Australia An Adventure Down Under

Australia is an exceptional blend of bustling cities, breathtaking landscapes, and unique wildlife.

By Ron McGinty

Australia is a unique country that also comprises the majority of the continent of Oceania. Oceania’s geography is traditionally divided into four subregions: Australia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

Australia is an exceptional blend of bustling cities, breathtaking landscapes, and unique wildlife. The country is so vast that the forty-eight continental states of the USA can fit in the middle and still not fill it.

I can attest to its scale, as it took several weeks and three flights to explore the country.

Our Tauck tour was exciting and engaging but also a travel marathon. Australia is mostly desert, and Uluru is a famous desert area. The Indigenous Australians who live there are considered to be one of the oldest continuous cultures in the world.

Evidence suggests that they have been in Australia for at least sixty-five thousand years and are descendants of the first human migrations out of Africa. The history of Indigenous Australians is complex and multifaceted, encompassing both resilience and struggle.

As someone who used to enjoy scuba diving, I always dreamed of seeing the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s most extensive coral reef system, situated off the coast of Queensland, Australia. It extends over fourteen hundred square miles and consists of more than twenty-nine individual reefs and nine hundred islands, making it one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet.

To take in the magnificent underwater views, we took a ride in a submersible boat and flew over the reefs in a helicopter to appreciate the vastness of the area.

During a hot-air balloon ride, we saw hundreds of kangaroos wandering around the open fields. One interesting fact about female kangaroos is that they have a duplex uterus, which means they have two uteri. This allows them to be constantly pregnant, with one joey developing inside the womb while another is being nursed in the pouch.

Kangaroo mothers can produce two different types of milk for joeys at various developmental stages. For example, a mother kangaroo can produce a more nutrient-rich milk for a younger, undeveloped joey still in the pouch and a different milk composition for an older joey that has started exploring outside the pouch but still returns for nourishment.

This explains why the joey stays in the mother’s pouch. Additionally, the kangaroo is the only animal that can stand like a prizefighter and win its bout.

Most people have seen photographs of the world-famous Sydney Opera House, but it’s an entirely different experience to see it in person. The building is an engineering marvel, unlike anything else in the world. Construction on the Opera House began in 1959 and wasn’t completed until 1973, which was much longer and more expensive than initially expected.

The Concert Hall is remarkable, with its unique ceiling made from a single tree cut into a thin veneer. In 2007, the Concert Hall was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognizing its exceptional value as a masterpiece of human creativity. The acoustics of the Concert Hall are unparalleled and renowned.

Next, on to New Zealand and four more charter flights!

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