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practical advice needed - GPS, phone, hotels

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We are going to Australia in August for an almost 6 week trip. We've decided on major stops and gotten plane tickets and the most crucial hotel and car rental reservations. I'm working through practical problems now and have some questions:

- I'd like to use our Garmin GPS unit as we drive around Australia. I'll have to pay for and download maps from garmin but before I spend money on that, I'd like to be sure whether it will be usable. The GPS unit has a cord that plugs into the 12 volt socket in ther car (the cigarette lighter socket). Here's a small picture of the plug: http://naturelover.smugmug.com/Other/misc/i-wsjspbw/0/L/Garmin_cigarette%20lighter%20plug-L.jpg. Will the cars we rent in Australia have the same kind of socket?

- Our USA car insurance won't cover us in Australia. We got advice to buy insurance through the car rental companies in Australia. Is this the best way?

- I have a GSM smartphone with a second SIMM slot. Wil it be straightforward to buy a SIMM and sign up for pay-as-you-go phone service in Australia? Any recommendations on a way to accomplish it?

- We'll be staying in Sydney for a few days when we arrive. We'll use that time to see things close in and see things in NSW in general at the end of trip. Should we pick a hotel in the cente rof town and not rent a car or rent a car for more flexibility? What parts of town are good for a tourist with car or for a tourist with car to stay in?

Any good advice on these questions will be appreciated.

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