Australia: 7 Great Reasons to Take Down Under written by Winnie Sørensen.
The feeling of Australia
Lists of reasons why you should do this or that are fun. They give a nice overview - and a kind of insight. What the lists can't do is tell about the feeling. And it is, in fact, the feeling that keeps us coming back to a place. It gives us a feeling in our stomachs that we cannot do without.
To me, Australia is really a feeling. It's the scent of eucalyptus that drives me to meet already at the airport. It's the bright light and it's the stale accent that welcomes me with a “G'day, how are 'ya?".
Here I will still share my best reasons to travel to Australia so you can also experience that feeling in your stomach. For Australia is by far a good travel country.
Reason number 1: The diversity of Australia
Where else in the world can you one day dive on the world's largest coral reef - and the next day guffaw "rock oysters" in front of Utzon's beautiful Opera House? Where else can you choose whether to wake up in the world's oldest rainforest - or in a desert?
Here are volcanoes and vineyards, penguins and marsupials, big city, beach - yes, even ski resorts! Australia is a giant country (actually the world's 6th largest), so here is naturally a bit of everything. It is also a multicultural society with all that this entails - for example, an exciting cuisine and many different cultures.
Do you like diversity, do you like Australia!
Reason number 2: Wildlife in Australia
When I was a child, my father told me that in the Australian desert lived a small animal that always carried around a stick. When the sand got too hot, the little animal stuck its stick into the sand and crawled up on it to cool its feet. I've been looking for many years, but I still have not seen that little animal.
On the other hand, I have seen large herds of wild horses running through the desert, kangaroos with small "joys" (baby kangaroos) in their purses, koalas, wombats, numbats - you name it. And the Australian wildlife IS truly unique.
Over 80% of mammals living in Australia are endemic - that is, they are only found here. The marsupials give birth to fetuses, which find themselves crawling up the mother's legs and into the scrotum, where they attach themselves to a wart.
You can also meet the world's most dangerous bird, the cassowary or the funny platypus, which the first Europeans thought was a "practical joke". And no, I do not want to mention snakes, spiders or sharks - that's a post in itself.
Reason number 3: The Australian climate
An Australian friend once asked me why on earth did I always mention the weather when we talked together? Right up until he himself moved to London… Then he called one day and said “NOW I understand the weather”!
It is not always good weather in Australia. In the Australian Alps (they are called) it even snows, and in Tasmania it is both cold and humid in winter. In Perth, the sun shines an average of 3200 hours a year, and along the entire east coast, people live an active outdoor life because the climate allows it. So Australia can be visited all year round; it's just about finding the right place.
Reason number 4: The varied nature
I have already mentioned wildlife and biodiversity. But nature deserves its own point. The outback is amazing. You can drive through the desert for days and see nothing but wild horses and camels. Yes, camels. There are so many camels living in the Australian outback that they are exported to the Middle East…
The rainforest in northern Australia is by no means comparable to the Amazon in size, but it is many millions of years older.
In the deserted northwestern part of the country, more than 1200 mm of rain falls during the rainy season. The water creates rivers that for millions of years have cut through a rugged, dry and desolate rocky landscape, creating ravines that abound with crocodiles. Everywhere you bump into one whimsical natural phenomenon after another.
Many of the plants are - like the animals - endemic. For example, here are no less than 976 endemic moss species! The world's largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef on Australia's east coast, is well known. But did you know that there is also a coral reef on the west coast?
Reason number 5: Australians as a people
Now, this is not a political post, so I do not want to know if it is the result of primarily being a society founded by some kind of 'immigrants', which makes the population so hospitable.
In fact, the vast majority of Australians are open, hospitable, easy to get along with, welcoming, helpful - and fun.
I have managed to be invited home to someone I had just met on a plane, and if you know someone who knows someone where you are going, then you will most likely get an invitation to just call.
Plot number 6: Australia's gastronomy
Australia is a multicultural society and this is largely reflected in Australian cuisine. At the same time, the many hours of sunshine and the good climate are to blame for wonderful ingredients, and the large gardens bring lots of delicious seafood to the restaurants' tables.
Here are cattle farms the size of Zealand, and if you thought it was NOMA who invented it by eating ants, try asking the indigenous Australian people if they have ever tasted an ant…
The only thing you will hardly learn to love is Vegemite. Vegemite is a surplus product from beer brewing, and it tastes most of all of strong bouillon cubes.
The British version, Marmite, was given to the English troops during World War I, and suddenly one could no longer get Marmite in Australia. Therefore, the Australians themselves began to produce something similar from the yeast that was left over after brewing beer. It was not an unconditional success.
In fact, it took almost 20 years for the Australians to adopt the product, (and it required both competitions with big car prizes - after trying for two years to give the product away to get the Australians used to eating it…). Today they love it, and in the restaurant's breakfast buffet it may look like Nutella - but make no mistake!
And then there is the wine. I'm not a wine connoisseur - but there's not much that sticks a really good, powerful Australian Shiraz. Check out this link, if you want to know more about where to find the good wine regions.
Reason number 7: Australia's history
This is controversial. I am originally a trained historian and have written a thesis on Australian history. It is often laughed at a bit… Admittedly, it was not until 1770 that Captain James Cook “discovered” Australia. Now it just so happens that Australia is in fact the holder of the world's oldest cultural history.
And if one is more interested in modern history, one can start digging a little into the national identity. Then you have enough fabric for a couple of flights down there - and back. So yes, there is plenty of history in Australia, if only one remembers to look for it on the country's own terms.
Off to Australia and the scent of eucalyptus
Those were my seven good reasons. However, the most important thing is to visit Australia. To find his very own reason to come again and feel that feeling in his stomach when the smell of eucalyptus drives one to meet at the airport and you hear a “G'day, how are 'ya“. I myself have become addicted.
Have a good trip Down Under!
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