t like Queenslanders, the Queenslanders don’t think much of West Australians and everybody laughs at Tassies. Every state has got different car plates with different slogans: Tasmania – your natural state” or „Victoria – the state to be”. Apart from that, the distance between the major cities are enormous.Travelling Australia by train would take ages, that’s why for the sake of saving time we travelled mainly by planes. Within that month we have taken off and landed 11 times. But travelling itself there is a pure bliss. The trains are on time, the stations clean, the airports organised, the car rentals always there, the roads beautifully signed and unbelievably even. People are nice and helpful and driving a car on the left side of the road not as scary as it seemed at the beginning. But a month it’s DEFINITELY not enough to travel Australia.

Australia – the country of kangaroos and koalas
Not necessarily! I saw the first alive kangaroo about 20th day of our trip, in an wildlife park (was not in an natural environment, true, but I could touch it and feed it:)). Koalas and Tassie devils we’ve seen only in zoos. Earlier, the wild Australian animals I could see only as the corpses on the side of the roads. I’ve seen wild platypus, echidna and wombat, walking across the road in Tasmania. In big quantities I’ve seen parrots, cockroaches and leeches in Queensland:)

Australia – the country without the history and culture
That’s rubbish! Australian history and culture dates back 60 000 years. It’s one of the oldest cultures in the world! It is somehow true that the history of the white society is short, just 200 years, but it is very interesting! The very beginnings of the nation, gold rush, the participation in the two world wars, it’s all very significant for the Australians. Almost every city has a war memorial, every historical spot is carefully described in the guides, available for tourists and very much promoted. The absolute tops is Eureka (near Ballarat) the place of a great battle which happened in the gold rush times, battle between the miners and the army.... where 20 people died! The museum and park commemorating this event is comparable to the space that is taken by our National Museum. There are other interesting places, like Sovereign Hill, the reconstructed city from the gold rush times or Port Arthur in Tasmania – the ruins of the oldest prison there. One can spend good couple of hours in each of those places.

Australia – the country of simple people, the descendents of convicts
First of all, the real descendents of convicts are not that numerous there anymore, the most of immigrants came later in a history. That included immigration for various reasons: wars, natural disasters, political situation. You cannot generalise here. Secondly, the Australians are very peaceful, cultured, socially aware people. This is the country where law is respected, the rules followed and environment protection is a reality not a discussion point. This is the country where people has a great curiosity of others, they travel, they have knowledge about the world, the history and culture. People who has learnt to help each other and be authentically friendly. We’ve met wonderful generous people who treated us as the closest friends, helped us and sacrificed their time and money to show us their places. Complete strangers let us stayed at their home when our car broke in the middle of the road at night. We all could learn a lot form these “descendents of convicts”:)

I could write and write about my holidays there. I’m probably idealising a little bit, that's true. One could say I’ve seen only a bit of this country, I’ve met only nice people and nothing really bad happened to me, so one could think I don’t have the full picture of the reality there and these are only my subjective impressions. All true. But I fell in love with Australia and the Australians. And these are the memories I'm keeping. In the end, nothing is objective:)



* Translation by Magdalena Shaw

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