Saturday, January 01, 2011

Looking Back at 2010

A Happy New Year to all my readers.
Looking back, I guess the major highlight of 2010 was the breaking of the seven year drought. With the La Nina influence in full affect, rain came to most of Australia. Lake Eyre filled, even the Todd River in Alice Springs flowed and metropolitan dams that were down to twenty percent or less capacity are now over flowing. In fact a lot of NE Australia is now in flood.
Our dams and tanks are certainly full.

Weather also produced one of our year’s low lights when a horrific wind storm in early September battered us for 24 hours bringing down trees and leaving us without electricity for 3 days. Luckily there was no one hurt or house damage done.
Our decision to stay home and travel was a good one. The journey through western New South Wales into South Australia to the fringes of the outback and back through coastal Victoria was a highlight of the year.

We backed this up with a trip to northern Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef with American family in September. The day we spent snorkeling on the outer reef was magic!

Politically, our first woman Prime Minister, who came to power during a party coup, was re-elected for another term albeit as head of a minority government.
Australia had missed out on the worst of the global financial crises but the poor situation in North America and Europe continued to influence our stock market which bounced along at a regular level for most of the year. At least it is well above its lowest levels of a few years earlier.
The big news was the strength of the Australia dollar with it being worth more than the US dollar for the first time since it was floated in the early 1980s. Its strength was also reflected in record levels against the Euro. How long will this last is anyone’s guess but our currency is noted for being an investment ‘plaything’ so we just have to take advantage while we can. Certainly the high level reduces the competitiveness of our export industries eg. minerals, which are a major component of our economy.

So what are our plans for 2011?
First off we will enjoy the rest of summer, mainly at the beach, and then get through harvest. Then we will look at some travel plans for later in the year. With our strong currency the USA or Europe (or maybe both!) look tempting. But with the success of staying home to travel in 2010, southwest Western Australia and Tasmania are also on the radar.
So much to see, so little time!

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