Australia has never been somewhere I’ve had a burning desire to visit. Sure, if the opportunity came along I would go but there were lots of places much higher up on my bucket list. Most people seem to want to visit Australia, and then go to see New Zealand almost as an after thought, whereas for me it was the other way round. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of it and to be honest I’m still not sure. It’s such a big and varied country that you can’t possibly do it justice within a week, so I would be keen to go back and explore some more, but I don’t think I’d be bitterly disappointed if I didn’t get chance to.
It was a lot greener than I expected.
Admittedly we didn’t see the outback but the part that we did see I wasn’t expecting to be as green as it was, particularly as a lot of the greenery in New Zealand had started to yellow due to the hot weather, whereas in Australia it still seemed fresh.
Snakes and Spiders
One of the things that I was most worried about before coming to Australia was all the dangerous creatures so I was very relieved that the only snakes I saw were behind glass. I have to admit that I never really felt like I could fully relax while I was there in case there was something dangerous lurking. In New Zealand I could sit on the grass and walk through the Bush without thinking twice, but I had to be a lot more careful in Australia. We didn’t have any close encounters but I did see some large spiders in Brisbane which gave me a bit of a shock.
Despite the fact I knew that Australia was home to lots of exotic creatures, I hadn’t realised the abundance that we would see so easily. The lizards are huge and we saw wild cockatoos and parrots flying around quite regularly. We also saw huge fruit bats flying over us in the evening in both Byron Bay and Brisbane. It was very exciting, but strange to think all these sightings were quite normal.
The beaches deserve their reputation
Think of Australia and one of the stereotypical images you might be likely to think up is one of barbecues on the beach and surfers. We certainly saw an abundance of surfers and having seen the waves I can understand why. The beaches were very long with lovely fine, pale sand. The water was warm (compared to the UK) and you could feel how strong and dangerous the sea was just by paddling.
They do cities well
I’m not really a big city person, so to be impressed by large cities is quite surprising as I usually prefer to be in the countryside. However I loved Sydney and would really like to go back one day. I was also pleasantly surprised by Brisbane (the part that I saw) and have heard good things about Melbourne and Perth which are places I’d consider visiting in the future.
It’s very big
Which sounds a bit stupid, but coming from the UK and having never been to America it’s hard to imagine a single country on such a large scale. Looking on a map it didn’t seem that Brisbane and Sydney were that far away- but a little research soon told us otherwise! It was definitely easier to fly than rely on the Greyhound.
Health is high on the agenda
I was seriously impressed by the number of runners that we saw in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney. It did seem like a lovely place to run (if you could handle the heat) but I was still surprised to see quite so many. It also seemed that organic, probiotic food is the way to go. I was surprised by the number of organic only shops, and places selling things that were probiotic, macrobiotic, and preservative and additive free.
You can’t possibly hope to do this huge country justice in just a week, but the places we saw started to build up some sort of picture of what Australia was like. I actually liked it a lot more than I expected to (especially Sydney) and I have the feeling that at some point I’ll be back to see more.