Monday, November 09, 2009

[Travelogue] Time zone craziness

Trivia question for the day: how many time zones does Australia have?

Answer: six!

The country only spans three hours worth of time difference from east to west, but they manage to cram six different time zones in nonetheless. Western Australia (which includes Perth) is three hours behind New South Wales (which includes Sydney) and Victoria (which includes Melbourne). But in between is a crazy patchwork of daylight-savings, non-daylight-savings, and just plain nutty time zones, including a tiny little piece on the border between Western and South Australia that is 45 minutes ahead of Perth, but one hour and forty-five minutes behind the adjacent South Australia! You can travel west from Queensland to South Australia and have to set your clock forward instead of backwards. You can travel north-south between South Australia and the Northern Territory and have to reset your clock by an hour (which way depends on the direction you're going of course), but in either place you'll still have a half-hour phase difference with GMT. And if you cross the border from Western Australia to South Australia you'll have to change your clocks by a whopping two and a half hours all in one go.

I suppose with Australia being as sparsely populated as it is this all makes sense on the ground. But it looks pretty nutty from the air.

1 comment:

Miles said...

It's particularly bad in Coolangatta, on the border between NSW and QLD. We have a beach house on the QLD side, so when we go out for dinner or a movie on the NSW side, we need to remember it's an hour ahead, else we miss our reservation or film. Seems crazy they don't just pick a time zone for that area, and cut it off before the next town.