We spent 3 1/2 weeks in Australia, drove from Melbourne to Cairns and we barely scratched the surface. As good Canadian road trippers, we are use to travelling vast distances to get…. well pretty much anywhere…. so driving for a whole day is only natural. The mistake we made, and which is apparently common with travellers to Australia, is you widely underestimate the driving distances and just how big Australia is! On top of that, no rental insurance will cover you if you drive before sunrise or after sundown. This is because there is a ridiculous number of Kangaroo’s that… from what we could tell….. based purely on road kill alone…. like very much to hop onto highways. Thus, driving time is limited, which makes traversing the vast distances, in any meaningful way, difficult. In any event, we were able to see and experience so much and make an ever growing list of things we need to do when we come back.
We had so many highlights. The Melbourne Cup, which is apparently one of the riches races in the world, literally stops all of Melbourne, they actually have a public holiday for the big race day. Seeing a performance at the Sydney Opera house was phenomenal…made even more memorable from our conversation with….an eccentric couple who were drinking Champaign in the lobby bar before the show. We spoke with them for about 20 minutes before it came to light that they were not actually going to the show….ah- mazing. Learning to surf in Australia…more accurately Marcin trying to surf and me trying to avoid him running me down…was an amazing experience as well, we loved Byron Bay and their no shirt, no shoes, no problem policy. Our previous blogs also share other major highlights of our Australian trip.
Another bucket list item we can checked off, was our visit to the Great Barrier Reef. This was an experience beyond words, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on earth, it is so big in fact, that it is visible from space. When we knew we were heading to Cairns to explore the reef, Marcin decided he wanted to do a live aboard dive trip. For this we turned to my Aunt who gave us my Uncle Dave’s dive itinerary from his own big dive adventure in Australia. We knew that anything my Uncle did would be the best, safest and most ecologically responsible dive operation in town, so Marcin booked a 4 Day dive adventure with ProDive and I booked a snorkel day trip with them. They did not disappoint on either.
We left Australia wanting more; we cannot wait to go back. I loved learning about Australia, we seem to hear so little about Australia back home, and as I mentioned previously, it is a fascinating country. Australian’s have to be the most laid back people we have every met and I have deduced that this is entirely based on the fact that everything in Australia can kill you. You see when you have rips, sweeps, sharks, crocs, poisons snails, snakes, spiders, jellyfish and more… who cars if you’re late, someone dings your car, cuts you off or you lose your wallet. This is a country who had a Prime Minister – Harold Holt – go for a swim…and never come back….and the only thing exceptional about that they tell you, is that he was Prime Minister at the time (1967).
As usual, Marcin and I have come up with the Top 10 things we learned in Australia….
1. Never…..ever…..stick your hand into a hole….or anywhere you can’t see for that matter
2. If you are ever unsure about…pretty much anything, don’t worry, there will be an extremely descriptive sign warning you of some kind of danger nearby
3. Smuggling or carrying fruit across designated zones seems to be as serious an offence as say….. drug smuggling
4. Everything in Australia can kill you….no seriously…. there should be a sign at the airport “Welcome to Australia….Now DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING”
5. Vinegar stands at the beach are not free condiments stands for your picnic
6. No shirt, no shoes, no service….Not in Australia
7. When someone asks “How ya going?” They are not asking you what mode of transportation you are taking
8. It would seem that somewhere along the line Australians have mostly decided that R’s are unnecessary…..Cairns = Cains….Melbourne = Melbine…..
9. Ordering a coffee is no easy task …tall black, short black, tall white, tall flat white, short white….. it really goes on….
10. There is no shrimp on that Barbie but…there is a prawn