|Outback near Blinman, Flinders Ranges, South Australia|
As this FAAAABULOUS January 26 gets under way, the ozone layer prepares itself for a high carbon emission onslaught and the planet's remaining trees breathe a sigh of relief.
|Aussie Flag at Anzac Hill, Alice Springs, Northern Territory|
It's Australia Day and almost compulsory to have a barbecue and PROVE your Aussie pride with Aussie flags on every conceivable product from toothpicks to tablecloths; serviettes to stubby holders; picnic plates to paper cups.
For Aussies like me, there's a LOT of things that make Australia so Australian. So I've chosen 26 of those special Aussie things that top MY Australia Day Patriotic Aussie Pride list!
Congratulations to 2014 Australians of the Year Adam Goodes (Australian of the Year); Fred Chaney (Senior Australian); Jacqueline Freney (Young Australian); and Tim Conolan (Australia's Hero); and a BIG welcome to our newest citizens!
Love 'em or LOATHE 'em, for us Aussies it's quite normal to wander a landscape littered with BIG fruit, animals and other random objects!
|The BIG Miner - Map Kernow, or Son of Cornwall - Kapunda, South Australia|
Around 90% of Australia's population live in urban areas. So I'm calling Country Towns the next BIG Thing in Aussie tourism.
Where else can you see the quirks, the oddities, the beauty and the colours of Australia?
Australia is the driest continent on earth, and South Australia its driest state.
|Eucalypts in River Bed|
Most of the 700 species in this genus are from Australia – and the only genus in the world with species across ALL habitats – Eucalyptus is a mini-masterclass in adaptation.
Even though down here we call them Gum Trees!
Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is the famed Green and Gold that represents Australia. Although each Australian State and Territory has a unique floral emblem, not many Australians can name them all! Can you? Test your knowledge HERE!
|Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), Australia's Floral Emblem - Green and Gold!|
Australia is home of the Welcome Stranger, at 71+kg the world's biggest alluvial gold nugget found at Moliagul near Bendigo in the Victorian Goldfields. It's tempting to see if Son of the Welcome Stranger is lurking nearby, right?!
|Victorian Alps near Mt Hotham|
At 2228 metres, Mt Kosciuszko, highest mountain in OZ, isn't that high by, say, Everest standards. But the OZ High Country around the New South Wales Snowy Mountains and Victoria's Alps makes a HUGE change from the Coastal fringe and Outback that usually characterises OZ!
|Indigenous Rock Art, Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, South Australia|
Australian colonial history started just over 200 years ago. Australian Indigenous history goes back for over 50,000 years meaning Australian Aborigines have occupied the same area continuously for longer than any other culture in the world!!
In a land so (mostly) flat, sometimes the only feature for hundreds of kilometres is a small hill called a Jump Up. My favourite is Swanvale Jump-Up near Stonehenge … the Aussie version.
Nothing says 'Australian Bush' like the sound of the Kookaburra – largest Kingfisher species in the WORLD!
If you're unsure why they were once called Laughing Jackass, click HERE for a Kookaburra Sound Clip!
Understanding Fair Dinkum Aussie Slang is the REAL citizenship test, as Google translate is a FAIL for true Aussie lingo.
See how you go with this Australia Day 'conversation':
'G'day mate, ayagorn?'
'Stone the crows, she's a hot one, mate! Chuck another coupla snags on the barbie and pass the dead horse, whaddayareckon, eh mate?'
|Rolling on the Murray River at Mannum, South OZ, Australia Day 2014|
'No worries, tinnies in the esky mate, go for your life!'
'Orright mate, cheers'
Translation below ...*
Australia's longest river system, the Murray-Darling, stretches from it's headwaters near Mt Kosciuszko to the sea at South Australia's Goolwa.
Of Australia's 516 National Parks, my most visited is the Grampians National Park in Victoria.
The huge and otherwise undefined 'middle' section of Australia, where there's WAY more than the 'nothing much' of popular opinion. Don't believe me? Have a look at my Outback adventures!
|Outback near Bedourie, Queensland|
The ultimate accolade to Australia's poets is Scenic Public Toilet #8 at Gunnedah, NSW, home of Dorothea MacKellar author of My Country – a personal favourite.
|Waltzing Matilda Centre, Winton, Queensland|
Another is Clancy of the Overflow by the extraordinarily prolific A. B. Paterson. He also wrote Waltzing Matilda – one of the 10 most recorded songs in the world – the subject of the only museum in the world (the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, QLD) dedicated to a song!
You don't have to look very hard to find something strange and bizarre downunder. Like a singing, piano-playing dingo. Or a sign telling you exactly what the locals think of the government. Or a gilded church steeple in the middle of nowhere. Or the world's first ride-on lawnmower. Or a Cane Toad Race! Or the World Moon-Rock Throwing Championships! Haven't heard of these things before? They're ALL on my blog!!
Well, what did you expect for 'R'?? In my opinion, Australia's REDDEST place is Karijini National Park, although you can find RED pretty much anywhere in Australia – both the colour AND the blogger! Me!!
|Dales Gorge, Karijini National Park, Western Australia|
Yep, that's what we're known for! And a whole lot of other Coast-related 'S' words as well … like Swimming! Sun!! Sand!!! Sunsets!!!!
|Hobart from Mt Wellington, Tasmaniz|
Often forgotten as part of Australia, the 'Apple Isle' is the second-largest island in the Australia group. I've only been to Tasmania once, an oversight I hope to rectify soon!
Australia's RED heart. Do I really need to give you a photo or link??
Vegemite is an acquired taste ... but who knows how much longer this Aussie icon will survive with the competition from Aussie legend Dick Smith's OZEMITE? But whatever happens, the Vegemite TV commercial from the 1950's is a classic!!
Whales! Stretches of Australia's extensive coastline are perfect for whale-watching in the right season. The Southern Right Whale nursery in the Great Australian Bight is a good place to start, but there's opportunities all around OZ … like this whale offshore from WA's Quobba!
A Xanthorrhoea by any other name is Australia's most well known wildflower – the Grass Tree, able to withstand bushfires and live for hundreds of years!
|Grass Trees at Victoria Valley, Grampians|
Young and Free!
From the first stanza of Advance Australia Fair, the Australian National Anthem – 'Australians all let us rejoice/for we are young and free' Nicely ironic, considering the longevity of the Aboriginal race (see above) … but I'd like to think I was young and free - however old I become!
Yeah … this is the lazy person's Z-word. So sue me. Australia's Zoos are pretty good though – Adelaide's Monarto Zoo, Dubbo's Great Western Plains Zoo and Sydney's Taronga Park Zoo. But my all time favourite Zoo-like place is the Alice Springs Desert Park!
That's just some of what makes Australia so Australian, and ME patriotic. But what have I missed?? What's YOUR favourite Australiana??
Check out the rest of my Aussie Alphabet HERE!
'Hi, how are you going?'
'Gosh it's hot! Can you put a couple of sausages on the barbecue and pass the sauce? What do you think?'
'OK, help yourself to a can (of beer) in the portable cold bin.'
'All right, thanks!'
|Mt Sturgeon from Dunkeld Arboretum Lake, Grampians, Victoria|