I have been in this land down under for almost half a year now and have been far from exploring anything new but the ones already explored and experienced did leave me captivated.
This is a snapshot of what I have experienced and what can be experienced in this land of diversities.
1. Bushwalking in the National Parks
Australia is known for its bushes and bushwalking is one of the popular outdoor activities of the country. Most of the National Parks have well demarcated walking trails for the casual walking enthusiast as well as the adventurous trekker. I went on a few bushwalking trips to the Royal National Park, Blue Mountains National Park, Sydney Harbour National Park and Kuringai Chase National Park and at all times was amazed to see the facilities in place for the hiker.
2. Catch a flavour of the Aussie English
“Good die mate, how are you to die” – don’t be surprised if you thought your Aussie friend talked about your death because he didn’t, you just heard it wrong. In my initial days at downunder, I often got stumbled at the special Aussie usage of the English language. Australians have their own lingo and accent and it’s very useful to pick up a few phrases commonly used, before you plan your travel. Now I know, “Good onya” means you have done a good job, “No Worries” or “No Dramas” can be added to finish any conversation and at times as a reply to a thank you, a “Banana Bender” is a Queenslander, “Tassie” a Tasmanian, “Pommie” an Englishman and a “Sandgroper” is a Western Australian and everyone else is just a “mate”. Most Australians have an amazing sense of humour and in case you want to get along well, grab a quick lesson or two at Australian slangs.
3. Kayaking on the Yarra River in Melbourne
My first-ever kayaking experience and I loved it completely. Kayaking through the Yarra can be an interesting way of seeing Melbourne. The different perspective into CBD’s tall buildings or Southbank’s buzzing restaurants is undoubtedly a new way of exploring Australia’s second largest city known for its art and culinary expertise.
4. Ogling at Sydney’s man made wonders
Sydneysiders can be proud of owning one of the finest natural harbours on earth, but the two icons that sit on the city’s harbour front are a pair of solitaire diamond earpieces if Sydney was a beautiful lady. The Opera House is already a world heritage structure for being one of the daintiest examples of modern architecture and the Harbour Bridge has been standing tall since the last 100 years as the beloved “coathanger”.
I have spent many evenings ogling at these architectural wonders, trying to figure out what makes them so special. May be its the blue waters of the harbour or the green ferries that ply around them, whatever it is, they have always been a treat to the eyes.
Circular Quay, my favourite place in Sydney, is where you can spend hours watching these man made wonders and see tourists armed with cameras capturing their “been there done that” moment.
5. Skiing at the Snowy Mountains
Skiing has been lying long in my bucket list and finally I got a chance to strike it off from the list.
The Kosciuszko National Park that runs along the border of New South Wales and Victoria is home to Australia’s very own Alpine region, the Australian Alps and proudly hosts the country’s tallest peak, Mt Kosciuszko (2228 mts). Even though I didn’t make it to the tallest peak, I ended up taking skiing lessons at the Perisher Blue, one of the best snowfields of the area on a windy, snowy weekend.
I am far from calling myself an intermediate in skiing but could definitely call myself a beginner now after two days of rigorous skiing sessions. I could stop myself on intermediate slopes, take the necessary turns and keep the balance going. If I have to trust my coach Sarah, I really picked it up fast according to her. Now I have a good excuse to go back to any other ski resort on earth whenever I get a chance.
6. Scenic Drives all around New South Wales
Sun-kissed soft sand beaches, deeply vegetated national parks, alpine snow fields and colourful outbacks, New South Wales has it all and the best way of going around in this scenic territory is to hire a car and go for a drive.
To be continued....