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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Weekend travel special

Mountains! So big and tall and mountainy! They are very impressive objects, especially the ones that are made out of rocks, which are most of them. Unfortunately, the tallest and the mountainiest of the world's mountains live overseas, and are consequently very un-Australian. All Australian authorities agree on this important point. But there exists one type of very big, very tall mountainy mountain that you will find plenty of in Australia - and that is where we go for the Weekend Travel Special today.

AUSTRALIA'S HIGHEST 180 DEGREE MOUNTAINS!

1. Mount Horizontal, Hay

As you drive along the Hay Plains, the glorious contours of Mount Horizontal rise up at a flat angle to the otherwise undistinguished countryside. Many travellers have tried, and failed, to ascend the treacherous steeps and the craggy cliff-faces of Mount Horizontal, only to be brought down by its unyielding flatnesses. In one tragic incident, world famous explorer Mountjoy de Joymount attempted to scale the deadly surfaces of Mount Horizontal, only to fall to his death on the Hay Plains, far below.

While visiting Mount Horizontal, take time to look at other attractions of the area, including the hardy mountain beasts known as 'sheep', the interesting cultural artefacts known to the locals as 'fences', and the ground made up mostly of a rare mineral called 'dirt'.*

2. Mount Werribee, Werribee

Several distinctive geographical features mark out the area around Mount Werribee, including the world's least convex valley, (the famous Vale of Mere), occasional inclinations of up to one degree or more from the horizontal, and a an attractive local decoration known as 'rubbish'. Mount Werribee is not only one of the tallest horizontal mountains in the world, but it also has an unusually thin circumference, just metres in length: therefore its peak is particularly shard-like, and is considered too dangerous for mountain climbers to attempt (several locals have impaled themselves on Mount Werribee over the years). Mount Werribee is shown above with some 'rubbish' decorating it as part of Werribee's recent Christmas celebrations.

Mount Jones, Simpson Desert

The Simpson Desert has in recent years become a thriving tourist centre - so thriving that it's locals all live somewhere else. Nevertheless, it is home to the impressive Mount Jones, which rises up with majestic ordinariness above the otherwise undistinguished plains below. In recent years, it is true, several geologists and orographists have argued that Mount Jones is actually not a true 180 degree mountain at all, merely a hill or protuberance. One or two have even gone so far as to maintain that Mount Jones has been diminishing in size; however, these arguments are considered unorthodox.

Aside from the looming flatness of Mount Jones, the Simpson Desert also boasts another feature of worldwide significance - 'Ayers Other Rock', a pebble rising from the ground, about one centimetre in diameter and two centimetres in height. If you do want to attempt the challenging climb of Ayers Other Rock with friends, please be aware of the sensitivities of the local Indigenous people (or rather the local-but-living-somewhere-else Indigenous people), and take all rubbish with you afterwards.

*If I could just add as a footnote that I grew up on the Hay Plains, and they certainly lived up to their name: they were very plain indeed. Actually, while doing some research for this post, I found an interesting recommendation for the area on the Hay Shire website, which I quote to you now:
"Located on the vast open and virtually treeless Hay Plains, the main regional centre of Hay is situated at the intersection of the Sturt, Mid-Western and Cobb Highways. The other main towns in the Shire are Maude and Booligal, made famous by the Banjo Patterson poem Hay, Hell and Booligal."
So what are you all doing? Visit Hay, you bastards!

3 comments:

Deborah said...

You may also be interested in the Taranaki plain, which slopes evenly at about 30 degrees to a point 2518m above sea level.

Dan the VespaMan said...

Hey hey it's Hay Day...... Yay!

TimT said...

When I was a kid I used to think it was incredibly witty to shout out 'Hey, we're in Hay!' No I'm under no such illusion. But I do it anyway. (Thankfully I get very little chance to do it now.)

Email: timhtrain - at - yahoo.com.au

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