Leaving Aus - Review of Australia

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
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Thursday, July 6, 2006

Today is my last day in Australia and I'm so glad to finally be on the move again! 5 months is far too long to remain in one country and the final 2 months of my trip are going to be incredibly hectic and I'm really looking forward to what's ahead.

Who would have thought that my last glimpse of Australia would have been the small town of Ayr in North Queensland and not the bright lights of Sydney? Can't say I'm really too bothered about not returning to Sydney as the weather is far better here and I'm spending much less here than I would anywhere else.

That's not to say that Ayr is a particularly nice place. You wouldn't picture a small town (pop. 8500) in rural Australia to be a dangerous place to go out but there have been a number of incidents (mainly involving the girls from the hostel) in the past couple of weeks with the local Aboriginees. The police seem to pay a visit on an almost daily basis. When you have to go in a group to the supermarket 30 seconds away you know there is a problem! But I'm not going to let a few incidents spoil a place I have actually enjoyed staying and working!

Sure the town is tiny but there are still things to do here. The people staying at the hostel are all fantastic (apart from a couple of psycho's who left the other day) and the owners very helpful and friendly.

Even the work wasn't that bad most of the time. Sure zucchinis were terrible and Rosalie (tomato supervisor) was a complete bitch but the other places I worked were fine. Pumpkins were my saviour in the end as it was actually possible to make money on them and the group was brilliant.

So that's it for Ayr and I leave on the 5:20am Greyhound to Townsville tomorrow. Can't say I will be sad to leave but my time here was one of the better in Aus.


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Review of Australia
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That was the summary of life in Ayr so here's the review of Australia. I came to Aus expecting to love it and wanting to live here. In the end the outcome was quite different and I actually ended up seeing some of the good points of home I had never considered before. In general I could live here but it really wouldn't be any better than home as the 2 countries are amazingly similar. I'll try to write about a few things I liked/disliked about Australia and how they affected my time here (sounds like nominations on Big Brother!).

Media

This is a really mixed bag. The media in general is far more liberal here than at home. They can basically get away with saying a lot of things that would be impossible back home. For instance swearing in broadcasts/songs at all times of the day. Some of the conversations the presenters on the radio stations got away with were incredible and I wish the same were the case in the UK.

Reading a newspaper in Cairns I spotted a letter that I had to tear out to add to this section. Entitled, "Is karma getting back at Indonesia" it was so racist that I can't believe it could be published!

IS KARMA GETTING BACK AT INDONESIA?
Remeber the Bali bombings, the embassy attacked in Jakarta? Remember the anti-Australian sentiments by Indonesia or the billion dollars plus towards Aceh etc?
Kill the infidel Aussies? The anti-Christian attitude towards us Australians by those Indonesian Muslims? Well, guess what? Karma (a Buddhist terminology) once again is showing Mr Indonesia that biting the hand that is feeding you is wrong, by an earthquake in Jakarta.
But we Aussies once again are in there with our help, money, goodies, goodies at our own expense. We Christians, are showing the Muslims how it is done by deed.
As far as I know, not one rupee was spent to assist us with Cyclone Larry.
Ionly hope that our Government won't go overboard to assist those that keep on looking down on us Aussies, and I mean those Muslims that expect us to respect them for what they are.


I don't agree with any of the sentiments expressed in the article, the earthquake was a huge tragedy, and I really can't believe that a newspaper would publish this crap!

I listened to a lot of radio whilst driving around and have to say that I found it far better than UK radio. Sure the playlists are just as restrictive (Rogue Traders, The Veronicas, Nickleback constant loop) but the variety of stations was far better than in England where every station plays the same songs. I also think the Hughsey, Kate and Dave breakfast show on Nova 100 Melbourne is the best I've ever listened to and had me in stitches every day.

Country Pride

Australians are incredibly proud, a little too proud if you ask me, of their country. They truly believe that it is the best country in the world, and it is pretty good, but most refuse to see any faults with their "perfect" country.

Still I think it's great to see the words "proudly Australian made" with the kangaroo logo on literally everything and the effort everyone puts into supporting their country in world sports, except the World Cup which they didn't care about.

Public Holidays

Australia seems to have more public holidays than any other country in the world! Any excuse for a day off and they'll jump at the chance.

Fair enough have a day off for Anzac day and Australia day (why is there no Britain day?) but Queens birthday! We don't even get that off and it wasn't even her birthday! When I was in Darwin there was a holiday every Monday for 3 straight weeks! In Ayr last week it was the Ayr Show and the whole town had the day off! Aussies just can't get enough time off.

Supermarkets

One of the unfortunate things about travelling in Australia is that it's too expensive to eat out everyday so I had to spend far more time in the supermarkets than I would have liked. For one they never seem to be open. Saturday is the biggest shopping day back home but here every shop is closed by 2pm and doesn't open again until Monday! Everything also seems far more expensive than back home. Fresh produce is ridiculously expensive considering they grow everything locally.

But the main thing that really annoyed me was the cost of chilled soft drinks. A 2 Litre bottle of Coke warm on the shelf costs $AU1.40 compared to $AU2.60 for a chilled 600ml bottle! That is an absolute disgrace and wouldn't be allowed back home. Sort it out Australia!

Booze

Aussies love their beer and it's pretty obvious, especially in the Northern Territory. Darwin has a population of 74,000 yet drinks more beer every month than Sydney (pop. 4 million)!

But all of the beers taste the same. They may call them "bitters" but they are just stronger lagers rather than the warm mess you can back home. One Aussie couldn't believe they only sold Fosters (which isn't available in any bar in Aus by the way) and sometimes XXXX in the UK. His reply, "What? Not even Tooheys or Victoria Bitter?" .....No mate, they suck!

Sights

OK everyone knows what the big sights are in Aus so knows what they should see when they get here. Lets say the big 4 are Sydney Harbour, Uluru, Great Barrier Reef and Ramsey Street (not necessarily in that order) and I saw all of them. Still I wouldn't say that they were all that interesting when compared to the sights I had seen in Asia. I was excited to see them but would I fly 20 hours to see them again? No chance!

Cost

Australia is an expensive country to travel so don't come here expecting your 's to go a long way, they won't! Now that I have issued that warning there are a few ways to travel cheaply. Make sure you sign up for some discount schemes. VIP and YHA seem to offer the biggest discounts everywhere. If you choose to take the bus choose Premier rather than Greyhound and you could save a lot.

If you are travelling just the East Coast (as most people do) make sure you sign up for a combined Fraser Island and Whitsundays tour. You'll probably save $100 and get a couple of free nights accommodation thrown in to boot.

If you plan to travel a lot around the country then buy a car! We had a saloon but splash out on a camper van! It may cost a bit more (about $2500-3500) but will save you a fortune on accommodation. Sleeping on a bed in the back of a large van is far more comfortable than a tent or dorm room and free as well. You should be able to flog the car for the same as you paid when you leave as well!

Petrol is currently $AU1.40/litre which is a bargain compared to home. The locals may complain about the price (and it was $1.19 when I arrived) but don't know how lucky they are. You also get to go on the ultimate roadtrip and see more to the country. Bonus!

Amazingly flying around the country can be very cheap and far less than the bus in some cases! For example, when I flew Jet Star from Brisbane to Cairns it cost $140 for a 2 hour flight compared to $200+ for a 2 day bus journey from hell! Don't torture yourself, pay a little extra and fly!

Conclusion

So that's what I thought about Australia. It's a cool country but thoroughly over-rated. I enjoyed myself (most of the time) but would rather have been back in Aisa. One last point concerns Internet access. It sucks in Australia! Getting pictures uploaded was a nightmare because it was so slow all the time! It was faster in Laos than Australia and they should be ashamed of that.

Time to move on at last!!!
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Comments

shanewilson
shanewilson on

From a Fellow Aussie Traveller
Hi,
As an Aussie who has travelled RTW (travelpod, shanewilson), I was very interested to read of your review of Australia. I think that Australians who travel as extensively as I develop an open mind as to our country's strengths and weaknesses - and we sure do have them. We do love to have time off - people from around the world were interested to hear that after having worked 10 years with an employer, I was entitled to 13 weeks paid leave - which I spread over a year at quarter pay. But we also love to travel... I was very relieved to get back to Australia after 12 months of travel but desperately missed the warmth and hospitality of people from countries in South East Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Laos) and South America (Peru, Bolivia, Brazil). It's a shame that Australians have tended to become increasingly individualistic and materialistic and are losing the warmth of people in developing countries! Anyway, great post - love to read of people's external views of our country. Cheers, Shane.

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