Australia

Australia – practical info

I’ve been to Australia twice, during two different season and I’ve definitely learnt few things. That’s why I decided to answer question you haven’t asked yet, but probably will, one day when you open your eyes in the morning and decide to go to Australia.

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Flights
This is from Polish geographical perspective. Sure thing is: flights are cheaper in Australian summer, which may not be the best season for tourists. Look for special offers, as there are plenty of them. If you’re willing to go to any city on any day, it’s obviously easier to find cheaper flights.
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When to go to Australia?
It’s pretty obvious that Australia has different seasons than Europe. Winter in summer, summer and winter. So when you should go to Australia? In my opinion during European spring/Australian autumn. Or the other way round: European autumn, Australian spring. Why? It’s not that hot anymore (or not yet), but stil very very warm or even hot. Days are long, so it’s perfect for sightseeing. Why not during Australian winter? Well, believe it or not, but it gets cold in Australia. True story. Been there, experienced that, not the best idea. Days are short, humidity is terrible, so it feels even colder and they don’t have heating. Go in March. March is perfect. Both for sightseeing and for going to the beach.

Flights in Australia
So we’re on a different continent, so it’s good to do a bit of travelling there. The best way to travel within Australia is by plane. Sure, you can rent a car (or caravan, even better), but not everyone enjoys left side driving and it’s quite pricy if there’s just the 2 of you. So where to look for flights? On airlines websites like: Virgin Australia (I can recommend this one), JetStar, Tigerair Australia, Regional Express Airlines (REX).

You should pay attention to: airports if there’s more than one in a city (Melbourne), if luggage is included, additional fees for transactions (check if they have multicity options so you can avoid few fees)

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Currency
Australian Dollar. Again, this part was from Polish perspective so I’m afraid I don’t have anything more to add.

Prices
We have local currency, we can start spending it. Australia is expensive. More expensive than I thought. Here are few examples:

  • Dinner at a random restaurant ~20 AUD
  • Daily offer for dinner or during lunch time ~10 AUD
  • Lunch to go bought in a food court – 5-8 AUD
  • Mineral water 0,5l ~3 AUD (at Coles you can find 0,75l for 1 AUD and at Aldi 0,5l for 1 AUD. It’s good to have a plastic bottle and fill it with tap water or from water fountains on the go. Everyone is drinking tap water and in Melbourne its know for excellent water quality)
  • Sushi roll ~2,50-3,50 AUD (I’m full after having two of them)
  • Book (any book by any author) ~30 AUD (the cheapest I saw was around 15 AUD)
  • Wine – in comparison to Poland, every alcohol is 3x more expensive. Funnily enough, Australian wine is 3x more expensive in Australia than in Poland

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Food

I love eating when I’m travelling. In my opinion food is a huge part of culture and discovering new dishes is a must, Unfortunately food wasn’t exciting in Australia. Except for sushi. Sushi was amazing. But you can’t eat sushi all the time. So fish&chips it is. Everywhere. I like it, but again: you can’t eat it all the time. Chicken parmi – very Australian, can be found everywhere in Sydney. Breaded chicken breast with ham, tomato sauce and melted cheese. And chips of course. Everything in Australia seems to be deep fried. And there’s a lot of lamb. I don’t like lamb. So maybe I’ll end this paragraph with something positive? Asian food. I love Asian food and there’s a lot of Asian food.

Internet

Dear Australia, what’s wrong with you? There’s no public wi-fi in the city or it’s hard to find it or it’s terribly slow. Daily limits of internet at hotels? Seriously? I suggest buying local sim card with data package.

Plugs & Sockets 

Some time ago I decided that one day I will have a display of plug adapters from all over the world in my living room. In USA they have their own one, in Dubai they have English one and in Australia they don’t have English one. They have type I, which is also used in New Zeland and Argentina. Great. My collection is growing and chances of finding the right adapter before going on holidays are getting smaller and smaller. Let’s face it: you’re using one type, throwing it to a random drawer after holidays and you’re forgetting about it. So I bought myself a gadget. Magic cube which allows you to plug your devices into every socket in the world. It’s called Skross and I love it. There are also versions with USB.

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Guide books

Again from Polish perspective. I have a guide book from 15 years ago, which covers whole Australia. I wanted to buy a new edition, but they don’t do it anymore.. So I bought what I could find:

  • Sydney, National Geographic – I like guide books with photos, I simply like to know what I can expect. National Geographic is doing probably my favourite guide books. There are many facts, planned walks, etc., but there’s also one thing I hate: it’s super heavy. I bet it was designed by a man, because it’s impossible that woman would use such a heavy paper to use in a guide book and carry it all day long in a bag.
  • Melbourne & Victoria, Lonely Planet – if I was an extreme traveller, I would tear out pages about Melbourne and leave the rest at home. But I’m not an extreme traveller and I like books. I liked this guide book, it seems like it has a lot of trips around Victoria, but I absolutely hate one thing I found there. It was something like “there’s no need to introduce Ned Kelly”. Ok, I’m not from Australia, unfortunately I know nothing about bushrangers and I had know idea who Ned Kelly was. Now I know. I googled him.
  • Make my day – Sydney, Lonely Planet – I bought this one, because it’s concept was intriguing. Every page is cut into 3 parts: morning, afternoon, evening. You can mix&match every part of day and plan your own day. Another cool thing: it tells you which mean of transport you should take from point A to B and how long it will take. Genious. But unfortunately it doesn’t have a lot of info about attractions themselves. I think it woud be better for short trips, when you just want to see as much as you can in a very short time.

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Enjoy!

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