“The people are immensely likable: cheerful, extroverted, quick-witted, and unfailingly obliging.”
“Their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water. They have a society that is prosperous, well-ordered, and instinctively egalitarian. The food is excellent. The beer is cold. The sun nearly always shines. There is coffee on every corner. Life doesn’t get much better than this.”
Bill Bryson’s “Down Under” proved to be the best travel read to prepare me for a six-week trip to Australia. Not only was it great fun, but it also paints the perfect picture of the country and its culture. Most people picture the Outback, and its immense vastness, or the nicely tanned surfers along Australia’s Gold Coast. There is so much more to Australia, however, a country of which the world knows so little.
Life in Australia is fantastic, but it is also dangerous. Why might you ask? Australia is home to some of the most dangerous wildlife in the world:
“No one knows, incidentally, why Australia’s spiders are so extravagantly toxic; capturing small insects and injecting them with enough poison to drop a horse would appear to be the most literal case of overkill. Still, it does mean that everyone gives them lots of space.”
Australia is a long way away; it is vast and mostly empty. In comparison to the country’s size, the population is small and mainly scattered along the coastlines. It is hard to truly grasp the concept when looking at the country’s map only. Once you start driving from Cairns to Sydney, however, you quickly understand that distances are far, and it takes a long time to get from one place to the next.
Given its seclusion on the world map, Australia is unique. Expect to meet a lot of fun people, some normal, and some downright weird. No matter who you meet, though, they’re always friendly and helpful.
The time needed: Given the long flight (14 hours from LAX), the considerable time difference, and to have time to experience Australia truly, you should allow yourself at least two weeks.
Budgeting: A 2-week vacation to Australia for 2, including Coach class airfare and stays in 4* hotels starts at about $15,000
Movies to watch before heading to Australia:
• Crocodile Dundee
• Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
• The Castle
• Ned Kelly
• Rabbit Proof Fence
• Mad Max
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