Travel Information - R
Lovers of horse racing will not be disappointed in Australia. Major cities have a variety of racecourses with both weekend and mid week meetings. The Easter Carnival in Sydney and the Spring Carnival in Melbourne are major events. Country towns also have colourful race meetings (including the Alice Springs Camel Cup). The most famous race in Australia is the Melbourne Cup (first Tuesday in November) which involves the whole country making bets and participating in sweeps. This is a public holiday in Victoria and is much a day for fashion and socialising as it is for watching the 3200m event.
Australia is well-served by rail, both as public transport in the cities and for longer journeys. Four of the great rail journeys are The Indian Pcific (Sydney to Perth), The Ghan (Adelaide to Darwin), The Sunlander (Brisbane to Cairns) and The Overland (Melbourne to Adelaide).
The Centre is the red heart of Australia and is in stark contrast to the Top End of the Northern Territory. Often harsh, always remote, Central Australia is awesome in the arid beauty of its endless plains and monuments of nature - Ayers Rock (Uluru), The Olgas (Kata Tjuta), the MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon. It is rich with the culture and heritage of the Aboriginal people who have roamed the Territory for tens of thousands of years, at home with the land where white settlers struggled to survive. Their pioneering spirit is alive and well in its towns, mines and vast grazing properties.
Australia has total freedom of religion to the extent it tolerates members of some fanatical sects providing they do not break the law. It is predominantly a Christian country, but it is such a diverse society most major religions are practiced and have their own places of worship. There are many people of the Jewish, Buddhist and Islamic faiths particularly. Places of worship and religious organisations are listed in the Yellow Pages telephone directory.
Australia is mainly known for its beaches but rivers are the lifeblood of rural Australia and many of them are worth exploring. The mighty Murray River (border of Victoria and New South Wales and into South Australia) has great fishing and has houseboat accommodation and paddle steamers. Most major settlements are built around rivers (Sydney has the Hawkesbury and Parramatta Rivers, Melbourne the Yarra, Brisbane the Brisbane River, Adelaide has the Torrens, Perth the Swan and Hobart the Derwent). There is excellent trout fishing to be had in the Snowy Mountains and the rivers of the Top End of the northern territory are an angler's paradise.