Can you believe it’s been nearly 18 months since we got back from our trip to Australia? I also can’t believe it’s taken me this long to publish a blog post about my time there! I mentioned it briefly in my 2017 recap post but in actual fact, this post has been pretty much ready to be published for the last year. How terrible! So because I don’t want you guys to wait another minute for a post about our time down under, here are some musings and learnings from my first trip to Australia…
1. Don’t rely on the weather in the summer
Whenever you think of summer in Australia you automatically assume it’ll be sunny and hot ALL the time. But don’t be fooled! Australia has a tropical climate so it rained about two thirds of our two weeks whilst we were there. At one point, the rain was so bad we had to cancel going to the Whitsundays because it had flooded.
2. They’re all fitness fanatics
If you’re feeling a little podgy from Christmas, don’t go to Australia. Everyone there are huge fitness fanatics. So much so that our first Airbnb host greeted us in her gym kit! They love going to the gym, running along the beach or through the park, surfing, skateboarding, biking, you name it, they probably do it. But wouldn’t you if it was warm and sunny 80% of the time? They make English people look lazy!
3. They love avocado and acai
With the heathly lifestyle comes the healthy food and specifically, they love a big healthy breakfast. Whether it’s an acai and gogi berry superfood pot or avocado on toast, you’ll very rarely see Aussies eating junk food. You’ll notice very quickly avocado (or avo to them) is on nearly every menu!
4. Spiders don’t live in every cupboard, toilet or sun visor
Growing up in England can be a pretty good way of being put off of going to Australia. You spend your whole life being told horror stories of how people found spiders on their toilet seats and snakes in their swimming pools. However, it’s not really like that at all. In most cities now you’ll very rarely find a spider let alone a snake. It’s only really in the outback and suburbs you’ll start encountering them.
5. It’s very American
Having never been to America at the time of writing this, I was still pretty sure Australia is a more similar to the states than the UK. I can now confirm that is true. It’s all the silly things for example: the motorway is called the freeway or the highway, everyone drives big cars, the country is divided into states not counties and driving laws are very similar (car insurance isn’t a legal requirement!).
6. Everything is really expensive
I knew Australia was meant to be expensive but when we arrived we were shocked to see a 500ml bottle priced at $4 in a shop! Alcohol especially wasn’t cheap. A 75cl bottle of Smirnoff Vodka will set you back $56 which is equal to about £35. You can buy a litre bottle in Tesco here in the UK for £15 at Christmas!
7. They get paid a lot (and bi-weekly instead of monthly)
Staying on the subject of money, we learnt very quickly that it’s very common for people to get paid bi-weekly instead of monthly in Australia. And, to top it off, they get paid a heck of a lot more than we do in London. We met a bartender in Sydney who was getting paid $30 an hour. $30 AN HOUR! That’s £16 an hour for working in a bar. And if you work on a public holiday, you can earn up to $50 an hour, just working at a bar. Now I understand why so many move over there to work…
8. Free wifi is hard to come by
Coming from the land of free wifi to Australia was a big shock for us. In Thailand everywhere has free wifi, but in Australia it’s the complete opposite. Over the whole two weeks we were there I think we found about one place that offered free wifi. If you don’t have wifi in your hotel or appartment it’s pretty hard to stay in touch with home out there!
9. There’s a huge lack of public transport
You never realise how lucky we are in the UK when it comes to transport until you go to Australia. In the big cities they have trams and trains but half the time it’s quicker and easier to just jump on a bus. It actually takes longer on the train from Brisbane to the Gold Coast than it does to drive! So often we can just jump on the train in the UK and cover over 200 miles in 2 hours.
10. It’s made up of multiple time zones
Now call me stupid, but this is something I didn’t realise until I pretty much got to Australia. I never realised Brisbane and Sydney were on a different time zone, let alone Brisbane and Byron Bay! To make things even more confusing, some places in Australia are only half hour or 45 minutes ahead so its well worth checking the time when arriving somewhere because you could end up losing an hour without even knowing it.