G'Day Mate. I lived in the Land Down Under for nearly 6 months several years ago and have been back a few times since. Australia, The Lucky Country, and the world's 6th largest country has so much to offer. Many travelers disregard the actual size of Australia and it’s landscape until they arrive, and there are so many things to do and see here. So you need to plan your trip accordingly.
Did you know: Australian is the driest of any continent on earth other than Antarctica and is the only continent covered by a single continent.
Plan For The Long Flight: It’s a long one folks. Regardless of most places you are jet setting from in the United States, you are looking at a very long day of travel. Always carry bottled water with you to stay hydrated. Travelling and in particular flying can wreak havoc on your skin. Start the process of hydrating more than you usually do a few days before the journey give you a head start, and keep up with it on the long flight. Read up on healthy planning for your flight wherever your final destination may take you! http://bit.ly/EAHealthyFlight
Places To See:
The Gold Coast-This has long been Australia’s premier holiday destination with enough activities and attractions to fill your Gold Coast itinerary for weeks! There are the beaches, theme parks, waterways, the hinterland, cafes, nightlife, shopping strips and so much more.
Beach Time-If you plan to hit up the beach (which you should do at some point during your journey), don’t forget your hat, sun glasses, sunscreen, bathing suit and a towel. From Rainbow Bay to Currumbin Creek to Broadbeach, there are spectacular places for body boarding, surfing and swimming too along the Gold Coast. If you are renting a car, stroll down the way a few hours to Surfers Paradise and Byron Bay; two fantastic hippie cities.
The Whitsundays-Sitting pretty at the beating heart of the Great Barrier Reef you’ll find the 74 islands of the Whitsundays. It’s a given that snorkel and scuba diving are a priority when visiting the Great Barrier Reef. But since the Whitsundays has got more prime spots than you can name, the best way to make the most of it is by adventure sail. My last adventure out to the Whitsundays was a few days on a little boat that fit 8 people. It was quite an adventure. Cue the fringing coral reefs and bays of Langford Island, Hook Island and Border Island! If you’re more of an avid snorkel adventurer, there are 2 and 3 day tours offered by some wonderful companies. Ask Amanda with Live Well Travel to share her top recommends for these adventures.
Western Australia- Go WEST my friends, go WEST. Because if you only visit the east coast of Australia you’re missing out on some of the best landscapes, beaches, food and wine experiences our country has to offer – not to mention sunsets that will blow your mind! I spent a majority of my time living in Fremantle in the Western part of Australia. From taking in a sunset at Cable Beach to marveling at the Horizontal Falls to swimming at Elephant Rock (Named Elephant Rocks because it looks like a herd of elephants paddling in the shallow waters), there’s plenty to do and see. And it's pictured above.
If you want a real treat, take a day or two in Rottnest Island. This island is one of my top 5 favorite islands in Australia. Located 18 kilometres off the coast of Perth, jump on a ferry that takes about 30 minutes and explore by bicycle – there are no cars on the island making it safe and relaxing. Take your snorkeling gear and hit up Little Salmon Bay, Parakeet Bay and The Basin.
Wine Is Calling- Margaret River is one of the best wine regions in Western Australia, and with over 100 wineries to visit, it’s full of endless touring and tasting.
Australian Language: Make sure to check out a few facts about Australian language and slang you may want to brush up on. There are actually quite a few slangs and differences in Australia English vs American English. Here are just a few examples that you will likely come across on your trip.
G'day - good morning or hello
Arvo - afternoon
Mate - friend
Cheers - thank you
She'll be right - it will be OK
Barbie - barbecue
Mozzie - mosquito
Bloody oath - hell yeah
Wildlife: Kangaroos and Koalas...Don’t expect to find them outside of your hotel room. Most often you have to venture out to a national park/reserve or further inland, away from the city buzz, to find them. But once in a blue moon you will be driving and one will pass right in front of you with a baby in her pouch!
Tipping: In Australia, is not common practice. You are not expected to tip in restaurants, bars, or taxis. You don’t need to add a tip to the staff in the hotels either. Of course, if you really want to acknowledge excellent service, especially if you are dining at a high-end restaurant, you can leave a tip. If you are out for the night, and leave a few coins behind as a tip at a bar, it’s likely that someone will tell you that you’ve forgotten your change.
Weather: Australian summer is from December-March and it’s HOT. Very very hot. If you are flexible, plan to visit Australia during October/November or April/May. It’s still really warm and sunny but there is a lot less rain and unbearable humidity/heat. And if you must come during the high season – pack an umbrella or a rain jacket.
Health Tip: Wear sunscreen. The sun is really strong in the Land Downunder, so stock up on sunblock and respect the fact that you may get burned a LOT faster than you would back home, or anywhere else in the world. The sun seems to have a much stronger effect on the skin in Aussie land. Just 30 mins in the Australian sun is enough to burn you to the crisp. Trust me, I speak from experience.
So go for the amazing sunsets, trek through lush green rain forests, swim in the most crystal clear waters and sunbathe on the most beautiful beaches. You’ll meet great people, hear great stories, and go on amazing adventures. You might even learn how to dive, surf or fall in love with sailing. You’ll see all the amazing things Australia has to offer and be devastated when you have to say goodbye and board your plane back home. It’s worth the long flight, but plan for at least a couple weeks to get a little taste of this beautiful place!
Empowering you to live well + travel!