Just Back with a few Hints!

Old Sep 19th, 2009, 12:38 PM
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Just Back with a few Hints!

Just returned from a month in Australia (primarily Queensland) and not ready for a trip report. However, I have a few hints for anyone traveling to tropical Queensland:

1) Forget about "travel-clothes"and wear cotton or linen. It is very hot and humid. You will not need a jacket - maybe only a windbreaker or something very light for early morning or a boat ride to the islands, but not likely. (We were there August/September and never needed any sort of jacket or sweater.)

2) When you arrive, pick up some insect repellant and apply it before you get to the beach. Also, sunblock.

3) Bring a good camera with the best zoom lens you're willing to get. A digital 3x optical zoom lens will not be adequate. The birds are so colorful and amazing, but they are fast and often well-hidden. The platypus is much smaller than you think, and surfaces for only a second or 2 at a time. You want a really good zoom to photograph the wildlife.

4) Upon arrival at Sydney Airport, you can purchase a cell phone for $59 and a SIM card for $29 that is more than adequate for calls and texts to the US.

It's a vast and beautiful country - enjoy !
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Old Sep 19th, 2009, 07:06 PM
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Platypus are up on the surface, when feeding, for between four and ten seconds usually but a little longer if they have a larger crayfish to grind. They do not have teeth as adults. If frightened then they may only remain momentarily on the surface. In those circumstances you might get a tail slap like beaver do. Avoid pointing at the creature as it first emerges and shouting, "THERE IT IS!" Once the animal is aware that you are there and if you do not move quickly it is often possible to follow it as it works its way along a creek. Try to anticipate where it will emerge and move while the animal is submerged.

If trying to photograph Platypus then a polarising filter will help cut through not only the reflections on the water but on the fine fur on the back. At a density of 800 hairs per square centimetre they have the densest fur of any as far as I know. the water sticks to this making your photo look slick and out of focus although the bill and feet may be sharp. A friend keeps promising to buy one but I think I'll have to get my own.
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Old Sep 21st, 2009, 04:00 PM
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Wish I'd known all this beforehand; that's why I wrote. Also, I do wish I'd just tried getting a video of the platypus instead of still shots.

By the way, the cost of the cell phone is listed in Australian dollars, not US.
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Old Sep 21st, 2009, 04:24 PM
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Good idea about video as even without the polarising filter your brain will sort things out.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2009, 04:56 PM
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and the best insect repellent is rid or bushmans, don't bother with it if it doesn't contain DEET (and lots of it)
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Old Sep 25th, 2009, 02:28 PM
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Elnap, Thank you for these hints! Can you give any more info on the phone and sim card? What brand were they, and how many minutes did the sim card have? Is it a company that would also be at Brisbane airport? We are going next week.
thanks, Joan
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Old Sep 25th, 2009, 09:13 PM
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I'm certain there would be a booth at the Brisbane Airport. The one I found in Sidney was Vodaphone. I discussed my needs with the young man in the Vodaphone booth and he convinced me that the cheapest option would be more than adequate - which it was! We were gone for a month! The cheapest phone was $59AU and the cheapest Sim card was $29AU for $150 worth of calls/texts and a bonus of $10. We returned home with $78 remaining on the card. I sent lots of text messages to the states at $.25 per text and also had many 10 minute phone calls at $3.00 per call, so the cheapest SIM card was perfect.
Have a wonderful time on your trip! I loved every minute of it.
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Old Sep 25th, 2009, 09:18 PM
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Oh, and joan95448, be sure to have the phone guy show you how to make the calls and texts. Their system is a little different and I found it confusing at first. Something about a zero in front of any mobile number but not if you use some sort of number prefix... It was very tricky! Have him help you program your phone before you leave the booth.
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Old Sep 25th, 2009, 10:08 PM
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Thanks again Elnap, this is very helpful info. Yes, we will have a wonderful time--I grew up there and know what a great place it is !! And platypus ducks are my favourite.
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Old Sep 26th, 2009, 06:09 AM
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"You will not need a jacket - maybe only a windbreaker or something very light for early morning or a boat ride to the islands, but not likely. (We were there August/September and never needed any sort of jacket or sweater.)"

Well, maybe...we were in Cairns in August a couple of years ago. It was cold sometimes. We are from Florida so maybe that was it, but we stayed with locals who said it wasn't unusual to have that kind of weather. The funny thing to us was that even though they were cold, they didn't close the windows in their old Queenslander house. They just make do with whatever weather comes round. We also went to Darwin on the same trip in August and were not cold there.

All that said, remember that they do have stores in Queensland so if you don't pack a jacket, but find you need one you can buy it there!
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Old Sep 26th, 2009, 09:36 AM
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I love those old Queenslander houses! You're right; they don't ever close the windows but just put on a "jumper" (sweater). My Aussie relatives felt cold sometimes, but I never was even remotely cold. Never even wore long sleeves. (but I'm from Northern California).
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Old Sep 27th, 2009, 05:31 AM
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Thanks for all these helpful tips. Keep em coming!
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Old Sep 27th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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I live in an old Queenslander in tropical FNQ, and can tell you it can be bloody cold in August! Especially at night. These are great houses for summer, lots of louvres and breezeways, high ceilings, etc, all built to deal with a tropical summer climate before airconditioning was thought of.

All relative of course, depends what you're used to, right now have family from Darwin staying with us, even in late September they think its a bit chilly in early mornings and evenings.
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Old Sep 27th, 2009, 07:39 AM
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"Upon arrival at Sydney Airport, you can purchase a cell phone for $59 and a SIM card for $29 that is more than adequate for calls and texts to the US."

Does anyone know if there is cell phone service along the Flinders Hwy between Townsville and Alice Springs? Would we need a satellite phone there (not gonna happen)and would it be a waste of money to buy a cell phone and SIM card if that long, lonely drive is the main reason for wanting a phone?
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