Stop giggling you silly young things. It's perfectly clean. Basically you can 'go bush' in any enclave of national park, or wild preserve beyond the immediate boundaries of a town. Now this is a difficult concept because Sydney for instance, is a sprawling urban metropolis of the American model. Small CBD . . big suburban breakout. Yet within the burbs are lovely little spots where one can 'go bush'. For me, it's probably through Windsor and Richmond along the Kurrajoing Road or Catai National Park . . actually a quick visit to Glenorie is close enough! Count the fingers on that lot for starters! For others it Might be Kuringai National Park which encompasses a huge tract of land from Sydney's northern suburbs to the central coast. It' s flora and fauna preserve well worth exploring . . or even the Bue Mountains, now there are some serious bushwalks if you're inclined or you can just marvel at the Megalong valley from a range of lovely lookouts before you plonk in a pub for a Devonshire Tea! . . all as my pal Anony mentioned within little more than an hour or so from the CBD. Oh she has wonderful shots of the bush just a spit from the centre of town. So to go bush, you really don't need to go that far . . for the real bush experience, you need to go beyond the black stump.
The Black Stump
This phrase basically describes a place which early in the piece was simply indescribable.
Endless plains of inland Australia under a massive sky (yes the sky is bigger here). Is there a black stump? In my travels I've found there are several but the 'acknowledged' one is actually in Blackall in central Queensland over 1000 kilometres west of Brisbane - no that really is in the 'never never'.
Surveyors on Astro station near Blackall, in 1887 used a blackened tree stump as the base for their measuring equipment. The equipment was so large the tree stump was the most secure base around. Before long people considered anything west of Blackall to be - beyond the black stump although I believe using stumps as survey markers was widespread so there could be hundreds of the buggas.
The Far North
Now this is where many tourists like to play . . they think it's quite a long way from Sydney . . .they're right. The far north refers to far north Queensland. The lower portion of which provides access to the Whitsunday Islands and the resorts within that archipelago but the real far north means you have to have a plane or a four wheel drive. This stretch of our trans Australian highway is not paved. It encompasses the lush and ancient Daintree Rainforest, where the mountains meet the sea, pristine forest and arid inland stations and mining communities. This is no exaggeration . . the Far North . . .is as far north as you can get in Australia, right up there on the pointy bit, in gulf country. Don't camp on the beach, there are big saltys and they're always hungry. Don't swim on unprotected beaches without your panty-hose on between November and March, there are Box Jellyfish and they're always deadly.
The Outback, The Back of Burke, The Back of Beyond
Well to reach the outback, you have to go beyond the bush . . .To reach the Back of Bourke, you need to go beyond that western inland country town in NSW. The back of beyond . . well that's further than your eye can see . . . The outback is a little further than the bush but not as far as the never never. Unless of course you go to the far outback in which case you are the back of beyond. Generally, the outback is extreme rural . . .at least a day's drive inland. Anywhere the Dingo or Rabbit Proof Fence surrounds, anywhere that Emu and Red Kangaroo dwell. Anywhere you can't swim because there are crocodiles. Anywhere that Opal petrol is sold . . . anywhere you can't get a Chardonnay unless it comes from a cardboard cask . . The outback is arguably the 'real' country . . red dust, hard men and even harder women. Aboriginal communities and massive farms, mining communities and open cut mines . . .where camels are feral and termites build condominiums. This is where children go to school via the School of the Air and your groceries are delivered once a week by plane or road train and you don't even bother to round up your cattle except for the annual muster involving trackers, helicopters and motocross bikes . . .
The Never Never
Phrase coined by Mrs Aeneas Gunn "Jeannie" when she wrote her book about a station manager's wife in the far outback, "We of the Never Never". At first I thought it was an English translation of some Aboriginal word or explanation but no . . the Never Never is in fact the area around Elsey Station in far north Western Australia on the Northern Territory Border where Jeannie Gunn described the landscape as "A land that bewitches her people with strange spells and mysteries until they call sweet bitter and bitter sweet. We who have lived in it and loved it know that our hearts can never rest away from it." I've never been to the NT or Katherine but from what I've seen, the scenery is unique and very bewitching! I daren't go for fear I may never never leave the never never.
So there it is. I still call Australia Home, I am an Australian and I understand the meaning of Waltzing Matilda . . not bad for a one-time pommie!
Not quite what you thought?