NOTES ON GEOGRAPHY AND CULTURAL PECULIARITIES OF SOUTH COAST OF AUSTRALIA

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Novotarska Svitlana (Adelaide, Australia)

 Секція: Країнознавство у вивченні професійної англійської мови

NOTES ON GEOGRAPHY AND CULTURAL PECULIARITIES OF SOUTH COAST OF AUSTRALIA 

Стаття присвячена географічним та культурним особливостям південного узбережжя Австралії.

Ключові слова: південне узбережжя Австралії, Тасманія, місто Маунт Гамб’єр, півострів Йорк.

 Статья посвященагеографическим икультурным особенностямюжного побережья Австралии.

Ключевыеслова: южное побережье Австралии, Тасмания, город Маунт-Гамбир, полуостров Йорк.

 This article is devoted togeographicaland cultural peculiarities of south coast of Australia.

Keywords: southcoast of Australia, Tasmania, Mount Gambier, York Peninsula.

Summer is approaching its’ end without any doubt. But, similar to the last outburst of winter in Ukraine, before spring takes over in all glory, summer decided to farewell us with its true colours. Last week of 38 degrees, dry heat and ruthless sun force everyone to hide indoors during daytime and go out to the beach and soak in placid ocean at sunset hours.

I, being a true daughter of cool green Ukrainian forests and steppes, suffer in this weather. However, this time two things are helping me to persevere in this last hot spell. First is conditional, several accomplished long anticipated trips to the southern coast of Australia. Second is the Emirates ticket to my Motherland, with only one stop-over in Dubai, later this year.

Australia is sometimes called “antipodeans’ land”. When you enjoy winds and snow in northern hemisphere, here in Australia it is the hottest summer and school holidays, and June –August is time for dull snowless Australian winter, with rains and cold arctic winds. North of the continent is hot and dry while south is cooler.

Landscapes are truly other-worldly, you could easily imagine you are in another universe.

Last year I was lucky enough to make several trips to different parts of the south coast of Australia, mainly in South Australia and Victoria, and would like to share them with you, through the lens of my own eyes.

 Tasmania.

Tasmania is the most southern (and coldest) state in Australia. Aussies lovingly call it Tassie and Apple Isle. We took a flight from Adelaide to Hobart early June 2012. I immediately felt at home with the cold rainy weather, provincial atmosphere and almost Ukrainian landscapes. Tasmania has black soil similar toUkrainian ‘chornozemy’, fields looked so familiar. Tasmania has a UNESCO protected nature treasure-Western Wilderness and Cradle Mountain, covered with the world’s biggest cold rainforest with giant trees.

Tasmania is beautiful, cold and gloomy and water in the ocean is so dark. It was raining on and off, windy, lots of autumn leaves, and very cosy, if makes sense…at last no annoying bright sun. Hobart is a lovely town, and pier with lots of wooden boats is a tourist attraction and a town soul. There are some ship-building schools and industry. We visited famous Salamanca markets, then hired a car and drove by Tasman highway, stopping in small quaint towns on the way. I liked it here more and more, I think I have met my dad and my 13 year-old self. Dad would have loved it, the sea, ships, and pine-we would have opened a furniture factory with him, something similar to IKEA, just Aussie. Pine forests, and it is still gloomy, I love so much absence of sun.

Next morning I wake up to see just 4 degrees in the morning. We drive to Huon Valley, pristine river reflecting misty mountains and Huon pine trees, ancient forests and Tahuneairwalk in the tree tops, 50 metres above the ancient pines and mosses, then swing bridges above 2 mighty rivers.  I feel magically re-energised. I love the cold, the forest, and the pines. I have the sense that I have been here, or to similar places before, in reality or in my mind, one way or the other, it is a gateway for me to my inner self.

We saved a whole day for a trip on the ferry to Bruni Island, Tasman Sea on one side and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel on the other. About 600 people live on the island. We visited the lighthouse; the most southern point of Australia-further is just Arctic Circle. Tasmania is so watercolour-perfect, just thinking of what shades of grey, blue and silver I would use…We bought some unique pinot noir, some brie soft cheese and melting in the mouth smoked salmon and trout, all produced locally. Overall, it was interesting experience. However, I was already missing Huon pine area and mighty forests. Obviously, ocean and magnificent sea do not stir me up as much as Carpathians-look-alike landscapes.

Last day we drove up Mt Wellington just outside of Hobart-over 1000 m over sea level. This magic place one can only reach by a winding road up. Black ravens here and there, it seems, had an honoured duty of the key-keepers to the psychic levels. As we approach the top of the mountain, I look at the outside temperature dial -1 degree Celsius, .raining badly, windy, feels like North Pole. It gets so foggy, that we can’t see several meters in front of us on the serpentine

road. I am thinking: what if it goes down to zero and start freezing with this tempo of falling temperature. Carpathians, but 3 times more breathtaking. We finally reach the peak, go outside and take in stunning view, Hobart, Derwent River, the ocean…Moving down, just with one small accident, hopefully rentals will not notice slight car damage. Then we drive along river Derwent-amazing autumn colours-to New Norfolk, and Mt Field National park. Russel Falls are picture perfect, giant trees and 3 hour fast walk on the slippery surface…Forests are pre-historically virgin, we saw wallabies, an owl…Came back to Hobart.  Almost in tears, tomorrow morning-good bye Tasmania, maybe I will see you again…maybe I will savour all the cold back in Ukraine. Pity I did not know Tasmania before.

Mt Gambier

Mt Gambier is a town located mid-way between Adelaide and Melbourne famous for its Blue Lake, one of several lakes located in the craters of the once functional volcanoes. It changes colour with the seasons. In winter, it is a steel grey and then changes to a spectacular cobalt blue in the summer. Surrounding area is famous for stunning limestone and underground caves.

It took 5 hours of uneventful landscape before we arrived in the area in July 2012. We had to visit on our way famous Naracoorte Alexandrina Caves, UNESCO world heritage site-it was amazing to be there, underground, and see formation of limestone caves at work. Confirmation of  Darwin theory? Very inspiring to visit for an artist as those figurines look so alive. The thought crosses my mind, what this cave will look like a hundred or thousand years in the future, when our generation will turn into ashes. Amazing thing is this Planet Earth. Then again, Coonawarra quaint villages and terra rossa, red soil, Californian pine tree forest-why so dense? Mt Gambier is a lively town, beautiful buildings and lots of shopping.

Next day we go to explore Blue lake and Crater lake-amazing lakes in the crater of Volcano which was functional only 4800 years ago and nice walk around lakes. We visit sinkhole gardens-gardens disappearing in the limestone cave-like funnel-especially impressive at night, with the aboriginal music and images on the screen next to them organised by local council-almost causing goose bumps. Then taking a drive to South-East of South Australia-border of Victoria.

Pt Mac Donell, Nelson and Glenelg River, Portland. Trip back is via forests of Californian pine. Serene landscapes.

Limestone coastal towns-Beachport-lovely town, try scenic drive between the sea line and the lake, local museum is so quaint, with all old era attributes, local flake for lunch is so authentic. Then Tantanoola cave-again amazing trip underground to see dolomites and cave formation-this time smaller cave but so spectacular. Another town Robe is very much a holiday destination, lakes, seaside, beaches, it seems there are more tourist accommodation then local houses. Kingston is quietly dignified, with nice houses along the esplanade. Came back to Mt Gambier 7 pm along Princess Highway, and rainbows and sky and cloud colours were picture perfect. Also, classic music all the way in the car made it all truly gourmand experience.

On the last day of our small adventure we went around Blue Lake, 5 km in 50 min. As it was Australian Labour Day, so we marched to Bella Ciao, then danced Lambada on one of the look outs.

It is definitely worthwhile to experience places like this, which let a humble human observer feel the majestic might of nature and Earth going through stages of formation.

Yorke Peninsula.

Yorke Peninsula is a part of South Australia and is located in 4 hours drive north of Adelaide. It is shaped in a form of a boot and is famous for Mediterranean climate, great fishing and many footprint free beaches.

We visited Wallaroo-a quaint little town, and Moonta. Pleasant warm breathes and picturesque jetties, 100-years-old Sunlodge Motel-lovely place to stay. Then all the way down the ‘boot’ to Marion Bay and Inez Nature park. Should I mention I never left the car while there in Inez? So many lizards and they promise many brown snakes. Very dry air. Some people were camping in the park, are they serious?! Landscape is mainly bush and rocks on the tip of the ‘boot’. All the way back to Androssan, taking in grain fields, and Cornish architecture landscapes. So my acquaintance with Yorke fitted in a day and ahalf, however I now have idea what the drive to the west, all the way to Western Australia, would be like.

My recent trip was just a week ago, to Grampians mountain ranges in Victoria and Great Ocean Road-a trip of a lifetime which I finally made after all these years in Australia.  More about this follows in my next article.

 

 References:

1. Tasmania-a World apart, not a World Away, Australia, accessed February 2013

http://www.discovertasmania.com.au/

2. The Australian Holiday Coast, Australia, accessed February 2013

http://www.holidaycoast.com.au/southern_australia_6.html

3. What’s Inside: Australia and New Zealand, accessed February 2013

http://geography.howstuffworks.com/oceania-and-australia/australia-and-new-zealand.htm

4. South Australia. A Brilliant blend, accessed February 2013

http://www.southaustralia.com/regions/limestone-coast.aspx

5. Mount Gambier. City of Craters, Lakes, Caves and Sinkholes, accessed February 2013

http://www.mountgambiertourism.com.au/home.asp

6. Official site for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, accessed February 2013

http://www.visitvictoria.com/

 Відомості про авторів:     Новотарська Світлана — міжнарожний професійний перекладач, Аделаїда, Австралія.

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