Hello everyone, this is the final entry of our roller coaster, coast to coast, cross country trip with our friends Carol and Alan.
We arrived back in Melbourne a couple of days ago, all pretty exhausted but so pleased that we completed the journey. It truly was a lifetime experience and we all feel that it was something we’ll never forget. The country is really huge and living here, you never really think about it. It makes the adventure all the more meaningful because you feel that you’ve really connected with the environment and understand the land you walk on every day in a more intimate, personal way.
Anyway let me quickly take you through the last few destinations we visited. After Gold Coast we headed for Byron Bay, in New South Wales. The town is a favourite hangout for young surfers and was apparently named after the grand father of poet Lord Byron who was a famous navigator in the 17th century.
Next in line were Newcastle and Sydney, the two biggest towns in New South Wales. Newcastle as you can imagine was named after the British city port. Historically, Newcastle was an industrial town and its port remains a vibrant and very active trading centre. Newcastle also has one of the largest universities in the country. After Newcastle, we arrived in Sydney, which of course needs no introduction as a city. It is the most populated city in Australia with almost 5 million people living there and it was the first British colonial settlement in Australia. The city is a very strong economic centre and the richest town in the country dominated by very strong services, banking and technology industries. It is also one of our most culturally diverse cities, both culturally and ethnically, with people coming from places as diverse as Lebanon, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, India and Greece.
Sydney also has iconic architectural structures, which are very much symbolic of Australia all over the world. To name but a couple, the Anzac bridge, across Johnstons Bay is a unique construction built in memory of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who contributed to the War effort during World War II. And of course, the Sydney Opera House, overlooking Bennelong Point, undoubtedly one of the most famous and instantly recognisable buildings in the world. It was built by a Danish architect and officially opened in 1973.
After Sydney we travelled to the city of Wollongong, an industrial town which has considerably modernised itself over the years, and our last stop before coming back home to Melbourne was the city of Canberra. Canberra is the capital state of Australia and not Sydney as people often think. Most of our political life takes place there and it is a city with its own character, displaying great architectural works like the National Museum of Australia, the Shine Dome and the Australian War Memorial.
That’s it folks, it’s been a blessing for us to undertake and complete this journey, I hope it will inspire to go out there into the great wide open and find out for yourselves what a beautiful country this is.