Thursday, December 14, 2006

Walkabout in Oz

So with the benefit of hindsight, I realise I have probably overdone my enthusiasm about my two weeks in Australia so far - and if I'm honest my impartiality will be in large part due to my brief but perfect holiday romance with a beautiful German from Munich who I met in Sydney.

But having said that I am still a little bit in love with Australia. It's not the weather, because that's been mixed since I've been here - I got absolutely soaked in a thunderstorm in Sydney the other week and when I went to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney it was so cold I could see my breath when I breathed. On the other hand, there have been days when it was sunny all day and the temperature was about 40 degrees.

What I love is the way the scenery is spectacular, but taken for granted. In New Zealand it wasn't exactly congested, but here the geography is so much bigger and the tourist industry so much less commercialised that you feel more dwarfed by the landscape. When I went along the Great Ocean Road west of Melbourne, I found loads of beaches completely deserted where I could walk for hours and hours completely undetected. I also love the fact that in most restaurants it is standard practice that you can bring along your own bottle, mostly without corkage as well. And the food is so fresh and cheap - main courses will often cost less than AU$10 (four quid).

Things I have learnt:

  • Parts of Australia have a half hour time zone. If it's 10am in Sydney and Melbourne, it'll be 9.30am in Adelaide. i think the same is true for the Northern Territories. Has anyone heard of anywhere else in the world with a half
    hour time zone? I haven't. I can't see the need for it myself, as the half hour can't hardly make much of a difference for those few days each year when it's relevant. Personally, i think it's mostly so that they can be mentioned on every time
    check on every radio station on each and every hour.

  • Australian drivers (or at least those between Sydney and Melbourne) are incredibly bad at moving into the left-hand lane when driving. Therefore you see an enormous amount of overtaking on the inside lane - which would drive my brother mad. He get worked up by the bad habits of most drivers, but overtaking on the inside is his particular bete noire.

4 Comments:

At 1:43 pm, Anonymous John Cabot said...

Newfoundland - of which 0.55% of the population are Welsh, the lucky things - is half an hour ahead of the rest of the North American eastern seaboard (EST)

 
At 4:05 pm, Anonymous Hazel said...

Finishing work tomorrow (19th) back on 3rd January.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

 
At 11:24 am, Blogger Anthony said...

India is like this as well.
When it's noon in London it's 5.30pm in India - the whole country is in the same time zone, so I guess it's the half way compromise.

Also - In parts of Siberia, some time zones are merged so you have to change your watch by two hours - all very confusing.

I'll get my anorak....

 
At 1:18 am, Blogger John Adams said...

My uncle tells me that it's actually allowed to overtake on the inside in Australia, so perhaps I have been a bit hard on Aussie motorists.

 

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