Winter conditions

Old Apr 9th, 2004, 05:21 AM
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Winter conditions


I am travelling to Australia (Sydney and Cairns) and New Zealand in July and I was wondering about the atmosphere. I read that it can be tough for asthmatics and I'm concerned about the dust, etc, because I have asthma. How is the weather in the cities like Sydney or Cairns in the winter?
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Old Apr 9th, 2004, 05:59 AM
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Hi, squigey00!

Asthma seems to be different for every person, so I don't think you're really going to get an answer to this question until you arrive and sample it for yourself. Sydney in winter is probably cleaner and less polluted than at any other time of year, and it's not a particularly smoggy city anyway, so I doubt if the dust will affect you. However, I know some people react to different kinds of trees/plants, and I expect that Australia will have several species that will be new to you, so I don't know if that will make a difference to you. And Sydney is a very green city! So I can't be of much help all in this question, except to say that if you DO suffer an attack while here, there is plenty of expert assistance and medication available for you; Australia is very asthma-conscious and the treatment here is world-class. Hopefully, however, you won't need any. If you're like me, every new place you go will give you a kind of asthma-fee "honeymoon period", and it's only familiarity -- usually after months of thinking that at last I have discovered a place where I can be asthma-free - that breeds an attack.
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Old Apr 9th, 2004, 03:06 PM
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Hi Alan,

Thanks so much for replying! It's good to hear that the dust isn't too bad in the winter.

My friend and I are travelling for 18 days and we plan on splitting the time between Australia and New Zealand. So far we plan on spending about 3-4 days in Sydney, and then 3 days in Cairns. Do you think its worth our while to go to Melbourne or Brisbane? I read that you can "hug" koalas in Brisbane, but is that really the only place you can do that? We really aren't that interested in going to museums or zoos, we prefer seeing the natural sights and taking in the culture at good but affordable restaurants. We also don't really shop much so I wasn't sure if we should spend the money and fly to Brisbane or Melbourne. We enjoy a good night life, but we'd rather spend our energy sight seeing during the daytime.

Is there any other location along the East Coast you recommend we should check out?

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Old Apr 9th, 2004, 07:38 PM
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Hi, again, squigey00!

No, with such a limited time, I wouldn't think it was worth going to Melbourne in the winter (bbbrrrr!!!), or even Brisbane, sunny as it is. Really, Sydney and the Reef are enough.

Hugging a koala: this is not as simple a request as you may think, becasue, from past answeres on this forum, it seems to be a rather "ad hoc" business where organisations play it by ear. I have photos of my two daughters hugging a koala at Featherdale Wildlife Park, in Blacktown (forty five minutes west of Sydney), but when I recommended this to an earlier Fodor's poster, he/she wrote back to say that when they asked to do this they were refused, and, in fact, told that it was illegal! Yet I have heard of other people since who have managed to do it! So, I think it depends on who's on duty and how many people are clustered around waiting for a cuddle.... obviously, a wildlife park doesn't want to subject a poor animal to hours and hours of being passed from one human to the next! As for the "against the law" bit... well, I dunno. Seems like the Aussie government would have more important things to make laws about than a tourist cuddling a koala! I mean, if it was cuddling Osama Bin Laden, that I could understand.

So, go to Queensland if you want to visit Queensland, but don't JUST go there because you have heard you can cuddle a koala there. You might be disappointed.

If I were to recommend one other place on the east coast of Australia (well, not far from the coast) it would have to be Canberra. Missing Canberra is exactly like going to the eastern seaboard of the USA and missing Washinton D.C. However, you can't do this from Sydney in less than a full day, so you may not have time.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 09:36 AM
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Hi squigey00,
As Alan says Asthma is not the same for everyone, I guess it really depends upon what triggers your off.
In my case its animals, so I stay away from them. I suspect that there will be varying situations that you may find good or bad depending upon your particular condition.
On the plus side you may find the air is cleaner in Australia, especially if you live in a city that has any industry and millions of cars, on the other hand it may be that the new types of plants and pollen that you come across may make you more susceptable and it could make things worse.
I suggest you find out specifically what you are allergic to, I suspect you already know, and just take care, always of course keeping your medication on you at all times.
You may find that worrying about it stresses you out and makes it worse too.
So relax and enjoy your self.
Good Luck

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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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Hi, squigey00. Actually I'm puzzled as to where you got the idea that dust is a problem in Sydney. Was it an article about a dust storm? If so you can be assured that this is a rare event in which dust from inland Australia is blown towards the coast.

Air pollution, sometimes combining with fog to form smog, is worst when a temperature inversion occurs, but Sydney's problems in that regard are nowhere near LA's - if that helps.

At least you'll be in Australia in winter - many allergies are triggered by spring-flowering plants like the wattle (acacia) and certain grasses.

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Old Apr 15th, 2004, 02:33 PM
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Hello everyone!
Thanks for the great responses! I really appreciate all of the advice.

Alan, thanks for the information on koala hugging. It's reassuring to hear that it's a good idea to just check out Sydney and the Reef. Do you know anything about New Zealand? We'll be there for about 10 days and both of us do not ski....have any suggestions or must-sees?
Thanks again!
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Old Apr 15th, 2004, 03:50 PM
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Hello squigey

Despite the apparent aversion of various respondents to Brisbane and the Gold Coast (50 miles from Brisbane) I thought I'd let you know that you can cuddle a koala at sanctuaries in both these cities. In Brisbane you can visit Lone Pine Sanctuary and on the Gold Coast you can visit the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. We recenly had a visitor from LA and she was overjoyed with her photo with a koala at the Currumbin Sanctuary to take home. Both places have websites that you should be able to search easily and they give the specific times that access to the koalas is available (to avoid unnecessary stress to the animals).

I can't tell you anything about the asthma issue but July in Queensland the weather is usually dry, the air (to me anyway) is crystal clear and one additional light outer item of clothing is often all you need in what is the depth of winter. This applies in the South East of the state and as you gravitate north to Cairns all the above should appply except that it will be warmer (without in any way approaching the oppressive temperatures that can be present in summer.)

Enjoy your trip.
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Old Apr 24th, 2004, 09:29 PM
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Hi squigey,
My wife and I are asthmatic and we just returned from NZ. My wife's asthma acted up there and she is usually quite stable. Asthma is a funny condition that can be affected by many triggers including cold air, dust, pollution, allergens, etc. The best advice is to talk to your physician and ask him for recommendations. Make sure you have fast acting and controller sprays. Also antihistamines and decongestants will help.
Good luck, galoha
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Old Apr 25th, 2004, 01:12 AM
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Oh dear - the dreaded koala hugging question again. I checked with the Koala Foundation in Brisbane some time ago - according to them it is definitely illegal in the state of NSW and has been for some years. Legislation outlawing it is "pending" for the state of Queensland. Whilst the the Foundation is aware that it is practised in SOME Queensland wildlife parks they say that no operator who does this could expect to receive an authorised eco-tourism accreditation. Which probably explains why Port Douglas Rainforest Habitat won't allow it (they will allow photos standing next to a koala) but Cairns Tropical Zoo (used to be Wildword) will. I got the strong impression that the Foundation, whilst abhorring the practice, turn a "blind eye" as they receive funding from the parks - funding they desperately need to provide care and rehabilitation for injured and sick koalas.
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Old Apr 26th, 2004, 02:13 PM
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Hey Squigey00:

my wife and I will be travelling around the same time with similar itinerary: Los Angeles - Sydney - Cairns - South NZ. I'm trying to find tickets now for best prices for all the legs, do you have any recs and advise?
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Old Apr 26th, 2004, 05:43 PM
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I've been to Australia/New Zealand twice now in the last 3 years in July and August. I work in a high school so I have no choice as to when I can go.

When I was in Australia it was beautiful weather from Cairns until we got to Sydney. I wore shorts/skirts every day and was perfectly comfortable. Sydney was kind of cold and dreary, just like it was this previous summer. I would wear jeans, shirt, and long-sleeve sweater jacket. It was about 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, one day I took a boxing lesson at the Bondi Icebergs gym and we were outside overlooking the ocean, and all I had on was a tank top and lightweight workout pants. Heaven!

New Zealand was a different story. It was absolutely freezing in their winter, esp. the South Island. But I knew that going in and I also went skiing for a week, so it was worth it. If it is a choice between not going or freezing, I'd take freezing every day. Bring a ski jacket, gloves, hat, scarf and long johns and you'll be fine. I actually bought a lot of Icebreaker stuff, which is a clothing line down there that is good for layering. I use it for skiing as well. You can find it in sporting goods shops all over the place.

I am not asthmatic so I don't know anything about that. I also held a Koala at some park near Brisbane but am not sure about current regulations. It was really fun, though! We got photos taken ala cheesy Sears shots with our "babies". In reality it was about 5 minutes total that we were with the koalas but it was something cool to write home about.

Have fun and just keep warm. You'll be fine!
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