A few weeks ago we took a road trip to visit friends who live about seven hours north of Canberra, on the western edge of the Blue Mountains in central New South Wales. It was our second trip up there since we arrived last September; the first one was in early spring, and this one was in mid-autumn.
On this trip, I was amazed all over again at how much the landscape in this part of the world differs from my expectations. The overriding stereotypical image of Australia (away from the coast) is of a baking hot, dry, flat, dusty, red, endless, treeless vista. And of course some parts are like that—but they are not much closer to where we are than, say, the American Southwest is to Boston. None of those adjectives is appropriate for the part of New South Wales we travelled through. For one thing, it rained most of the way up—just like it did last time. For another, even after a characteristically hot, dry summer, we were still presented with views of rolling green hills as far as the eye could see, dotted here and there at the higher elevations with splashes of autumn color. At times I felt as though we could have been driving through the English countryside, or the hills of western New England.
One thing that was undeniably Australian, though, was the place names, whether of communities, geographical features, or the many stations (that’s Australian for a ranch or farm) whose front gates appeared at intervals along the highway (a two-lane blacktop road). Whether adopted from native Australian tongues, imported from the old country, or just displaying creativity with Australian English, here are a few that I thought were worth jotting down for posterity.
Fairy Hole Creek
23 Mile Lane
(And a few photos of scenery, if you're really interested.)