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Australian travel advice

wlric | Posted in Gather For A Chat on

It seems there are few Australians in this group, so I thought I would ask for your thoughts. My 25yo daughter is traveling to Australia in Oct. She will have a week in Melbourne, a long weekend in Sydney, and a week in Canberra. The Sydney portion is somewhat business related and scheduled. Do you have advice for her? She will be leaving the US on Oct 13. She has done inquiries of her own, but I thought I would ask as well. Moms are moms the world over after all.


  1. denise | | #1

    Our son travelled for three years so i understand how mums worry.

    1. Connect to home link if you have it in U.S. your daughter can reverse calls

    2. take a copy of all documents and credit cards and itinary and leave with mum.

    3 take sun hat and factor 15 sun cream

    Check on line with bureau of meteorology re different state climates.

    always ask people for direction. get a city map from newsagent or travel bureaus.

    buy a phone card so you can call home or other family members at a Post Office of Newsagent ( shop that sell papers) I think a 20 dollar amout

    another suggestion do not miss coming to Tasmania it is the jewel in the crown it has been listed as one of the last wilderness in the world population 500 th and half the size of the Netherlands.

    Australia allover is bigger that the U.S although we only have a population of 21 million.

    One thing i did tell my girls when they went overseas if they went out at night ALONE. to tell the desk clerk where they where going,  i really do not think there is any worries really  but its just a little precaution.

    Cheap air fares to Tasmania can be bought in Melbourne or on line with Virgin Blue or

    Jet Star.

    Best wishes

    1. wlric | | #2

      Thank you for your generous reply. I have not heard her talk of a trip to Tasmania so I will definitely suggest it to her. She has one flight on Virgin Blue already, so she is familiar with the airline. I have her itinerary copy, but didn't think of the other items to copy. We communicate online during her travels which has been quite nice.

      1. denise | | #3

        i kept all my sons emails which numbered in the hundreds he had so many adventures he went to 26 countries he is a Pharmacist and also has a dutch Euro pass port as his dad was born in Europe.  I gave him all the emails so one day he can show them to his family

    2. RosalindsMa | | #6

      My daughter leaves for her Grand Voyage Oct. 29, 2007 so I sent her your comments. Much appreciate. K

    3. denise | | #7

      a.  p.s. to my note   the Nederlands is actually half the size of Tasmania sorry about that, and the Nederalands population is 20 million the same as australia so that shows you our spread out we are here in Australia .


  2. maggiecoops | | #4

    My son and I took a trip to Australia last year, mine was for 6 weeks, his 3 months. The first thing I found was how helpful people are, the second, 6 weeks was just not long enough to be there. We started in Sydney, being a coward I let my son do the Sydney bridge sky walk, (he's 42 so no worries) he loved it, visited the Opera House, the Aquarium, took a trip around darling harbour, visited Botany Bay. Bondi beach, that to both of us was a dissapointment. Lovely beach but the coves further around were spectacular.  As she's only there for a short while she wont see too much. Restaurants are plentiful and varied, transport is excellent and moderately priced. Hotels are Hotels the world over and resemble each other pretty much anyway. As Sydney is a city it suffers from most of the same things all major cities suffer from, so hanbags, valuables etc need watching. That said, I found it as safe as New York, Paris, London, but way friendlier and extremely clean.

    Canberra was on my Itinery, though not my sons, it's a quiet sedate place, attractively laid out and very clean. I was only there for two days so can't say much about it.

    My son was in Melbourne and he loved it. Said it was a beautiful city, lovely boulevards, parks and buildings. He felt it was well worth visiting.  Living in England which is a very small country, I found the distances between places incredible, even more incredible, the very strictly enforced speed limits. We drove the coast road from Cairns to Sydney at a steady 100 km on roads that were straight as a die and empty till Brisbane. (that was a lively place and so was the Gold coast area) The temptation to travel faster was enormous, but traffic police take a dim view of breaking the speed limit. I had gone armed with fabric store or craft store addresses, so we made frequent stops and detours. I shipped home all my clothes by International parcel force, and packed my purchases, cost me $400 us for excess baggage allowance, but well worth it. For a sewist Australia is fantastic. Practically every town had at least one outlet for the sewist or quilter if not more, here in England I havent got a fabric store in either of the closest large towns and have to travel to a major city to find one. As for instore quilting classes or lessons, unheard of.

    I don't think your daughter or you have to worry about her travelling  in Australia. I've travelled a lot, and found Australia to be safe, clean, welcoming, and huge. In fact outside of the major cities, it's like travelling in the USA.

    1. wlric | | #5

      It sounds like you had a wonderful time. Thanks for all the information. She is a traveler. She has met wonderful people from Australia during her trips and when the opportunity arose to go she made it into more of a journey. I'm sure that she'll have fun.

  3. flossie | | #8

    Spring in Melbourne is beautiful but make sure your daughter has a warm jacket, a light weight raincoat or umbrella and sunscreen (SPF15 at least) - chances are she will need them all in one day!

    Weather can be very changeable eg today started out as a lovely sunny day and has ended up with rain and strong winds.

    I am sure she will enjoy her time in Australia.

    Regards Pauline

    1. wlric | | #9

      Thanks Pauline. Her regular day job is as a dog walker in Central Park NYC. She is accustomed to rapid weather changes but she does tend to under pack her backpack. I will pass along the sunscreen information, too. She is expecting mostly cool, early spring weather, is that right?

      1. flossie | | #10

        Hi Wanda, depends on your definition of "cool"! Spring temperaures in Melbourne can range from 16 to 27oCelsius during the day and drop to around 11oC overnight (Canberra can be even colder overnight ). I don't know if this link will work but this will give her a good idea of the weather to expect, particularly if she is staying somewhere out of the city. I know you work in Farenheit - so you will need to convert temperatures.


        Sunscreen (or as an alternative a sunhat or cap) is really important  - it doesn't take long to get burnt even if it is not that hot or if it is cloudy. 

        I bet she is getting really excited now 

        Pauline (I have three children 21, 26 and 28 - I know just how you feel)

  4. Wallaby | | #11

    Greetings from Down Under. October is a great time to visit Australia. Not knowing your interests I shall make suggestions.

    I live in Melbourne and LOVE it and LOVE Canberra and LOVE Sydney. Seeing it is a short time in Sydney I shall concentrate on Melbourne and Canberra.

    Melbourne. Tourist information at the Airport and at the Information Centre at Federation Square, corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets Melbourne. There are a series of selfguided walks in Melbourne, e.g. the Gold walk...details of Melbourne's development and history during the goldrush days. Maps and details at the centre.

    Get a copy of The Age newspaper on Friday as it contains the EG Entertainment Guide. A list of activities, opportunities, music, art, theatre, markets, etc for the next week startin on the Saturday. (If you are in Sydney on the Friday before you come to Melbourne, buy it there, it is well worth it.)

    Free Tourist tram (Burgundy Colour) along Flinders Street along a rectangular route that has a commentary about the current area and a helpful conductor on board.

    Travel tickets on public transport, daily or for 2 hours or short trip in the CBD. Cash only in a machine on board or prebuy at newsagents and milk bars.

    MUST SEE. Penguin Parade on Phillip Island. At dusk the penguins gather on the beach with bellies full of fish for the babies in the burrows. When enough have gathered they muster courage and march up the floodlit beach between and under the stand for the visitors towards the impatient, hungry youngsters, some of which leave the burrows to waylay the tired parents. This is a nature reserve where a number of access roads are closed at night to protect the penguins. These roads also lead to a seal colony (good visibility).There is a mutton bird rookery at Woolamai where there is a spectacular ocean beach. There are also koalas on the island. The penguin parade goes on ALL night but the viewing area is closed fairly late...depends on the number of birds and the number of people. Access by bus or private vehicle.

    MUST SEE. Healesville Sanctuary. Train, bus or private vehicle through the beautiful Yarra Valley (CF Napa Valley) then to the zoo where native birds and animals roam free or are in giant enclosure you can walk through. The animals are free to come to you if they choose. Underground there is a display of nocturnal animals that very few people have the opportunity to see. The display has acclimatised the animals. It seems to be night underground and they are active. Outside you can touch a kangaroo, koala, etc. and see platypus. The lyrebirds (tails of the courting males are held erect and displayed to attract the ladies).They have the most amazing skill of mimicry. E.g. some can "sing" like a chain saw or the action of the winding on of an automatic SLR camera. This sanctuary is near the Maroondah dam, fern glades and beautiful picnic spots.

    MUST SEE. The Dandenongs and Puffing Billy. Puffing Billy is a heritage steam train that meanders through the Mountain Ash forests and fern valleys of the Dandenong Ranges. Access by train to Belgrave then a short walk to the Puffing Billy platform. Timetables are on the internet. Willian Ricketts sanctuary.

    MUST SEE. The Great Ocean Road. Along the south west coast towards Warrnambool where there are often whales in the bay. It is a whale nursery for the birth of calves, and for building up their strength before the great northern migration along the East coast. The 12 Apostles rock formations are on the Great Ocean Road and it passes through Lorne, a coastal resort and the Otway Ranges, a beautiful forest nature reserve.

    MUST SEE. The Melbourne International Festival will be on when you are here. Details at Federation Square. There are many free events as well as paid performances. Check the website.

    The Melbourne Town Hall, corner of Swanston and Collins Street, has a shop called HALF-TIX where tickets for some performances are available at half price plus a booking fee (cash only) personal bookings only. Entrance in Swanston Street.

    The Botanical Gardens. The Tan around the Botanical gardens. (The Tan is used as an exercise circuit by walkers and runners and (originally) also for exercising horses.

    Melbourne is built on the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay. Swimming in the local beaches is fun.

    A trip to Williamstown lets you look "back" at the skyscrapers of Melbourne. If you can go by car, go over the West Gate Bridge...the views in both directions are lovely and spectacular.  Nearby is a black swan and native bird sanctuary and at low tide on the beach there are often thousands of tiny blue crabs coming out of their burrows to feed and scavenge.

    Canberra. Lake Burley Griffin, the Botanical gardens (of Australian plants...it is magic), the Art Gallery, Museum, Archive, Scienceworks, the War Museum, (without the Americans Australia could have become Japanese, Battle of the Coral Sea) ..well worth a visit. There are lookouts over the city that are enjoyable. A revolving restaurant near the Botanical Gardens....fantastic to go before sunset and enjoy your meal and the view as night descends. Tidbinbilla, the American Space Station close to Canberra. It is esential to the monitoring of the Space Shuttle missions and many other functions as well. The Consulate area. Manuka, Parliament House(s) old and new. Canberra was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and American Architect.

    There are many more things to suggest, so if you have any special interests, let me know. Safe journey and have lots of fun

    Just one more thing, Australia is the size of the USA. Sometimes it can be better to enjoy one area rather than spend too much time travelling from A to B and then plan to come back.......no wonder Australia developed the boomerang.

    Best wishes,


    1. wlric | | #12

      Wow! What a generous reply. I have not been checking the site for a couple of days, so I'm sorry I haven't answered you until now.
      This is just a stunning list and all things that I am sure DD will enjoy. I will copy it and send it all to her. She is still in the US now and getting excited about her trip. I am so jealous of her getting to see these things. Thank you!!
      I am not familiar with the term "milk bar". Is it a store?
      Since I wrote this, I have had a request from DD. She would like to know of any recommendations for hiking and wine tasting in Melbourne. She has been spending the last 3 weeks in California and has been exercising the legs and taste buds.Edited 10/8/2007 7:46 pm by wlric

      Edited 10/8/2007 8:00 pm by wlric

      1. Wallaby | | #13

        Hi, glad to help. I like to be a tourist in my own town as well as places I visit. So often we can overlook the joys of our own community and surrounds.

        I'll look into hiking and wine tasting....lots of great possibilities. Is DD interested in day trips or overnight hiking? There are many hiking venues in and around Melbourne and Canberra. Is bike hire a consideration? There are great wineries in the Yarra Valley (see Healesville Sanctuary), consider an overnight stay if you want, and in Mornington and the King Valley plus opportunities in Melbourne itself. Please let me know the time frame for these activities and if she will be using public transport or not.

        A milk bar is a local, sometimes corner store, often run by a family who lives on the premises, that provides staples, milk, bread, papers, groceries for the times when you don't want a trip to the supermarket or shopping mall (centre). They existed before the large supermarket chains came into existence and many continue. They have character and a warmth to them. The shopkeepers and the shoppers get to know each other. It is a more personal way to shop.

        I shall add more soon.

        Best wishes from downunder,


        1. RosalindsMa | | #14

          Many thanks for your advice. Clearly "Gatherings" is not a travel site, but people who love sewing (okay, buying fabric) have much more in common. Cheers.

        2. wlric | | #15

          Many, many thanks. I have sent an email to you since we seem to now be delving into very specific items. As our family says "You are a true gem".

  5. Cherrypops | | #16

    Hi wlirc,

    I have just found your question, read all the replies, and all I can add is I wish your daughter a wonderful trip and a big Thank You to you!.

    Thank you for asking this question, and posting it in the appropriate discussion.

    "Gather for a Chat" is where we get to know our fellow sewers, their families, their lives, where we live etc etc etc.

    You have received wonderful advice not just from Australians ( i am in Sydney), but from others who have travelled here. Much better to receive 'first hand experience' than text book travel guides. ( but they do help also). We are all proud of where we live.

    I have learnt so much about other areas overseas from talking here too.

    That's what makes this forum so special and different to other 'strictly sewing' discussions.

    We all enjoy getting to know each other.

    Thanks again, Weather is lovely in Sydney at the moment.

    Cheers, CherryPops

    1. wlric | | #17

      Hi Cherrypops,
      I have been fascinated by the many topics that are discussed on this forum. From the extraordinary advice on sewing topics to the everyday discussions.
      A friend of my DD is a graduate student in journalism at Columbia University in NYC. I mentioned to her one of the discussions that I had read here regarding the death of a beloved family pet. DD's friend told me that community forums such as MySpace and youtube were formed by people who had observed the international success of message boards on early quilter's websites! I find that quite interesting.wlric

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