Welcome to Nebraska
Nebraska is situated in the Great Plains of the American
Midwest, where agriculture is a way of life. The level land of the
east is ideal for farming, while the western area of high dunes and
small, shallow lakes is dotted with ranches. This divide is evident
to some degree in personality as well as in physical terrain. The
hub of Omaha ties one half of Nebraska to the Midwest, while many
in the western half staunchly identify with the more rugged Old
Most travellers to Nebraska are probably not after big-city
action. Those who are have only one and a half options: Omaha and
nearby Lincoln. Famous as the home of financial genius Warren
Buffett as well as really great steaks, Omaha may be a far cultural
cry from New York City, but it has a world-renowned zoo and a
buzzing arts and entertainment district. Lincoln, the capital, is
transformed from small-city peace to football-fan pandemonium with
every University of Nebraska Huskers' game.
The true gems of Nebraska, however, lie in its natural beauty to
the west of the commercial centres and underwhelming flatlands.
Early each spring, the Platte River in south-central Nebraska is a
stopover in the massive migration of the sandhill cranes, the
largest gathering of this kind in the world. Watching the ritual
dancing of the cranes as the sun sets over the water is a
Next up in the journey west are the Nebraska Sandhills, a
remote, rippling area of grass-covered dunes and isolated ranches.
But it is in the far panhandle region that the landscape truly
becomes remarkable, jutting up into rocky columns, sheer buttes and
pine-covered canyons. This is wilder land, where skirmishes with
Native Americans continued long after the east was settled, where
Crazy Horse, leader of the Lakota, was killed at a lonely frontier
outpost. The geography culminates in Scotts Bluff and Chimney Rock,
unusual limestone formations that tower above the surrounding land.
Both were major landmarks for pioneers on the Oregon Trail, the
wagon roadbed of which is still visible. This is not the only
lasting impression man has left on this landscape, however. When
the thrill of the natural environment wears off, having come this
far west, travellers might as well visit one extremely odd man-made
addition: Carhenge, a life-size replica of Stonehenge constructed
entirely of old cars.
Information & Facts
Nebraska's climate is mostly continental, with temperatures that
vary greatly from season to season. The western third of the state
has a semi-arid climate. Summers are hot and humid, averaging 76°F
(24°C) in July, but hot winds often push summer temperatures above
90°F (32°C). Winters are cold and snowy with temperatures of around
23°F (-5°C) in January. The state is prone to severe weather
patterns such as blizzards, droughts and windstorms. Thunderstorms
are common in spring and summer.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
GMT -6 (GMT -5 from March to November).