Damsels’ Trip Around the World: Australia

February 14, 2011

Last stop on our little trip this month: Australia!!  It’s the one place I really want to visit that I haven’t yet. Spending ten years growing up in Europe had some advantages. The biggest one: I’ve seen most of Western Europe. Loved it! I’ve also seen a decent part of the United States. This summer I’m finally going to spend a week in Canada…so that leaves me with Australia. I’d always had a fascination with it, but it wasn’t until I met my good friend Lara that Australia became more than kangaroos and koalas to me.

Queensland, Australia

I didn’t really know much about Australia other than it is big…very big. A little bit of research, a lot of talking with my friend, and lots of time spent looking at photographs and I realized the place I want to visit most is Queensland. Queensland is the Australian state that occupies the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory to the west, South Australia to the south-west and New South Wales to the south. It is surrounded on the north and east by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean.

I want to visit Brisbane, the state capital. This area was originally the Moreton Bay penal colony, intended as a place for recidivist convicts transferred from New South Wales where they were originally serving out their sentences. I know very little about the history of convicts being shipped to Australia from England, but it’s one thing I really want to learn more about. There’s something about that part of Australia’s history that fascinates, me and I’m sure there’s a story somewhere waiting for me to find it. The state eventually encouraged free settlement and today Queensland is an agricultural state that also sees many tourists–one day I plan to be one of those tourist! I’d make a stop along the Gold Coast, too, as I’ve heard all about it from my friend, and if I’m going to go to Australia the trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of their amazing beaches.

The photo that made me want to visit Northern Queensland.

While I want to visit Brisbane and the Gold Coast and see what South East Queensland has to offer, the area that has truly captured my attention is the Tropical North. A sizable portion of the state is in the tropics and is home to many natural wonders, from the Great Barrier Reef to the tropical rainforests. I’d go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, visit Daintree National Park and go north to visit Cape York Peninsula. But what I want to do most is visit Atherton, ‘capital’ of the lovely Tropical Tablelands, a land of (and I quote the guide book here) “beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and tropical rainforests.”  What drew my attention to this portion of Australia? A photo of the Millaa Millaa Falls in Tablelands, Queensland. I’ve been doing research on rainforests for my current novel, and when I came across this picture I knew I had to one day visit it. I never realized part of Australia was located in the tropics and home to rainforest, but now that I do, it’s on the top of my list of places to visit. It’s strange. I was never interested by rainforest, but ever since I started researching them the desire to visit one has slowly moved towards the top of my “Places to Visit” list.

One day I’ll visit Queensland. I can visit a rainforest and marvel at nature’s beauty (and probably get eaten alive by insects, but hey it’ll be worth it). And hopefully I can take that experience and really make Avrina’s planet come alive for everyone. Of course along the way I hope to come home with another story too…this one involving a small piece of Australia’s history.