Australian Stuff

I used to work at the Australian National University which is located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). For americans reading this page Canberra in the ACT, is actually the capital of Australia (not Sydney).

One of the things I loved about living in Canberra is that it has easy access to both the mountains and the coast. There are two main mountain ranges in the ACT - the Brindabella and Namadgi ranges - which have really fantastic bushwalking (hiking) and camping, and sometimes cross-country skiing in the winter (yes Australia DOES get snow ... although not very much of it, admitedly). These wilderness areas make up about half the area of the ACT and are part of the Australian Alps National Park which runs south to the Snowy Mountains. The Snowy Mountains form the highest region of the Australian mainland, including our highest peak Mt Kosciuszko, (named by a polish explorer, Strezlecki, it is pronounced Kozzie-oss-ko) although it's pretty tiny in world terms - only 2228 m. However, this region is unique in Australia, containing most of our limited alpine country. I love walking here - there are fragile plant communities, which look like tiny japanese gardens, alpine spagnum bogs, rare native animals, granite tors and unbelievably spectacular views into the Geehi and Murray Valleys.

I probably spend more time in the mountains than on the coast (contrary to the popular image of Aussies), but the central coast of New South Wales, about 2 hours drive from Canberra, has some pretty amazing beaches. In fact I've yet to see a country that can compete with Australian beaches ... the best are probably along the north coast of

Some of my more sedentary non-work activities include :

  • spending Saturday mornings at a cafe reading the newspaper (in Canberra I used to go to Tilleys - if you're ever visiting there, don't miss it!)
  • going to films
  • reading - fiction, science fiction, biographies, wildlife, geology ... you name it!