AE 430 – Vlog: Is Canberra the Worst Australian City?

Learn everyday Australian English in this vlog episode of Aussie English where I give you might thoughts on Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Is it the worst Australian city?

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AE 430 – Vlog: Is Canberra the Worst Australian City?

What has my view of Canberra been so far? So, this is actually pretty rare for there to be clouds, strangely enough. I was expecting Canberra to always be overcast. Canberra kind of has this reputation for being cold in Australia. So, I assumed that meant it was always overcast, lots of rain and just cold temperatures, but it’s actually been really hot. I mean, not you know not 30, 40 degrees, but every single day has been mid 20s and as soon as you walk outside and the sun hits you, because usually there are no clouds, you heat up really quickly, and the sun burns. So, Canberra is actually out about seven 700 meters elevation and I’m used to living at about zero, right at the sea level, and so you’re actually closer to the sun, higher up in the atmosphere. So, I don’t know if it has something to do with it. And the reason that Canberra is cold, even though it’s elevated, I guess, that’s part of the reason, but it’s in sort of a basin shape of mountains. So, there’s sort of a circular thing of mountains that go up higher, you might be able to see them here behind me, right over there. That set of mountains kind of rings the whole way around Canberra, you know? And so, that prevents a lot of their movement.

It traps the cold air that occurs here overnight, and that’s why Canberra apparently gets really cold in the evenings. So, hasn’t been too bad, though, to be honest, I’ve been actually quite warm at night time and I have had to actually open the window quite a bit and let the air in, and only sort of three or four in the morning do I start getting cold close the window and put my blankets on. So, Canberra, climate wise, is better than I expected. But at the same time, it’s almost too sunny. I kind of enjoy days like this where, right now, it’s about 12 p.m. It’s lunchtime and I come out and go walking, but usually, at least more recently, these clouds haven’t been here and it’s just been just brutal sunlight coming down and there no shade and, you know, kind of worried about getting sunburnt and everything. I put sunscreen on today, but yeah… So, that’s been fun.

Another interesting fact I guess about Canberra is the fact that on weekends the place empties out, you go into the city on the weekend and there’s just no one there. It’s really bizarre. I guess, because Canberra are sort of fly in, fly out location, and I’m just looking at the kangaroo tracks on the ground here. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to see, but you can see these tracks on the ground here on this dirt road, where the kangaroos have obviously come up from down here and they go up into this field, and then we keep seeing them up here at night eating the grass.

So, during the day the kangaroos, while it’s really, really sunny, will actually be sitting under these trees in the shade just chilling out and they tend to be more active in the mornings when the sun’s not yet all the way up, and then in the evenings when the sun’s come down quite a bit, and that’s when you’ll see them out in the fields here, just eating grass. And the crazy thing is, you know, we live about a kilometre that way, currently, if these trees weren’t here, you’d be able to see the house that we’re staying in.

So, anyway, back to Canberra. What was I saying? What was I saying? Losing my track (train*) of thought. Anyway, yeah, so, it’s cold, it’s not too bad, but the sun is really bright, the city’s emptied out on the weekends, which is nice. When you cruise around, it’s not really busy. Like, Melbourne, on weekends, seems to be as busy as it is during the week. There seems to be no real difference. And so, I was sort of expecting that, but that does not happen because everyone flies in, they work here in Parliament, usually in the government, and then on weekends they go home. They fly in, they go home, they fly in, they go home. That tends to be the pattern.

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So, it hasn’t been too bad. The only downside, I guess, for me is that it is not close to the beach. It’s about two and a half hours drive to get to the beach, two hours? Two and a half hours? The vegetation type, if I want to be really picky… this is all artificial forest, that’s pine. These aren’t native. These’ve been planted here as a pine farm, I guess, and they’ll chop them down for wood at some point. And most of the surroundings tend to be pretty barren, tend to be pretty bare. Like, this behind me here. There is no real trees in this field. It’s just low grass, and it’s very dry out here. It’s not very wet.

When we went to Bateman’s Bay recently, you can actually see as you drive through the landscape, we drove through the forests and the farms and everything, you can see the gradual change from really sort of… I guess sort of arid-ish, it’s not really desert or anything like that, but dry country land, and the closer to the coast you get the wetter it gets, and I think too the Great Dividing Range is there. So, we go but that. There’s a lot of rainfall, a lot of water, and that’s the kind of country that I really like in Australia. I really love the wet forests, a lot of rain, I love the beach, and so… yeah, I might just turn around here and start heading back.

So, that’s my opinion of Canberra so far. It’s not too bad. Another thing that I noticed, the birds are the same species here. So, we have things like currawongs, crows here, we have the magpie, the black and white magpie, I’m not sure if you can see them, see if I can point it out. There’s one over here in the grass. There’s a few of them. There’s three or four of them over here hunting for food. But one thing that I did notice, and I don’t know if this is because I’m a bit of a biology nerd, they have different calls here which is, you know, it’s unsurprising and the magpies are a different subspecies of Magpie here, they have… again, they’re nowhere near close enough for me to show you, but the magpies in this part of Australia have this black over their back, where down south in Victoria they have a white patch there. So, you can see them and they tend to be… just to have a slightly different patterning. But they have different calls. The crows have a different call. The currawongs have a different call. The magpies definitely have different calls. And so, I guess it’s like anything with languages, right? They have different languages, different languages. So, just something that I noticed when listening out and hearing these birds call in the mornings and during the day and in the afternoon. I know what birds they are, but they have different calls from the ones that I’m used to down south.

So, that’s probably long enough, guys? We’ve been chatting here for about 22 and half minutes.

Oh, one more funny thing to tell you. So, there’re these… these bushes everywhere, right? This is blackberries, these are blackberries, these are blackberry bushes, I don’t know if there’s any fruit that I can show you, but they’re an introduced pest. So, you can probably see down here, they kind of go all the way down the back here. They’re really, really spiky. Let’s see if you can see this. So, this is some right here that’s been… that’s dyed off, I don’t know it’s been sprayed or not, but you can see those spikes. So, they’re really nasty, and these things were introduced when the British got here. I mean, I assume probably 100 or so years after the British got here, but they were introduced as a food source for people who wanted to go hiking. So, I’m just trying to find… and, you know, they’re called blackberries for obvious reasons. They have these beautiful berries on them that are black, that are really tasty. And Quel and I were walking along here and we saw this big thicket of these blackberries and I was like, “Oh my God! Yes! Food”, and picked a whole bunch and ate it, only to walk out and see a sign saying that they’ve been poisoned and don’t eat it. So, fortunately, though, there had been a lot of rain recently, and I’ll give you look down here. And so, I think the poison and everything like that was washed well and truly off the berries themselves. So, nothing happened. We’re all good, we’re all good.

I think… I think I can see some here. Let’s see if I can come down and show you what some of these berries look like. But, again, they’ve been… yeah they’ve all been poisoned and died off. Anyway, so, more blackberries here in the bushes, but they’re another introduced pest species that some, you know, colonialist British idiot brought into Australia thinking he is doing everyone a favour by putting this noxious weed along tracks like this so that people could just pick and eat it, but now you see these weeds everywhere in Australia and they are a big issue, and you’ll see also over here all of these plants are a pest species. There’re all weeds.

Anyway, yeah… so, oh! And I can give you a good look at this. This is why it’s a big problem, right? This is why it’s a big problem. You’ll see behind me, this is just or dense blackberry bushes. So, you can’t even walk through there, because there’s about two metres high of these blackberry bushes that are so prickly and horrible to get near that, you know, and all of this grey stuff here is dead blackberry bushes.

Anyway, guys, I hope you enjoy this sort of Walking with Pete episode where I just got to chill out with you, go for a walk and give you a sort of review of Canberra in our experience here so far. I’m sure you’ll hear more about it in the future. And yeah, thanks for joining me and I will chat you, guys, soon.

Peace out!

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