Travel Tips and Observations
The following items are things we noticed on our trip. They're
not presented in any particular order.
- People who drive on the left side of the road walk on the
left side of the sidewalk. It's hard to get used to
walking on that side for us Americans. Try walking on the
left down a crowded city sidewalk in the US sometime.
You'll bump into people and get dirty looks. Same thing
happens if you walk on the right in the UK or Australia.
- Large suitcases are a good idea. We had only five bags:
two main cases, two large carry-ons, and my camera bag.
That made it easy to move all of our bags with just the
two of us.
- Be careful if you have large suitcases. Airlines limit
any single bag to 70 lbs (32kg) to protect their baggage
handlers. Very large bags like ours can easily hold more
than 70 lbs of stuff. It's also impossible to get a
29" and a 26" suitcase into the trunk (boot) of
a mid-sized car like an Altima or Ford Falcon.
- We didn't carry any travelers checks or convert any US
currency to Australian dollars. We simply withdrew cash
from ATM's that were plentiful. Our bank doesn't charge a
fee for ATM's it doesn't own, and no Australian ATM's
charge a fee, so we got excellent conversion rates from
our bank and no commissions that are charged at foreign
- When crossing the street or stopping at an intersection
in Australia, look right first. It's hard to get
used to, but it's very important!
- Three days is not enough time to spend in one place, with
the possible exception of Alice Springs. We wanted more
time in Sydney, Melbourne, Uluru, Darwin, Cairns, and
Heron Island. We're glad we got a "taste" of
these places, but next time we'll stay put longer and
- After nearly thirteen years of marriage, Chris and I can
spend nearly every waking moment together for 25 days,
and still love each other.
- Use frequent flyer miles to upgrade from coach to
business class. On United Airlines it costs 12,500 miles
each way for the upgrade, and you get 8,000 miles for the
trip. In business class you get better food, more room,
and better entertainment. And free drinks.
- Topless sunbathing is fairly common on Australian
beaches. It's not polite to stare.
- Digital cameras are great! However, we wouldn't have been
able to use ours nearly as much if we hadn't brought
along a laptop computer. We have two memory cards, enough
memory to hold 91 high-resolution, high-quality photos.
We took over 700 digital photos. Without the ability to
upload the pictures from the memory cards to the
computer, we would have run out of memory after our
second day in Sydney.
- Since we returned, I have been given a tip on how to get
free internet service: Australian ISP's like Ozemail
offer 30-day free trials. Just get a CD from one of them
and you're all set.
- When snorkeling, where a dark-colored tee shirt to avoid
- Calamine lotion is a good treatment for sunburned skin
that is starting to itch. Soapy water is a very bad
- Kangaroo meat should be cooked rare or medium rare.
- We packed more clothes than we needed to. We could have
done with fewer shirts and pairs of jeans. We ended up
doing laundry every 8 days, so that's all the clothes we
needed to bring.
- If you're going to Kakadu or another area rich in
Aboriginal culture, take some time before-hand to learn
about the Aboriginees. The museums and tours of that
culture seem to assume a pretty high level of knowledge
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