Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Tourist attractions Downunder

are many and varied but are largely concerned with "the great Outdoors", "sport" and "food and drink".  
You need to travel what most non-natives consider to be vast distances to see any variety. Sport, in some parts of the country, is about that strange game known as "Aussie Rules" - but they do play "rugby" and "soccer" in other parts. Cricket is a national sport -  in more ways than one.
The food and drink part depends on where you are too but wineries are high on the agenda in the south. In the northern most reaches you might get offered a crocodile steak or something else "native" sounding. 
Tourists head off to "the Rock" (Uluru) and visit the opal mines in Coober Pedy on the way there or back. They "do the Ghan" (the train which runs through central Australia or the "Indian-Pacific" which runs across the country from Perth to Sydney. They go along the "Great Ocean Road" or into "the Blue Mountains". 
Many of them probably see more of Downunder than I ever will see or want to see. 
You see, my family has seen bits that most tourists will never see. Some of them are rather like the bits they will see and others are quite different. We lived in "the bush" so we know about semi-isolation, lack of water, heat, dust, snakes and the expense of getting any fresh fruit at all. We went to sheep stations. They were not the sort the tourists see with the organised demonstrations of sheep shearing but the lonely working  stations where people struggle to survive and visitors are rare.  We travelled lonely coast roads with isolated light houses and tiny cemeteries where infant children are buried.  The tourist buses don't go to those places. There is "nothing to see". It's wild and, in its own way, beautiful. It won't appeal to many tourists although there are the occasional intrepid travellers who go.
Tourists go to the wineries where they can get meals and take away wine they have seen being produced. They go and look at displays of "Aboriginal culture" which, hopefully, will teach them something but are scarcely authentic. They prowl the streets of tourist towns with their shops filled with souvenirs and sheepskins. It's the tourist thing.
So yesterday I suggested to some tourists that they go and explore the port area. I explained what they could see down there - much early history of the state. It gets a brief mention in the guide books but there is more to it than many people realise. The people at the Maritime Museum would help I told them.
Last night they contacted me again and said, "Had a fascinating day. There was so much to see! Why don't they tell people about it?"
I don't know.


Judy Edmonds said...

I've done quite a few of those 'tourist' places you mention, but I also love the lesser known ones.That Maritime Museum is fantastic! At Easter we spent a few days meandering around the very north of NSW and the very south of Queensland, and had a lovely time. (I also love the Art Gallery of SA - I;ve been quite a few times now and I have favorite rooms - and I don't even live in SA!) I never go on tourist buses. And the only sheep stations (or dairy farms) I have ever been on belonged to my husband's relatives.

Anonymous said...

I much prefer the areas away from the usual tourist spots. I know where there are beaches nobody goes too, back roads which are only used by locals, and small town museums and art galleries are just as interesting as the big city ones. Best part of being a tourist in non tourist destinations are the people you meet. Mind you, it helps that I have lived and worked in some areas long enough to get to know the best spots that are only known to the locals.