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Mike's Travel Facts and Tips: Australian edition

Blogs 1-30

Mike's Travel Facts and Tips: Australian edition

Aleksandra Radic

Australia the land of the world's most poisonous anything.  At least that's what some of the locals will have you believing.  Ok, it's true! Deadly jellyfish and of course the greatly feared great white sharks ("jaws") are present in the day and night and that's just the ocean.  

For the record, I caught those dusky whalers (sharks) in the above photo fishing right off the beach at night where people like yourself tan and go for a dip during the day. Scary? I think so for most.  Enjoy the 30 travel facts and tips, Australian edition!


1) This was shocking to us for a first world country.  Australia has crappy wifi pretty much everywhere.  It's almost as bad as dial-up service back in the AOL days.

2) More on their wifi.  Australian businesses are really tight with their wifi sharing.  A lot of restaurants and cafe's don't offer it to their guests.  If it is offered, there are wifi limits of 30 minutes to an hour.  Ridiculous!

3) A large percentage of cafes close at 5 pm. This is when most Aussie's finish work and get thirsty for alcoholic beverages, not a coffee.

4) Meth or "ICE" is a serious problem in Australia. 

5) Pharmacies don't sell rubbing alcohol over the counter. It has become a concern as meth addicts were using it to make meth.

6) For the majority, customer's don't tip in restaurants. Service charges and taxes are already included in the total price on the menu.  You pay what you see when you order. 

7) Yes it's true that a lot of things are opposite in Australia to Canada.  The north is much hotter than the south, the driver's seat is on the right, they drive on the left side of the road and Aussie's pay the bill before eating at a restaurant.

8) Flat white coffee originated in Australia.

9) Australia is one of the few countries where you can eat their national animal, a kangaroo. Not sure what it taste's like but apparently it has a quite gamey taste.  It's slightly more expensive than chicken but not as much as crocodile goes for.

10) The national minimum wage in Australia is currently at $17.29.  Apparently the rate differs with your age (increases) but I can't confirm this entirely.  Either way, working at McDonald's sounds pretty awesome right now!  

11) Aussies have a way of finding and using a short form or nickname for just about everything.  Examples include, chook- chicken, woolies- Woolworths (grocery store), maccas - McDonalds, and heaps more.

12) Australia's version of Burger King with the same logo but a different name  is called Hungry Jacks.

13) Here's a gross bug fact.  Australia has a species of roaches that can fly.  I told you in my previous fun facts about how much I dislike roaches.  When I was in an Australian home and it was raining out (those bastards scatter into homes when this occurs) I saw a roach move quickly on the floor and then propel into the air like a plane on lift off.  FML, and getting a good night's rest! 

14) The Gold Coast, Queensland has more canals than Venice, Italy.  

15)  It is illegal to turn left on a red traffic light; our right hand turns in Canada.

16) To remember north,east, south, west we are taught never eat shredded wheat.  They use never eat soggy wheatbits.

17) The most common term we heard Aussies speaking to others and us was "how you goin'?"  We would respond, "oh by bus in about 5 minutes."  Ha!  Well it doesn't mean that literally at all.  It's an expression they use to ask "how are you?".

18) Want to buy healthy food at the supermarket? No worries. It's typically the same price or less than unhealthy junk.  Having a great amount of competing healthy food companies helps reduce costs for the consumers.

19) True and a witnessed fact.  Australia has the largest species of bats in the world.  They are the size of eagles, no joke!  They are called flying foxes and can have a wingspan up to four feet.  Aleks and I saw hundreds of them roaming above us in the dark sky in Cannonvale a suburb just outside of Airlie beach.

20) Here in Australia the smallest things pack a wicked punch of lethality.  The first prize goes to the irukandji jellyfish which are the smallest (1 cm) and the most venomous box jellyfish in the world.  They are incredibly hard to spot in the ocean and can have clear tentacles a meter in length.  The irukandji are responsible for closing up beaches and airlifting snorkellers and divers to the hospital.

21) Whitehaven beach (part of Whitsunday islands)  is gorgeous. It has some of the clearest blue waters and pure fine white sand I have seen to date (and I've been on hundreds of beaches). But like most beaches in northern Australia, the waters are abandoned and entered with extreme caution.  

22) There are far more independent cafe's than Starbucks in Australia.  In fact, many Starbucks had to close up shop as they failed miserably.

23) Australia is close to the ozone hole which means higher UV radiation and higher rates of skin cancer. Not convinced? Just ask Aussie legend Hugh Jackman who had skin cancer five times.  

24) For you fair skin individuals travelling to Australia there's good news.  You have maximum protection available by purchasing SPF 100 lotion in just about all the pharmacies.  Get your white on!

25) Worried about sharks at the beach? Irukandji jellyfish? I got one more for you to think about.  Crocodiles which are typically found in fresh water also find there way into salt water in Australia.  Who want's to go for a dip in the ocean?

26) Australia's northern east coast shoreline is really beautiful.  It's just a shame in their summer months that hundred's of km's of beach is unoccupied with beach goer's due to the influx of the infamous box jellyfish; the irukandji.

27) Want to travel the Australia east coastline on a budget? No worries matey!. Greyhound offers a bus service allowing you to hop on and hop off an unlimited amount of times in one direction (north to south or south to north).  Purchasing this option online typically comes with a 10% discount in their summer months.  If you want to drive check out a camper van rental.

28) Australian money is waterproof and is similar to our new $20 bills but more indestructible.

29) There are more kangaroos than people living in Australia.

30) Melbourne and Sydney are rivalling cities like Toronto and Montreal.  Sydney is more a business hub and a city similar to Vancouver in landscape.  Melbourne is like Toronto but way more hip.  It's a much larger version of Queen street west in Toronto, but on massive steroids.