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Sep 29th, 2004, 04:17 PM
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Liz ?

We made two trips to Australia in the mid-90?s and are currently planning a trip to Tasmania. We?re American expats living overseas ? at the time of our Oz trips, we lived in Saudi Arabia. We chose Australia for the following reasons:

1. Hubby is a scuba diver and absolutely had to dive the Great Barrier Reef. He took a liveaboard from Cairns and had a great time.

2. We had friends in Brisbane at the time, so we combined our trip to Oz with a visit with them.

3. We?d always been fascinated with Sydney, and had to see it for ourselves.

4. Oz is closer to the Middle East than to the US, so the flight was a wee bit shorter.

5. No language barriers (or so we thought!)

6. Curiosity about such an intriguing country

7. We also visited NZ on both trips, not realizing the first time how far apart they are.

8. Living overseas, we have more vacation time than in the US, so we were able to spend several weeks, making the long flights and jet lag much more tolerable.

9. Koalas, kangaroos and other creatures we just had to see for ourselves.

As far as how things appeared to us ?

We loved Sydney ? it exceeded our expectations (and we?re not city people).

We found Cairns and Magnetic Island a bit disappointing ? we thought they would be more tropical (similar to Hawaii). Loved the koalas on Magnetic Island though.

Enjoyed Brisbane ? yet another city (in part due to the Lone Tree Koala Sanctuary).

As far as advertising goes, I think an emphasis on quality of life, leisure activities, diversity and the unique aspects of Oz (and there are many) would do the trick.

The highlights for us were the Sydney Opera House, the ferries, Sydney Harbor and the koala sanctuary.

While in Oz we visited the following:

Cairns, Townsville & Magnetic Island
Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast

Our visits were too short, we?ve barely scratched the surface. My idea of a holiday these days is to take my time and see as much as possible, so a much longer, more leisurely trip to OZ is in order.

We?re going back to Oz because we?ve wanted to visit Tasmania for years, but haven?t been able to find the time as NZ keeps calling us back.

We now live in Indonesia, so we can get a direct flight from Singapore to Melbourne - only five hours - yippee!

Hopefully, we'll be seeing alot more of Australia in the future.
Melnq8 is online now  
Sep 29th, 2004, 04:18 PM
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Oops... forgot to edit all those pesky ?s
Melnq8 is online now  
Sep 30th, 2004, 07:15 AM
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we stopped in australia on our way to nz because it was an opportunity for us to take in another country. we stayed in sydney. we were very surprised at how large it is! we live in a big city (chicago) and we found it extremely easy to navigate. plenty of landmarks. it is much more than just the opera house and bridge. the neighborhoods were fun to explore.
middyb is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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(1) Because it is the other side of the world
(2) Because EVERYONE I have ever met REALLY loved it and I struggled to find anyone who has had anything really negative to say about the place.

We went there and Agree with them!
Walter_Walltotti is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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Went to Australia because of fascination with scenery, culture and people. Began trip in Tasmania and loved Hobart, Port Arthur, the Tasmanian Devil Park, and Launceston. Great driving on the left with little traffic.

Sydney is a world class city. Museums, Opera house, restaurants and being able to walk about without fear. Even the Bridge Climb is unique and the Blue Mountains make a great day expedition.

Finally Great Barrior Reef is fabulous. We spent 5 days there and enjoyed snorkling and particulary loved a heliocopter flight over the reef. It is so beautiful to see the reef from the air.

Finally everyone we met was so friendly and helpful. Would visit again in a minute.
Trisha1 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:55 PM
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Could we be Fodorians ( rather classical sounding and perhaps appropriate considering large greek- ozzie population down under) rather than Fodorites ( which makes us sound like minerals)?

AndrewDavid is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 07:37 PM
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Hello lizF

I think much of what I think about Australia has already been said. Australia is a curiosity: so far from other countries, different/interesting flora/fauna, great people, vast/diverse areas, interesting cities and so on. And like Canada where I live, unless you have a couple of months you can't see it all on one trip.

Unfortunately, for so many who express a desire to travel to Australia, it is a matter of flight cost or time or distance or all three. On the other hand, if the high cost of flights can be overcome, the Australian dollar is about equal to Canada and must be a bargain for Euro countries and Americans (what say you AndrewDavid?).

So flight cost is a big factor (we are spending our kids'inheritance to travel). Better inflight entertainment on board, seating, etc., would probably help and I believe this is being done on newer aircraft.

I think the Australian Tourism websites are very good, but you can probably make them even better by scrutinizing the excellent websites of other countries. The internet is a valuable tool for travellers so make the most of it.

We were not disappointed.
michi is offline  
Oct 1st, 2004, 05:13 AM
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LizF - I have skipped over this post more than once - it is obviously directed at the American denizens of this board - it is an American board after all.

But I have to say I really resent your rant against the UK. Yes, the Uk finally did decide its place was in Europe, though that is still not totally accepted just like Keating's view that Australia's place is in Asia isn't here either. History is history - and if you hate the Brits so much maybe you would have preferred that the French won the prize. Do you think Australia's place in the world would be different? At least you speak English and from the aforesaid posts from Americans indicate - that is one of the big draw cards for them. Do you think Americans would be more likely to come if you spoke French? Or maybe you would prefer it if the big Southern Land had been left untouched for another century and had been colonised by the USA? Hmm?
Sometimes it looks like it was - and I guess you must like that. Hmmm!!!

As for me - well - after spending a good long time in Africa and Asia I was drawn (how could I resist) into taking a trip from Katmandhu to Beijing. And as I had to fly to get to the start and thought - hey, that round the world trip looks like really good value - I decided it was about time I checked out Australia.

So I came - backpacked around anti-clockwise from Cairns - Been to the Daintree, GBR, Whitsundays, Kakadu, Gibb River Road, all the way down the cost of WA, Perth and the SW corner, over to Esperance; Uluru, Ghan to Adelaide, whizz around the area south of that city: Flinders Ranges, William Creek, Coober Pedy; Melbourne, Tassie, Echuca, Albury, Canberra and SYDNEY!!!

Have since travelled the NSW coast up to Brissie and seen Hervey Bay, Noosa, Fraser Island. Travelled overland from Cairns to Alice on the Plenty Highway.

I think people who come here whose main aim is to stay in bijou B&Bs or 5* hotels are missing the point - which is that although the cities are great, and the museums and art galleries are, IMHO, world class, what Australia IS is vastness, and in a small way in the country, life without globalisation and the all pervasive dumbing down that is American culture.

I guess the point of your post was commercial and maybe it wasn't meant to be really thought about.

I will close by saying what you probably already know - that is that backpackers spend more than two weekers who stay in the plush places.
alice13 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2004, 12:01 PM
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Alice you obviously learned little about the Australian psyche when you came - or are you still here? Your nit-pick regarding my "rant" about the English is just stupid and one-sided. I was stating facts, history if you like because the British DID drop us antipodeans like hot cakes although we had supported them in all ways ever since this country was founded. The truth sometimes does hurt!
As for this being an American site and this particular request directed at Americans, I would be more than grateful if you would direct me to the UK site that offers the same service and I would be more than happy to write the same post on that.
I will however pick you up on one point Alice and that is your statement that "at least you speak English" - do please tell me what is so wonderful about being able to speak English? Has it occurred to you that those people who do not speak English as their first language manage to speak several languages and are therefore far more adept at communication than those of us who speak only one language and flounder when we go anywhere else in the world.
I might ask you this question too, "what was the official language in England in 1500"?
In answer to another question of yours, yes, I would have preferred to have seen the French win the RWC because I thought that they played much better than most of the others and in particular the English - and the Australians for that matter.
No, this was not a commercially motivated question, no, this was not directed at the Americans and yes personally I would have preferred it if Captain Cook has been a few weeks late in discovering Australia even if that meant that we had to speak French - just think what we have had to endure with 200 years of the World's worst food! Oh and by the way my English born and bred husband agrees - he who speaks 3 languages and thinks that the POMS are the biggest bigots the world has ever seen.
lizF is offline  
Oct 1st, 2004, 12:03 PM
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PS I should have said "some POMS are the biggest bigots"
lizF is offline  
Oct 1st, 2004, 02:06 PM
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"Australia IS vastness"

Not really. Australia has one of the world's highest standard of living and is also one of the most urbanised. So essentially the real Australia is as much the big cities as it is the country. I don't think living in a YHA is more representative than staying at a B & B. Usually just an age factor. The older we get the less likely we are to put up with over crowded hostels.

Also "vastness" may hold more appeal to someone from a crowded island than someone visiting from a country that has it's own unique vastness and also equally unique country folk.

I always think I will travel around Australia (grey nomad one day)...(better start planning, the temples are greying)..(yikes) but probably never will, the vastness doesn't hold appeal.maybe jusy bits at a time. I don't believe this makes me any less Australian. Or do Australians also miss the point about their own country?

I am more at home living in multicultural Sydney than I would be living in the country with the local RSL the main entertainment. Just me, we all have a different reality about a place.

But doesn't make it any less Australian. Sydney is Australian, I can't imagine it anywhere else. Complete with the occasional whale and fairy penguins right in a major harbour.

If anything is taking away a unique Australian cultural from the cities it is European influence more than American. Cafe society is taking over from the Aussie pubs as meeting places. Not McDonalds.
Jane_47 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2004, 07:22 PM
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interesting thread. I wonder if your ads there are the same as our ads here? I'm sure the Tourist Commission would be less than thrilled to hear they're not doing a very good job, so I wonder if it's a local thing. The current ad campaign is the "Have You Ever?", which you can find on their website, and it's pretty much the same thing they've had for years, they just dust it off, and name it something new, but it HAS been effective I believe, in the American market.

A common thread in these postings is the distance, and while this is relative to where in the US you live, when you go through the course of study to become an Aussie Specalist, it's almost the first thing that's mentioned. Many times, it's a matter of perception. I'm on the West Coast, and I will have clients tell me that it's wayyyy to far / long to go to Australia. These are the same people that I booked to Italy / France / Spain last year. There are NO direct flights from SFO to Europe. So, when you take into account that they are going to have a stopover SOMEWHERE ("where", depending on which carrier) and you add the time up...well, it's the same or MORE than travelling to Oz.

Personally, I'd rather have a straight flight with no stopover to Australia, or, the direct flight from SFO -AKL: (which I'm soooo looking forward to in the next few weeks, that's going to save 5 hours not going to LAX).

Not only do I love going to Australia myself;, which is why I became a Specialist, but I love sending my clients there! Why? Because, it's the ONLY area of the world (including NZ in this) that I send people to that I get NO COMPLAINTS. Seriously. I'm a Specialist in other areas too, but this is the only place that I never ever get complaints!

I hear "I could move there"; "we're going to go back"' "next year we want do to NZ". Always, always, positive feedback.


wlzmatilida is offline  
Oct 1st, 2004, 08:18 PM
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I believe Air New Zealand recentl inagurated non stop SFO Auckland service. The ads in the BART stations in San Franscisco had beautiful scenery w/ the tagline. " Emigrants welcome!".

That's the kind of invitation I'd like to receive from Australia esp. w/ the dismal political state here.

fond wishes from fodorian A/D
AndrewDavid is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 12:30 AM
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Vastness! well yes and no! With perhaps 90% of Australians living around the edge of Australia and most of the activity happening in that area I would say that the vastness does not apply to most visitors especially those from the USA who have some of the world's most beautiful vastness on their own doorstep! Oh how I loved the vastness of the 4 corners - the magnificence of the N.W. USA - the towering mountains the endless deserts. The fact that most Americans have a short holiday in comparison to us they can only see the major areas in Australia and whether they stay in 5 star hotels because that is what they like is of no consequence either. If that is what you like to do then do it!
I, on the other hand, prefer the intimacy of a B&B with all that entails and I also like to have the luxury of a 5 or 6 star hotel once in a while ( I sure enjoyed my weekend at the Versace Hotel on the Gold Coast last year for instance. Its a matter of "what makes you feel good".
I have stayed in South America in Bed and Breakfasts that would probably be condemned anywhere else in the Western World but the owner's consideration, help, love and attention will make those stays some of the most enjoyable I have ever had in the many years of travelling I have done and those people will remain my friends forever.
I don't think American's miss the point when they visit Australia in fact I would go as far as to say that perhaps they get the "point" much more than those of us who take our life here for granted. Neither do I think that Australia has had a "dumbing down" either by Americans or anyone else for that matter or at least no more but probably less than most of the world has been dumbed down ever since the UK rocked with the Beatles - if anything was going to dumb anyone down they would have. There is enough dumbing down going on in our little patch to worry about anyone else's.
For what is worth - and that may be nothing at all - I for one would be a very happy person to see a wave of migration coming from the US of A in fact I think it has started as I phoned a business the other day - first talked to someone who was from California then was put through to someone from Kansas - ended up asking her what country was I talking to and if their business had been out-sourced to the USA? No, it was Australia.
If the politicians had an immigration policy that was good for Australians and not what looked good in the eyes of the World ( who could care less ) then that too would make me so much happier.
So ya'll come - ya hear!
lizF is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 06:10 AM
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I have been following this thread and others on this forum with great interest and often amusement. We have not yet been to OZ but we're coming in December! And this forum has been a GREAT help in planning our trip!!

Why are we going to OZ? A number of reasons. Everybody that has been has raved about the trip. There is a minimum language barrier. (I remember going to Scotland thinking I would have no trouble because they spoke English. Could barely understand a word.) It's someplace new with lots of things to see. We have time to travel.

Why haven't we been before? It's a long way to travel for just a week or two and you can't see that much in just one or two weeks. Our trip will be about 5 weeks - 2 weeks in NZ and 3 weeks in OZ. Even with 3 weeks, we find that we will be rushed and won't be able to see and/or do all the things we would like.

It's not like going to Europe. First, like most Americans, we have a cultural and heritage tie to at least some countries of Europe. Second, when you go to Europe, you can concentrate on one or two countries that cover a relatively small geographic area. Australia is a large country/continent. Great distances between places.

I'll have a better idea of what it's all about after we get there and see some of the wonderful sights and meet the FRIENDLY people. We are anxiously looking forward to our visit.

Our 3 weeks in OZ will include 4 nights and 3 days in Sydney, 3 nights and 3 days in Melbourne, 2 nights - 1 1/2 days in Kangaroo Island, 1 night and day in in Adelaide, 2 nights and 1 1/2 days in Ayers Rock, 1 night in Cairns, 4 nights and 4 1/2 days on cruise of GBR, 3 nights and 3 days at Port Douglas (Silky Oaks), 1 night in Sydney. The difference between the number of days and nights is travel time.
mover is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 06:57 AM
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I absolutely loved Australia and want to make it back there some day. Only the distance is stopping me.
Australia was always a mysterious place that just seemed to be steeped in adventure and discoveries. The Sydney Olympics helped introduce me to how cosmopolitan it is as well.

I had high expectations before I went and they were all more than exceeded. I had only had 2.5 weeks (including travel time) so I didn't get to see too much.

I loved Sydney - one my absolute favorite cities in the world. It has everything a city should have and more: lots of great restaurants and night-life, a beautiful harbor, clean and safe, lots of cultural activities, shopping, history, great transportation, and lots of outdoors activites. So many wonderful beaches so close by. And the people are just fantastic, friendly and helpful.

Love the Blue Mountains, great hiking and easy access from Sydney.

Melbourne was OK. The city itself was OK. Lots of things to do in the area. Liked the sporting activities.

Great Ocean Road - so hard to describe, it was so wonderful and beautiful. The scenery was so breath-taking. The drive is worth doing multiple times.

Ayers Rock - has a wonderful spiritual feel to it. Having the aborigines be an integral part of the area's tourism added greatly. The spirit of the place does not get lost in commercialism. Glad to know that development in the area is limited to preserve the sacredness of the area.

Cairns and the Tropical North. Again too hard to describe, very wonderful. Lots to do. Opportunity to see the wildlife in their natural habitats (a little scary too). Like how much of the tourism is eco-tourism to preserve and protect the beauty and state of the area.

Great Barrier Reef - could spend a whole week here alone. So much to see and do. Went with a marine biologist who showed us things that an ordinary snorkeler/scuba person would ordinarily miss. Like how protection of the environment is integrated into the activities.

Loved Australia. Liked how the people obviously took pride in their country - sharing it and preserving it without arrogance. Like the laid-back attitude and welcoming nature.
So much to do and see with such varied terrain (desert to tropical wildlands to ancient forests with primitive trees and fauna that is found nowhere else in the world). I think no other country in the world has such variety. I like also the untamed feeling of the outback and the amount of different adventurous activites that were offered overall. Australia just seems to have everything in such great abundance.
nibblette is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 11:22 AM
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We originally came to Australia because we thought it was a magical, mysterious place on the other side of the world. A vast, unspoiled land, totally unlike our own, with new places & things to explore.

When the opportunity came to actually visit, there were no second thoughts. We read everything we could get our hands on and learned as much as we could before our visit. Our homework paid off. Many of the Aussies we met were genuinely impressed with our knowledge of their country. They were appreciative that we made the effort to learn about them.

When we travel, we like to see the "touristy" things but our main focus is to try to immerse ourselves and live as a local would live. Instead of staying in a big hotel and eating out every night, we try to find an apartment in a non-tourist neighborhood. Doing this gives us the opportunity to meet local people around the neighborhood, in the park, at the grocery store, etc. Staying in a fancy hotel only lets you meet other travelers.

In our Australian travels, we've visited Sydney & the Blue Mtns, Alice Springs & Uluru, and Cairns/GBR & surrounds. We've also spent over three weeks in Southeast Queensland/Northern NSW (Brisbane, Gold Coast Hinterland, Byron Bay) where we've made many dear friends. We've met all kinds of Aussies including the lovely Fodorian LizF, a famous radio & TV personality, immigrants from New Caledonia, a rugby union player, bush poets, working class people and senior citizens. Without fail, every single Aussie we've met is rough & tough on the outside, but soft on the inside. If they tell you they're going to do something, you can believe they'll do it. And if you give someone your word, you're expected to keep it. They're quick to lend a helping hand but also expect you to pull your own weight. We really like this direct, honest approach.

Now that I've spent some time there, I can tell you that it was far better than I ever expected. When I'm in Australia, I constantly feel like a kid at Christmas. Around every corner is a new place or experience. It's similar to the feeling I got as a child sitting down at the Christmas tree and opening each new present. And the people are genuine & friendly, like it used to be here in America.

As for promoting Australia, I think the biggest obstacle to Americans is the myth that it's going to cost a boatload of money. We've all seen the images of the Opera House, Uluru & GBR. Americans think it all looks so nice but it's so far away so it must cost a lot to get there. With the favorable exchange rate between the USD/AUD, we found it very reasonable to visit Australia. In fact, we had a visit to New York & Washington D.C. planned last summer but went to Oz instead because the total cost of the trip was much less!! Many of our friends think we must be filthy rich to visit Australia but when we explain to them how reasonable it is, they can't believe it. Convince us that it won't cost an arm & a leg and you'll see more Yanks considering a trip over.

And Liz, I'd migrate to Australia tomorrow if I could. Can I say you're my sister?
JohnInMiami is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 12:33 PM
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You bet John in Miami - say I am your sister/mother/whatever only the authorities would probably put that down as a minus - much better to say Geoff is really your father - I can break the news to him later but I am sure he will give out the cigars!
You obviously ducked the latest attack on Florida from Jeanne thank heavens and I hope that will be the last taste for you this year. The old NW must be looking kind of wonderful right now.
Love to Brenda
lizF is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2004, 09:51 PM
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The reason we visited Australia for the first time (just got back Sep 22)was a long time interest, timing and opportunity. There was an especially attractive hotel/air package with United. BUT, the reason we'll return soon, is the wonderful Australian people. We've traveled extensively (Oz was the sixth continent and we've vacationed in all 50 U.S. states), and we've never been so warmly received by such open, helpful and friendly people. This began with the respondents on this forum and continued with virtually everyone we met throughout our short visit to Sydney, Blue Mountains and the Port Stephens area. You have unique and wonderous animals, sights and scenery, and Sydney must be experience by all who consider themselves well traveled, but your single greatest asset is your people. From the bottom of my heart, this Yank says "Thanks Mates!".
Pottle is offline  
Oct 4th, 2004, 07:45 PM
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I am glad you had a great time, and found us congenial?

When are you coming back?

Trip report?
margo_oz is offline  

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