Australian Holiday Nov 19-Dec 10, 2001

Monday Nov 19 Flight to Perth via Abu Dhabi & Brunei
Tuesday Nov 20 Arrive Perth. Nicky picked us up at the airport. We were to stay with old friends, David & Nicky Cusworth.
Wednesday Nov 21 Scarborough beach. Kings Park, Perth. Italian meal in Scarborough.
Thursday Nov 22 Museum of Western Australia, Perth. Fremantle by train.
In Australia some of
the hard hats have peaks
and neck covers.
Friday Nov 23 River trip, Aboriginal heritage.
Saturday Nov 24 Swan River Valley wineries with David & Nicky. Saw kangaroo boxing in John Forrest Nature Reserve. Barbecue at house with David & Nicky.
Sunday Nov 25 Whale watching trip from Fremantle (we didn't see any!). Katy pictured in David & Nicky's garden.
Monday Nov 26 Train to Adelaide. Meal in Kalgoorlie with a cricket
Tuesday Nov 27 Nullarbor Plain and the stop at Cook, outback ghost town. Kangaroo steaks on the train.
Wednesday Nov 28 Arrived Adelaide (cold). Got digs and went to Public Open Day of the Internatinal Solar Energy Conference. Took tram to Glenelg and lunch in replica of Buffalo sailing ship.
Thursday Nov 29 Trip to Barossa Valley wineries with Chris, the homicidal bus driver. Took the O-Bahn, ate in Chinatown
Friday Nov 30 Adelaide Zoo. Bought huge suitcase.
Saturday Dec 1 Drive out along the Murray to Banrock Station wetlands conservation area and back via lake with hundreds of black swans, Cadell Ferry, Great Bend and Morgan and Kapunda (map Kernow statue).
Sunday Dec 2 Huge electric thunder storm during early hours, torrential rain and massive lightning strikes on Adelaide tower blocks.Flight to Sydney. Met by Frank. Had pint in the oldest pub in Australia.
Monday Dec 3 Sydney Harbour Ferry to Manly. The great storm hit. Meal out with Gauntlett family (Frank, Jenny Brown, JP & Cate) at Italian restaurant in Leichardt.
Tuesday Dec 4 Breakfast at Frank's favourite restaurant in Leichardt. He then drove us to Newington (solar powered suburb) and then took us to the harbourside. Saw sailing yachts. Went on monorail. Had lunch at the habour fish market. Tram. Sydney Aquarium and flying foxes. Meal with family at Barbecue King in Chinatown.
Wednesday Dec 5 Breakfast in Leichardt restaurant. Flight to Perth (4 1/2 hours). Bus to Nicky and David's. At at Scarborough beach front.
Thursday Dec 6 Hired car out to Pinnacles Desert. Back to Fremantle. Checked into flour mill and had a rather nice pizza.
Friday Dec 7 Kidnapped by Cooks Ferry. Got hired suit (from Ferrari Fremantle) thanks to Alan who went and picked it up. Went to press dinner with Nicky & David.
Saturday Dec 8 Cycling on Rottnest. Met train owner Gus Matheson. Meal with David & Nicky at Pizza Bella Roma Restaurant, 14 South Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160. The first restaurant I'd ever queued outside.
Sunday Dec 9 To airport. Four hours in Brunei (Borneo). Visited Gold Mosque and saw river boatmen.
Monday Dec 10 Arrived back in London at about 6 a.m.

Australia: it's a very long way. Far too far to go for a three week holiday. I happened to be ill before I left and suffered jet leg for about the first week after I got there. Then I picked up a bug in Adelaide and was ill for much of the last ten days I was there. Unlucky? Perhaps, but it is a heck of a jolt to the system to travel for close to 24 hours making three lengthy jet flights and arriving at a place with an eight hour time difference (11 1/2 hours in Sydney!). We also had a very lengthy and uncomfortable train journey (two days) and two flights within Australia, one lasting nearly five hours. It's a lot of travelling and only the most seasoned traveller would be able to take it in his or her stride.

That said it is a stunning place and probably everyone should go there at least once. We didn't get to Ayers Rock (now called Uluru) but that's supposed to be close to a religious experience. We did, however, go to The Pinnacles, a very impressive place and well worth the 450km round trip. I hadn't even heard of The Pinnacles before we got there!

The trouble with the scenery is that it's very spread out. Australia is an absolutely vast place and so Australians think nothing of getting in the car and driving for hours. The roads are dead straight for miles and the petrol costs less than half the price it does in the UK.

Australians have an obsession with the motorcar. Pretty much everyone has one and they use them for most journeys. Strangely, most of them live in cities with good, perhaps even excellent, public transport. You don't really need a car but they think you do.

In the whole time we were there we only heard one person use the term "fair dinkum", a crayfish fisherman we picked up hitch hiking a long way from anywhere. But nearly everyone used the expression "no worries". In America they tell you "have a nice day". Some of them probably mean it but most seem to have learnt to say it on a customer service course. In Australia when they say "no worries" they mean it. Everyone is there to have a good time and expects everyone else to be having a good time. There is a national preoccupation with the idea that everyone should have a fair go. People know what the rules are and mostly stick to them. The streets are clean, people don't throw litter. There is relatively little street crime or hooliganism, though we noticed a lot of homes had burglar alarms.

Perth and Adelaide are very laid back, hospitable sorts of places, a bit like Bournemouth or Torquay. Sydney is larger, noisier and more urban, a lot more like London.

Aboriginals Cadell Ferry Australian map