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In October 2005 I was kindly invited to keynote the AUUG Unix/Linux/BSD conference in Sydney, Australia, and took it as a chance to tour the one continent (except Antarctica) that I had yet to set foot on.
Our trip began in Melbourne, we then drove the Great Ocean Road west from there ending in Adelaide. Barely stopping there, we flew to the "top end," landing in Darwin to visit Kakadu National Park in the outback. That was followed by a flight to Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef, and then ending up in Syndey for the conference. It was 17 days but really too short a time (as always) to do all that.
Here are the photo galleries. Just as important however is the panoramas of Australia gallery with my biggest shots.
I've posted some of my thoughts on Australia in my blog, including Australian Ideas and Australia, Fair on landing. More will come there.
I hope it doesn't seem to mundane to say that the country Australia reminds me of the most is my own home of Canada. Large, with giant sparse areas. A former British colony speaking English with lots of U.S. influence it might like to avoid. A growing Asian influence and population. And many other similarities. Though not the same either -- not also a French colony, of course, and not nearly as U.S. influenced and thus more like the UK in many ways in spite of being further away.
To my amusement one Australian said that he thought Australia was more U.S. influenced since it is in Iraq and Canada is not. That's true but in the end he's wrong. Australia has a bit more of its own identity. Australians, unlike Canadians, don't try to pass as Americans, nor do they wish to. Unlike Canada, Australia doesn't spend nearly so much time trying to define itself in how it differs from the US, or even the UK. Its past isolation has helped it there.
I am told New Zealand often worries about defining itself as being different from Australia -- that may be a closer mirror.