Gamal in Australia
A slightly strange country

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Typical tourist snapshot, but with a difference View from the Sydney Tower The very ornate Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in Sydney Boring Blue Mountain photo but one which is in most guide books. Tropical rainforest - 40 miles west of MacKay close to Hutton George. The perfectly beautiful Whitehaven Beach. After a hard night of partying another day is about to begin....... View down Pioneer Valley from Eungella Another view of this bridge.......but with my unique pose A typical view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House Back in Britain it's great to see we have a relaxed meaning about the word late.
Press on each of the photos to enlarge it.
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The 1st photograph shows the typical view of Sydney taken from high up the Harbour Bridge. The Opera House is in fact made up of thousands of beige tiles and is not as white as you might think. The 2nd from last photograph is taken from the typical tourist viewpoint showing the bridge behind.

The next is taken from the Oz Tower indoor viewing deck. The Aussie's do not use complicated names to refer to things (e.g. a water stream might be called Six Mile Creek) and this building is no exception. But why call it Six Mile when distances are measured in kilometers?

The 3rd photo being the colourful building of magnificant Queen Victoria Building in the city centre of Sydney. This is home to many smaller independant shops, cafes and art galleries and is well worth a visit.

The city manages to mix the new with colonial old very well and hence one minute you might be beside a shiny glass high rise office and the next at the QVB.

6th is the fantastic and main highlight I would recommend being Whitehaven Beach on the Whitsundays. The white sands remain cool in the heat whilst the sea is perfect and very shallow, hence the beautifully reflected colours. Now then, how does Blackpool or Bondi compare?

4th is the boring Blue Mountain's "Three Sisters". Sydney needs to show it has mountains on its doorstep and therefore - voila.

5th photo is deep in the rainforest 1,000 miles north near MacKay. You have to be prepared to jump out of your skin when a 3 foot lizard suddenly moves upon hearing your footsteps! You will need to open the photo to see this.

7th is Airlie Beach, "this is party beach" with about 2 million backpackers. But Airlie is gateway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. The 2 million is an exageration but it can seem packed with the backpackers, who all talk about the same topic - backpacking!

8th is taken from Eungella Chalet Hotel at the top of Pioneer Valley. Nice view, but I think the swimming pool needs cleaning.

Below are the top ten tips and recommendations to help you understand Australia and its quirky style.

  1. Don't think the money is plastic playing game notes - it really is plastic and in the shops they will round your purchase upwards to the next 5 cents, so something priced $6.96 will cost you $7. Why call it $6.96 then?
  2. Spend no more than 1/5 of your holiday duration in Sydney - then leave and head towards Cairns.
  3. Travel through Rockhampton - stopping at the Ascot Hotel and cook your steak to perfection on a stone grill delivered to your table. The sauce is the only thing stopping this meal being first class but the steaks in this "bull loving" city are fab.
  4. When parking the signs might say P1 or P2 etc - this does not mean you need a permit 1 or 2 but that you can park for 1 hour or 2 hours. Why not therefore write 1hr like the rest of the world?
  5. Go to Airlie Beach and book a boat ride to the Whitsunday's - stay more than a day if possible, it's paradise on some of these islands.
  6. Don't expect great sights between Sydney and Brisbane - Surfers Paradise etc etc is named to fool you, as it did me. One exception is Noosa, it is like a more modest version of Monte Carlo.
  7. Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef - or if you can't then see this from a glass bottomed boat. The excitement of swimming around hundreds of fish, small and large, is ace however.
  8. Expect to hear "mate" said very often and use the word yourself - once perfected go to Eungella Chalets, in the village Eungella at the top of a steep hill, being about 50 miles west of MacKay, enjoy the fabulous view of the valley in front of you whilst saying "too easy" at every opportunity in place of "that's quite allright".
  9. The motorway network is very restricted to around the main cities - with the main road north between Sydney and Cairns mainly limited to 100kph (62mph) and at places down to 40kph! Beware also of the police cars travelling towards you with radar to detect speeding...... very un British!
  10. Don't expect towns you think to be large, to be so, and vice versa - for example bustling and growing Airlie Beach is not mentioned on road signs whereas the insignificant Prosperpine is signposted from 200 miles away, mate.

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Completed April 2006