Where to go and what to see in Australia!
Aussie Basics | Flights | Car Hire | Useful Books

Aussie Basics

Australia is the sixth largest country on earth and, almost all by itself, one of the seven continents - albeit the smallest one. It has a land area of some 30 times that of the UK and just a third of the number of residents.

Given that some 80% of Aussies live within 80 miles of the coastline - and even then mostly along the 'Boomerang Coast' between Adelaide and Brisbane - it's no wonder that us 'Poms' love the wide open spaces there.

Did I mention the 36,700 km of coastline and 10,685 beaches?

Some interesting and useful bits

Interestingly, my long-held belief that you could drill through the centre of the earth to reach Australia is complete nonsense. You can disprove it for yourself using Google's "Dig a hole through the earth" map plug-in - ending up just South East of New Zealand!

Distance wise, Sydney is some 10,562 miles air miles and closing in on 24 hours of flying time from London.

Map of Australia

There are officially three different timezones across the country. However, the Northern Territory and Queensland don't bother with daylight saving time, so it can actually end up being six zones - one for each state.

They vary between 8 and 11 hours ahead of GMT across the year. So be warned, no matter how hard you try, you will wake up your loved ones if you try to call home!

The length of days doesn't fluctuate so much in Australia as they do here in Europe. If you go in winter (June-August), you'll see about 12 hours of day time. In their summer, it'd be around 14. At home, that'd be more like 8 and 16! Little things like that make a big difference to how much sightseeing you can squeeze into each day.

It is also well worth remembering when you are trying to avoid 4WD driving at night on Fraser Island!

You won't need any out-of-the-ordinary vaccinations, though check out the NHS Fit For Travel website. You'll definitely want to stock up on strong DEET insect repellent to avoid Dengue fever in the tropics!

If you're a true hypochondriac, you might also want to give certain fish in Queensland a miss, for fear of Ciguatera. Google it - it's not nice!

Power adaptors are dead easy - you'll need to pick up a three pin one like this, which can be had on Ebay for next to nothing.

UK to Australia Power Adaptor

We did investigate the possibility of mobile broadband, but gave up in the end. No matter though - you're better off going with a pay-as-you-go approach for a few dollars each day. Take a laptop with you by all means, but only if you can stand a bit of extra hassle at airport security!

The people

Australians are a friendly and humourous bunch - almost without exception. Here in the south of the UK, we are not used to folk actually talking to us and it made a lovely and refreshing change :o)

On the flight from Sydney to Uluru, we overheard a snippet of one conversation which summed it up perfectly:

Aussie: How long are ya's over for?

Tourist: Just about three weeks

Aussie: Aww that's too long.. What if ya don't like it?!

Only in Australia!