The holidays are winding down and real winter…unrelenting winter…freezing, ice-scraping, too many clothing layers winter…is making itself entirely too much at home. You are thinking of escaping. To anywhere that has sunshine.
Welcome to Western Australia, the sunniest state in Australia. Its land mass constitutes nearly a third of the whole country and its topography runs the full gamut from lush green to desert. Whether you are escaping now or planning for next year, here are some of WA’s ‘hottest’ spots to visit.
- Karijini National Park. Amidst the red earth of the Pilbara area’s mineral mining mecca is this jewel. Almost nothing but sun as you dip into any (all!) of the park’s incredible rock pools, walk along the trails leading to waterfalls, abseil a few gorges and marvel in this desert oasis. Make a point to visit Oxers lookout, where four separate creeks merge to form an incredible waterfall.
- Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Swim with whale sharks at this area that attracts thousands of domestic and foreign travelers each year. Don’t miss Shell Beach. The ‘sand’ is made up of millions of tiny cockle shells and stretches for 70 miles. There are only two like it in the world. Drop into Pearlers restaurant in Denham which is made entirely of shell blocks carved out of the beach.
- Kalgoorlie. The wild west of OZ- just stroll the town’s historic main street and you’ll see it is so. Visit Australia’s largest open-cut mine, The Super Pit. It is said to be visible from outer space. This is Gold Country so plan on striking it rich while panning for gold and learn about WA’s rich mining heritage.
- The Great Southern region. Head south for a bit of green and cooler temperatures. WA’s diversity is evident with a trip through the majestic Karri forests near Pemberton. The Karri tree is the third tallest in the world. Further south in Denmark (the city, not the country) to walk along the famous Tree Top Walk through Tingle trees. It’s also a great area to do some apple picking- Pink Lady being a regional favorite.
- Margaret River. A southern wine region spreading inwards from the Indian Ocean that is developing an international reputation and certainly gives the eastern states’ wine regions a run for their money. Nearby are some ancient caves waiting to be explored.
This is a huge state with much to offer but is often overlooked by tourists to the eastern cities of Sydney and Melbourne because of the distance away. Don’t be lulled by an opera house away from this greatest of Australia’s jewels. Plan on renting a car and learning to drive on the left side of the road for an experience like no other.
It is a common misconception that Australia can be conquered in a week of travel. Take on Sydney Harbour, migrate north to the tropics, drop in at Uluru on the way to Perth before driving the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne, no worries. While that can be done it would take up to a month, at least, to truly start to take in what Australia has to offer.
To give you some idea, Australia is both the largest island and the smallest continent in the world, and with an area of 7.7 million square kilometers it is the sixth largest nation, following closely behind the US and Brazil. The UK fits into Australia 32 times, into the state of New South Wales alone it fits 11 times. The Queensland floods in January this year covered an area larger than France and Germany combined. So you can see, traveling Australia on a tight schedule is no small feat.
The time it takes to get around Australia depends on the experiences you want. There are many adrenaline-charged activities that can be covered in places like Sydney or the Gold Coast in a few days, but if you want to experience the wonders of Uluru and the desert landscape in the heart of the Northern Territory, or cruise the reefs and islands in the endless summer of northern Queensland, days may turn into weeks.
Once you know what you want to do and how long those experiences may take, the next step is figuring out just how to get around the country. A road trip in parts of Western Australia or the Great Ocean Road between Adelaide and Melbourne exposes you to some breathtaking scenery, while a hop-on-hop-off type bus tour of the East Coast can deliver you to many tourist hotspots or off-the-beaten-track hideaways by the beach. But a road trip through the middle of the country is not advised. About three quarters of Australia is arid or semi-arid, 40 percent of which is considered unlivable. With low rainfall and high temperatures, driving through the desert outback is not only uncomfortable, but dangerous, so the cross-country trains or domestic flights are better options.
In order to taste a bit of everything in Australia, a combination of the above is usually advised. A mixture of paces to enhance your experiences in the contrasting places in Australia makes the perfect holiday, just make sure you take enough time off work!
Australia is the country of adventure, romantic geography, spectacular vistas and unbelievable and untamed wilderness. A trip to this fascinating adventure capital is never devoid of fun. Still, exploring Australia’s many charms can become an expensive deal, especially if you’re traveling as a group. Here are 15 things you can do in Australia to enjoy your trip, without spending a single penny!
Free Things to do in Sydney
- Have a fun filled family holiday and take great pictures as you ‘cross the coat-hanger’, that is cross the Sydney Harbor Bridge on foot. The world’s largest steel bridge stands at a height of 134 meters above Sydney harbor. The Sydney harbor with its opera house and lovely ships is a great experience so be sure to take tons of pictures.
- Have another great family fun day for free in Coney Island’s Sydney’s Luna Park. Enjoy free rides and take great pictures of this beautiful park, which is open every day.
- Take your kids to the Art Gallery of NSW and the Australian National Maritime Museum. Entry is free in both places and it’s a great opportunity for your kids to expand their brain cells a little. This is a great opportunity for some learning. The museum provides guides who will walk you through the exhibits.
Free Things to do in Melbourne
- Explore the city by the free City Circle Tram. Get off wherever you want, explore the sights and hop back on the tram to get to the next destination. The free tram makes it possible for you to explore the lovely city of Melbourne at your own pace.
- Take your kids on a tour of the moving image, at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. It’s the only center of its kind and is dedicated to cinema; everything from the early silent talkies to the latest digital effects can be explored here.
- Take a tour of 35 hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens in the Royal Botanic Gardens. You can even get a free guided walk, or opt for a self-guided audio walk. Each sample of tree or plant is carefully marked and named in Latin and English, along with the actual origin of the plant.
- Come and visit Mornington Peninsula, one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Free Things to do in Darwin
- Visit the artificial Lake Alexander at East Point Reserve artificial lake. In a real lake, you’d have some concerns over jellyfish or crocodiles, but here, you can swim and windsurf to your heart’s content, and for free. Watch the wallabies grazing on the green grass on the shores towards evening. Take a nice hike with your family on a boardwalk that meanders through the costal monsoon mangrove forests.
- Visit the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, and explore the over 60 food stalls that are laid out here. 30 different countries have stalls here; there are also 200 art and craft stalls for the art lover. You can shop for anything here; make a list of all the gifts you need to buy and do them here. You can make a day out of it by shopping for souvenirs, getting a Thai massage, listen to live bands and chill on the beach with a glass of wine. This market is open Thursday and Sunday nights from April to October.
Free Things to do in Brisbane
- Visit the beautiful inland city Southbank Beach with your family. This artificial beach with its 4000 cubic meters of sandy shores and realistic waves created with three mega liters of water is a wonderful family fun spot. For kids, there are three playgrounds with swings, slides and all the accompanying playground items. There are plenty of colorful rubber tires and floats for your kids to ride the bouncy waves on.
- Take your kids to the Daisy Hill Koala Centre, about 25km south-east of Brisbane’s nucleus. This is a lush, beautiful and green bushland retreat for koala bears. The fragrant eucalyptus forest is a pleasure to walk about in and the prospect of sighting the elusive koala bears makes this a fantastic opportunity for the animal and nature lover. This center is open between 10am to 4pm on all week days.
Free Things to do in Perth
- Perth’s sparkling Swan River calls out to tourists to windsurf and sail to its beaches and sandy bays. The beautiful Swan River that winds past Perth’s city skyline is the ideal place for a fun filled family holiday. If you don’t want to hire a boat to jet-ski or to go parasailing or ski-biscuiting, you can always fish for brim, taylor and mulloway from the river’s edge! Take a walk and discover walking tracks and picturesque picnic spots with your family.
- Hike the 963 kilometer Bibbulmun Track, all the way from Kalamunda to Albany. With several camping shelters on the way for free use, all you need is sufficient water, plenty of candy bars and a pair of good hiking boots. Best family fun ever!
Free Things to do in Adelaide
- The Adelaide Central Market is a must visit for anyone visiting this vibrant city. This market features more than 80 traders and stores. You can get everything here, from organic fresh produce, to the best of gourmet cheeses and confectionery treats. With multi-cultural and multi-regional cafes from different parts of the world offering their national specialties and guest chefs whipping up their magical cooking demonstrations, this market is anything other than your average weekend market. You can even sign up for a cooking class and take guided tours to learn about the market’s history.
- Where else can you get free bikes that you can use to zoom around the Adelaide riverfront and the wildlife packed, wooded Adelaide Zoo trail? Just show your identification and pick up your free bikes plus helmets and get exploring.
- While in Adelaide, don’t miss taking your kids to St. Kilda adventure playground. Even you can play on some of the playground’s recreations! This 4 hectares of pure fun is free for everyone, with a shipwreck and wooden castle thrown in for free exploration.
Australian English has developed along a different track to British or US English, with some vocabulary of its own. There are particular words and phrases that are uniquely Australian, meaningless to many from outside the county, but part of what binds Australians to each other.
The history of Australian English reflects the history of the country as a whole – Aboriginal words, convict slang and words from various migrant groups all having been assimilated.
Long before a word of English was ever spoken in Australia, the Aboriginal languages were heard all over the continent. Each Aboriginal grouping has its own language, but those languages spoken close to what later became the main centres of European population were those which have had the most influence on modern Australian English.
Commonly used Aboriginal words include many animal names, such as kookaburra, koala, wallaby and dingo. Many Australian place names are Aboriginal, and not always because the Aboriginal people themselves called a place by that name. The capital Canberra is so-named because it means ‘meeting place’.
Other Aboriginal words common in Australian English include ‘yakka’, meaning work – normally used as part of the phrase ‘hard yakka’; and ‘cooee’, first used by Aboriginal people calling each other through the bush. ‘Cooee’ has, of course, found its way into British English too.
Aboriginal words are likely to have been absorbed into English as local leaders from both native groups and colonists tried to find some tentative common ground; and as the new arrivals sought to find names for the strange new things they were seeing.
Whether convicts or willing migrants, the Europeans who found their way to Australia from the eighteenth century onwards came from a wide range of different groups. At that time, there were great differences between different British English dialects, so that convicts from different regions of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland would all have spoken very differently. Some would not have spoken English at all – being Irish or Scots Gaelic or Welsh speakers.
To understand each other, these groups would have begun to create a common language, and words from various dialects would have become part of a new slang and new idioms. The children of those early settlers would have been keen to mark themselves out as Australians, rather than Irish or English, and that meant that new accents and speech patterns developed as quickly as the colony itself did.
It was almost as if an informal Australian school of English London and Irish arrivals alike had set itself up. Words which found their way into the language via the convicts include ‘tucker’, an Irish word for food, and ‘swag’ a word from the criminal underworld meaning a parcel of goods taken by a thief, but coming to mean a bushman’s bag.
Later groups of immigrants had their own influence too. The Gold Rush era brought words such as ‘fossick’ and ‘digger’ into common Australian usage. Many terms in common Australian use come from the bushranger tradition, such as ‘bush telegraph’.
The First World War then added another layer of slang, such as ‘dinkum’ meaning genuine or real. Australian English is peppered with unique slang words and particular types of phraseology. The use of diminutive forms of words (such as ‘arvo’ for afternoon or ‘barbie’ for barbecue) is common.
Many of these have found their way into British English in recent years (although they might not be included in the English courses London schools teach!)
Australia is a beautiful country. The number of people emigrating to and from it is at an all-time high even as 2013 approaches. Considering that emigrating means a permanent move, you have to be careful on the choices you make. You have to be totally prepared.
There are no special concessions about where you want to emigrate. The issues you need to deal with to facilitate successful emigration are the same as those you have to consider when you have to emigrate to the USA, Canada, Russia, etc. Here are some of the factors you need to consider before immigrating to Australia.
One of the biggest factors you have to consider when immigrating to any country, Australia included is your economic capabilities. What are your intended means of livelihood? Australia welcomes skilled professionals to serve in its vast economy.
This is because the country is a thriving economy in the southern hemisphere. According to global economic reports and statistics, the country has exhibited un-interrupted economic growth rate for over 2 decades and this doesn’t seem to be changing even in the midst of a slowing global economic state. This does pose opportunity if you are skilled. However, it still means you have to get ready to fight it out with qualified natives for jobs as well.
Moving your things
Starting over in a new country requires you think carefully about what you will need. Some of the things you need are already in your possession and carrying them over to Australia may be a good thing. Therefore, it’s a good idea if you can get a reliable company like the Go Group (www.go-group.com) to do your moving for you. They have been in the moving business for years and Australia is one of the destinations of their shipment you can rely upon. With a good moving partner, you won’t have to worry about carrying excess baggage with you as you move. All these are better off handled by professionals.
Prepare for the culture change
Australia is a unique country and you need to prepare for the culture change which may come as a shock unless you are well prepared. The country has an exuberant shoreline and extensive beaches because of the ocean proximity. This means many things;
- there is so much water, and
- because there is so much sunshine.
Make sure that you make every effort to acclimatise yourself to these factors before you arrive, or you may find the whole experience quite overwhelming.
Get an Australian friend
No matter what you read elsewhere, friends are a must if you want to get to a new place or country. There are many Australians out there and finding them is also quite easy. For starters, whoever you meet on your first visit should be on your new radar of friends.
Social media has also made meeting new people easy and since Australians are known as social and friendly people, you need to cast the net wider to reach some who you can be friend. Taking note of all the above will help you move easily.