50 things we’ve learnt during our 84/62 days in Australia. 

1. Kangaroos kill more Australians each year than sharks and crocodiles. 

2. A Melbourne tram can weigh up to 30 rhinos. 

3. Duvets are called ‘doonas’, bed sheets are called ‘manchesters’ and a pint of beer is called a ‘schooner’. 

4. They put beetroot in their burgers – and we both love it!

5. They have sharps boxes in all public toilets. 

6. Bag in box wine is known as ‘Goon’. 

7. Having your liquor license is slang for being a lesbian. 

8. Customs and quarantine don’t care if you are honest with what you are declaring. 

9. Fanta lemon is called ‘Lift’. 

10. Koalas have chlamydia which was their way of commuting suicide thanks to urbanisation. 

11. Time is not announced on Australian radio, as we assume that one travels between time zones frequently while still tuned to the same station. 

12. News headlines are not common on some radio stations and we struggled to find a source of info for the horrible attack in Nice and the trouble in Turkey. 

13. Cyclists are allowed on the motorway. You may know Jayne’s opinion of cyclists already. Let’s just say they did nothing for their reputation. 

14. You must wear your seat belt on a Greyhound coach. It makes it awkward to sleep. 

15. When you see sign post trails for ‘One Way’ it might mean that the route is one way only or that the time suggested for the trail is only for going one way. It’s very confusing. 

16. It is possible and far more rewarding to see whales from the coastline than on a boat. Whale watching trips might get you close in NSW, but it feels like whale chasing. 

17. The electric boxes in Brisbane are all painted. They range from traditional and abstract art to pieces that relate to the building next to them, i.e. Fire Station. The boxes in Hobart bear no resemblance to neighbouring buildings, just decorative.  

18. Australia used to be called ‘New Holland’, Tasmania used to be called ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ and Melbourne used to be called ‘Batmania’. 

19. If you’re one of those people that can’t sleep through the night or wake up during an overnight bus journey, we’d recommend sitting near the front. The filth that the truckers say on the short wave radio at night time is hilarious. Especially the Queensland lot. 

20. When on a cruise in the Whitsundays, bring a torch so you can see the stars. (We truly despair for humanity when we heard someone asking for this.)

21. 50% of the lampposts and electric poles on a Magnetic Island are painted. 

22. Katherine can speak Koala. 

23. Cassowary are the 2nd heaviest and 3rd tallest bird in the world. The ostrich is top of the list for both categories, but the emu is taller but lighter. 

24. There’s only a few places in the world where you can get on a plane for a few hours, change time zones and the destination will have the same language, currency and won’t change the network provider on your phone. However, only in Aus can you say that you travelled across a continent and did the above. 

25. If it says don’t swim, don’t. Those crocs get massive.

26. The snap head mullet is depicted in Aboriginal drawings without a head. This is because the fish acts dead for a bit and then flaps away. The indigenous people had to start snapping their heads to make sure they didn’t loose their catch. 

27. A group of kangaroos is called a mob. Everyone knows the baby is a Joey, but dad is a Jack and mum is a Jill. 

28. There may be 40 shades of green, but no shade of red will truly capture the essence and beauty of Uluru. 

29. The outback is not as desolate and barren as one is lead to believe back home. It’s a rich environment, thriving with life and one simply needs to know where and when to look. 

30. Judges travel up and down the centre of the outback, towns not having a judge of their own. 

31. Kangaroo Island has the only pure strain of Ligurian bees in the world. It also is home to disease-free koalas and a sub-species of kangaroo. 

32. When dining from a big tub of instant noodles, the tin foil lid can be used as a separate bowl when wrapped up in a cup fashion. This lets you sit back and enjoy the noodles without being hunched over. 

33. Tasmania begins daylight savings 3 weeks before Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and South Australia. Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory don’t have daylight savings at all… Ever!

34. Australia has more camels than koalas and they export them to Saudi Arabia. 

35. Speed limits in Tazzy change from dusk to dawn when the speed is reduced from 100km/hr to 45 or 65. This is to protect the wildlife. 

36. Koalas can go their whole life without drinking water. 

37. Tassy drivers are the worst in Oz. 

38. Spotted tailed quolls may look cute but are called ‘baby faced assassins’. 

39. A wombat is almost as fast as Usain Bolt (the wildlife sanctuary said faster but we looked it up!). They run at 40km/h, Usain measured 44.64km/h when setting his world record. 

40. Tasmanian Devils can be outrun by a chicken. 

41. Tasmania is the road kill capital of the world. This is the major cause of Tassy Devil death as they are scavengers. 

42. Blue lakes and pink seas… The blue lake at Mount Gambier isn’t always blue and the sea on Kangaroo Island, Cape Couedic turns pink due to lazy fur seals not going in to the water during the hot summer months to piss. 

43. Australia is the opal capital of the world. It produces 95% of the worlds opal, 99% of the rare black opal and Coober Pedy is the main producer of opals. 

44. You can’t count the age of a swamp gum by the number of rings. This is because it may have several in one year if there are wet and dry seasons. 

45. Do not touch dead snakes. We have heard a story of a child playing with a dead one and had to be rushed to hospital. They still contain venom and should be disposed of with care. We didn’t come across one single snake or venomous animal while in Australia. However, something tells me that one should always be wary and not let their guard down. 

46. The emu and kangaroo are on the coat of arms. This is symbolic as these animals can only move forwards. 

47. Australia is the smallest inhabited continent of the seven continents and is the 6th largest country by area – we’ve seen the image of the map of Europe fitting into the map of Australia!

48. Australians refer to English people as Pome, which is an acronym of Prisoners of Mother England. 

49. Australia has over 10,000 beaches. You could visit a new beach every day for over 27 years. 

50. There will never be enough time to visit everything in Oz. Choose what you want to see and try to squeeze in a few side trips. That’s the best you’ll ever manage – this place is huge!!! 

Travelling – day 336

There were 4 heaters on the ceiling of the bathroom that give out a nice warmth before and after your shower. Discovering these unique features the night before was helpful when getting up at 04:15, when the surprisingly very inactive day yesterday had left us really tired and wanting to stay curled up in bed. But, we managed to hop on the shuttle bus for 05:30 and zip back to Melbourne airport for attempt #2 at leaving the country. The gentlemen that were before us yesterday at ticket desk, at the same hotel and on the same shuttle bus, went their own way and joined the queue for check in much later than we did. In fact, the queue became mental and the regular 07:00 flight for business people flying to Sydney for meetings was delayed as JetStar hijackers took all the spare seats and were checking in late. In defence, we were told to check in at 06:00, Katherine and I wanted to be earlier for safety sake. 
We were given breakfast on the short haul flight to Sydney and loved the space, comfort, sophistication, et cetera of the Qantas flight. We were eagerly hopeful that the next flight would be equally luxurious, so we wrote missing blogs and listened to music. A throng of eager people buzzed through the domestic lounge to gate 15, where the shuttle bus took us to the international terminal. Through security again, the staff weren’t as pleasant as the domestic crew, but maybe they have tougher jobs dealing with different languages and more baggage trying to be taken as hand luggage? They certainly had a rough time at the boarding gate where a gent was f*ing and blinding about something. The guys behind us on the plane (seat monkeys) were also loud and we heard that the gentleman outside was rather irate as he felt that, due to the flight cancellation yesterday, he deserved to be upgraded to business class and wasn’t boarding the plane unless it happened… I believe his bags were removed from the hold! Also, someone they knew lost their passport somewhere between checking in at Melbourne yesterday and this morning and couldn’t even make it to Sydney. The whole scene was a small Month Python sketch and we were lucky to have a pleasant passenger next to us for the flight. A delectable homemade drink of orange and hibiscus was served before a choice of lunch – Katherine ordered the pork chop, I had the beef curry. With a garlic bread bun and rhubarb desert we had struck out big time. So, when the drinks trolley came through and we were on film numero duo we were now sipping G&T’s. It’s a tough life as an international drifter. 

Skip ahead some easy trips to the bathroom as we didn’t block anyone, sparkling wines, more films and to series, a flat beard cheese concoction for an amuse bouche and we touched down in Bangkok, a day later than planned and a longer flight than anticipated. We knew the airport well and self guided went through immigration, collected bags and were on a train in to the city. 
In the space of dumping bags in the room and returning to our infamous street restaurant the heavens had opened and the rain was pouring down. But, nothing, not even the smell of sewage from the flowing sewers could ruin the papaya salad and green curry to finish a perfect day. Plus, a private room to snuggle up and drift asleep. Wednesday 7th September 2016