Our time in Australia is over, and it has been wonderful. Here is brief synopsis.
- Campervan: We reserved a campervan instead of a bigger motorhome. Campervans don’t have AC! Luckily, we were able to upgrade to a proper motorhome. Note to self: When reserving the thing you will be spending 16 hours/day driving and sleeping in for 15 days and nights…get the best/newest. (Mistake avoided)
- Studying: You can’t count on Wi-Fi (see below). We are buying workbooks next chance we get.
- Kangaroos: They are like deer. All along the side of the road as you are driving.
- Whitehaven Beach, 98% silica sand: The finest, most amazing sand we have ever seen, and it is illegal to remove any from the beach.
- Wombats: They are cuter and bigger than you think.
- Flying foxes (bats): We first saw them in Cairns and subsequently in most other towns along the coast. Huge bats!
- Bathrooms: They are really clean–in campgrounds, gas stations, restaurants, everywhere. We could learn something from the Aussies here.
- Leeches: What a surprise to discover them on your legs while hiking in the Blue Mountains!
- Great Barrier Reef: Either we are spoiled by the Caribbean, or the good stuff is more than a day trip away, but we wish we had seen more.
- Stinger suits: While fashionable, they are a bit of a drag in the water.
- Wild animals: Where are they? Aside from kangaroos, it seems all the wild Australian animals are in zoos (dingoes, koalas, cassowaries). We didn’t see any dingoes – maybe the babies ate them.
- Store hours: Aside from grocery stores, everything closes by 7. WTH?
- Leeches: Locals thought we were crazy for asking for first aid help. It’s pretty routine for them.
Other reasons to love Australia
- Road signs: They have cheeky fun images and even roadside trivia along the highway.
- People: Everyone is so friendly. No worries, no dramas–just “Cheers, mate!”
Things we have learned
- Wi-Fi: Don’t count on it! It’s never what you expect–good at some campsites, bad in some hotels. Maximize when you get the good stuff.
- Power management: It’s as SIMPLE as ABC – Always Be Charging: The multiple USB splitter has been our most valuable possession. Not like the old days where you just buy batteries as you go along. We have two cameras, 3 iPads, one MacBook and 3 phones. While you sleep, drive, eat: ABC.
- Talk to strangers: Everyone has a story, some advice, or a connection. It’s part of the game.
- Get a credit card with a chip and PIN: We haven’t had any problems using cards (except Amex), but the whole signature thing created confusion more than once.
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