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Australia is a country, island and continent the same size as the USA but with 23 million people. There is much for the visitor to see including Uluru, the red rock in the middle, the Great Barrier Reef and beaches everywhere. Wine and food is excellent and can be enjoyed in the Barossa Valley a major wine growing region in South Australia close to Adelaide. Melbourne a cosmopolitan city is the base for the Great Ocean Road. And Sydney a main entry point has the harbour, beaches and day trips to the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley and Canberra the capital.
The sheer size of Australia means a diverse range of sceneries and travel experiences are readily available. From the whiter than white beaches on the west to the surfer’s waves of the Gold Coast in the east, and the underwater extravaganza of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s coast is a veritable paradise. While Sydney is a cosmopolitan city brimming with culture, think Sydney Opera House, world-class restaurants and the famous Bondi Beach, Melbourne is the arts centre of Australia. For something entirely different move in to the interior to see Ayers Rock and the great wide open outback.
When you think of Australia you think of size and it’s true it is huge country. It has the longest of many things in the world; the longest golf course called the Nullarbor Links, yes it is only 18 holes but those holes spread over 1,365 km, from Kalgoolie in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia. And spare a thought for the postman that has the longest postal route in the world, he delivers mail from Cairns to Cape York, covering 1450 km in nine hours delivering mail at only 10 locations.
Australia is also famous for its dangerous outback creatures, with the deadliest snakes in the world and over 1500 species of spiders, not to mention the crocodiles and sharks; however the biggest danger here is the sun. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and many tourists have become victim those bright sunny rays. The most poplar slogan here is Slip, Slop, Slap, meaning slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat when out in the Australian sun.
Half of the worlds total wine production comes from South Australia, and yes Aussies do like a drink, a local lad is in the Guinness Book of records for sculling 2.5pints of beer in 11 seconds, we only mention this fact because he then went on to become Australia’s Prime Minister, his name being Bob Hawke.
But is not all bad facts here, Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world, Perth has the most cafes per capita in the world , and there are over 50,000 kms of coastline around Australia, with an amazing 10,000 beaches, more than any other country in the world.
Tipping is not a way of life and so not required or expected. However if the service is exceptional then 10% at restaurants will be much appreciated.
Laws and Customs
Entering Australia you will be searched and penalties for smuggling food and drugs are strict so dispose of all food items. Drinking is 18 plus and drink driving very strictly enforced with random breath testing. Smoking is prohibited in most places including many outdoor areas but does vary from state to state. Littering is not done. Road safety rules are strict with speeding and wearing of seatbelts enforced and if cycling you must wear a helmet.
Australians are friendly and addressing by the first name is very common with greetings and thanking very much expected. Whilst not a law swimming between the flags on the beach is the correct thing to do and many visitors die if they do not follow that practice.
The north is tropical with a wet hot season from December until April and dryer and cooler for the rest of the year. In the south there is a true seasonal difference with a hot dry summer from December to March and mid winter in August which on the higher lands can be cold and snowy.