IMH Australia summary

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why we enjoyed Australia
Good wine and good food... need I say more?
They are very conscious of preserving water and the environment (they also rescyle plastic, bottles, paper) and all toilets allow for a half or full flush.
Brilliant and affordable public transport is available in most places, especially cities. In-between cities or areas were no trains run, it is easy enough to rent a car.
The locals are soooooo friendly. Everywhere you go into a shop the staff would great you with a smile and ask "how you going?". They're also very helpful.
Australia has got interesting wildlife, very different o South Africa. We enjoyed learning about their birds, marsupials (e.g. koalas, kangaroos), insects and reptiles. I don't think I've ever seen so many spiders in my life!
It is so easily accessible for travellers, considering langue, accommodation, information and awareness, touring, transport, etc.
Australia has a brilliant outdoor lifestyle which accommodates all levels from cycling and running paths in cities to camping cities and support in all possible areas. They actually encourage people to be healthy and enjoy the environment and provide sufficient information to do so.
Low crime rate (full stop).
On 13 February 2008 the Australian Prime Minster apologised to the Aboriginal "lost generation" on what was done to them - they were taken away from their families as babies or children and put them in foster care, etc. - on behalf of the Australian Government, the State, the people. Before this apalogie, I would have listed this under my "why we didn't like Australia" list. I was (and still am) very upset to learn what happened to the Aboriginal people in Australia.
Off-putting about Australia
MANY bugs that bite ands make you itch.
The summers are quite hot and humid - not great after spending 3 years in Dubai.
Australia seems to be quite expensive. Even an American couple we met echoed that, saying that it's double as expensive as they expected.
On average, the maximum speed on highways and nun-suburban roads is 100 km/h. some roads allow you to travel 110km/h. This seems to be very slow and adds significant time to travelling. In the rain, its been an aid though.
Australia is a huge country, nothing wrong with that, but it means that you either need months to see everything (or even the highlights) or you need to fly more domestically (which means you also miss-out on some of the good stuff you see when driving). We were lucky to have had so much time, and even so, we didn't have enough. You can spend 6 months only on the East Coast and still not have seen everything.
General and interesting things about Australia
"Crikey" is not merely used as often as expected.
It seems as thought both males and females can be called "mate". It's not only a male term.
"How ya going" does not mean by what means of transport you are travelling, but actually how you are doing.
Australia has many pretty girls, mostly blonde tough, but well groomed, built and dressed.
Australians seem to be "proudly Australian" with everything and each state or territory has its own individual character.
The money (notes at least) is waterproof and you can swim with it.
Apparently kids can have surfing as a subject at school, no wonder surfing is huge here.
No job is frowned upon, cleaning toilets is a job like any other.
Australia seems to be very short of skills - from doctors and nurses to electricians and other trades. The Australian mines are offering people huge packages (upto Aus$100k p.a. to drive a truck - that's a very good salary a family of 4 can live on comfortably) which draws the skills away from everywhere else. They are recruiting internationally and even 'stealing' skill domestically from other regions.
Cleanskins are affordable bottles of wine, from sparkling, white and red - leftovers from wine farms bottled by bottle stores under their labels.
It took us some time to figure out that the signs saying "TAB" and "Pokies" at the local pubs and restaurants involves gambling in the establishment. Pokies are slot machines and TAB means bookies where you bet on some form of racing from horses and dogs to  current sport event.
Once you get to the bar counter and place your order for a beer, they ask you if you want a "pot" or a "scooner". A pot is 250 millilitres and a scooner is 330 millilitres (normal beer glass, but smaller than a pint).
Houses are made of wood inside and are rounded-off with a layer of bricks on the outside.
A huge percentage of the Australian population suffer from some form of skin cancer. Initially I was offended by the bold, graphical and in-your-face TV advertisements about skin cancer, but soon realised that you get burned before you even realise it. Skin cancer prevention includes 5 protection elements, namely: a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, clothing and staying in the shade.  
Unemployment = 4.1% (Feb '08).
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