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<   No. 3351   2014-09-28   >

Comic #3351

1 {photo of Yosemite National Park, California}
1 Caption: Landscapes

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Landscapes are another great thing to see when travelling. Far away places often have very different landforms to what you see around where you live. These can be interesting and very often beautiful.

Nadab Floodplain from Ubirr Rock
Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory.

A problem is that a large amount of travel is concerned with visiting big cities, and it's difficult to get a really good view of a landscape from amidst a broad grid of buildings. To see the lay of the land you need to get out into the countryside. Occasionally the edge of the city or a tall lookout spot within the city gives you a great view as well, but there's something special about getting away from large scale human habitation and being surrounded by rural or wilderness scenery that you just can't get without leaving the city behind.

Alpine glimpses
Rural scenery, Bavaria.

Mountains hold a special fascination for me, since we don't really have any much worth speaking of in Australia. Our tallest peak, Mount Kosciuszko, barely breaks 2000 metres and is an easy stroll along a mostly flat path from the nearby ski village of Thredbo. (Which only operates as such for about three months of the year, because the rest of the time the surrounding hills are covered with grass, not snow.)

Border patrol
Karwendel, Bavaria.

Then there are coastlines, which are infinitely varied and often dramatic. Coasts can encompass anything from long stretches of sandy beach to towering sea cliffs, and everything in between. There is something magical and compelling about the intersection of land and sea.

warm stone
Port Campbell National Park, Victoria.

Forests evoke many different feelings, depending on the thickness of the trees and the prevailing weather. They can be inviting places with dappled shadows and scattered meadows full of flowers, or they can be foreboding and dark with twisted trees and gloomy shadows, or they can be a riot of life with dripping green mosses, bright fungi, and myriad crawling and buzzing insects. No places on Earth feel more primal and untamed than forests.

Tasmanian Wilderness
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Tasmania.

Deserts are a stark contrast. Not all deserts are sandy wastelands. Most have scrubby vegetation and rocky landforms which provide plenty of interest. The colours of nature are vibrant and clear in the harsh desert sunlight, and those colours can become even more intense and varied at dawn and dusk.

Ripples of Time
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory.

Wetlands provide a perfect environment for plentiful wildlife, particularly birds. Where rivers run out to coastal plains or into lakes, the combination of water and land produces an ever shifting range of vistas. They can be tricky to navigate, but even just standing at the edge of a swamp or river delta can be worth the trip.

Mamukala Wetlands
Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory.

Even cultivated plains and rolling hills used for grazing provide plentiful scenery that differs from urban civilisation. If you can't get as far out as wilderness, at least visit some farmland for the change of view. Fields of crops can be beautiful too.

Far Horizons
Field of... I don't know. Wheat? Barley? Oats?

When I travel, I like to try to get out of the cities and see some of the countryside. Besides being a breath of fresh air (sometimes literally!), it's where you can find the greatest differences to what you can see back home.

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Last Modified: Sunday, 28 September 2014; 03:08:18 PST.
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