From our ArchivesTravel

Wintry Australia beckons summery Kuwait

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else

R. Buckminster Fuller

Traveling, to me, is more about the experiences and less about the destination; it is about getting lost and slowly finding my way back; itis about getting out of my comfort zone and goinginto the wild and finding the unexpected. I am not against planned travel or the luxury of comfortable hotel bed, it is just that to me the pleasure of fine dining, cozy linens and the political tête-à-tête over sophisticated tea parties, not to forget today’s virtual conversations, are always surpassed by a chanced, quenching conversation with the nomad next to your table in a bohemian café. To me, the sedation of lying on a train berth as it gently rocks one to sleep beats the hurried flight from one place to another. The thrills of a cozy bonfire-lit gathering amidst chilly, mountain wilderness, or simply gazing silently at a starlit sky as the darkness gathered around, are experiences that remain etched in memory long after the sights and signs of a city fade away. For travelers, it is never too late and no place is too far. I suggest getting to know Australia in this spirit of travel.

Why Australia? For one, because Australians think Woolloomooloo is a perfectly reasonable name for a place and believe that it makes perfect sense for a nation to decorate its highways with large fiberglass bananas, prawns and sheep.Meaning, it is a crazy place to getaway; what better place to get the crazy inside you out, than in a place that perfectly accepts craziness as simply as salt in a dish.

Two, because Australia is the home of one of the largest living thing on earth, the Great Barrier Reef and of the largest monolith, Ayers Rock (or Uluru to use its now-official, more respectful Aboriginal name). It is often said about Australia that the people here proudly claim that they are on the other side of the fence as to the pinning ones who always feel the other side is better.

Now, coming back to you in Kuwait facing the scorching heat, it is time to pack your woolens and head to a snow laden place, especially in this season in Australia, when you will find everything topped with loads of ice and snowy mountains to ski. Winters in Australia can be experienced from June to August like no other place. Winter snow occurs mainly in the Australian mountains, such as in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, the Alpine region of Victoria and mountainous areas of Tasmania. Tropical north Australia remains relatively warm with temperatures in the 24-30°C range.

Snowy Mountains: The Snowy Mountains are one of Australia’s most popular playgrounds, offering residents of the warm and dry continent an opportunity to see the white stuff that many parts of the world take for granted. Australia’s highest mountains, largest glacial lakes, and four ski resorts can all be found in these aptly (but not particularly imaginatively) named mountains.

In summer, take in the trout-filled streams and wildflower-coated plains going cycling, caving, rafting, kayaking, four wheel driving, horse riding and hiking. Whatever the season, the Snowy Mountains has endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Alpine Region of Victoria: Feel the rush in Victoria’s snow cladmountains and prepare yourself for some action. Hotham, the ‘Powder Capital of Australia’ will let you cut up the slopes on skis, snowboards and toboggans. Wind your way along spectacular cross-country trails, and gear up for snow-mobile rides, sunset tours and family fun. Melbourne, the City of Festivals, Victoria’s capital city, knows how to live. Choose from high-end cuisine to low brow rock gigs, plays, festivals andblockbuster sporting events, all taking place across a city full of parks, gardens and historic architecture.

Tasmania: The rest of Australia has finally stopped laughing and started visiting Tasmania. ‘Tassie’ (as it’s affectionately known) has it all: vast, uninhabited slabs of wilderness, swimming at Seven Mile Beach, bountiful wildlife in Narawntapu National Park, gourmet food in the Tamar Valley, a thriving arts scene and new-found urban cool. Soak up history on Hobart’s riverfront cobblestone streets. Walk over Cataract Gorge, a dramatic wilderness in the heart of Launceston, or head to the World Heritage-listed wilderness that makes up 20 percent of the island. Of course, it would be unfair to reduce the country to just winter explorations. An abundance of blazing sunsets and blue waters in Western Australia and aboriginal outback characters in Northern Territory sets the backdrop for an unforgettable experience.

Western Australia: Western Australia is famous for long days of sunshine and diverse landscapes and climates. Cruise down Perth’s Swan River or travel down paths fringed by tall forests and crashing surf along the Margaret River. Ride a camel down Broome’s Cable Beach at sunset or go for a drive in a four-wheeler along the remote, beautiful Dampier Peninsula. Fly over the Bungle Bungle ranges and boat down huge, man-made Lake Argyle in Kununurra.

Northern Territory: You can lose and find yourself in the Northern Territory, a place rich in Aboriginal history and rugged, natural beauty. Immerse yourself in Darwin’s melting pot of cuisines and cultures and explore the rainforest and Aboriginal rock art of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Silent and splendid isolation of Australia’s Red Centre turns some spectacular colors at sunrise and sunset. Awe-inspiring Kings Canyon not far from Alice Sprig, surprisingly, has green vegetation and lush waterholes as well as dusty red roads and huge slabs of rock. Start your outback adventure in Alice Springs. Sail over the spinifex plains in a hot air balloon or bike ride to Simpsons Gap. Connect to stories of Afghan cameleers, flying doctors and plucky pioneers in the many heritage sites around the town.

Sydney, New South Wales: Each year the city of Sydney is transformed into a spectacular canvas of light, music and ideas when Vivid Sydney takes over the city after dark. Coloring the city with creativity and inspiration, Vivid Sydney highlights include the hugely popular illumination of the Sydney Opera House sails; performances from local and international musicians at Sydney Opera House and the Vivid Ideas Exchange, featuring public talks and debates from leading global creative thinkers. For 18 days, creative types, corporate professionals, families and people of all generations take advantage of Sydney’s mild winter weather and immerse themselves in the truly spectacular show.

Queensland: Sun yourself, snorkel through the multi-colored treasures of the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the magical Daintree Rainforest, charter a yacht to the pristine Whitsunday Islands. Enjoy resort relaxation in Noosa and see dinosaur footprints near Winton. Try bushwalking through national parks near Mackay and go horse riding on Townsville’s Magnetic Island.

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