It is definitely a continent, not a country. It is huge. Five weeks were not remotely adequate to see it, and I don’t think even twenty-five weeks would be enough. Our time here felt like a bit of a whirlwind, trying to get to too many different places in too short a time.
That being said, I really wish we could have seen more!
Perth and environs, including Margaret River and the Pinnacles
The Gold Coast
Lots of other places that we heard about or just passed through briefly, including Broome, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane.
Much like Canada, the different provinces (or territories, as they’re called here) are very unique and can experience quite different vegetation, scenery and climate at the same time of year.
Generally though, the climate is much more temperate, without the extremes of the Canadian winter.
People’s accents also vary quite a bit – they are all basically Australian but some pronunciations are harder to understand, probably similar to the way our Newfie accents sound compared to central Ontario. Peter found some people almost impossible to understand (like Josh, our kayak guide.)
They use some unusual words which are probably derived from English slang, but which we don’t ever hear at home. The only example I can think of at this moment is “swimmers” for bathing suits! But we often heard or read things like that in marketing literature and from tour guides.
I think Australia has done a better job of recognizing and integrating the Aboriginal legacy. I know they have the same history of attempting to eradicate the original culture that we have in Canada but there is more evidence here of current attempts to explain and promote the Aboriginal history and traditions.
Given the Australian dollar is basically on par with the Canadian dollar, we found all areas were more expensive than what we would pay at home for comparable lodging and restaurant meals. However goods in stores (groceries, clothes, etc) were usually less expensive for equivalent value.
Australia is high on everyone’s travel bucket list (like ours!) so there are generally a lot of tourists. Fortunately we didn’t experience the same omnipresent tourists as we did in New Zealand but we strongly suspect that is because we were travelling off-season when the northern part of the continent is still quite hot and recovering from the rainy season. Downside of that of course is that the infrastructure (and tourist services) were not fully up to speed for us. It was a trade-off we were both prepared to make!
My favourite spots in Australia were Sydney, the Bungles and Hamilton Island.
Peter’s favourite spots: Tasman Peninsula, Litchfield Park and the Bungles.