Things I Learned
After 7 weeks backpacking around Australia, I learned a few things that I want to share. In no particular order, here they are for what they are worth!
1. Don’t expect reliable WiFi. Free WiFi was difficult to find in Australia but I believe they are improving. I began finding free WiFi on the east coast in the bigger cities. Brisbane had free WiFi around their tourist info centre but it was limited time (15 – 30 minutes). I noticed signs that Telstra (the main phone company) was offering it around their telephone booths. At least the telephone booths were plentiful.
Starbucks are on their way out in Oz. They haven’t been successful there so don’t expect to find many Starbucks for free WiFi. Sydney might have had some free WiFi around their telephone booths, too, but I didn’t need any free WiFi there so I don’t really know. Melbourne has free WiFi in Federation Square.
Some of the backpackers travel agents offer free WiFi and sometimes free computers if you are a member (have booked with them). I mostly used Peter Pan (on the east coast) as it seemed fairly common throughout my travel area.
2. Be flexible. Nothing ever goes as planned so just “go with it”!
3. Go for the adventure, not to make friends. Making friends are a bonus. I met a girl who was so upset because someone she met in Oz and decided to travel with suddenly had a disagreement with her and no longer seemed to be her friend. The whole thing seemed immature but whatever! All our roommates were comforting her. I don’t think she appreciated my advice of “Get over it, move on”! However, in my defense, she was whining about it most of the day and forcing the whole dorm room into comforting her.
4. Leave the germ and clean phobias at home if you are backpacking. Sometimes there is no way of escaping them. Coming in contact will only make you stronger.
5. Oh, yea, hydrate! Being dehydrated can ruin your day.
6. Don’t expect too much. I met a couple of UK guys who were in Oz on a working visa. Before they left the UK they had bragged about the jobs they would get and how much money they would make. Well, things didn’t turn out that easy for them. They didn’t get many jobs and the two jobs they did get turned out to be terrible. After about 2 months in Australia, they were heading home, broke and embarrassed that they had failed. At least they admitted they had expected too much.
7. Don’t trust all the travel agents. One travel agent told me that the hostel she booked for me in Melbourne would be air conditioned, have great atmosphere and be conveniently located. Well, it did have great atmosphere (but I didn’t care) and was conveniently located (a great bonus). However, I really did want air con because that room had no windows, and was extremely stuffy and very hot! Good thing I was only there to sleep.
8. It helps to be fit and loose the excess weight. It makes it easier to get around and carry your baggage around.
9. Don’t stand in an area with lots of big ants in Oz. Those ants’ bite can hurt!
10. Do not bring fruit and vegetables into South Australia from the other states. If caught, you can be fined for bringing them into the State in addition to having them confiscated. This is nice to know before boarding a bus taking you into the State! South Australia prides itself in eliminating most of the fruit flies in their State. This is a photo of a sign we saw before we entered the Murray River area in SA.
I hope you enjoyed my Australian adventures. I created the blog because friends and family were interested in how I was doing during my trip. Well, the blog turned out to be much more work than I expected and a little more trouble than expected (WiFi access and speed, uploading photos, etc.). On my return to Canada, I was able to upload more photos and update the blog so I could share my adventures and more of my photos with you. I hope you enjoyed them.
Until my next big trip. So long and bon voyage to anyone taking a trip!