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About Australia

Here are all our tips and tricks to get you up to speed before you come down under! 

Everything you need to know before coming!

Sydney is Australia's premier entry point for international visitors. However, we recommend that you fly into Brisbane, Queensland, which is Australia's third largest city with a population of just over 2.5 million people. The Tweed Valley is a 2 hour drive south of Brisbane and we will be organising a tourist sightseeing "pre-tour" for our international visitors. We will let you know when we have more information about this!

 

Australia, whilst having the geographical size similar to the "lower 48" of the USA, has a total population just short of greater Los Angles. As mentioned, over 80% of the population live within 50 miles of the coast line. So country towns tend to be small, friendly and helpful (particularly if you are driving a Brass Era car!)

Below are some tips & tricks to assist with finding your way.

Travel:
  • Australia is 240V, so you will need a converter to charge or operate your electrical bits & pieces

  • Telephone Mobile (cell) coverage in all major City and towns is generally very good, however on long country roads travelling between towns some distance apart there will be "Black Spots" where no coverage exists. At the major airports, you are able to purchase a sim card to slot into your phone (if it is not locked by your provider) that will give you an Australian number whilst here or alternatively look at a "travel pack" offered by your own cell phone company as the data fees are lethal (as we have found out the hard way!)

  • Tipping is not expected in Australia and there is no expected % - you only need to tip, if you feel you have received excellent service (restaurants, taxis (cabs) etc).

 

Driving:
  • Australia is Right Hand Drive, however the simple rule "the driver is always in the middle of the road", helps to keep you where you should be.

  • Gas is Petrol, generally 3 grades "Premium" 97 octane, Regular 91 Octane & E10 (synthetic fuel)

  • Diesel is generally available at every petrol station.

  • You do not pay for fuel with your card 1st - you fill and then pay inside

  • 4 way stops are nearly nonexistent in Australia - at a stop sign you stop for 3 seconds and when the traffic is clear you proceed. Give way signs have priority over stop signs, so if you are waiting at a stop, you wait till last.

  • Give way signs at intersections mean you do not need to stop unless there is oncoming traffic however you do need to "give way" to all other traffic.

  • There are no turns on red lights, unless sign posted otherwise.

  • There are no U-turns at traffic lights, unless sign posted otherwise

  • School zone are 40km (25 miles) per hour (and the Police are lethal). Generally there are red flashing signs during school hours. 8.00 - 9.30am & 2.30pm - 4.00pm, but check the sign post.

  • 50kph = 30mph, 60 = 35mph, 80 = 50mph, 100 = 60mph & 110 (our general top limit) = 70 mph

  • Roundabouts are very common, the general rule give way to traffic in the roundabout and indicate what you intend to do.

  • On single lane roads a broken line indicates you can overtake (with care), an unbroken line means you can't, no lines just be very careful.

Auto Stores -
  • In major towns there with be a number of auto stores, Repco, Supercheap, Autozone & Auto-One and small independent ones also.

  • Petrol Station (Gas) generally stock a supply of most emergency items for the average motorist.

  • Each state in Australia (6 States, 2 Territories) has a Automotive Association (AAA) - in NSW it is the NRMA and generally they work in association with each other (if only on a limited basis) in other states. It is advisable if you intend to do any extensive driving to join one of these associations to ensure you have some cover if you need assistance.

  • The legal driving limit for blood alcohol concentration is 0.05%  - rule of thumb is 2 standard drinks in the first hour and then one every hour thereafter (but if you are smaller bodied then this is alot less). The police conduct random breath tests on the roads, so be careful and think about catching a cab or walking etc.

 

Food:
  • French Fries are French Fries, "Chips" are thick French Fries.

  • Crisps are also Chips

  • Ketchup is "Tomato Sauce"

  • Expect Beets on you Burger from a corner hamburger store (not chain stores) unless you ask otherwise and we call them "Beetroot"

  • A Burger with the "Lot" has Lettuce, Tomato, Beetroot, Beef patty, Fried onion, Bacon, Egg, Pineapple & Cheese!

  • Entree's are Starters, Mains are just that, the main meal. Dessert - well that is self explainable!

  • You will not receive soup or salad as a starter to your meal

  • Coffee will mostly be from an espresso machine, these days drip filter coffee is very uncommon in Australia. Tea will be served hot unless you ask otherwise and lemonade will be carbonated.

  • In motels, you will likely receive tea bags and instant coffee and a kettle (no drip filter machine)

  • Bacon is thicker and generally not as crisp.

  • The main supermarkets for groceries & fresh produce are Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA. Some smaller country corner stores will also hold a small range of some essentials but will be expensive.

  • Beer, wine and liquor are available for sale at either a liquor store or a hotel (pub) - they are not available in a supermarket or at a corner store.

 

English:

There are lots of "Aussie Slang" words that it is good to understand and some "Rhyming Slang". We tend to shorten our words and phrases alot as well

  • Mate - good friend, Mates - a group of good friends.

  • G'Day - very short for Good Day to you, often in a crowd or a busy street, shortened to a very deliberate nod.

  • Howyagoin - How are you going or how would you be.

  • A typical sentence would be  "G'day mate, howyagoin"

  • Roo - Kangaroo

  • Skippy - Kangaroo

  • Kangaroo loose in the top paddock - someone who is a little mad.

  • Sandwich short of the picnic basket - someone who is also a little mad.

  • Bush - forest or desert, generally uninhabited area

  • Gone walk about - reference to the Aboriginal initiation ceremony surviving in the bush as a passage to manhood, but generally meaning you have no idea where they are?

  • Gone Bush - meaning you have no idea where they are?

  • Jo Blake - Snake, your chances of seeing them in the wild are slim, however they do sometimes sun themselves on the roads particularly during spring & autumn.

  • Shed - Shop, a man's shed is his castle and he who has the most toys wins!

  • Bonnet - hood of a car

  • Boot - trunk

  • Shifter - crescent wrench

  • Torch - flashlight

  • Wheel nut spanner - lug wrench

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