Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

Likes
1. The unique animals
2. The relaxed, friendly attitude of the locals
3. Good wine
4. Kangaroo steak
5. Great weather
6. Skiing in Victoria state
7. The ease of getting to small island-states nearby (Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu)
8. You can see from people’s faces that life is good here, or as Australians say, “no worries!”
Dislikes
1. The unique accent, which makes them difficult for a non-native English speaker to understand
2. The local spiders, which scare me
3. They don’t seem to use, or even much know about Wi-Fi – cable internet is much more common here
4. The strikingly poor situation of the aboriginal population, in spite of aid attempts (there are frequent demonstrations)
(Petra)

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Go there, and you’ll get eaten by a croc, or bitten by a snake or a  spider, right? Nope, the place is enormous; I spend lots of time there and barely saw anything notable wild animal wise.

Australia - makeup - Elter photo

Australia - Rocks of the Great Ocean Road near 12 Apostles - Elter photo

Practicals

Transport

Australia is home to the longest highway in the world. Spanning over 9,000 miles (14,500 km) in total, the Highway 1 network circumnavigates the country, joining all mainland state capitals.

Accomodation

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Australia - mobile hotel - Elter photo

Food


,, In Australia Christmas is pretty hot and you’re just as likely to spend it on the beach or having a barbie as anywhere else. Of course, you can BBQ anything, even god help us, vegetables, but Australians will inevitably come up with the line ‘ toss another prawn on the barbie.
Now a prawn might not sound much until you’ve seen the size of Pacific prawns. I was once given an Alaskan king crab leg and it was more than enough for a full meal on its own. You might of course encounter traditional Turkey with all the trimmings but many prefer to kick back with beers and fresh local seafood like the aforementioned prawns and also oysters." (Alan Durant, 2021)


Australia - Ayers Rock - picture perfect catering - Elter photo

Shopping

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Australia - PR effort - Elter photo

Australia - boomerangs - Elter photo

Fun

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Australia - Devil's Marbles at Tennant Creek - end of the Rolling Stones - Elter photo

Public safety


Dangers:

Although thousands of sharks swarm in the sea around Australia, few incidents occur.  At the Australian coasts, it is more likely to drown than be killed by a shark.

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,, Australia it would appear has cornered the market in things that can kill you with a look. There are around 1,500 species of spiders living in Australia. While some of them are super venomous, others are completely harmless. I worry about Funnel Web spiders that like to live in Sydney. They are very poisonous and hang around under houses and such places. I always gave my socks and boxers a good shake before I put them on. If you see a web-shaped like a funnel back away muttering shit under your breath. “The Sydney funnel-web has a body length ranging from 1 to 5 cm (0.4 to 2 in). Both sexes are glossy and darkly colored, ranging from blue-black to black, to shades of brown or dark-plum colored.” (WIKI)

Perhaps more famous than the spiders are the sharks. The truth is shark attacks are very rare but the thought that they might be nearby while you do your clumsy breaststroke in the sea is unsettling. For those of you of a nervous disposition, there are beaches that have shark nets and a great number of beaches have shark patrols.

I like taking the ferry out to Manly beach which is just out of the Harbour. The ferries go from Circular Quay. I’ve been told that sharks don’t like the tastes of humans and that if they bit you it’s because they think you are a seal. I’m not sure this would be of much consolation to me as one sucked on my left foot. The fact that it might not enjoy me doesn’t do it either.

Then of course we have the snakes. There are about 170 different types of snakes in Australia far too many of them, for my liking are really, poisonous, OK, most of them don’t want anymore to do with you than you do with them, but there are exceptions.

When I was out on the Nullarbor Plain at a truck stop it was suggested to me that we walk down to the old telegraph station overlooking the Great Australian Bight. A trucker overhearing the conversation suggested that it would be a great idea except for the prevalence of Death Adders nearby. Apparently, they don’t run (sorry slither) away but they hide so there is a good chance of stepping on one, a better chance it will then bite you, and a fifty-fifty chance you will survive if you get anti-venom quickly. We decided to stay at the truck stop and have another beer.

My only actual encounter with a snake was when I noticed the cats sat around something in the backyard. I didn’t think anything of it but a short time afterward I came across one of the cats on its back with its legs sticking up, rigid. I had a look where it had been and found the tiniest Brown Snake dead. Luckily we got it to the vet in time and he gave it an anti-venom and it recovered, that’s the cat, not the snake.

Brown Snakes are the most common venomous snakes, I think and are found throughout the eastern half of mainland Australia. “Fast-moving, aggressive and known for their bad temper, eastern brown snakes, together with other browns are responsible for more deaths every year in Australia than any other group of snakes.”

So I’ve scared you off ever going to Australia but remember you don’t get many snakes and general nasties in the cities and putting it into perspective between 2000 and 2013, more people were reportedly killed by horses than by all of the country’s deadliest animals combined. The motto of this might be to try not to get bitten especially by a horse. (Alan Durant, 2021)



Australia - gruesome beast - Elter photo

Australia - strict policeman

Health

,, On a more cultural note, there are tours to go and see some of the Aboriginal rock art. Does Take tick and insect repellent and information on how to remove. I’ve been told to cover them in butter, margarine for plebeian ticks, and rub round them in an anticlockwise direction. Then use tweezers to pull them out making sure to get the head out. If you can’t get the head go and see a doctor. I’ve only had a head stay in once and the doc took something akin to soldering iron to my side to burn it out. Strangely I didn’t feel it but it smelt as if someone were cooking a bacon sandwich. Make sure your mobile is in good nick. I like to have a solar charger along. Use sunblock If you’re out in the bush and you break down stay with your car. Let people know where you’re going and when you expect to arrive. " (Alan Durant, 2021)

Others

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Australia - South Australia - Adelaide - one of the Rundle Mall's bronze pigs - Elter photo

Cairns - A debatable marriage - wedding ceremony of Józsi, a Hungarian man and a 20 years older Aboriginal lady in Cairns - a photo by Anikó

Background

Australia - national flag - patriotic levitation

Destination in brief

Australia in brief

Compared to Europe, Australia is located on the other side of the globe, “down under”.

Size: 7,692,024 km² (2,970,000 mi²), the planet's sixth largest country. Although it is the smallest continental landmass, it is also the world's largest island. Australia is as wide as the distance between London and Moscow.

With its 25 million people, Australia’s population density is very low (more cattle - 26,6 million – than people)

Capital city: Canberra (390,000), but the largest city is Sydney (5,5 million)

More than 85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast.

Official language: English (second most spoken language: Mandarin)

Australia is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Nearly one in four Australian residents were born outside Australia.

Australia is a constitutional monarchy. The head of state is Queen Elisabeth II. (as the country is a member of the Commonwealth), but real power is vested in the Prime Minister and the Government.

Driving is on the left side, and most vehicles have their steering wheels on their right side.

Official currency:  Australian dollar (AUD)

Average monthly salary: around 2,000 USD (2019)

Australia ranks as one of the best countries to live in the world by international comparisons of wealth, education, health, and quality of life.

Australia is a very safe country. A tourist should be more concerned about natural hazards and dangerous animals than pickpockets. By the way, Australia's first police force was made up of the best-behaved convicts.

Spring: from September to November - Summer: from December to February - Autumn: from March to May - Winter: from June to August

Optimal travel time depends very much on what parts of this huge country one wants to visit.

Domestic aviation links are very well developed. Flight time between Sydney and Perth (Western Australia) is 5 hours.  

Essential tourist sights: Ayers Rock, Sydney Opera, Great Barrier Reef, Katherine Gorge, Kakadu NP, Fraser Island, The Pinnacles

Geography

,, Australia is different, it is the only continent in the world without an active volcano. This in many ways a plus in my book. Volcanoes are fine but ideally from a distance. Having noted the lack of volcanoes it has to be pointed out that the place is deadly enough already.
The danger comes in many forms (old Manchester proverb attributed to Confucius Hardcastle) I’ve seen cockroaches the size of a sparrow. They are leg-wobbling scary but at least they are not poisonous, though they put up one hell of a fight.

There are ten times more camels than koalas in Australia. They brought them over to move with their Afghan drivers when they were building the railways. That’s why the East-West railway across the Nullabor is known as The Ghan. There are so many, Camels, not Afghans, that they are becoming a nuisance terrorizing small towns in the outback. (Alan Durant, 2021)

Australia - koala bear - Elter photo

Australia - Three Sisters erosive rock formations in the Blue Mountains - Elter photo

Australia - Alice Springs - The Tropic of Capricorn marker - Elter photo

Climate


,, Perhaps one of the reasons the sport is so popular in Australia is that usually, you can go outside without freezing to death or getting soaking wet. Do you wish summer lasted for six months or more? You only need trousers and a light jacket for just one month a year in some parts of Australia.

Pretty much anywhere up the coast from Sydney counts for good weather. Having said that, it can get a bit on the warm side pretty much anywhere as well.

There are extremes with the “highest temperature ever recorded being 50.7 °C (123.3 °F) and the lowest −23.0 °C (−9.4 °F).” (WIKI) Australians like their patios and verandas. They build big decks so they can entertain, eat and live outdoors as much as possible. . There’s nothing better than taking your coffee outside each morning to hear the chorus of native birdsong. A cackling kookaburra is a sound you don’t forget! Not to mention the bloody noisy parrakeet’s and cockatoos. It's a good place to go in the northern hemisphere winter. Think beach cricket and beers rather than family boardgames around an open fire. (Alan Durant, 2021)

History

,, Way way back in the mists of time, I went to Australia the hard way. I don’t think anyone attempts the overland trip anymore and probably few people attempt to hitchhike across the Nullabor from Perth to Sydney. It wouldn’t be the same anyway as when I did it the road wasn’t paved and you were in the outback with a vengeance. Days of trucking along in the red-brown dust. The effect of arriving at Ceduna to see people in white clothes playing bowls on an immaculate green bowling green was somewhat overwhelming not that there wasn’t a lot more to go.

Back then Australia was a land of opportunity the sort of place where all the good stuff hasn’t yet been bagged up by the robber barons. These days there is probably still scope to get ahead but as is always the case it's not as good as it used to be. (Alan Durant, 2021)


Australia - Sydney - Hyde Park South - Anzac Memorial - a place to remember the Great War (1914 – 1918) - Elter photo

Nowadays


,,  Probably due largely to the sporting lifestyle and good food Australians have one of the highest life expectancies in the world.  Not sure what the stats. are but Australia feels like a young country, especially if you ask my friend Lois, she’s only 87. It’s the sort of place you feel you can have fun. You might fancy the authentic experience of going into the bush But if you do there are a few things to take note of. In fact, don’t use this as a guide use it as a starting point. Don’t forget that during the Australian winter it can get cold in the bush so bring some warm stuff, you can’t pose in your shorts all the time. Get a hat with a big brim. This might not be a big help but mine is made by the Columbia Sportswear Company which is Canadian. Its impregnated with an insect repellent so it keeps flies mosquitoes and ticks away to a large extent. The brim saves you from the sun of course, and you’ll need it. You need a decent pair of walking shoes. I have ones with attached puttees due to my terror of snakes. I suppose really good trainers could do but not flip flops or anything that doesn’t have a thick tough sole. Some of the thorns and stuff will slice you like a side of bacon. You don’t want a thorn the size of a young oak tree stuck in the bottom of your foot when you have a long way to walk to get to something passing for civilization. Another thing always knows where your towel is. It's a good idea to have a water bottle and if you have one, extra water in your vehicle. Like I said it can get hot. Insect repellent is a must.

There are all sorts of creepy crawlies and ticks that worry me so be prepared. Slip slop slap, no not a game design to get better acquainted with the opposite sex but the Australian government's advertisement to encourage people to wear sunblock. The ozone layer is thinner down under (go figure) and so the sun is fiercer. You’ll be happier without skin cancer. First aid kit, ask around depending on where you're going, good camping stores will generally steer you right. Good idea to have a torch. I like those that you can put on your head then you can frighten unsuspecting fellow campers. It's a good idea to have a solar charger that’s compatible with the things you want to charge. However, if you’re just going down to circular quay you’ll find you don’t need so much kit. (Alan Durant, 2021)

Australia - Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise - Towers of Chevron Renaissance - Elter photo

People

,, The Human denizens of Australia are not dangerous, (mostly), You can say that Australians are very direct which can come as a shock if you come from a country that is particularly polite even if that politeness is not always genuine. Australians are however laid back. you’ve all seen the Crocodile Dundee movies with the depiction of the ‘no worries mate’ culture. There is of course an element of truth about this stereotype. The actor from Crocodile Dundee also is a good example of the Larakin image of the good bad boy who transcends the boundaries of polite society.

Australians like a drink. Of course but a trend towards conventionalism is whittling away at this tendency. Australians, as well as being very friendly and easygoing people, are known for their love of sport, recreation, and the great outdoors. Watching and playing a wide variety of sports is a common pastime for many Australians with popular sports including cricket, football, soccer, netball, tennis, and basketball. They take it very seriously so don’t clap for England at a Test Match if you’re in the middle of a bunch of Aussies, you might get a beer shampoo. 

There are all sorts to do surfing, hang gliding, I used to watch the hang gliders circle over the sea from a big rock north of Sydney as the sharks waited expectantly below. There is even skiing which isn’t the first thing to spring to mind when you think of Australia.

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Inhabiting the continent for more than 50,000 years, the Australian Aboriginals are the world’s oldest culture. (WIKI)  They are also the most inventive repairers of cars I’ve ever seen. They even have mental maps of where abandoned cars are along their routes in case they need to cannibalize the parts if they breakdown.
(Alan Durant, 2021)

Australia - Aboriginal smile - Elter photo

Australia - beach volleyball girls - Elter photo

Australia - tension - s.v. photo

Australia - drunken man - s.v. photo

Tourist etiquette

1. If you get into a taxi alone and sit in the back seat, the driver will most likely think you are stuck-up (though not in the COVID-era).

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,,  Don’t try and do an Australian accent. It won't make you any friends. If you’re going to make tea or something in the bush have a little stove and don’t put it near anything that can catch fire. The bush can be incredibly flammable. Under no circumstances light a fire. Australia has suffered enough. Don’t try and pick the snakes up. Don’t get into drinking competitions with Jackaroos. Don’t sunbathe." (Alan Durant, 2021)


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