Bowled over by Australia
“It is the colour of the water you can't get over. A doughty turquoise. It is as though the azure sky, on a fine day, found its reflection in it. Your camera simply cannot have enough of Australia,” says Harsha Bhogle, prominent cricket commentator, who has a very special and deep bond with the country.business Updated: Jan 28, 2015 15:04 IST
Given his profession, Harsha has been to Australia several times. Six tours G s with the Indian cricket team, a World Cup and a couple of other visits. But inevitably it was, and often is, a cycle of airport-hotel-groundhotel-airport. “Occasionally you break out, get a day here and there, but you come away thinking: did I see enough of Australia?”
This time around Harsha broke that cycle and got around to seeing a lot more and the turquoise tailed him all around the country. “This alluring turquoise water seemed to travel
with me; at Kangaroo Island looking down from the Remarkable Rocks, from atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge or thrillingly, from the sea plane at Rose Bay or along the Great Ocean Road outside Melbourne. Sometimes, the scenery becomes like wallpaper, it is there and you take it for granted, but I could never have enough of the water.” Suffice to say, Harsha lost his heart to Australia.
“From my first visit, something just clicked. I think people enjoyed a different accent and a different perspective on radio (which is what I do in Australia). It is a wonderful feeling and conveys my relationship with Australia just right. I am a friend!” smiles Harsha. What he finds great about the Australians in the idea of having a completely different point of view, arguing vehemently but remaining great friends. Harsha opines that the Australians are easy to get along with. He states, “I like their attitude to sport, always express yourself and look to take the game forward.” Ask him about his favourite destination and the quick reply is the Sydney
Harbour, followed by Australian cuisine and he says, It is the world's restaurant! You get all kinds of food and particularly good for me since I am a vegetarian.” Harsha's favourite activity while he was there was undoubtedly watching sport, walking and having coffee. He smiles, “They make it particularly well,”.
Floored by the fauna
Australia is a friendly and laidback country in its ethos and culture, Harsha quips. He adds that that ease is palpable in the fauna that you see there. “There are no predators just the sleepy koalas that gorge on eucalyptus leaves all day. And all their lives too! The kangaroos of course, are everywhere as are the cockatoos and the parrots of various hues. You stop on the way to the Great Ocean Road, pick up some seeds and watch them descend!”
Of verdant Australian vineyards
Renowned for its award-winning wines, Australia is heaven for wine connoisseurs as well as wine novices. It was in Australia that Harsha first sipped some red wine. “I must admit it took me a while to warm to its taste but you can't go wrong with a good South Australian Shiraz; and while Jacob's Creek was a wonderful experience, a couple of the vineyards I've been to will promise you they can match that.” The wines are only one part of the vineyard experience. The verdant and lush environment is the other inescapable part. “I was at O'Reilly's at Canungra Valley, and if like me, you never get bored of it, feast your eyes on it. Spare some time for the tree top walks, where you walk alongside the giant eucalyptus trees at Mount Tamborine or at Ilawarra.”
You simply cannot afford to be in Australia and not drive along the Great Ocean Road. As Harsha readies himself for this amazing ride, he's met by David Smith Frowd, their guide who turns out to be from Kolkatta! On a spectacular drive to the Twelve Apostles, David regaled Harsha with tales of Trincas and Usha Iyer and how it used to be back then. “The helicopter ride at the Twelve Apostles is outstanding as is the seaplane flight in Sydney from Rose Bay. Do experience it, especially the seaplane because it shows you the fantastic Sydney Harbour like nothing else I've seen.”
Harsha signs off by saying, “There is much to do in Australia and I enjoyed being away from the airport-hotel-ground routine (having said that, the tour of the Sydney Cricket Ground, my favourite ground, will be memorable!) for a while. Cricket calls me back but my camera likes what it has seen so far and waits impatiently for more.”
To plan your next holiday, visit www.australia.com