Cold nights and glorious sunny days, that's what Winter time is like here in Australia's great 'Outback'. I may have mentioned before that
I find myself living in a small outback community far away from any city centre. I have to say I love this time of year out here. It may be dry, very dry, in fact we're in drought conditions out this way however living in a town you don't notice that that
much only when you drive out from here. Let me just say - Much respect to the farmers out here who are doing it tough. This certainly can be a land of 'droughts and flooding rains'.
The attire of choice or dress code during the day in a place like this is shorts and thongs/flip-flops and something a little warm up top this time of year such as a jumper/vest/cardigan or over-shirt. Of course, this dress sense can
depend on occupational requirements or whether you're just going to the shop. At night, probably best to wear jeans and they're really good if you're out on the farm/walking through the scrub.
There's no snow out here but you will see frost on the ground if you're up early enough. The wind will howl at night but to my mind this weather only makes for great 'sleeping in'. Reverse cycle air conditioners
are the way to go, they are not just a luxury out here but a necessity summer and winter. Some folks like a good campfire and sure, that can be fun with friends all sitting around or for cooking but me i'll stick with air conditioning inside the house. I just
can't imagine what it would have been like for previous generations who didn't have air conditioning in their homes. Sometimes the old electric fan or heater will suffice but generally they have a smaller range.
I appreciate winter here so much more than in the city because the summer here is so HOT and well, yeah, mostly dry. There's more bugs for a start in summer out here, Australia is known
for its various bugs and I don't just mean the annoying ever-present flies. Throughout the year though you get to see glorious night skies and when the sun rolls around the results are amazing. Also, the sounds of birds in an otherwise quiet space is just
incredible. T'is in winter, I find you can enjoy these things with less of the annoying things, mosquitoes and other unmentionable creepy-crawlies.
Outback in winter means tourists with a wide variety of vehicles and caravans/campervans/mobile homes, camping trailers etcetera. Mostly you see the 'grey nomads' and this is great especially for small communities who rely somewhat on the extra cash
injections that these travellers bring. So, I encourage all the city-dwellers to come out and spend some time in the real 'outback'. Some places may not have much in the way of services such as banks and great shopping but there's more to these places than
meets the eye. For a start, you will find a smile, a nod, a wave and even a 'fair dinkum' “G'day” from people in passing.
towns you will stop at have a pub and some accommodation of some sort, what more do you want to start with? Of course, it depends what you're into but with the amount of space out here you're sure to find it. If you're into camping, four wheel driving, bird-watching
or other outdoor activities you're likely to find like-minded people and/or an area just for you. Be warned, it may take you a moment to get use to the quiet surrounds but let your senses adjust and you too will notice the raw beauty.
Of course, driving in the 'outback' is different to the suburban crawl. First of all, it's long stretches of road with very little to see but blink and you might miss
what there is. The wildlife is active particularly at dusk and dawn, the 'roos' (kangaroos) are the most prolific but you might see other fauna as well such as emus, the odd camel, wild pigs, goats, dogs, cats, foxes and much more. You will see sheep, cows
and horses especially behind those old wire fences but also grazing along the road. Just slow down and take it easy, that's good advice for approaching other vehicles as well out here.
Out here, another common sight are 'road trains', they're the vehicles that keep our goods coming. Sure, seeing a big truck especially a road train approaching on a thin road is not fun if it's your first encounter,
even worse if the road is not bitumen at all. Believe me, it's not that much fun even for those with more experience. Just slow down and take it easy, get as far off the road as you can to let them pass. This advice will probably lessen the chances of windscreen
damage although that's pretty common out this way.
In addition, when driving any distance out here make sure you have ample water and fuel.
Some places may not have fuel, have enough fuel or even be open when you pass through. Safety is paramount, the countryside can be formidable and relentless and you may not see too many other passing motorists. It is often other drivers who will be your best
bet in a time of breakdown or other emergency. Generally, people out these parts help each other in times of need and work together to find solutions and are happy enough to lend a hand.