VISITORS TO AUSTRALIA ARE FORCED TO FACE THE FOLLOWING REALITY --
while most of the "to-die-for" sights and attractions are in the country (the Bush, in Aussie parlance), it is in the city where you will meet the most interesting and invigorating Australians. This is generally true of any modern industrialized nation, and it needn't be a source of despair. As the Lonely Planet guidebook points out, Australian cities are different from cities in other parts of the world (therefore you can't use that old traveller's excuse: "It's just another city, so I won't bother going there"!) The Bush might hold the position of being the wellspring of the Australian nature, but the city is the real of Asutralia. Since UNCLONED WORLD is aimed at promoting the acceptance of reality as it really is, this point must be emphasised. Climbing Ayers Rock might not necessarily give you an understanding of what Australia is all about. A day in the suburbs of a workaday Aussie city might well do it, though.
TYPICAL COUNTRY TOWN -- story here!
So the question for the aspiring traveller is: where do I go on my Australian trip? In the United States it is said that the entire nation revolves around an East/West axis -- it is the East Coast against the West Coast. Japan is said to revolve around a Tokyo/Osaka axis. In Australia, the two dominant poles are created by the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, some 1000km to the south. It is because of the rivalries between the two cities that the capital of Australia was eventually built, from scratch, in Canberra, exactly halfway between them.
Any town or city in Australia is interesting in its own right, and all capture a slice of the Australian essence. Here is a brief guide on the major Australian towns and cities, and what you might expect to find there. The emphasis here is on the unusual, the untried, and the untested. I will only list places that I have lived in, or at least visited, so I can provide the type of information other travel guides leave out.
WOOLGOOLGA Nestled between the banana plantations and the sea, Woolgoolga is a Sikh oasis in the heart of Australia. The town, located near Coffs Harbour on New South Wales heavily touristed North Coast, is highly regarded for it's fine beaches, good surfing, varied fishing, and bush walks. It is also famous for its 50 per cent Sikh population, who own 90 per cent of its banana farms. As The Sikh Community in Australia website says: "A highway traveller approaching Woolgoolga may look in disbelief at the spectacular pure white Temple (the Guru Nanak Gurdwara), with its golden domes reaching out to the heavens and wonder at the Indian elephant in front of a splendid palace with minarets. Is it a simmering mirage, they may wonder? These edifices have appeared to have been scooped up by magic and placed amidst an Australian town.
However, there is nothing magic about the success of the Woolgoolga Sikhs who have continued the good work in the finest tradition of the Sikh pioneers who settled here despite great hardship.
The early Sikh migrants came here to pre-Federation Australia as free settlers when there was no restrictive immigration policy. They were adventurist male sojoumers who left their family behind and came to make their fortune and returned home when they made good.
Some of these early sojourners did return, but the majority of them developed a love and attachment to this coun