Monday, March 26, 2012

Size DOES matter!

That's right, you read it correctly.  When traveling to and around Australia, you have to keep in mind the size of the country.  It may look like a little island on the map, but many people are not aware that it is almost as large as the continental United States.  That means you really need to plan out how long you have and where you want to go.  It is simply impossible to cram it all into a week or two.  With the majority of the population located on the coastline, this leaves vast distances between many destinations.  You'll need to determine if you're going to drive or fly between the cities you want to see.  Of course, there are pros and cons to both options - aren't there always?  By driving, you get to see and experience more of the local sights.  Just remember, in Australia you drive on the left hand side of the road.  That might make it a bit more difficult for some people to sit back and enjoy the drive.  Flying, on the other hand, allows you to cover larger distances in a much shorter time frame, giving you more time at your actual destination.  

To give you a reference for size, locations and distances between major cities, have a look at this handy map.
This map is divided into Travel Destinations 1 through 10 to help you determine which areas are geographically feasible to visit in one trip.  For example, the approximate road distance between Sydney and Cairns is 2640 km (1637 miles), so obviously it's not just up the road.  As you see, if you want to have an enjoyable vacation, size really DOES matter!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why Travel to Australia?

The world is huge and filled with interesting places to visit.  You may find yourself wondering, why travel to Australia?   It's one of the world's best kept travel secrets.   Australia is a place of huge contrasts, from the truly breathtaking Sydney Harbour and the impressive Opera House to the endless turquoise waters of the Great Barrier Reef, to the subtle and lush greens of the Tasmanian rainforests, to the mysterious expanse of the Red Centre around Alice Springs and Uluru Ayers Rock. 

Australia offers culture, wilderness, adventure, gourmet and historic experiences.  It is sure to have something for everyone from short breaks, romantic escapes, activities for the adrenaline junkies or the greatest family holiday ever.  Even the most discerning, world weary traveler could find enough places and adventures to fill a VERY long vacation.

For me, one of the most important facets of any trip is the people I come across.  The unique experiences you share with the locals leaves a lasting impression, good or bad.  If you're treated well, have a laugh or two, and learn some of the local customs, you're going to enjoy your vacation, even if you encounter a hiccup along the way.  You'll find most Australians are an easy going and laid back lot with a definite sense of humour.  But hey, don't take my word for it - go and see for yourself!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What is a Travel Mate?

In Australian terms, a 'mate' is a friend, someone you can count on to have your back and to stand beside you in good times and bad.  A Travel Mate is exactly the same thing, with the added benefit of helping you find everything you need to plan the perfect vacation in Australia.  I am here to answer your questions, offer suggestions and give advice about travelling in Australia.  What's unique about this blog is that you'll learn a bit about the 'real Australia' - the gems that are off the beaten path; stuff that many tourists don't even know about, so that you can tour like a native.

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