The general knowledge book in grade 3 had mentioned that kangaroos with their baby pouches, koalas
bearing resemblance to teddy bears and the Great Barrier Reef are present in Australia.Three years later when the geography book had a lesson on Earth’s movements, it came as a huge surprise to everyone in the class that Christmas in the southern hemisphere is celebrated in summers. So there could be no Santa Claus in pristine white snow riding on his sleigh in the Australian continent. People there have beach time on Christmas!
The Opera House in Sydney, Great Barrier Reef in the northeast, gold reserves in the west, and vast swathes of green forests inhabited by beautiful animals Australia has it all, and more.
Lying between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the continent nation is roughly divided into half by the Tropic of Capricorn running through it. The climate of the nation is favourable for the lush green cover that it is famous for. Eucalyptus trees are present here, and are home to the cute koalas. These trees have a special property of not only growing really fast, but also of conserving the water. The leaves of eucalyptus shut off the stomas and thus does not turn yellow or dried up in case of low rainfall or droughts. Also, the roots of the tree grow turning downward, which can be visualised as a cockscrew. 1766, on the ship of British Captain James Cook, eucalyptus travelled to various countries, moving out of its native environment for
the first time.
Australia comprises of the mainland Australian continent, Tasmania island, Kangaroo Island, Fraser Island, and other 8200 islands within its maritime borders. Along with the capital Canberra in the southeast, most urban centres of Australia are located on the coast, including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth,
The capital is the seat of government, and the largest inland city. It is house to the Australian War Memorial which was built to commemorate war fatalities. In the evening, a tribute called ‘Last Post’ is paid. Another favourite among tourists is the Lake Burley Griffin in the city centre. It is named after the city’s architect. In the circumference of the Lake lie the National Gallery, National Museum, Captain Cook Memorial Jet, and the venue of the renowned Floriade festival, which celebrates spring like no other with more than a million flowers blooming.
If you are at the Australian War Memorial, take a two kilometre walk, or bike, or drive this distance. The path is well paved and provides a good trail to the Mount Ainslie. Do not forget to carry a light jacket, breeze can make you shiver. The view from Mount Ainslie promises to be a delightful scene which stays with
you for long. The planning of the city can be well appreciated from here, while learning about the Australian battles as you walk here. If botany piques your interest, head straight to the National Botanic Gardens, home to the representatives of all important species of flora.
A two-hour drive can elevate you to a height of 2200m. Snowy Mountains are flocked by tourists all year round. You can hike at Kosciuszko Walk, or fish in the Lake Jindabyne; enjoy water sports, go for a horse ride here in summers, or just sit in the serene and peaceful environment. Winters bring with them a chill in the air
and snow caps the mountains to provide for great slopes for all skiers.
Sydney: Opera House and Coathanger
Canberra lies at about a three hour drive from Sydney, the capital of New South Wales. Sydney is synonymous with the Opera House- a multi-venue performing arts centre. Located at the Sydney Harbour, it
is one of the most famous buildings built in the 20th century. It was inaugurated on 20 October 1973, with a total seating capacity of 5700 people. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated in 2007. It
is listed in the Australian National Heritage List, and in the New South Wales Heritage Register. It was designed by the Danish architect Jørn Utzon, and hosts over 1500 performances each year which have more
than 1.2 million people in attendance. 8 million people visit the Opera House annually. The first performance was by Paul Robeson, who sang ‘Ol’ Man River’ to the construction workers whilst they had their lunch. Ever since, Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland, Michael Buble, have performed here, among many others. In 1990, Nelson Mandela had addressed a crowd of forty thousand here.
From books to coffees, and swimming to historical visits, Sydney has something for everyone. It is exciting to visit Sydney throughout the year. If you too enjoy the laneways meandering and beautiful restaurants serving delectable food, Angel Place in city centre is the place to go to. Dining at the harbourside is a wonderful experience in itself and must not be missed; enjoying appetising delicacies under the moonlit sky vhere is a must-do. At the most famous beach in Australia, Bondi Beach, check out the cafes and restaurants for splendid views and yum food.
Coathanger. That is what the locals call the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Built in 1932, it is the world’s largest steel arch bridge. Two railway lines run along its length. The panoramas of the Bridge can be taken up a notch further by climbing it on an almost 3.5 hour climb to the top of the bridge.
Madame Tussaud’s, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and lots of shops and restaurants dot the Darling Harbour. There is the Chinese Garden of Friendship here to satiate the souls seeking some green, while a replica of Captain Cook’s ship, Endeavour, is present at the Australian National Maritime Museum. It is indeed a sight to behold as you marvel at the intricate design and beauty of the ship.
The Taronga Zoo is a delightful place to come closer to over 4000 animals. Kangaroos, emus, koalas, lemurs, lions, tigers, giraffes and seals are present here. The iconic amusement park built in the 1930s, Kuna Park sydney has a Wild Mouse rollercoaster, Tango Train, Coney Island, slideshow games and cotton candy
for the little ones. And did you just say sand castles, for Sydney has numerous beaches do practice your paddling, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking or building beautiful sand castles. You can have a 360 degrees view of Sydney from the Sydney Tower Eye, looking right up to the Blue Mountains National Park.
Australia is a cultural hub, booming with fun, activity, food and nature. It will seep into you and give you myriad memories along with enticing experiences to add to your mental scrapbook. It had shades of green, it has shades of blue and shades of sandy beaches with stick to hair like glue! In a major shock to the
world, however, the green cover has been reduced to ashes, animals are dead, houses are burnt, people are hurt, as the recent bushfires engulfed the continent. It is a reminder to all of us to tap into ecotourism and maintain the beauty of nature by not interfering with it under the garb of urbanisation. Happy travelling to you!
Written by Srishti Verma