Anyone here from Australia? Or, has anyone ever been there? My wife and I just got back from there last week. I didn't realize it before but it has a sub-tropical climate. I guess I never paid much attention to its latitude. So, if you go there take your hat and sunscreen. They're going into the fall season so we missed the really hot weather. Oh yeah, and don't forget your atm card because it is very expensive.
The plane ride is very long. It took over 22 hours to get from Frankfurt, Germany to Sydney via Singapore. That includes about an hour layover in Singapore.
We actually spent most of our time in Queensland, which is north of New South Wales, visiting a friend. While there we visited Fraser Island (Google some pictures, it's amazing), the largest sand island in the world. There's a rock formation at the north end which captures the sand carried by the ocean current. The island is about 127 km long and about 20 km wide. It has freshwater springs, a freshwater lake, a rainforest, and all kinds of wildlife. If you ever make to eastern Australia you must go to Fraser Island. We had a trip planned to dive the Great Barrier Reef but it was canceled due to high winds. Turns out there was a cyclone heading our way.
The biggest disappointment was the expense. For example, I was congested after the flight so I bought some Dimetapp capsules. I got a 24 pack for the bargain price of 17 Australian dollars. That was in Sydney, not the airport. By the way, the exchange rate with US dollars was about .98 USD to 1 AUD so there wasn't really any saving. It's funny because there's a big push for "healthy" living and I saw several times on television how half the population is overweight but the most affordable food was fast food burgers and pizza.
The second biggest disappointment was big brother. The government controls practically everything, the main reason why everything is so expensive. I also noticed, especially in Sydney, that there are cameras everywhere. They were having an election while we were there and their politicians engage in as much old fashioned mudslinging as in the US. As far as I could tell there are basically two political parties, the labour and the liberal parties, which are basically the same in my opinion.
Overall it was a good experience and we plan on going back to dive the Reef.
And if you've never tried vegimite, it is absolutely terrible. We saw advertisements for a new cheese spread made with vegimite. It did not look good.