IT BEING AUSTRALIA DAY & ME FREQUENTLY FIELDING QUESTIONS ABOUT AUSTRALIA, I THOUGHT IT WAS ABOUT TIME THAT I UPDATED MY POST ABOUT OUR COUNTRY AND ADDED SOME MORE IMAGES & INFO – PLEASE NOTE: ALL OF THE PHOTOS IN THIS POST ARE MY OWN. PLEASE DO NOT COPY OR USE IN ANY WAY WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. (email me – link in side bar)
The complicating factor when describing a climatic year in Oz is that it really depends on
where you live. As we are such a huge country (bigger than whole USA or the continent of Europe) there are huge
variables…….. this map gives context of this explanation. A large proportion of our country is desert. It touches all of the states except Tasmania (separated by sea) and the major population centres are around the perimeter of the continent. Bushfires are a big threat to the southern states of Victoria, New South Wales & South Australia. Queensland & Northern Territory are threatened by cyclones pretty regularly.
Generally speaking, Western Australia (WA) – hot & dry, much arid red desert, lower southern area (primary inhabited area in this state) is a little more temperate. In Perth (Capital of the State) they have what is known as the 'Fremantle Doctor' which is a breeze that comes off the ocean late in the afternoon that cools the place down. We have only visited WA once, in 1985 as a tourist, but several times since then for business. It takes 4 hours from Melbourne by plane & is relatively expensive for domestic travel. (We can go to many international destinations for less than or the same price that it costs to travel to WA) There is about 16 hours of driving through desert that separates the Eastern states from Western Australia, which keeps it somewhat isolated from the rest of the country. It is amazingingly beautiful and it is on our to-do travel list – to make an extended 'desert' tour there at some point in the near future. One of my FAVOURITE wine regions is in WA near Perth (the State capital), AND there is an outback region that I am told is the most amazing place for photography so we will definitely visit it at some point or other.
South Australia (SA) – medium range temps closer to the coast – a little cooler than Melbourne……..and again, mostly inhabited in the lower Southern region of state. Adelaide (the state capital) is known as the 'City of Churches' as it has some of Australia's finest old church buildings. South Australia also is the home of one of our premier wine growing regions – The Barossa Valley. Moving away from the coast, the
inland becomes arid and volotile. In the summer of 08/09 a whole area of the state was closed to visitors as it was anticipated being OVER 50C on a daily basis! (that's 122F – yep – no need for a stove here – you can use a rock -(there IS no pavement! – it's desert)As so much of it is dessert & arid land – mining are also major industries in SA and the world's most significant opal site is also located here.
Victoria (Vic) (where I live) Fairly well populated, 2nd biggest population of any of the states. It rivals Sydney for major commercial and cultural events & it's multicultural population is seen as a real asset in the context of global companies who do business across the world. Melbourne has reputation for world class eateries & most cultures are represented at 5 star level. Weather for Melbourne (capital) & surrounds is all over the show. It is known for having 4 seasons in one day & many people carry, coat, umbrella & wear layered clothing so that you can either strip off, or add more. Victoria still has a large portion of desert in the upper north
west of the state and it is not uncommon to have temperatures equal to the desert.
They grow oranges up there. We live on the edge of a National Parkland & forest called The Dandenong Ranges & it is truely beautiful. It is a sanctuary for native wildlife and birds and is a MUST SEE destination for visitors to our state &
country. It has a combination
of magestic old European trees that were planted by early settlers to the area over 100 years ago, and huge big Native Gum trees that are like the masts of the big sailing ships of old. (which is what they used to be used for) Victoria has a broad temperature range & I am not sure of this officially, but I can remember it being b/n
t 64F] & 42C [114F] on the same day.
Tasmania (Tas) tends to be colder, (being more South), much of the population of the state is made up of retirees. It is a slower pace of life, smaller communities & more of a 'country town' feel about it – even in the city. The Western side of the island has World Heritage listed wilderness and is a popular spot for extreme adventure….(yes – I haven't been there!) It is a 10 hour ferry trip across Bass Strait to get there, or 1 hour by plane from
Melbourne. It is interesting that in Oz – Queensland or Western Australia are the places
re-knowned for beaches however, Tasmania has the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches- it's just that the weather in Tas is cooler & therefore it doesn't enjoy the same amount of notor
iety as the warmer climates. The rainforests & general scenery in Tasmania are wonders to behold – there is old, (for Oz………200 yrs) beautiful, architecture, that was once penal colony. Tasmania is one of our fav. holiday destinations.
New South Wales (NSW) is more temperate & even, although they do have their fair share of extremities. Sydney is the major international commercial centre & NSW has the biggest population of any state. It is a city that is permeated with waterways & there is a system of 'water taxi's (like Venice) that are used for daily comute. (pictured is the famous 'Circular Quay' the city terminus of rail & water public transport) The city also has a reputation for notoriously bad traffic. In fact one of my sketching friends often has time to actually 'sketch' vignettes of the scenery just waiting in traffic going to & from work! In fact, you COULDN'T do better for an 'informal' online view of Sydney & suburbs to check out her flickr site. The Olympic Games were held in Sydney in 2000, consequently there is a legacy of good accomodation and huge venues – therefore many concerts, conferences & main events happen here. Its about a 10 hour drive from where we live & we visit Sydney most years for an annual conference we attend. As DH & I love a 'road trip' we will go up at other times of the year if there is something going on that we want to see or do. The landmarks that people from other countries most recognize are the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House – both significant architectural landmarks of our country.
Queensland (Qld) is
known as the Sunshine State & does have beautiful
weather & amazing tropical beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, (largest coral reef in the world). Very laid back, beach resort lifestyle, the higher you go up the eastern coast, the more tropical
it becomes. Amazing rainforests & deserts in the one state.
Northern Territory (NT) is the only state I have never been to. It is a LOT of desert – and I am NOT really the camping kinda girl – The film Australia will give you some sort of idea
of the terrian here – HOT, DRY and DUSTY! Oh – with the occasional crocodile! LOL!!! Northern Territory is home to another of our National icons – Ayres Rock – or Uluru as it is known by it's traditional owners. Relatively small population for its size. It also has one of the largest Aborignal populations. (the original inhabitants of our land) (Images from NT are public domain from the govt. website)
Global Warming – or what ever other ecological or environmental reason sits comfortable with you, seems to be altering the predictability of our unpredictable seasons…….. but as far as seasons go: (again within the context of each state's climatic difference)
Dec – Feb = Summer………..yes, Christmas for us is often steak or prawns on a barbi (BBQ), but Christmas day can temperatures can vary greatly from mid range to extremely hot.
Mar – May = Autumn………we live in the hills where there was a lot of early English settling & we have magnificent 100+ y.o. English trees that have incredible colours in autumn.
June – August = Winter………cold, not always wet, but sometimes VERY wet.
Sept – Nov = Spring……often very wet in Melbourne. Crisp mornings & sunny afternoons.
As far as school holidays…….Over summer, our kids have approx 6 weeks holiday, from mid Dec to end Jan. They then have about 10 weeks of school & 2 weeks holiday. There are four terms like this……..so holidays April, July & October.
COME VISIT US………….we don't have centuries of art or archictecture………but our land is beyond amazing!!!!!!!