Australias size.

Old Sep 3rd 2014, 9:05 am
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Default Australias size.

I'm still in awe of Australias size. I reckon one of the best feelings one gets when they first arrive and things start to go quiet, is taking notice of the varying weather around the Country and starting to realise how bloody big and relatively empty this land is..

It's fantastic being a newcomer and having it dawn on you, that if you get in a car it can take you 5 days to drive to Broom or Darwin and even then there are further places to explore. For me it gave me a sense of real freedom.


I just wondered how people reacted to the fact they were in such a vast place and whether that made you feel good or indifferent. It was one of the best feelings of my early days in Australia.

How did you go with the realisation of Australias size ?
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Old Sep 3rd 2014, 9:14 am
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Default Re: Australias size.

Really it is just a big empty space.

Nothing like as interesting as many other places on the planet
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Old Sep 3rd 2014, 9:52 am
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Default Re: Australias size.

For me one of the biggest issues to get around (and not one we succeeded in doing) was the fact that we couldn't just jump in a car or on a train from the city we live to another very interesting city / town for a day trip.

Sure there are fantastic day trips to be had from Sydney, from mountains to amazing beaches but often we would look at a map on a Friday night and feel like we wanted a day trip to another built up place outside of Sydney that has a bit of a touristy interesting vibe. And lets face it, with our busy lives a day trip is the best we can often get for months, for us anyway.

Newcastle gave a bit of a reprieve to these feelings as I quite like visiting there, but nowhere else fills that day trip gap.

Sure we like going to natural beauty and we are often out and about making the most of the mountains and the beaches, probably more so than the locals.

But we do miss having a number of different towns or cities all within day trip distance. Cities / towns that are all built out of different local stone and have their own individual feel to it. When we have headed for a country town in the past we have driven in to it and then out the other side in 2 minutes and both look at each other with the 'was that it' look!

The size of Australia and what it contains is beautiful and we do appreciate it, but there will always be a sadness in the emptiness for me. When I stand on the western side of the Blue Mountains looking inland I do find the view awe inspiring, but then sometimes I stand looking at that view wishing that a cathedral spire would rise up in the distance, or the shafts of light would catch some other big city ready to be explored. I guess like the first settlers / explorers we are looking for the familiar rather than what it is and all of a sudden the wilderness surrounding Sydney can seem like prison walls.

I think the Aussie artist Loyd Rees understood that feeling as he spent a lot of time in Europe and when he returned to Australia he drew the Australia landscape and then went back to the drawing and implanted some medieval structure from Italy or some such place in to his drawing.

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Old Sep 3rd 2014, 10:46 am
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Default Re: Australias size.

Originally Posted by Jon77 View Post

For me one of the biggest issues to get around (and not one we succeeded in doing) was the fact that we couldn't just jump in a car or on a train from the city we live to another very interesting city / town for a day trip.
That for me too, 100%.

Or a plane an hour or two to a a choice of different countries.

We have traveled a LOT in Australia, It can be boring beyond belief, so much the same for days!. There is some beauty, but really compare that to the variety you would see in USA or Europe and it is underwhelming. One thing I could not do is the spend a year travelling round, I could see 100 times more in say the USA for a fraction of the price, even the bloody campervan would only cost a third.

On a day to day level, we have just signed up for 3 years in melbourne, kids/UNI. We will move from many acres in qld rainforest, to a small block in a very congested city. I dont think space will be one of the things I appreciate about the move, but we will be luckier than most, open space on 3 sides, that was harder than hell to find and still be close to the city.

I still feel the isolation, even in Melbourne, the cost of the airfares, the woosh of jetting off somewhere really exciting for a weekend. Ohhhh I miss that.

Dont jump down my throat ( usual suspects ) if you find it exciting well that is wonderful for you, we are all different.
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Old Sep 3rd 2014, 11:11 am
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Default Re: Australias size.

My commute is too long I know that much.
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Old Sep 3rd 2014, 12:27 pm
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Default Re: Australias size.

5 hrs to Broome or Darwin, gotta say you gotta be located pretty close to both!
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Old Sep 3rd 2014, 12:30 pm
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Default Re: Australias size.

Originally Posted by teza View Post
5 hrs to Broome or Darwin, gotta say you gotta be located pretty close to both!
Flu still no better? (he said 5 days lol)
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Old Sep 3rd 2014, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: Australias size.

Australia is one of the most highly urbanised countries on the planet - i.e. as measured by the proportion of the total population living in the capital cities and urban areas and coastal fringe. Thus for the vast majority of people the vastness of the country is irrelevant for the majority of their time - i.e. getting around Sydney or Melbourne or whatever is all that matters. One thing that amazes me is that a trip from say the NW tip to the SE tip of Melbourne is much greater than going from the western edge of Glasgow to the sea at Edinburgh!

I can still remember my primary teacher telling me that Australia is over 31 times the size of the 'mother country' (her words) and we have less than 1/120th the population density. In my young mind I always thought those Poms must be really living on top of each other.
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Old Sep 3rd 2014, 11:45 pm
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Default Re: Australias size.

Originally Posted by OzTennis View Post
Australia is one of the most highly urbanised countries on the planet - i.e. as measured by the proportion of the total population living in the capital cities and urban areas and coastal fringe. Thus for the vast majority of people the vastness of the country is irrelevant for the majority of their time - i.e. getting around Sydney or Melbourne or whatever is all that matters. One thing that amazes me is that a trip from say the NW tip to the SE tip of Melbourne is much greater than going from the western edge of Glasgow to the sea at Edinburgh!
Thats true about it being irrelevant most of the time, but thats what adds to the mystery of the interior. The most outback I've done so far is either 100ks or so NW of Mildura on dirt, Or 100ks west of Goondawindi, oh and Cooktown. I'm not sure which one of those qualifies as the "Furthest outback"

The place that rekindled my interest in Australias further regions was SW of Perth, which was far far more interesting than I had previously thought. Uptil then I'd had more or less the same reaction as Grayling to Australias seemingly void areas. There are areas of great interest out there, you just have to go a bloody long way to get to them.
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Old Sep 4th 2014, 12:01 am
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Default Re: Australias size.

Originally Posted by ozzieeagle View Post
The place that rekindled my interest in Australias further regions was SW of Perth, which was far far more interesting than I had previously thought. Uptil then I'd had more or less the same reaction as Grayling to Australias seemingly void areas. There are areas of great interest out there, you just have to go a bloody long way to get to them.
I don't doubt that there are interesting parts and there is a certain magnificence about some of the wilder areas (I have driven through parts of the outback), however, I find the US, for example, which is also a vast area, to have much more interest and variation for me.
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Old Sep 4th 2014, 12:09 am
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Default Re: Australias size.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - I love nothing more than driving through red dirt and mulga for days on end - I think it's beautiful and makes me feel peaceful and like I belong.
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Old Sep 4th 2014, 12:36 am
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Default Re: Australias size.

I'm still waiting to explore....after 6 years I've only managed the Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains and Canberra and all the swimming pools within a 90 minute drive of St Ives, or the hospitals. Not very scenic really.

I have also been to Uluru and Perth, which was on our "let's have a holiday in Australia" trip 2006: the main cause of coming here rather than NZ, but that doesn't count as we were based in the UK at the time. It did however give me an idea of the sheer size when we flew for hours between Perth and Sydney. We could have flown over Europe in the same time!!!

My bucket list, now that whale watching has been ticked off is to explore the little towns up and down the coast of NSW. OH wants to go to Kangaroo Valley, and after watching River Cottage I'd like to see the area around there. If it has good food, good wine and somewhere to hole up after sampling both, then I'll be happy with a short weekend/midweek break.
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Old Sep 4th 2014, 1:53 am
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Default Re: Australias size.

Originally Posted by Jon77 View Post
The size of Australia and what it contains is beautiful and we do appreciate it, but there will always be a sadness in the emptiness for me. When I stand on the western side of the Blue Mountains looking inland I do find the view awe inspiring, but then sometimes I stand looking at that view wishing that a cathedral spire would rise up in the distance, or the shafts of light would catch some other big city ready to be explored. I guess like the first settlers / explorers we are looking for the familiar rather than what it is and all of a sudden the wilderness surrounding Sydney can seem like prison walls.

I think the Aussie artist Loyd Rees understood that feeling as he spent a lot of time in Europe and when he returned to Australia he drew the Australia landscape and then went back to the drawing and implanted some medieval structure from Italy or some such place in to his drawing.
What a refreshing post!

Originally Posted by jad n rich View Post
That for me too, 100%.

Or a plane an hour or two to a a choice of different countries.

We have traveled a LOT in Australia, It can be boring beyond belief, so much the same for days!. There is some beauty, but really compare that to the variety you would see in USA or Europe and it is underwhelming. One thing I could not do is the spend a year travelling round, I could see 100 times more in say the USA for a fraction of the price, even the bloody campervan would only cost a third.

On a day to day level, we have just signed up for 3 years in melbourne, kids/UNI. We will move from many acres in qld rainforest, to a small block in a very congested city. I dont think space will be one of the things I appreciate about the move, but we will be luckier than most, open space on 3 sides, that was harder than hell to find and still be close to the city.

I still feel the isolation, even in Melbourne, the cost of the airfares, the woosh of jetting off somewhere really exciting for a weekend. Ohhhh I miss that.

Dont jump down my throat ( usual suspects ) if you find it exciting well that is wonderful for you, we are all different.
Why should people jump down you throat? Distance - I noted that you wanted to ask how far Mt Hotham was so you could say it was not worth it for a weekend but you then noted I was not driving!

I am not a fan of the outback, or animals, or sunsets, or koalas or aquatic creatures or coastlines. I prefer mountains.

I like the country when there is some context - like a visit to a farm or some days working on a station - but I couldn't live in the country unless it was near a ski resort - the likes of Mansfield, Bright come to mind.

I do however like driving across terrain - desert - what have you - as part of a 'road trip' where you can keep yourself entertained with what the girl in the next roadhouse might look like - having thought the one in the town before was a good sort...(this is sort of Bill Bryson territory!)

I am used to the distance and expect to drive more than 3 hours to get somewhere. So imagine my surprise to remember that the Yarra Valley was a mere 40mins away...

I used to drive 3 hrs + in the UK too, so there is nothing alarming about Australia. But I have not really driven past about 4-5hrs in recent years.
I do have a laugh when I realise I could get to the Scottish border in less than that from London.

There is a criticism that many Australian towns are all the same,
but I find many Australian regions have their own beauty and their pretty little towns. There are a lot of towns in Victoria with wide streets, courthouses, churches, public buildings and pubs. There are a lot of 'anywhere' towns too (in the way all 'anywhere' towns can be).

I find UK towns the same, take away a pub, or a church and many are surrounded by 'B' grade estates, housing and the main drag can be a colleciton of 'Spar' type shops. The smarter towns are a bit more interesting with a collection of boutiques or a cake shop perhaps. But many are alike in a way many Victorian towns are alike, if you see what I mean. I much prefer Italian or French villages to UK ones.

As for overseas trips, I am not really a weekend tourist so we prefer to save up our time and take long trips where we really immerse ourselves in another country surrounded by friends and family. Sort of a home from home - another life. I like to take 3 weeks minimum.

I think the US could have it's monotous landscapes but there is probably less desert and spinifex out there for one thing, but you have to pick what you are comparing! You could cherry-pick the best. I was not overwhelmed with much of California apart from the National Parks.

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Old Sep 4th 2014, 2:15 am
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Default Re: Australias size.

Originally Posted by Jon77 View Post
For me one of the biggest issues to get around (and not one we succeeded in doing) was the fact that we couldn't just jump in a car or on a train from the city we live to another very interesting city / town for a day trip.

Sure there are fantastic day trips to be had from Sydney, from mountains to amazing beaches but often we would look at a map on a Friday night and feel like we wanted a day trip to another built up place outside of Sydney that has a bit of a touristy interesting vibe. And lets face it, with our busy lives a day trip is the best we can often get for months, for us anyway.

Newcastle gave a bit of a reprieve to these feelings as I quite like visiting there, but nowhere else fills that day trip gap.

Sure we like going to natural beauty and we are often out and about making the most of the mountains and the beaches, probably more so than the locals.

But we do miss having a number of different towns or cities all within day trip distance. Cities / towns that are all built out of different local stone and have their own individual feel to it. When we have headed for a country town in the past we have driven in to it and then out the other side in 2 minutes and both look at each other with the 'was that it' look!

The size of Australia and what it contains is beautiful and we do appreciate it, but there will always be a sadness in the emptiness for me. When I stand on the western side of the Blue Mountains looking inland I do find the view awe inspiring, but then sometimes I stand looking at that view wishing that a cathedral spire would rise up in the distance, or the shafts of light would catch some other big city ready to be explored. I guess like the first settlers / explorers we are looking for the familiar rather than what it is and all of a sudden the wilderness surrounding Sydney can seem like prison walls.

I think the Aussie artist Loyd Rees understood that feeling as he spent a lot of time in Europe and when he returned to Australia he drew the Australia landscape and then went back to the drawing and implanted some medieval structure from Italy or some such place in to his drawing.
I agree, I miss the same things. I am Adelaide which has less day trip options than Sydney of Melbourne.
Victor Harbor again anyone?
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Old Sep 4th 2014, 6:08 am
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Default Re: Australias size.

Originally Posted by Merseygirl View Post
I agree, I miss the same things. I am Adelaide which has less day trip options than Sydney of Melbourne.
Victor Harbor again anyone?
Here's a conundrum - how long before you can outgrow a city.
Bear in mind that many of us come here with children or later on in life so have a bit of caching up to do compare to the local population.

I reckon Melbourne has some longevity - but if you grew up here, it might have a shelf-life.

We've spent so many years with pre-schoolers that we reckon there is still much of the city we have yet to do or see. A single person might have got bored - different time of life.
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