Fortune favored or disfavored us to leave our country of origin, country of love and adopt Australia for living. The beautiful continent, the safe, secure, resourceful lovely country was in our vision from childhood.
My mother used to talk about it when teaching geography .But really never thought we will make it our second home. Since we came we had to struggle a lot to set our roots in for a few years. Once we got our Australian citizenship and sons got secure jobs we made a plan to see as much as possible the beautiful continent. From December 2012 we planned to spend our annual leave travelling across Australia. In several installments I will try to take the readers right across the continent.
Geography: The geography of Australia encompasses a wide variety of biogeography regions being the world's smallest continent but the sixth-largest country in the world. The population of Australia is concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts. The geography of the country is extremely diverse, ranging from the snow-capped mountains of the Australian Alps and Tasmania to large deserts, tropical and temperate forests.
Australia is a country, and an island. It is located in Oceania between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. With a total area of 7,686,850 square kilometers (2,967,909 sq. mi) (including Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island), Australia is slightly smaller than the 48 states of the contiguous United States and 31.5 times larger than the United Kingdom.
Australia has the largest area of ocean jurisdiction of any country on earth. It has no land borders. The northernmost points of the country are the Cape York Peninsula of Queensland and the Top End of the Northern Territory. The western half of Australia consists of the Western Plateau, which rises to mountain heights near the west coast and falls to lower elevations near the continental center. The Western Plateau region is generally flat, though broken by various mountain ranges such as the Hamersley Range, the MacDonnell Ranges, and the Musgrave Range. Surface water is generally lacking in the Western Plateau, although there are several larger rivers in the west and north, such as the Murchison, Ashburton, and Victoria river.
The Eastern Highlands, or Great Dividing Range, lie near the eastern coast of Australia, separating the relatively narrow eastern coastal plain from the rest of the continent. These Eastern Australian temperate forests have the greatest relief, the most rainfall, the most abundant and varied flora and fauna, and the densest human settlement.
Between the Eastern Highlands and the Western Plateau, lie the Central Lowlands, which are made up of the Great Artesian Basin and Australia's largest river systems, Murray-Darling Basin and Lake Eyre Basin.
Off the eastern coast of Australia is the world's largest coral reef complex, the Great Barrier Reef. The State of Tasmania, a large and mountainous island, resides in the south-eastern corner of Australia.
States and Territories: Australia comprises six states and various territories; the Australian mainland is made up of five states and three territories (including small, somewhat anomalous Jervis Bay Territory), with the sixth state being located on the island of Tasmania to the south of the mainland. In addition, there are six island territories, known as external territories. Australia also claims part of Antarctica as the Australian Antarctic Territory.
A Week of Heavenly Bliss in Tasmania:
We live in Melbourne which is rated the best livable city in the world for the last several years. . My wife had to take care of most of the domestic matters here as I worked in Afghanistan for my work from 2009 – early 2014. My contract allowed me visit family for three weeks after every three months or take 45 days off in December January. Our elder son started working for two years in an LNG project in Gladstone Queensland from 2011. We decided that we will make best use of our annual leave travelling across Australia and New Zealand. Tasmania was our first destination.
Tasmania (abbreviated as Tas and known colloquially as "Tassie"; /tæzˈmeɪniə/is an island state, of Australia , located 240 kilometers (150 mi) to the south of the Australian continent, separated by Bass Strait. Tasmania is promoted as the natural state, and A World Apart, Not a World Away owing to its large and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Almost 45% of Tasmania lies in reserves, national parks and World Heritage Sites.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmania - cite_note-13
Our Son Shahriar Shuvro set up the pacakage which among others included voyage on the cruise ship “Spirit of Tasmania” and a week stay at a resort in Launceston. His friend Mahabub accompanied us on the trip .Our younger son Avro went on Europe Tour with his friend so we were four in the group me, Rozy , Shuvro and Mahabub .
MCG on Boxing Day:
Since 2006 Boxing Day test at MCG is on my annual calendar. It was no different in 2011. The tourist that time was Sri Lanka. Mahabubur came from Sydney on 25th December and we three enjoyed the Boxing Day cricket at MCG with capacity crowd of 95 thousand .Unfortunately Sri Lanka could not make a contest and moreover their key batsman Sangrakara got injured. But very sight of 95 thousand adoring cricket fans cheering full through a day after X-mas itself is very exciting. After the match we went to Port Melbourne to check the details of the voyage of the “Spirit of Tasmania”.
Voyage to Tasmania: For Shuvro, Mahbub and Rozy it was the first voyage on a cruise ship .So they were pretty excited. Rozy cooked Kheechuri, Hilsa fry, Egg Curry and Beef Bhuna and took lot of fruits and drinks. We reached the port Melbourne at 8AM and it took about an hour to take the car inside to its safe parking on the designated deck. The cruise ship Spirit of Tasmania is like a 5 start floating hotel. Huge in dimension having 9 storied spans with first 5 story’s for taking the cars and vans and 3 for passenger cabins and decks. The nine and half hour journey takes us through bass strait .On a clear day it is supposed to be one of the pleasant voyages an all can enjoy from various events of fun –music , dance , magic and other displays . But three hours into the journey the weather became rough with strong wind making the ship roll. We were all advised to return to cabin and stay calm. It was a huge challenge for even me. We were thinking of the fate of Titanic as the rolling became frightening at some stage .We could check vomiting with some difficulties. Once we managed to survive and the ship got steady we had our delicious homemade lunch and started socializing with our fellow passenger. I had good time with the captain and the crew. They were all watching MCG test. Australians in general love cricket but also like to travel with family in December holidays. We took some photographs and really enjoyed the last part of the voyage when some isolated islands in Australian term outback came to our view. We reached the shore of Tasmania at about 8PM. Like when we started it again took an hour to get off the ship and we were worried whether we will get the key when we reach Launceston another one hour from Tasmania coast. However, when we called the receptionist she made arrangement for us lifting the key from a box. We reached the very special cottage resort at around 10; 30 PM. It was a very comfortable two bed room apartment with spacious drawing dinning arrangement. We were all tired from the journey .Rozy warmed the food and I retired early though Rozy and the boys kept talking about the very challenging voyage. I took too many anti -vomiting pills which caused me vomit several times. But anyway I managed somehow and still got up early fit and ready for the first day of journey to heaven.
To Be Continued
BDST: 1325 HRS, SEP 07, 2014