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ROAD WORKS ON PACIFIC HIGHWAY
The Pacific Highway is the major route travelling along the coast from Brisbane to Sydney.
It is very busy route and the one most travelers take to travel between the two major cities.
At one stage, it was only a 2 lane road, now some is four lanes in quite a few places making it a lot better.
It is bypassing towns making it faster travelling, and meant to be 4 lanes by 2016, who knows if this will happen!
The problem at the moment, is the huge amount of roadworks we encountered along the way. Stop & go signs, traffic lights, speed limits of 40mph, made the going very slow. Talking to locals at Nambucca Heads, I heard it took them an extra 2hours to reach Brisbane!
So,if you have estimated a travel time, you will need to allow extra because of this. No use speeding either, as there are speed cameras every where!Related to:
- Road Trip
Most people have heard there are Crocodile's in Australia and that they are very dangerous, yet still people go swimming in water-holes even when signs tell them not too! It is very sad reading the paper about a tourist losing their life through silliness!
The saltwater, or estuarine crocodile is found in estuaries, rivers, lagoons and in the Oceans and on the Beaches of the Australian tropics.
In Queensland, they are found from Maryborough up the coast to Cape York, then all the way across the top of northern Australia.
Don't be fooled into thinking the Beaches and Ocean is ok to swim in these areas, it isn't! A Croc was found in the water near Palm Beach above Cairns a few years back. Just imagine coming face to face with a male Crocodile which can grow to 7 metres in length and weigh over 1000kg's - what chance would you have? These Croc's can kill and eat prey as large as Horse's and Cattle.
Just because they are Saltwater Croc's, doesn't mean this is where they only live, they are quite capable of surviving a large distance in inland waterways where freshwater is.
Saltwater crocs breed during the wet season (November-March).
So, be aware when in these regions in the tropics, read the sign and don't go in the waterRelated to:
- Family Travel
Coming from the US, we were told that our phones would work, and they did not. My phone was Verizon and it couldn't get any bars. The concierge at the hotel said that Verizon says that they have good connections and they don't. And he gave us directions to the main phone companies. We ended up going to Optus.
They said my phone was locked and sent us to the phone guy in the mall. I don't remember where he was except it was a little hole-in-the wall shop in a mall near Hungry Jack, but he told me he couldn't unlock it and it was the wrong frequency. My granddaughter had AT&T but it was locked and unlocking it would erase everything.
So I ended up buying an Australian phone with prepaid minutes. When I got home, I complained to Verizon that I had been told that my phone would work and it did not, and they reimbursed me for the amount I spent on the Australian phoneRelated to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Be aware of the East Australian Current when you visit Australia.
This is a warm off-shore current part of the anti-clockwise pattern of Southern Hemisphere Pacific currents. It pushes southwards from Tropical Australia and can be detected between northern Queensland and Sydney.
"How does that affect me?" you may well ask. One practical phenomenon resulting from the current is that it produces eddies that flow between it and the shore line. End result is that the inshore currents affecting surfing beaches are usually northward flowing.
Going swimming? Expect a sweeping current pushing along the beach northwards. The speed depends on prevailing winds. Stiff southeasters increase the speed of the northern current. This knowledge could help you surf safely.
How else can this current affect your holiday safety?
The warm water flowing southwards from tropical areas may well carry organisms that would not normally exist in cooler areas. Some of those "organisms" may include some nasty biting things like jellyfish or even worse crocodiles. (see other tips on Dangers).
Why have a title "Seeking Nemo" ???? If you have read this far, it has worked!
You may have seen the animated film "Finding Nemo" in which a group of North Queensland comic fishey characters (including Nemo's dad, Marlin) go looking for the fish called "Nemo". He is eventually found in Sydney Harbour 2,000 kms south of his home territory.
The concept of the film plot is based on scientific data. The East Australian Current provides a moving pathway of warm water in which fish and other species can exist outside their normal temperature zone. In fact, each summer, thousands of fish are swept from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney Harbour and further south.
Now, when you read about someone being stung by an unexpected jellyfish species or read about croc sightings in southern regions, YOU will be able to nod your head and wisely say, "It's the Nemo Affect!!"Related to:
- Water Sports
Is Australia Dangerous?
If,as you do in any other place of the world, heed the local warnings and generally be sensible you will be fine. Danger is not lurking around every corner.
After reading all my warnings and dangers on my Queensland Page....all 34 of them at this point in time (2013), a VT friend said she would be frightened to come here.
"Oh my goodness" I thought, "what am I doing?"....."I have lived here all my life and seen about 3 dangerous snakes....never been taken by a crocodile, and never broken my neck diving into a shallow pool!"
Then I read a book (2001) by a young Aussie guy (Bryce Corbett) who lived in Paris at one time...maybe still does..who on a return visit to Australia wrote in his book, A Town Like Paris: "What kind of a coddled country had Australia become when even the most obvious personal safety information had to be SPELLED OUT IN CAPITAL LETTERS?"
On returning to Paris as his French Taxi hurtled at breakneck speed ......it struck him it was not so in Paris. Paris the mot visited city in the world was much more laissez-faire. No 'LOOK LEFT....LOOK RIGHT"...."if you happen to step out in front of an on-coming bus too bad for you"
So read the reviews, absorb some local knowledge but please come and visit us. You are welcome
There was a red-back on the toilet seat
When I was there last night,
I didn’t see him in the dark,
But boy! I felt his bite!
And now I’m here in hospital,
A sad and sorry plight,
And I curse that red-back spider
On the toilet seat last night.
SUMMER IN AUSTRALIA
Summer [December-January-February] is HOT in Australia.
Temperatures, depending on where you are visiting, can reach up to 50°c.
Inland and in the centre is very hot weather.
To the north in places like Cairns and Darwin, you can expect hot and humid weather in Summer. The humidity makes it feel hotter than it is. It is in these parts of the country and along the top half of the Western Australian Coast where you can expect Cyclones to form off the coast and to cross inland. Cyclones bring very high winds and torrential rain [when I say this, I mean like pouring water out of a bucket.] Rivers and creeks rise quickly, roads flood and houses and towns are flooded. You may be stranded on a road or in a town or city for a while until water subsides.
A lot of damage is done when they hit the coast, and it is not unusual for 300mill of rain to fall overnight or in 24hours. If driving, do not attempt to drive through the water on the roadway as you don't know how deep it is, or if it has been washed away. Also, Crocodiles are washed down-stream with the floodwaters.
As you head further south towards Sydney, the weather still is humid, but there is the chance of bushfires. In Victoria and South Australia, the hot weather is a dry heat and not humid, temperatures can reach into the 40's, often dropping considerably a day or two after. Bushfires in Summer are high on the agenda here. Lightning strikes begin some, others are deliberately lit by "people without a brain!" These are very dangerous, and once again, you could be caught in a dangerous situation.
So, if you like the heat, and know about the dangers you may face on your holiday in certain parts, do come and enjoy my home Country.
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Mind the Level Crossings.
In certain parts of Australia the only way you know there could be a train passing across the road in front of you is there a road sign to warn you and/or you see the tracks. You might hear a train whistle or you might miss the sound altogether. And diesel trains are so much quieter than the' old puffin billy'. Trains come both ways so LOOK.
Sometimes there are boom gates and a flashing red light. Do not try to beat the boom gates.
The best defence of course is to be aware. If there is a vehicle behind you be careful to give as much warning as possible before you stop.
And if you are at a railway station never take a short cut across the tracks.
If you find this tip helpful you will find more on Driving in Australia hereRelated to:
- Road Trip
JELLYFISH - danger! danger!
THE DEADLY JELLYFISH
Do you know that the BOX JELLYFISH (also known as the sea wasp) has been responsible for more deaths in Australia than snakes, sharks and saltwater crocodiles?
Do you know that the IRUKANDJI JELLYFISH has venom 100 times more potent than a cobra snake and that its venom is more deadly than the Box Jellyfish? Has caused two confirmed deaths in recent years.
Summer time between October and April is the worst time for both these potentially deadly jellyfish.
The BOX JELLYFISH is found in northern Australia (Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia)
The IRUKANDJI is found in Queensland mainly in the north but in recent years as far south as Hervey Bay (Western beaches and inlets on Fraser Island especially).
To prevent being stung:-
best way stay out of the water
Use the hotel or local council swimming pool
Wear a "stinger suit" which covers most of you body. They are not a 100 percent guarantee of no stings 'cause usually there is no face cover. There have been reported cases of people diving into the water and suffering stings to the face.
Treatment: flush area with vinegar - take victim to hospital as soon as possible!
read more on Qld government web page and on my Cairns intro pageRelated to:
- Water Sports
BUSH WALKING & TICKS
I do not wish to alarm you, but just want to warn you about Ticks that live in Australian bushland. They can attach to your skin when you’re out in the Australian bush and then feed on your blood for several days.
In saying this, I do a lot of Bush walking, and have only ever had a Tick attach onto me twice. The first time, I pulled it out myself as I am quite used to doing this to my animals. The second time, I found it before it attached itself properly, so I was able to brush it off my skin and squash it.
A Bush tick is a red/brown colour.
It is during Summer and Spring that the Ticks are active, especillay in humid, moist bushy areas.
Insect Repellant with DEET is quite good for detering ticks, also long trousers tucked into socks and shoes. After a walk, just examine each other for ticks, especially behind the ears, the back of the head, neck, groin, armpits and back of the knees.
Ticks inject a toxin that may cause local irritation or a mild allergic reaction, however most tick bites cause little or no symptoms. Tick-borne diseases occurring in Australia are Australian Tick Typhus or 'Spotted Fever' (along the coastal strip of eastern Australia from North Queensland to Victoria)
" Early symptoms of tick paralysis can include rashes, headache, fever, flu like symptoms, tenderness of lymph nodes, unsteady gait, intolerance to bright light, increased weakness of the limbs and partial facial paralysis."
If bitten, you may see an itchy crater-like swelling on the skin around the tick. To remove the Tick, use tweezers by grasping the head and rotating, this will remove the Tick..... then apply antiseptic cream. Seek medical advice if you experience muscle weakness, paralysis or feel generally unwell after a tick bite. If by any chance the head of the tick stays in the skin, scratch it out with your fingernail. The head will not inject any more poison once the body has been removed.
Do not pull the tick by the body as this may make it release more toxin.
To see what a Bush Tick and other Ticks look like, please click onto the listed website below.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
A "BLACK SPOT"
When driving on Australian roads, there is a good chance you will come across one of the notices like seen in my photo.
The notice states that it is part of the "Black Spot Program."
This is part of the Government commitment to reduce car crashes, some often resulting in deathon Australian roads. They are the areas where a lot of crashes occur, so the Federal Government gives money so the road locations where crashes are occurring can be improved, hopefully preventing future accidents.
Sometimes traffic signals and roundabouts at dangerous locations are needed, perhaps the road widened, made straighter etc, all of this helps.
Take extra care in these places if they haven't already been fixed, as you now know this is a 'high risk" spot.
The Australian Government will be providing $59.5 million per annum in 2013-14 for road safety projects under the Black Spot Program.
In the 2012-13 Budget, the Government announced that it will provide $300 million ($60 million per annum) to extend the Black Spot Program for a further five years from 2014-15 to 2018-19.Related to:
- Road Trip
Misleading immigration advice
1 I intended to immigrate to Australia and considered the services of an immigration agency. In
2009, I approached ASA Consultants and an agent (Lizelle Enslin) did an initial assessment. She wrote to me on 30 Jan 2009: "We are happy to advise that you appear to be in a position to make a successful application for an Australian visa !". She recommended a 176-STNI Skilled visa. Because of the cost of appointing an agent and applying for a visa, I wrote to her that I needed to be sure about the prognosis of my application. She replied on 06 Mar 2009:
"For the assessment I only looked at your Master's degree and I am 100% sure that we will make a positive skills assessment application considering the requirements of the assessing authority - no worries here." I was thus let to believe that it was was safe to continue and paid the agency on 10 Apr 2009 to represent me (6,365.00AUD ). On 20 Apr 2009 the agent gave me instructions on how to get my dissertation assessed by the Australian Psychological Society (APS). The latter found my master's degree not suitable for immigration as I did a dissertation which is part time study and APS recognises only full time studies. The first agent I spoke to was in South Africa but other agents in Perth looked at my file as well for a “detailed assessment” and yet they sent my documents for a skills assessment. This counts as "full service" which makes ASA's fees non refundable.
None of the pople I cimmunicated with are Mara registered agents but according to ASA's website, agents work under supervision of MARA registered agents.
An ASA consultant wrote to me on 04 Jun 2010 regarding the outcome of my skills assessment: "There was no way of seeing this coming from APS". I must disagree as this was exactly what ASA should have been doing and not have recommended the visa they did in the first place. This makes this case a consumer matter as well.
I wrote to the agency and told them to cancel the mandate and asked for a refund. According to ASA's terms (http://www.australia-migration.com/page/Terms_and_Conditions/108), I was entitled to the money that remained in my account with them (ASA's fees were subtracted as well as that of APS from what I paid).
Irene of the agency's accounts department wrote the following on 13 March 2012: "Your main visa not lodged so therefore the government fee balance left in the fund account of $2105 minus the reassessment fees of $330.00 not paid". I asked for a detailed breakdown as I knew that APS does not charge for reassessments. Irene wrote on 15 March 2012: "You did not pay for the re-assessment of your skills ASA paid on your behalf - subtracting this amount from government fees held in trust." The is problematic as there WAS NO re-assessment fee – APS confirmed this to me: " In response to your email, the APS does not charge applicants an assessment fee for reassessments conducted within ten (10) years of the initial assessment. I have checked our database and you were only charged one assessment fee in 2010."
I made a complaint to the The Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). The MARA approached the registered agent and within a few days ASA sent me the full amount that was left in my account without deducting the reassessment fee they invented. According to the MARA, the registered agent “has not been willing to take responsibility” for this. I do not blame him for that but I expected an explanation from ASA as they must have known that no reassessment fee existed because:
· as they never paid such a fee, it could not be on their records,
· they didn't have an invoice from APS,
· Irene gave me an amount but she had nothing to base this amount on,
· The money was still in my account with them when she claimed it was paid.
To make matters worse: during November 2009 it turned out that the agency gave me an “incorrect” quote for my skills assessment, however, Cornel (the CEO) told me that there was an increase in APS's reassessment fees. I pointed out to him that there was no such a fee increase after I checked with APS. He then replied that I should not check on them for the fees they quote. I ended up paying another 345.45AUD for the shortfall.
ASA failed to explain the 'reassessment fee' to both the Mara and Consumer Protection agency when confronted and replied to the latter that they feel they acted in a professional way.
You be the judge.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Work Abroad
Import of tobacco products
I flew out of Melbourne a few days before Sep 1st, 2012 and saw a notice posted in the airport mentioning that, starting on that date, the allowed quantity of tobacco products introduced into the country is being reduced from 250 grams to 50 grams, or 50 cigarettes. Reason for 50 is probably because local cigarette packs are 25 or 50 pieces, which doesn't anyway help with the typical foreign size packs of 20.
I perceive this new regulation as a tool for the Australian government to receive more tax money rather than being aimed at cutting on smoke. The price of tobacco products is very high in Australia, say 3-fold the price in Europe or north America.
Alcohol is expensive too. If you're not a saint, be prepared!
Camping can be the Death of You
Camping in Australia is not without its dangers.
I've just cleaned up the mess from a large branch, diameter 600mm at its base and about 8 metres long which fell from a huge gum tree at my local archery club car park. Had it hit someone or something it could have had dire consequences. It reminded me of a recent camping death of a young man near Adelaide caused by a gum tree dropping a branch and lessons learnt when Scouting for Boys during my younger years. Camping under big trees is a no no.Related to:
- Budget Travel
NO NIGHT DRIVING
While driving at night in the outback go slowly as there will be many kangaroos hopping around at night and if they jump in front of you they can cause serious damage to your car, so best to reach your destination before dark.
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ALWAYS CARRY AND USE A STRONG MOSQUITO REPELLANT
Well, it seems mother nature is still in "pay back mode". after the huge floods, and cyclones that have devistated the north of Australia in Queensland and Victoria we find there is a NEW menace out there in south eastern South Australia!!!and it is once again mosquitoes that are carrying a new type of disease ...this time encephelytis..This is an extremely dangerous new disease to Australia and is a water borne mosquito transmitted disease and dangerous..In the last few years we have taken onboard the Ross River and Dengue Fever virus that is also transmitted by the mosquito but not as dangerous as the new encephylitis.
When in affected flooded areas ALWAYS wear loose fitting long sleeves shirts and long trousers and cover all exposed skin with a strong mosquito repellant...don't worry about the "aroma" as everyone will be wearing it and if the are not they are rather foolish.
There is a certain product that can be purchased from good camping stores that you can wash with your travel clothes and thus impregnating them with a strong repellant also..Related to:
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
22 Central Avenue, Manly, 2095, Australia
Good for: Couples
A luxurious setting, conveniently close to the city centre without the hubbub. You can have it both,...more
When it comes to luxury and service the Crown gets it right. Crown Towers is located on the banks...more
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