Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Victoria - First Impressions

Having just moved from Sydney to a small town in the Gippsland region of Victoria, about an hour from Melbourne, I have been surprised by the differences between these two parts of Australia. It takes about an hour and a half to travel by plane from Sydney to Melbourne and, once you arrive, it is as if you are in another country. In some ways, that's not really a crazy idea, because Australia is a continent with a huge diversity of landscapes and climatic conditions, so it is almost as if you are going to a different country when you visit the neighbouring state.

I first visited Victoria about two weeks before we moved here. Before this, my experience of Australia had been confined to Sydney, parts of New South Wales surrounding Sydney, and a short trip to the capital, Canberra. We left Sydney basking in warm spring sunshine and landed in Melbourne in pouring rain! Although I haven't yet seen much of Melbourne, it seems to be a very different city from Sydney. It reminds me of an industrial city in northern Europe, complete with trams.

The area to the east of Melbourne, the Gippsland, reminds me a lot of England, with rolling hills and cows and horses grazing in green fields. As we were driving through the area, we remarked that we could have been in Wiltshire. By contrast, the countryside around Sydney is quite different from the English countryside - the whole landscape looks dry and the bushland is full of tall gum trees. Overall, it looks more 'Australian' or what I have always imagined an Australian landscape to be like.

Also, the weather in the middle of spring in Victoria appears to be similar to the weather in England. Since we moved here a few weeks ago, it has rained most days and, with the exception of a few warm days, it has been quite cool. By contrast, the weather in Sydney has been a lot warmer with temperatures of around 30 degrees C recently.

I was talking to a fellow Brit the other day. Like us, she too lived in Sydney before moving to Victoria, where she has lived for the past 20 years. She said that she preferred living in Victoria as it is more similar to England than Sydney. I wonder if I will also feel like this in the future. At the moment, it's too early to say. I miss the vibrancy of Sydney but I also like the peace, quiet and friendliness of a small town. I'm looking forward to exploring the area more and finding out how similar or different it is to England and Sydney!

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