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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Sunshine State.

Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail. ~Proverb
We are Queenslanders. That's the bright lolly pink bit in the first map. It's the second largest state & roughly 25% of Australia or to put it into perspective 7 times the size of Great Britain, more than double the size of Texas. Yeah, it's a big place.

I was toddling round on the net just double checking my facts because anything to do with numbers I'm likely to get wrong & I was pretty mind boggled. Now for some reason [probably due to my technological incompetence] I landed on tourist sites ~ which is all well & good but totally misleading. Seriously misleading. And they were all saying the same thing. Sub~tropical.

Now we are subtropical, ie below the tropic of Capricorn. Cairns isn't. Oh deary me no! No, Cairns is definitely tropical; tropical as in Cairns has 2 seasons. It has a wet season [summer] & a dry season [winter] ~ just the two seasons. If you live there you wear a woolly jumper in winter. Everyone else goes swimming.

If you live out west you're probably part of the desert that just flooded. The climate in the Great Dividing Mountains is different again. By sub~tropical I can only think they mostly mean Brisbane, which is the capital of the state, & where the plane's most likely to offload you unless you realise there's an international airport at Cairns & it's right next door to the Great Barrier Reef. Most people don't & they get dumped at Brisbane airport & Brisbane is sub~tropical, which means we get mild, pleasant winters whose temps range between 14 ~ 28C [57.2 ~ 82.4F]. Cairns on the other hand has winter temperatures ranging between 20 ~ 30C [68 ~ 86F]. We won't go into their summer temps. Sticky!

Last time I was in Cairns the wet season arrived with a vengeance & the rain chased us down the coast flooding the rivers as we passed. Just so you know.

We get somewhere in the vicinity of 1.5 million tourists a year, give or take the odd million. They arrive with lists of the day trips they've got planned. A cursory study of the map reveals 7, 400 ks plus of coastline ~ most of it a long, long way from Brisbane. This is important to know because Queensland has 1 of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world & 4 World Heritage listed sites ~ none of which are in Brisbane. The 2, 300 k of the Great Barrier reef is the largest natural feature in the world & can be seen from space ~ but you can't see it from Brisbane. It requires you travel quite some distance from Brisbane in order to see it. Just now from Bowen to Gladstone 90% of the reef's gone, smashed to smithereens by cyclone Hamish.

We have the world's largest sand island [184 000 hectares], Fraser Island, but it's 4 hours from Brisbane & world heritage listed so worth the visit because it's the only place in the world tall rainforest grows on sand dunes. Or there's the Daintree, the oldest rainforest in the world but it's 2 hours north of Cairns. Also world heritage listed, 1 200 square ks of rainforest that is home to 30% of reptile, marsupial & frog species in Oz, habitat to 65% of butterfly & bat species & 20% of our bird species. Thirteen species of the birds are found nowhere else in the world. Oh, & it's totally gorgeous! Moving right along & still heading north up into the Gulf you will find yet another world heritage listing : Riversleigh, home to Australian marsupial fossils. Nowhere else in the world will you find such a continuous, rich, detailed record at a single site. The 4th world heritage listing is the Great Barrier Reef.

We get 300 days of sunshine a year I'm told but we haven't been seeing much of the sun recently. It's been wet. Very, very wet. Tropical wet. Someone should inform whoever's responsible for the weather that we're sub~tropical & are supposed to have more than 2 seasons a year.

And just so you know, unless you're out in the sticks or at the zoo you're extremely unlikely to see kangaroos or wallabies or koalas wandering round. We're out in the sticks so we see these things but Brisbane is a modern city. No wildlife allowed.


kimba said...

your comment about people in Cairns wearing woolly jumpers reminded me of going to Townsville on holiday and relaxing in the warm WINTER sun, being from Brisbane, and seeing people dressed in cardies(Cardigans). Heard them saying how cold it was compared to Cairns.

Britwife said...

We were looking at the globe last week (ok, it was because we watched the movie "Australia") and both Mr. Britwife and I both commented at how BIG it is! We saw the omni-film (IMAX) about Australia last year with the kids. They were freaked out by all the man-sized lizards. Do you get those where you live?

Molytail said...

"wooly jumpers" always makes me laugh - I know jumpers are sweaters for you guys, but jumpers are dress type things here, that you wear over a blouse or t-shirt and a wooly jumper of THAT sort would be incredibly uncomfortable. *grin*

We get somewhere in the vicinity of 1.5 million tourists a year, give or take the odd million.

I know what that's all about. Numbers for tourist back on PEI are something crazy like that as well. A good 60% or more are from Japan, I'm sure. The Japanese are *obsessed* with our Anne of Green Gables!

Heh, where we are now... not such a tourist destination. People just don't seem to want to spend their vacation up in oil sands country, for some odd reason. :-P

"Innisfail" ..where on earth have I heard that before.. ever have it where you know you know something in the back of your head but can't connect the dots? It's that sort of morning.

LOVE the name "Thargomindah" - it would be quite fun to be asked where I lived if that was my home!

Ganeida said...

Kimba: They're wooses up that way aren't they?

Britwife: Um, yeah we get those big lizards. The cat likes to chase them. Caught him hanging of one's tail a couple of times as it shot up a tree. Known round here as a monitor lizard. The latgest I've seen was about 8' long. BIG lizard.

Moly: trust you girl! Thargomindah is an Aboriginal word meaning *cloud of dust* & trust me, it's for a reason. Dearest spent some time out that way when he was drilling for oil. It's pretty much desert & bull dust. Population about 250 people ~that's hundreds, not thousands.I can't hyper~link from here [how do you do that?] but a google search would bring it up.

Persuaded said...

are you really called the "sunshine state?" we have a sunshine state here in the us too.. and it surely is NOT my state, lol... ;)

Molytail said...

I'll have to show you how to do the links in comments by email, because this thing won't let me put the code here in a way that you can see it LOL either wants to work and BE a link, or it refuses to let it through when I put asterisks in to break it up... fussy blog! LOL

I could be quite happy somewhere with a population of 250... heh, I could be happy with a population of 25. Wikipedia claims it was the first town in Aus and third in the *world*.. cool beans.

Ganeida said...

Ok, Moly, I read wiki & Thargomindah can't possibly be the first town. See the first settlers came by ship & Tharga doesn't even have a river. Our first town was Port Jackson aka Sydney. I think they are refering to the hydro electric power. The colour of the water is scary. That's the iron ore colouring it I guess. Looks like a pool of blood!

I await your instruction on the other ~ along with an address?

Persuaded: We're not very sunshiney ourselves at present. all this wet stuff keeps leaking out of the sky.

Mrs. C said...

You should write the tour guides!! Great stuff.

Ganeida said...

Thank you MrsC! Accolades indeed from someone whose been here. ;)