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Australia Information

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Richard Vohsberg
Member
Username: Finedon

Post Number: 44
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 71.100.252.106
Posted on Sunday, May 02, 2010 - 05:18 pm:   

March-April 2009, four (4) weeks visiting SW AU, Perth and coastal areas south. Perth is a modern and clean city. The city gardens are wonderful overlooking Perth. Nice shopping areas. Particularly enjoyed the small town of Margaret River, http://www.margaretriver.com/pages/home-page/, about three (3) hours drive south of Perth. Great for nature and scenery and even better for miles of vineyards and wineries; a couple of micro breweries also. Lots of temporary accomodations. We rented a "brush house" built 2005 to resemble the early settlers houses. Equipped with its own live 80 inch red kangaroo. A highlight was the Boranup Gallery, http://www.boranupgallery.com/, with lots of jarrah and other native wood art and furniture products. Further south is the point where the Pacific and Indian Oceans impact together and world-class surfing beaches. Visited first settlers farms, historic light houses and national forests.
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Doug Skillman
Member
Username: Dskillman

Post Number: 13
Registered: 02-2010
Posted From: 70.33.13.243
Posted on Monday, April 12, 2010 - 12:35 am:   

John,
Thanks for the info! I'll definately get one of these and a plug adapter.
Doug
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John D.
Moderator
Username: John_d

Post Number: 4265
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 95.208.80.143
Posted on Friday, April 09, 2010 - 11:46 am:   

Doug,

Your Ipod and Kindle should not need a transformer as they are probably dual-voltage (at least mine is). Check the cell phone and razor (if only 110V) should do fine with something like http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3932597
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Doug Skillman
Member
Username: Dskillman

Post Number: 11
Registered: 02-2010
Posted From: 70.33.13.243
Posted on Friday, April 09, 2010 - 11:32 am:   

Hi John,
Sorry I should have included that info. I'll only be charging cell phone, ipod, Kindle and maybe my razor, LOL. So not over say 20 watts.
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John D.
Moderator
Username: John_d

Post Number: 4263
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 95.208.80.143
Posted on Friday, April 09, 2010 - 06:28 am:   

Doug, for what kind of electronic device? What's the wattage?
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Doug Skillman
Member
Username: Dskillman

Post Number: 10
Registered: 02-2010
Posted From: 70.33.13.243
Posted on Friday, April 09, 2010 - 01:23 am:   

Does anyone have a good source for a power converter to use in Australia? Thanks in advance!
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marcie stephens
New member
Username: Marcie

Post Number: 1
Registered: 05-2009
Posted From: 69.76.212.193
Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2010 - 06:40 pm:   

In Sydney, for cheap souveniers nothing beats Paddys Market just south of Darling Harbour. Harrys Meat Pies are nearby for cheap (not great tho!) food. You can buy a day pass that is good for the ferries, buses, and trains for about AU$15 for a day that you plan to be moving about alot - otherwise, single use tickets would be better for a particular destination. There is are also alot of cheap food courts at the underground walkways between the various train staions, particularily at Wynyard walking toward Martin Place and under the QVB (a beautiful shopping arcade - expensive but you have to see it!). At Manly, cheap eats and some souveniers at the Corso (shopping, quick service restaurants between the wharf area and the Pacific beaches) and very good but more expensive restaurants all along the beaches. Stroll up north to Queenscliff for the fewest crowds and great waves and to the south to Shelly Beach for quieter, lapping waves and beach combing. Wish I were there - we moved to Kansas from Sydney just over a year ago - we really miss Oz! (pun intended!) Watching this site to guage our chances (6 x cat 6!) of a return trip asap!
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Doug Skillman
New member
Username: Dskillman

Post Number: 4
Registered: 02-2010
Posted From: 70.33.13.243
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2010 - 09:46 pm:   

I purchased an Australian SIM card today on eBay. It is from Telstra, cost $8.95 and comes loaded with $10Au on it. I checked with my phone company, I have a Motorola Crazer. It is already unlocked and ready to have the SIM cards exchanged when I'm ready to go. Plan to change out the cards during the LONG flight there, LOL
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Pat G
Intermediate Member
Username: Pgun

Post Number: 74
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 202.124.103.234
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2010 - 04:39 am:   

Just wanted to let everyone know we are in New Zealand right now and will be heading to Australia, commercial this Friday. Caught the last C-5 to Christchurch about 10 days ago. Thanks everyone for all the information. Right now we are doing great.
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Robert W.
Member
Username: Bob9125

Post Number: 49
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 65.1.211.129
Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 04:37 pm:   

I bought a local sim card in Sydney when I was there in 2007. It worked well for me and gave the folks back home a way to reach me in an emergency. A lot better than searching for a pay phone. I got one from Telestra. Seems like I got some promotion minutes thrown in free at the time.
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Doug Skillman
New member
Username: Dskillman

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2010
Posted From: 70.33.13.243
Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 01:38 pm:   

Hello,
My info may be a little old, but it's still fresh in my mind, LOL. Back in 1983 my then wife and I flew SA to Richmond (our first SA trip!) We had not much of a clue where we were going. We took a taxi into Sydney (OUCH) the driver asked where to and the only thing I could remember from the tour books was Kings Cross. So we were dropped off in front of the Travel Lodge ($150 a night 1983 dollars!) Spent one night there and then took the train back out to Richmond and stayed at a nice little motel across the street from the train station. We rode the train into town after that! We rented a car and drove to Brisbane, pretty drive! We met LOTS of people and enjoyed everyone! We enjoyed the harbor tour and the zoo and the botonical gardens in Sydney. We were in country 14 days.
We (different wife) are going back June and July this year. The question I have is would it be a good idea to buy a pay-as-you go cell phone when we arrive? Enjoy your trip Pat. Keep us posted how it goes.
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Gene Williams
Advanced Member
Username: Gene_w

Post Number: 270
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 98.230.6.116
Posted on Wednesday, December 09, 2009 - 09:30 am:   

"Favorite local foods? "

Try the Carpet Bag Steak. That's a Porterhouse steak that's been 'pocketed' and fresh oysters inserted before grilling. When I first heard of it, I thought, "Uck! That's a waste of good beef and good oysters." But it really works.

At one meal you should save room and Aus$ for a Pavlova ( a dessert consisting of a meringue base or shell filled with whipped cream and fruit - Kiwi among others). It's the Australian national desert. Sorta like a baked Alaska but richer. Named for the Anna Pavlova the Russian ballerina.

Gene W.
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Pat G
Intermediate Member
Username: Pgun

Post Number: 67
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 76.234.22.73
Posted on Wednesday, December 09, 2009 - 02:41 am:   

Thanks to all of you.

This is all great information. Anyone else want to chime in?
Pat
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Larry W. Carnes
Senior Member
Username: Larry

Post Number: 1028
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 12.72.126.247
Posted on Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - 09:24 pm:   

"Did you have favorite hotels, B&Bs?"

YHA hostels. The Sydney Central YHA is outstanding.

"Favorite local foods?"

I eat at a lot of RSLs; always great value. The one in Richmond is quite good.

Meat pies, fish & chips, kangaroo steaks (Try the peppered 'roo filet at Toddy's on the Mall in Alice Springs; best steak I've ever had!)

"Favorite tourist sites?"

Grampians Nat'l Park, between Melbourne & Adelaid, is spectacular. You can stay in the Eco Hostel there and hike by yourself on the trail that goes up the hill & through the woods. Lots of kangaroos up there. The 'roos come down the hill at sundown to graze on the soccer field. A full-day tour of the park itself guided by one of the locals is well worth the time and money. Only drawback (at least when I was there a few years ago) is the single grocery and most of the eating places were owned by the same guy....and he really gouged folks. Best to take your own food to prepare in the hostel's communal kitchen.

If you go to Alice Springs, a side trip to Ayers' Rock (Uluru) is a must. I'm still amazed how it changes colors from red to brown to purple to tan at sunset.

"Excursion companies you used and liked?"

It's not your typical tour operation, but I really enjoyed the Wayward Bus.
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Gene Williams
Advanced Member
Username: Gene_w

Post Number: 268
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 98.230.6.116
Posted on Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - 08:06 am:   

Okay, a sea-story and then a suggestion about Sidney lodging.

On our last trip there, my wife adopted a young USN Lt. (female) and her mother who were on the flight with us. Their first trip to Oz. They were both very uneasy about finding a place to stay.

I herded the 3 females toward the King's Cross area, via the subway from the train station, having been there on liberty on a prior trip. I sorta forgot that King's Cross is the "tenderloin" of Sydney (Where else would a sailor on liberty go?) The hookers and raucous environment scared the 3 ladies even more. I left them in a coffee shop while I went up the street to find accommodations (something renting for more than an hour at a time) On my way, a hooker called out to me, "Hava go Mate?" I smiled at her and kept going. I found nice lower priced hotel not too far away and returned to gather up my wife and the other two ladies. As we made our way to the hotel, we passed the same hooker. She grinned at me and said, "Way to go, Mate! Scored a 3 I see!"

King's Cross has the full range of accommodations from 4 star hotels to backpacker hostels.

If you google "lodging Kings Cross Sydney, NSW, Australia" (in quotes) you will find a link to http://www.hotelclub.net/hotel.reservations/Sydney.htm
that'll get you a listing of Sidney hotels. You can explore possibilities from there.

Gene W.
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Pat G
Intermediate Member
Username: Pgun

Post Number: 66
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 76.229.139.249
Posted on Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - 04:14 am:   

Gene and Larry,
Thanks for the ideas. Keep them coming folks.
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Larry Cranford
Advanced Member
Username: Larrycranford

Post Number: 255
Registered: 06-2006
Posted From: 64.160.119.107
Posted on Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - 03:08 am:   

Gene, good suggestions. I did most of those but some of them I didn't. That would be a good reason to go back.
Pat, after you arrive you will want to rest over night before probably taking the train into Sydney. An excellent choice would be the following:
Click on above "John D's Space-a Pages".
Click on "Locations-Pacific".
Click on " RAAF Alice Springs" to the right of "Australia". That will be the first entry on the page since it is put together alphabetically.
Look at the entry, "Lodging" and it will tell you all about the "Coach House", a great B&B right next to the air base. When I was there, I could see the parked aircraft that we had just arrived in. Then in the morning, you can go across the street and a little to the right and catch the train into Sydney.

Larry
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Gene Williams
Advanced Member
Username: Gene_w

Post Number: 267
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 98.230.6.116
Posted on Monday, December 07, 2009 - 11:31 pm:   

I'll jump in with answers to some of Pat's questions.

First thing, go to Google Maps and search "Richmond, NSW, Australia" That will give a good idea where Richmond RAAF base lies in relation to the town of Richmond. Then widened the scan and you'll see the relationship of Richmond to Sydney. (About 60 miles apart)

The public transport is good. Train's the best way to get to/from Sydney. Local taxi will get you to/from the base to town.

We love Sydney. Things to do:
1) the water taxi to the zoo from the Circular Quay.
2) the zoo
3) the Austrailian Museum (natural history museum on Hyde Park)
4) eating meat pies at Harry's on Woolloomooloo (fleet landing)
5) water taxi across Sydney Harbor to have lunch at Manly (mouth of the harbor)
6) get a multi-day pass and ride the "Red Bus" all over Sydney.
7) Walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens
8) we took a train out to the "Blue Mountains" stopped over night at a B& B then rode a bus back to the coast and then back to Sydney
9) the Australian Maritime History museum on Darling Harbor
10) Canberra is sort nice once. No need to go back. Sorta "too-well-planned" for my taste.
11) Meet the Aussies! They are GREAT people.

When we were there the RAAF military in the Richmond pax terminal we not a lot of help (The USAF guys were more help, but made themselves scarce) Try to have a few Aus coins on hand to call the taxi. Ride sharing on the taxi is the custom.

Gene W.
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John D.
Moderator
Username: John_d

Post Number: 3630
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 95.208.80.143
Posted on Monday, December 07, 2009 - 05:35 pm:   

Pat,

Yes, this is certainly the right section for your inquiry. In fact, your post is an example of why the Off Topic Forum was created!
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John David Brooks
Intermediate Member
Username: Johnb6597

Post Number: 146
Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 121.55.235.75
Posted on Monday, December 07, 2009 - 06:49 am:   

Awesome questions...and I'm dying to read the very best answers!
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D.B.M UK
Senior Member
Username: Overlandrover

Post Number: 5398
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 88.108.33.225
Posted on Monday, December 07, 2009 - 06:08 am:   

Pat, good questions. I haven't tried to get there myself, seem to get stuck in Virginia, but hopefully one day, so will watch for answers to your questions.
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Pat G
Intermediate Member
Username: Pgun

Post Number: 65
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 76.227.61.145
Posted on Monday, December 07, 2009 - 05:08 am:   

I hope I'm putting this in the right section.

I have read about Australia being the ultimate destination for Space A travelers. I have also read about how difficult it can be to get on a flight. Obviously some of you have made it. I know that Marv has been there a few times and has family there. What I would like to know is more about what you did when you got there.

Where did you stay when you arrived in Richmond or Alice Springs?
How did you get out of Richmond or Alice Springs and into the rest of the country?
Where did you go and how long did you stay?
What cities did you like and what were your favorite sightseeing excursions?
What would you recommend someone see if it is their first visit to the country and have only 1 week? 2 weeks?
Would you recommend a rental car or local public transportation?
Did you have favorite hotels, B&Bs?
Favorite places to eat? Favorite local foods?
Favorite tourist sites?
Excursion companies you used and liked?
Did you get out of the cities and if you did where did you go and what did you do?
Anything else you would like to share about the country?
What do you wish you had done that you didnít get a chance to do?

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