The Land Down Under
Australia is everything you have dreamed of and more. A mesmerising coastline, cute koalas, stylish modern laneways, and pristine blue waters is what comes to mind.
Discover an amazing variety of places from the modern cities of Sydney and Melbourne to the wilderness region of the Kimberley in Western Australia. Explore the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, the largest coral reef system in the world, with a unique range of ecological communities, habitats and species. Visit World Heritage listed Port Arthur Historic Site, the best-preserved convict site in Australia.
Like most places in the world, Australia has four seasons in one year; summer, autumn, winter and spring. However, Australia’s seasons are at opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere.
- Summer (December to February) – The weather is hot and can get hotter. Many people find ways to keep cool, especially by going to the beach for a swim. For many people, summer is the time for holidays, and go to watch summer sports such as cricket and the Grand Slam Australian Open tennis tournament.
- Autumn (March to May) – The weather gets cooler. Most days will be warm and sunny, but autumn can bring rain to many parts of Australia. May is the best time to travel to northern parts of the country.
- Winter (June to August) – Rain and storms affect much of Australia. In some places it is very cold and snow falls on higher ground. Vibrant ski resorts spring into action. There is nothing better than going to football stadiums to watch a match of AFL (Australian rules football) or rugby on a cold winter’s day!
- Spring (September to November) – The weather is getting warmer, plenty of rain, and some trees are in bloom and many flowers grow. It is a time to enjoy Australia’s best-known flower festivals and great indoors and outdoors.
However, in the tropical far north of Australia there are just two seasons, the wet season and the dry.
- The wet season, lasts for about six months, usually between December and March. The weather is hot and humidity is high, caused by large amounts of moisture in the air. During the wet, a huge amount of rain falls and often causes flooding.
- The dry season, lasts about six months, usually between May and October. Temperatures are lower and there is only a little rain. Many people from the southern parts of Australia ‘escape’ from the winter and travel north for a holiday.
Australia States and Territories
Mainland Australia is the world’s largest island but also the smallest continent. The country is divided into six states (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia) and two territories (Australian Capital Territories and Northern Territories).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the Indigenous people of Australia. They are not one group, but comprise hundreds of groups that have their own distinct set of languages, histories and cultural traditions.
Australian Bush Tucker
Bush tucker, or bush food, is any food that’s native to Australia. The Aboriginal people, which is the oldest continuous culture in the world, who live in Australia, have a symbiotic relationship with the land and lived off the native flora and fauna for many generations.
Much of the Aboriginal bush tucker is not only super tasty, but also extremely nutritious. Most foods are packed with micronutrients, protein and fibre, and low in sugar.
Aboriginal bush tucker falls into five main groups;
- Bush Tucker Plants – Bush fruits and vegetables are bursting with vitamins and minerals, and account for a large portion of indigenous diets. Red fruits like quandongs can be eaten raw or dried. There are also a range of Aboriginal bush tucker plants like Wattle, Mistletoe and Honeysuckle that grow in the wild and are edible, though you have to be extremely careful as only certain parts of these plants are safe to eat.
- Bush Tucker Animals – The Aboriginal people were extremely proficient hunters, who took advantage of the rampant wildlife. They also took to fishing in the oceans, rivers and ponds. The emu and kangaroo, were a favoured choice by the hunters as they were both high in protein and low in fat.
- Bush Tucker Seeds and Nuts – The majority of the edible seeds, like mulga seeds and wattle seeds, require soaking, pounding, grinding and baking before they are consumed. This careful ritual ensures that all toxins are removed from the food prior to eating.
- Bush Tucker Grubs and Insects – Arguably being the superfood of the future. Grubs and insects are highly nutritional and rich in protein, full of healthy fats, iron and calcium, and low in carbohydrates. The most celebrated bush tucker bug is the witchetty grub. The nutrient-dense grub is a fantastic source of calcium, thiamine and folate. The grub has a nutty flavour and can be eaten raw or roasted.
- Bush Tucker Spices and Nectars – The native bushland of Australia boasts an array of exotic spices, herbs, honeys and nectars. These bush tucker items can be used to add flavour, act as a natural medicine or be added to water to make a healthy drink or herbal tea. Lemon ironbark and lemon myrtle, commonly used in cooking to add a pleasant fragrant finish or made into an herbal tea. Native ginger can be infused in water and sipped on to ease an upset tummy.
To find out more about Australian bush tucker click the link below;
Australia’s Traditional Foods
- Vegemite on toast – Very much-loved serving breakfast simple dish. Vegemite is a vegetarian alternative made from yeast extract, and actually not vegetables.
- Burger with ‘the lot’ – It is a standard burger added with a slice of pineapple, some pickled beetroot and a fried egg for the Australian twist.
- Chicken Parmigiana – Aussies are crazy for chicken parma. Describe as “chicken schnitzel topped with an Italian-inspired tomato sauce and melted cheese”, it is a staple offering on pretty much every pub menu in the country.
- Barbecued snags (sausages) – Traditional Australian sausages are usually pork or beef. Put your snag on a slice of bread and top it off with some fried onions and your favourite sauce.
- Lamington – Widely recognised as the ‘National Cake of Australia’. The lamington is a modest square-shaped sponge dipped in chocolate and coated with desiccated coconut. Sometimes, they are made into a sandwich of two cakes with raspberry jam or cream in the middle.
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