Issue Number 6, 30 December 1999
Editors: Eric Lindsay and Jean Weber
In this issue...
Happy New Year!
Broken Hill and other outback New South Wales destinations
Australia's National Parks
Rottnest Island, Western Australia
The Australian Alps
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
State of the Arts Online
Fremantle Arts Centre Press
What time (and what day) is it in Australia?
This issue is late; I'm blaming the distractions of getting ready for Christmas and New Year's Eve.
Here in Airlie Beach we had 4 days of almost continuous heavy rain (often accompanied by high winds) over the Christmas weekend, and a series of power outages on Christmas day. All that without a cyclone in the area! Fortunately we were prepared with cold precooked turkey, salads, and champagne, so it didn't much matter to us, and the candles were ready in case the power stayed off after dark (it didn't). We felt sorry for the tourists.
The past few days have been beautifully sunny and clear, but hot and humid -- typical summer weather. A dip in the swimming pool at sunset comes as a welcome break. Down in the park below us we can see a carnival setting up rides and sideshow booths, getting ready for New Year's Eve. We hope the fireworks are at least as good as they were last year. We get a great view from our balcony, and we have no intention of going out to party, except perhaps down to the resort's bar, which will have an equally good view.
We're planning our first long trip in the motor home (to start in March 2000), so we've been researching some of the country along our intended route. One place we plan to go through is the Broken Hill region of New South Wales -- way out in the western part of the state, near the South Australian border. For a quick overview of the area, and other parts of outback NSW, try this site:
The Darling River flows through much of outback NSW, and eventually joines the Murray River on the NSW-Victoria border. The Murray Outback site covers a huge area and has links to some more detailed information about National Parks in the general vicinity of Broken Hill (among other places):
The site also has a lot of other information about the area, its towns, history, climate, places to stay, things to see and do, and so on -- but you'll probably need a good map of Australia to orient yourself as to just where you are.
Yes, Australia does have ski resorts. The mountains aren't as dramatic as the ones in New Zealand, but keen skiers from the northern hemisphere come here in July and August to join the enthusiastic locals. (You do remember that the seasons are reversed? We're in summer right now, at New Year's.)
Many people, even locals, don't realise that the Australian Alps are just as nice in summer as they are in winter -- much nicer, if you don't happen to like cold and snow!
This web site tells you about the snowfields and surrounding area, and what
you can do in summer as well as winter. During the ski season, it has reports
on the snow quality at various resorts as well as road conditions, accommodation
specials, and other relevant details.
The Canberra Tourism site has a lot of useful information, too, but it's buried in dropdown lists and search boxes. If you don't know what you're looking for, you may have trouble finding it. We were also annoyed by the small popup windows that contained the actual information, because we couldn't resize them or make the font large enough for Jean to read easily.
If we find a better site about Canberra, we'll let you know, but in the meantime if you're keen, you can try this one:
State of the Arts Online is an electronic version of State of the Arts Australia & New Zealand, a magazine guide to the visual and performing arts.
The site has lots of information from their current issue on events and exhibitions, and an archive of stories from previous issues.
You might get the impression that we like wine, and you'd be right. Not that we know much about wine, except for the brand names of things we've tried and liked.
Now and then we get questions like "what kind of wine is this?" from people who find Australian wines in cities all around the globe. Here's a good place to look them up: http://www.wineplanet.com.au/
(Editor's note December 2003: this site disappeared some time ago.)
Yet more books, this time from Western Australia. The Fremantle Arts Centre Press site has lots of interesting information.
You can't order books through their website (they are publishers, not distributors), but if you find something that interests you, hop over to an online bookseller like Gleebooks (http://www.gleebooks.com.au) and place your order there.
Everybody knows about time zones, but calculating what time and day it is in Australia (if you're in some other location) can get confusing, even without the added complications of daylight saving time (mentioned in the first issue of this newsletter).
If you don't have a convenient electronic device to work it out for you, here's how to figure it out. If you're in North America, you need to add a certain number of hours to the time where you are. For example, from US Eastern Standard Time, add 15 hours to get Australian Eastern Standard Time. (If I need to work it out in my head, I find it easier to subtract 9 hours and add one day.)
From Europe, you need to subtract a certain number of hours to get Australian time. All of this is important if you're planning to phone someone, and it can be inconvenient (and possibly embarrassing) if you add hours when you should have subtracted them, or forget about that different day. When flying here from North America, remember that you'll skip a day on route. If you leave on Friday night on a non-stop flight, you'll arrive on Sunday morning. This only matters if you want to arrive in Australia on a specific date -- be careful that you don't miss it! Going to North America on a non-stop flight, you'll reach the west coast several hours earlier than you left, on the same day. I still think that's weird.
© Copyright 1999-2002 Eric Lindsay and Jean Weber. All rights reserved.
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