If you have all been reading our blogs vigorously as I'm sure you have, you will know that I decided to take myself to Australia for a year or two. So, I thought you should all have a bit of an insight as to what my take on it all is and whether it 'lives up to the hype' sort of thing... so if you're not interested then stop reading now.
We landed in Perth from Manchester on 14/8/18 and the 22-hour flight went relatively well, upon arrival you realise (In my opinion) that Australia is like a mix between Britain, America and a tiny seasoning of Asia all rolled into one which makes quite the concoction. Their roads and advertising are ridiculously American but their way of life is like Britain but a little more laid back compared to the work, eat, sleep, die mentality back in the UK. The vast amount of shops open at 7 am and close at 5 pm no exceptions and Sundays unless you're in a big city a lot are closed all together even large supermarkets. Anyway, we landed in winter... yes Australia has a winter and please for the love of god do not listen to the mystics when they tell you the classic, 'Australia's winter is like our summer' because I can assure you that is the biggest load of bull***** going.
After a couple of weeks in the cold and learning from our mistakes, we flew to Cairns which is north-east with the sun turned up to about 28 degrees in early September which was much more like it, now for those of you who don't know you can't 'nip' anywhere and there is no 'popping out' in Oz because the place is as big as the moon. Locals love to do a thing where they hear your pommie accent and tell you it's just down the road' and next minute you're on a year-long road trip for a bottle of milk and return looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway. Australia is 32 times bigger than the UK so that flight was 4.5 hours and we didn't even go over an ocean, now flying 4.5 hours from Manchester you can get to Turkey, just to put that into perspective.
So, we landed in Cairns and really got the feel for what Australia is all about, hot weather, good food and drink (lots of drink) and the overall laid-back nature and appreciation of the little things. Australia looks after their own and the powers at be treat their country great, FREE bbq's litter the beaches for anyone to use, free toilets and showers scattered around the place and they even have free lagoons and wave pools for people to enjoy and are extremely well kept. A lot of which is lifeguarded during the day and security guarded at night all at the expense of the government, one negative is it is a bit of a pain to get around as public transport (which is free in most city centres), is a bit bang average but you can't really complain because petrol is $1.40 a litre which works out at about 75p. Cairns, by the way, is where you can see the great barrier reef, sadly a lot of it is bleached but if you go make sure you get a trip to the 'outer reef', its a tad more expensive but worthwhile as you see far more! There is also amazing waterfalls and swimming holes about an hour away so rent a car and you're cooking on gas.
Now let's talk about the animals and squash a few myths in the process. I spent some time with a friend on a farm and I had a spider appear in my room which was so big it had it's own postcode, legitimately you could have road this eight-legged venom spitting beast into battle. So I did what any bloke worth a salt would do and stoved its head in with a flip-flop (Fun fact - Australians call flip-flops thongs and yes that one was a steep learning curve). Other than that I haven't seen much of what everyone lives in fear of in the UK, but then again Australia has a renowned saying, which is...'Everything in Australia will try to fu***** kill you' so I keep that in mind. Creepy crawlies aside there are things you need to be wary of, the rule of thumb is you don't drive from dusk till dawn as this is when the animals are most active and they're attracted to headlights which is great. I don't care whether you are driving a fiat 500 or an M1 Abrams tank, if you get hit by a kangaroo at 110kms/hr you can kiss your face, arse and vehicle goodbye. The end. Goodnight, God bless. Also, Emus for that matter, they may look like harmless long-legged chickens but they're as dense as high school custard so if you hit one you will know about it and so will your insurance company.
Right now though I'm currently in Darwin, Northern Territory. At least I think I am, it definitely stated Darwin on my plane ticket but apparently, the pilot had other ideas and decided to land on the sun. It's a different type of hot up here and home to 750kg cattle killing saltwater crocodiles and 11 of the top 20 worlds deadliest snakes and on top of that I'm starting work on a cattle station that's as big as Jamaica and 7.5 hours away from the nearest town, so please wish me luck.
I'm going to conclude this first blog with some pros and cons of what I've experienced so far, and they're in no particular order, I'm completely winging it. Starting with the cons.
- It's too big. Who do we call to cut it in half so we can tarmac the excess and make a carpark for the rest of the world?
- Some places can feel like you've landed in 70's Texas
- The fact you shouldn't drive at night and it goes dark at 6 pm!
- No-one really cares about finer details, nothing is refined quite like the UK
- When your SAT NAV calmly says, continue straight for 112 miles
- Food and drink is pretty expensive
- A schooner is not a full pint.
- The chicken just doesn't taste the same
- WORST OF ALL - If any joiners are reading this, this is a call to arms. Australians can't hang doors for toffee. Toilet stalls are a perverts paradise, the gaps either side of the door makes it feel like you're on some sort of Dutch game show.
- They sell PG Tips in Woolworths.
- Everyone is social and general wellbeing is of utmost importance
- The fact there is only 25 million people compared to the UK's 70 Million. There's so much room for activities.
- I've never once been stuck in traffic and the roads are well looked after. No potholes.
- Road trains. They scare me so much I like them.
- Drive-In Liquor stores. Yes, you read that correctly.
- Pay is good and I believe you would struggle to 'not find work'
- Everyone is different, there doesn't seem to be stereotyped. Anything goes.
- Words are shortened and sort of make sense. Afternoon = Arvo, Service station = Servo. They just like the use of O.
- Everywhere is a national park and protected
- Common sense prevails! You aren't harassed by warning signs all day, I assume the stupid people just die so can't breed. Therefore no more stupid people. UK I hope your taking notes.
- Plus 100+ more things but I can't be bothered to write them all.
Thanks for reading, you'll never get those 5 minutes it took to read this back.