Travel advice required

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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 04:58 pm

Regular reader FC emails:

My son is a sergeant in the US Army, and is currently serving his second tour of duty in Iraq. He’s due to be discharged this November.

The reason I’m writing is that he wants to travel a bit before he returns to the States, and one place he’d like to visit is Australia. Is there any place in particular that you could recommend a young veteran visit?

Sydney, for a start, so I can buy the man a drink. He isn’t spending a cent here. Readers, please add other Australian visit recommendations in comments.

Posted by Tim B. on 05/01/2006 at 12:17 PM
    1. Well he should be happy anywhere, and at that time of year after a long hot Iraqi summer he might find Adelaide a treat, or even Tasmania. Assuming it’s December the souchcoast of NSW , Bermagui etc is lovely at that time of year.

      Posted by genwolf on 2006 05 01 at 12:58 PM • permalink


    1. I recall enjoying the nature preserve near Brisbane.  Also had fun seeing the Rock Kangaroos near Alice Springs.  If he enjoys diving and/or snorkling anywhere (that the starfish haven’t destroyed) on the Great Barrier Reef.  I have many fond memories of my stay is Australia.

      Posted by David A on 2006 05 01 at 01:06 PM • permalink


    1. The Great Barrier Reef is fine David A. In fact the starfish probably plays an integral part in it’s health. Check out this link

      Posted by Srekwah on 2006 05 01 at 01:36 PM • permalink


    1. Genwolf, I’d suggest Launceston for a visit- but not Hobart.

      Posted by anthony27 on 2006 05 01 at 01:41 PM • permalink


    1. The Sydney Airport departure lounge for a flight to Christchurch’d be great.

      Posted by Clubbeaux on 2006 05 01 at 01:47 PM • permalink


    1. I think the guide books have it covered. the big highlights are Sydney; Cairns (ie the great barrier reef); plus uluru, kakadu, and all that other stuff out in the middle of nowhere.
      If you do nothing else in Sydney, catch the Ferry from Circular Quay to Manly, hang out at the beach for the day, then catch the ferry back to Circular Quay again in the evening.
      In November, everywhere will be nice. Even beaches in Victoria will be nice at that time of year :-). Pick a beach town somewhere – anywhere – and hang out for a while. Um, Any beach town, that is, except for Byron Bay… he’s likely to be accosted by too many moonbats there.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 05 01 at 02:06 PM • permalink


    1. The Kimberleys in North Western Australia. The most beautiful region in the country – and not as touristy as north and far north Queensland.

      If he’s a wine buff, SW of WA. Jancis Robinson, Britain’s premier wine writer, calls it the heaven of wine regions in terms of scenery. Also exceptionally good (in the upper bracket, for “value” $10-15 bottles – bar a few exceptions – forget it) vinos.

      Posted by James Waterton on 2006 05 01 at 02:09 PM • permalink


    1. As an American living part time in Australia, I’d reccomend a harbor tour of Sydney and a visit to the Zoo and Bondi beach.  Other than that, Sydney is just another big city full fo strangers.  For some dark reason, Aussies imported British ideas about food and not their pubs.  A dissapointment on two counts. Port Douglas on the Reef is OK.  Take the best tour you can afford.  The Daintree forrest is great if you get a decent tour and guide.  Aussies are great at that. Melbourne isn’t worth looking at.  Perth from January to April is the best place on earth.  Perfect weather, great sailing and an incredible percentage of pretty girls.  If you want to feel like you’ve been somewhere, use an Asian airline to fly there.  Better than Qantas and 10 times better than any US airline and you can spend a few days on the layover in an exotic place.  Australia isn’t all that exotic. Nice, but not exotic.

      Posted by lmassie on 2006 05 01 at 02:20 PM • permalink


    1. #8, “not exotic”?
      With respect, pig’s arse.
      You obviously haven’t been to the NT or Torres Straits islands. Or Kimberleys. or…
      I could go on…..

      Posted by Crusader rabbit on 2006 05 01 at 02:51 PM • permalink


    1. #9 It’s pigs ass and yes I’ve been to all those places. Lived there off and on since 87. Australia is just fine but after a couple of weeks it can remind one of Kansas.  Hong Kong, Singapore or Bangcok and volley ball on a nude beach in Perth will hold a lot more attraction to a young GI than all the tidal flats, flies and red dirt in the top end.  Remember where he’s comming from.

      Posted by lmassie on 2006 05 01 at 03:08 PM • permalink


    1. Leave him alone – he’s entitled to his opinion, despite the fact that a number of thoughtful and intelligent servicepeople might be insulted by his characterisation of them.

      Posted by James Waterton on 2006 05 01 at 03:18 PM • permalink


    1. Although Crusader Rabbit’s right – it’s definitely “pig’s arse”.


      Posted by James Waterton on 2006 05 01 at 03:19 PM • permalink


    1. Ah, beautiful Christchurch (#5) – I spent a month there one night.
      By the way, it’s the ‘Kimberley’, as in the ‘Kimberley Region’, not the ‘Kimberleys’.

      Posted by AlphaMikeFoxtrot on 2006 05 01 at 03:45 PM • permalink


    1. As someone who’s seen thousands of sailors and marines coming off the fleet when it’s in Fremantle, the beaches and bars get a lot more atention than the Emu farm does.  I’ve also found that these guys. as well as the local SAS in Swanbourne, are head and shoulders above the average uni student or any other group you can name.
      Anyway, unless you can figure out a way to get to the Kimberly or Torres Strait without spending an extra few thousand dollars on flights and overpriced accomadations at the beginning of the wet, I’d still say my opinion of Australia is spot on. (Except for the pig’s/pigs thing.)

      Posted by lmassie on 2006 05 01 at 03:52 PM • permalink


    1. Where guys go depends on the guy. When I was sailing the South Pacific when we made port I did the usual tourist thing.  For example when we made Sydney the first thing I did was tour the opera house. So the more a varied the advice the better.

      Actually I have seen both sides of the arguement on the starfish thing. As a physicist what the heck do I know about such things.

      Posted by David A on 2006 05 01 at 04:46 PM • permalink


    1. He’s got to see the Gold Coast (where the CART race is) and he’s got a bed while he’s here. Easy reach for the Sunshine Coast too – Australia Zoo. Crikey!


      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2006 05 01 at 04:49 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmm. Talking of the Australia Zoo, my sister’s ex-husband works there lol. Should I see if we can organise a meet and greet with Steve Irwin??

      lmaussie, I understand what you mean about Kansas. I once spent 3 days in Wichita, and driving out in the country for a few hours reminded me of the drive between Melbourne and Adelaide.

      I have to disagree on Melbourne for a visit, though. Apart from the politicians, it’s a beautiful place.

      We have touristy things here – and I don’t mean the Cashino. I always recommend the Zoo, and a trip down the Great Ocean Road.

      We also have the usual pubs, clubs, restaurants, theatres and people who speak bloody good english. Some of us even speak American!

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 05 01 at 06:09 PM • permalink


    1. I’d recommend he avoid Newcastle and morning TV.

      Posted by Ian Deans on 2006 05 01 at 06:27 PM • permalink


    1. The Bourbon and Beefsteak in Sydney, of course.

      Posted by Andrew on 2006 05 01 at 06:34 PM • permalink


    1. I strongly recommend Sydney too. Try the restaurant Jimmy Liks for a good meal and chic scenery. Sunshine coast in QLD is a favourite: beautiful beaches, restaurants and natives.

      I think Melbourne is good too, for a day.

      Posted by captain on 2006 05 01 at 06:41 PM • permalink


    1. Don’t know if it’s still the case, but I found Perth to be the friendliest city in Oz. Margaret River is just beautiful. Killer surf if you can handle it. Watch out for hippies in Esperance (or have they been bulldozed?).

      Spent most of my life in Sydney & I love the place but, as Imassie says, in the end it’s just another western city. The harbour is nice & so are the restaurants and bars, but of limited use to a young serviceman without a huge pile of cash. The suburbs are friendly but boring and the city is one big money-hole (as has been suggested, the Manly ferry is still the best value sampling of Sydney).

      Gold Coast may be worth a visit. Not particularly beautiful but you know what you’re in for: lots of noise and lots of crass, unpretentious entertainment. Surfers Paradise for the beach babes (surf sucks though – name’s a con). Food is atrocious. Get fresh seafood from Charis & forget the restaurants.

      Skip the smartarse trendoid locations in inner Sydney and Melbourne. Kings Cross is military-friendly (up the road from Garden Island naval base) but it’s a mostly stale fast food, watered-down drinks, vomit and sleaze.

      Posted by Henry boy on 2006 05 01 at 06:54 PM • permalink


    1. Anywhere, really, apart from Canberra.
      Oh, and tell him to not bother buying the Lonely Planet Guide – it makes Australia sound worse than Iraq!

      Posted by pick-your-pun on 2006 05 01 at 07:10 PM • permalink


    1. Cronulla. Where the girls in bikinis are plentiful, and Muslims pleasantly absent.

      Posted by Mike Jericho on 2006 05 01 at 07:14 PM • permalink


    1. a country member, if and when you come back to the Gold Coast, it sounds to me like you are badly in need of some local knowledge.

      Something that I also would be honoured to pass on to our young soldier if he decides to go there.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 01 at 07:19 PM • permalink


    1. All good suggestions above, but I would also suggest the Australian War Memorial, being he is a soldier, he may appreciate this as well.

      Pity he has to visit Canberra, but I am sure he has been to worse places. 🙂

      Posted by Dave T on 2006 05 01 at 07:22 PM • permalink


    1. Can a Yank jump in here?

      Sydney is a must.  The Circular Quay, especially around sunset is a must, as is the inner harbour.  I took a tour of the Opera House which I enjoyed very much.

      Brisbane was very nice also.  You can get on a bus and go out to feed the Kangaroos and get your picture taken with a Koala.

      I would stay away from the departure lounges however.  Biased?  Oh yes!!  Checked my bags through to Los Angeles instead of finding a locker and spent 24 straight hours on planes and departure lounges from Brisbane-Sydney-Los Angeles.

      In late November he gets The Ashes. Hey!

      Posted by yojimbo on 2006 05 01 at 07:22 PM • permalink


    1. #16 Thin Man Returns….
      In my capacity as a Gold Coast Copper I’ll add to that and say he has a free pass to get FOP in Surfers Paradise play up like a 2 bob watch…as long as no one loses an eye.

      Posted by Skip on 2006 05 01 at 07:28 PM • permalink


    1. BTW is he Jewish by any chance? Coz if so I’ve got this daughter who .. ahh forget it.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 01 at 07:34 PM • permalink


    1. What’ve I missed, geoff? Been living in Surfers Paradise for the past 3 years.

      Posted by Henry boy on 2006 05 01 at 07:43 PM • permalink


    1. I suppose that’s not too bad……it took until comment#22 before somebody slagged off Canberra.

      But seriously, Sydney’s got the harbour and the Opera House…what else is special?  It’s not like the rest of Australia doesn’t have beaches.

      Canberra has the Australian War Memorial, which is the best of its kind in the world; it has, per head, more fine eating locales; and, if you feel so inclined, many fine houses of, er, ill-repute, in Fyshwick.

      Posted by eagle bomber on 2006 05 01 at 07:48 PM • permalink


    1. “Spent most of my life in Sydney & I love the place but, as Imassie says, in the end it’s just another western city.”

      What the hell’s wrong with that? Why do Westerners talk down their culture so much? Humility is one thing, but this “oooh, sorry about our boring, characterless culture, those exotic places in Asia where you can stay in a Hilton, surf the internet for Asianteenanalcumsluts on your wireless, and get coffee at Starbucks (just like at home) are just sooo much more interesting” is just bizarre. The only truly exotic places left in Asia that haven’t been turned into a combo of Disney World and Las Vegas (with younger prostitutes) are in those countries with psychotic governments where foreigners have a tendency to disappear.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2006 05 01 at 07:53 PM • permalink


    1. Lakemba.

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2006 05 01 at 07:59 PM • permalink


    1. #29 a country member. 3 years! Bloody knowall newcomers. Apart from a twenty year interruption in Sydney and Canberra I’ve been here since 1955.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 01 at 08:02 PM • permalink


    1. Tasmania – Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park

      Around Cairns – Daintree Nat. Park, Port Douglas, and (30 miles inland and 2000 feet up) the Atherton Tableland. But be wary of the cassowary.

      Posted by David Morgan on 2006 05 01 at 08:03 PM • permalink


    1. Yeah that’s right Andrea. I hate western culture. That’s why I suggested the Gold Coast, where everyone lives in mud huts, travels in rickshaws and speaks in exotic tongues.

      Posted by Henry boy on 2006 05 01 at 08:08 PM • permalink


    1. If he’s still packing, can we suggest Byron Bay so he can clear any, ahem, contraband out of his personal kit before boarding?  You know, frags, willie pete, AT4’s…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 05 01 at 08:09 PM • permalink


    1. If he wants to see something nice, Cradle Mt Nat Park, Freycinet Nat park, and Walls of Jerusalem Nat park are my favourites.

      But tassie isn’t really the place to come to consume. We have wilderness, and really nice food & wine, but that’s about it.

      Posted by Tasman on 2006 05 01 at 08:17 PM • permalink


    1. my suggestion. find a pretty girl and head up to Ellis Beach (b/w cairns and Pt. Douglas FNQ). get yourself a cabin near the beach, some Boags and spend your days swimming, sunbaking, drinking beer and whatever else come to mind.

      Posted by larrikin on 2006 05 01 at 08:21 PM • permalink


    1. #19

      The Bourbon and Beefsteak in Sydney, of course.

      Andrew clearly hasn’t been to Kings Cross for a few years.

      The Bourbon (as it is now officially known) has been cleaned up, ahd doors installed and morphed from one of Sydney’s landmark dives (and favourite with servicemen on leave) to one of its trendiest hangouts.

      Whereas once upon a time, he would never have to leave, our American friend probably won’t get in these days.

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2006 05 01 at 08:43 PM • permalink


    1. Cronulla. :0

      Posted by 1.618 on 2006 05 01 at 08:47 PM • permalink


    1. #33

      #29 a country member.

      Okay, I’ll remember.

      (Think about it – With apologies to Gough Whitlam who I believe said it first)

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2006 05 01 at 08:50 PM • permalink


    1. I recommend Cairns. Start with the Kuranda train to Kuranda and then the Sky Rail back to Cairns. The Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island, and Cooktown. Golf at Port Douglas and hike the Mossman Gorge. Eat and drink at The Stumbling Goat in Cairns and tell the owner Dave Bernard that Scott from Seattle sent you. I’ll be happy to shout tea for this returning serviceman.

      Posted by swassociates on 2006 05 01 at 08:51 PM • permalink


    1. Dear country member, don’t take it too hard. You’re not the first person to fall victim to a cliché. Besides, what’s so special about a surfing community? After all, surfing is just another boring Western custom (that we stole from the Hawaiians).

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2006 05 01 at 08:59 PM • permalink


    1. I recommend Engadine which is considered by Sydney-siders as something of a Mecca but without the fatal stampedes and medieval laws.

      It has a Coles, Woolworths and a Franklins all within easy walking distance not to mention a Go Los, Liquidators and another discount joint in the Franklins arcade where you can buy sunglasses for $5-$6.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 05 01 at 09:14 PM • permalink


    1. Administrator: No, you fell victim to your own hyperbole by completely misconstruing my comment about Sydney and launching into a breathless rant about Asia, Hilton Hotels, Internet porn, Starbucks, Las Vegas, Disneyland, prostitutes and dictatorships (…WTF??).

      Reminded me of the Monty Python travel agency sketch (Live at the Hollywood Bowl, it’s a gem).

      And who said anything about surfing community? I’m talkin’ about the waves. And it’s not boring. Now I’m really offended…

      Back on topic…

      In case I wasn’t clear enough, to my target audience – a young military guy on R & R:

      Sydney has some unique and interesting stuff, and if you’ve got the money and/or the contacts you can have a ball there. But more likely it will seem similar to many modern US cities not that there’s anything wrong with that! Easier party options include Perth and Gold Coast. This is based on feedback I’ve got over the years from other US visitors.

      geoff: Yes, I realise I’m barely beyond tourist status in Queensland at this stage and am not qualified to say anything except that it’s Godzowncountry.

      Posted by Henry boy on 2006 05 01 at 09:26 PM • permalink


    1. “BTW is he Jewish by any chance? Coz if so I’ve got this daughter who .. ahh forget it.’‘

      No he isn’t, unless he’s converted without telling us (’‘us’’ being his parents), and I don’t think Iraq would be the place to do that, somehow.

      Anyway I’ll be sending him a link to this page so he can read all your suggestions. From what I know of him, the ones involving beer, beaches and girls in bathing suits will appeal to him most – but this trip is still a few months away, so he has plenty of time to add to his itinerary.

      Sonetka’s Mom (who is also the Sergeant’s Mom)…

      Posted by Sonetka’s Mom on 2006 05 01 at 09:26 PM • permalink


    1. #46

      Well that narrows things down a bit. The guy will be zeroing in on exactly what red blooded army types usually do on leave here in Oz.

      Now if he heads up this way (Port Douglas) it would be mainly for the tropical atmosphere with more emphasis on sight seeing rather than checking out the babes. I would have suggested a trip out to the reef as a must see. Otherwise Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Sydney beaches although coming into winter they may be down on numbers.

      Posted by Spag_oz on 2006 05 01 at 10:01 PM • permalink


    1. Country member, you are much too sensitive and delicate to post here. By the way, it’s not just about you—a couple of other people said dumb things about such-and-such a place being “too much like any other Western city.” I paraphrase, of course. You just happen to be the last person who used the unfortunate turn of phrase. Maybe in your cozy Surfer’s Paradise (your phrase, not mine), you haven’t had to have your ears and eyes wearied by the constant battering of How Awful, Dull, Stultifying, Boring, Not Exotic Enough For College Students Out For a Piece of Strange and Some Curry, Hegemonical Imperialistical Patriarchical Too Too Anglo-Saxon Christian—you name it—is Western Culture, culminating in the ridiculous display of illegal immigrants in my country “protesting” that we let them into our country because they wants it yess preciousss, but I have, and I am up to here. Even little self-deprecating quips grate at this point.

      Oh I’m sorry. I’m afraid I used too much hyperbole. It’s all right, it’s only words, you can come out from under your surfboard now.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2006 05 01 at 10:04 PM • permalink


    1. If he wants spectacular, uncrowded gorgeous beaches right in a major city, point him towards Narrabeen and points north in Sydney.

      If he’d like Australiana without getting too far off the track, he should try Eumundi on market day. (That’s in the Qld Sunshine Coast hinterland.)

      I agree entirely with those people who recommend the Kimberley, especially if he takes the trouble to see the Bucaneer Archipeligo and then travels the Kimberley via the Gibb River Rd (not the hard top).

      Finally, if he’s into golf, he’s welcome at Long Reef. I’ll shout.

      Posted by kywong73 on 2006 05 01 at 10:08 PM • permalink


    1. Poor old country member.

      There’s more to the Gold Coast than Surfers Paradise you know.

      Charis is great for seafood as you point out, Burleigh and Coolangatta beaches are outstanding.

      Although technically not in Gold Coast City, Mt Tamborine is glorious and the markets are lovely.

      But I’m punting our young serviceman friend has a bit of an adventurous streak, so I recommend:

      Abseiling in Lamington National Park

      Sky diving from Coolangatta Airport

      Deepsea fishing departing from Marina Mirage

      Even the much maligned theme parks are pretty entertaining too – the Australian Outback Spectacular near MovieWorld has to be a must

      Through connections I’m sure Nicky and I can secure a SuperV8 race day at the Holden Performance Driving Centre

      And let’s not forget the Gold Coast winery tour taking in Wongawallen, Mt Tamborine
      and Canungra.

      The Gold Coast was the R&R spot for US servicemen during both WWII and the Vietnam War.


      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2006 05 01 at 10:12 PM • permalink


    1. Completely biased – but get to Perth.  WA has heaps too offer and it isn’t as crowded as the East Coast.  Happy to take him sailing over to Rottnest etc if you get my email address from Andrea.

      In general though, and from what I’ve seen of mates returning from active service, find an isolated beach – Australia has lots and lots of them.  Spend a couple of days just sitting and walking and thinking.  A couple of days of that can make a world of difference.


      Posted by Razor on 2006 05 01 at 10:14 PM • permalink


    1. have you been to the outback spectacular yet, Nora?
      is it worth the cash? Would a five year old like it (hey I know my limitations!)?

      Posted by entropy on 2006 05 01 at 10:26 PM • permalink


    1. Queensland: Fitzroy Island on the barrier reef (just off cairns) is great.

      Posted by Jonny on 2006 05 01 at 10:48 PM • permalink


    1. If he wants girls, beer, beaches I think the Gold Coast is the way to go.  Don’t forget those American openwheelers that race around up there in October.  Definitely party time then.

      If he wants a bit of a quieter time head down Phillip Island.  Beautiful beaches, woman, beer, fairy penguins(though majority are straight) and V8 Supercars in December on a great track plus more beautiful women.

      And yes, if you haven’t worked it out I’m a total revhead who loves beer, bbq and beautiful women.

      Don’t forget Melbourne, if he is going to visit Australia he needs to see an AFL game at the MCG; beer in one hand, pie in the other.  Then off to the pubs!

      Posted by youngy on 2006 05 01 at 10:50 PM • permalink


    1. Dave,
      I’d love to offer accommodation in Brisbane, but I live a bit far out.
      Canberra War Memorial is amazing.
      Sydney is beautiful, the harbout – I reckon the ferry to Many and just enjoy the beach and the ‘contours’ for the day would be good for him. R-E-L-A-X.
      I am also partial to Perth, Western Australia.
      Aus is a big place, depends on how much time he has and what his interests are… I hope he has a great time!


      When are you thinking of going to the Outback Spectacular? My friend is going on Mothers day. I could give you a report… They have some sort of deal with the Seaworld Nara Resort for an overnight stay room and ticket price for $400 for 4 people. Accommodation and show only, no breakky. The show tickets are over $70 I think.

      ABC612 Brisbane show reviewer reviewed it about a month ago and she enjoyed it. I don’t remember if they took their kids with them. But if you think 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony “Man From Snowy River” show, you’ll probably have the point. (Same horseman/show rider)

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 01 at 10:52 PM • permalink


    1. Perth for sure, if those are his interests, Mama S. Lots of beers, lots of beaches, and the prettiest girls in the smallest bathing suits.

      Posted by SwinishCapitalist on 2006 05 01 at 10:52 PM • permalink


    1. Administrator: is that it? You took the trouble to reply simply to suggest I’m a sensitive little soul?

      Your role is to keep things on topic, isn’t it? Ban yourself, evil troll!

      Nora: not sure why you’re feeling sorry for me, but it’s sweet of you anyway.

      Posted by Henry boy on 2006 05 01 at 10:53 PM • permalink


    1. #54

      Youngy, nope, not fairy penguins, the PC brigade have ordered that they should be re-named “little penguins”.

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 01 at 10:53 PM • permalink


    1. #55



      Perview is my fiend

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 01 at 10:54 PM • permalink


    1. I am not into horse racing but if he is Melbounre is in the swing of the spring carnival.  The Melbourne Cup with all the women dress to impress I am sure they would love to see a person in uniform?

      Posted by The Big Fish on 2006 05 01 at 10:54 PM • permalink


    1. I’m happy to cover a nightout of beers for him in the Brisbane/Gold Coast area.

      Posted by Hank Reardon on 2006 05 01 at 10:55 PM • permalink


    1. Sergeant’s Mum has indicated of what he wants – beach, booze and birds. In short, hot weather. Mid year, this can only mean north of the Tropic of Capricorn for the Dry season and swimming weather.

      So, fly into Sydney…no, wait. Leave Sydney till last otherwise he’ll get seduced and never want to leave. Ask any backpacker.

      Fly into Cairns, motor 90 mins south to Mission Beach and hang out. Resorts down there are cheaper than those north of Cairns (forget Cairns, it’s a dump).

      The MB district has three world class attractions within an hour – whitewater rafting(best in Aus), dive the reef (only 40 minutes off the coast) and jump the beach (skydiving).

      Additionally a 20 minute water taxi gets him to pristine Dunk Island, relatively deserted and also a magic accomodation option. Oh, and the district’s full of vacationing backpackers…who, um, just want to have fun, like.

      Thence rent a car, drive to Sydney, fall in love and apply for residency. Too easy. (Sorry Mum)

      Posted by JAFA on 2006 05 01 at 11:06 PM • permalink


    1. Actually Andrea, Surfers Paradise is a real place .

      I know this for certain. I grew up there. Quite a sizable town in fact.

      Don’t despair country. And keep your sense of humour. You only have another twenty years to go before you qualify for your Public Expression of Opinion Certificate (Base Level-Surfers Paradise). In the meantime it might be best to confine yourself to what a rip off the duty-free stores are. We allow most people to say that. Afterall everybody except the Japanese knows that. And even they are starting to wake up.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 01 at 11:09 PM • permalink


    1. #62 JAFA

      Hi, yeah, that’s what I was on about with the ‘contours’ at Manly beach.

      But if he’s been in the ME he might find Sydney a bit cold for the beach bunnies.

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 01 at 11:12 PM • permalink


    1. I didn’t say it wasn’t real, geoff. I was responding to country member’s puzzling statements “And who said anything about surfing community? I’m talkin’ about the waves” after he had said “Been living in Surfers Paradise for the past 3 years.” Excuse me for using logic and stuff to think that a place called “Surfers Paradise” where there are “waves” there is also a “surfing community.”

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2006 05 01 at 11:17 PM • permalink


    1. #39 Dan Lewis –

      Wow, that’s a hell of a change.  Our esteemed host was good enough to meet me and the Mrs. for dinner and drinks when we were down there in Sydney in 2003.  The night ended at the Bourbon and Beefsteak and a good time was handed by all.

      I did, however, learn that if you drink enough in Australia, the bedspins go counterclockwise.

      Posted by Andrew on 2006 05 01 at 11:20 PM • permalink


    1. Bruno’s coffee, TAB Arcade, Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds, Victoria.

      Best cappucino and toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches in the world. (However, you can’t smoke there any more and the TAB next door closed some years ago.)

      Posted by ilibcc on 2006 05 01 at 11:22 PM • permalink


    1. Hi kae and entropy, (#52;#54)

      Nick and I haven’t been yet. I have the in-laws coming from the UK at the end of the year and we’re thinking of holding off until then.

      While ticket prices may seem high it does include a three course meal and a hat.

      As for the youngster, as long as he/she can sit through a full length show, I understand it should be fine. There’s supposed to be a lot of cheering and audience participation too.


      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2006 05 01 at 11:26 PM • permalink


    1. November/December is a bit “iffy” weather-wize and be careful of the school holidays and prices that triple at those times.

      What to see in Australia depends very much on his needs.  If he wants a sex/party trip it really is either Sydney or the Gold Coast.  If he is a normal tourist there is something available everywhere.

      He will find that like U.S. citizens, Australians are generally friendly and willing to start a conversation with a stranger.  Since Australia hosts many tourists there are many and varied attractions.  I stayed for instance in Cairns on business for a week last year and couldn’t believe how many adventure tour operators there were.  It also has streets of outdoor restaurants of every type and lots of blonde female Swedish backpackers.

      Could his mother give us a little about him to make more sensible and detailed recommendations?

      Posted by allan on 2006 05 01 at 11:33 PM • permalink


    1. Perth.

      Posted by Susan Norton on 2006 05 01 at 11:48 PM • permalink


    1. #69 “normal”. What on earth would you call “normal”?

      BTW, country. I’ve had a quick word with the committee and it’s been decided that in view of your three years service, you will be promoted early from “tourist” to “long-term tourist”. Straight after the Christmas season.

      Congratulations and I hope you will be inspired and encouraged to get that Certificate. Hold it continuously for fifteen years and you will qualify for consideration for promotion to Local(Recent-Grade One). Go for it old son. You’re on your way!

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 01 at 11:52 PM • permalink


    1. LOL Geoff,
      In the interests of disclosure, my father and grandfather was in part responsible for some of those Surfers Paradise high rises – they were steel fixers in the 1970s and 1980s.


      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2006 05 02 at 12:01 AM • permalink


    1. “Could his mother give us a little about him to make more sensible and detailed recommendations?”

      He’s a young male. If he’s into books I can recommend some excellent libraries. Somehow I doubt it.

      geoff: thanks, I’ll play it safe and sledge the duty free stores for now.

      JAFA: why so? I went to Cairns recently for the first time in over 15 years (admittedly only a short biz trip). I thought the place was jumpin’.

      Far North visitors: check seasons for Sea Wasp and Irukandji. Forget beaches in those months.

      I didn’t mention Canberra. The War Memorial is excellent as others have said. Spent a cpouple of years there, and it lived up to its motto: Canberra, where anything can happen, but usually doesn’t.

      Margos Maid: you don’t think a tour of Crazy Clark’s should be included?

      Posted by Henry boy on 2006 05 02 at 12:08 AM • permalink


    1. Milford Sound.

      Posted by Pat Patterson on 2006 05 02 at 12:29 AM • permalink


    1. What, New Zealand is not a state in Australia?

      Posted by Pat Patterson on 2006 05 02 at 12:30 AM • permalink


    1. Perth folks!
      No question, the friendliest people in Oz, not grumpy like Sydney or arty farty up yer arsey like Melbourne.

      I loved Perth, everyone told me it was dull and provincial, maybe, but the nicest folks in Australia by a country mile. Loved it.

      He wants booze, beaches and birds then Perth it is, Cottesloe in the day then down to Northbridge to meet the nicest, most friendly (and I mean that in the normal way) lapdancers a red blooded bloke could ever want to meet.

      Perth, no doubt about it.

      Posted by Harry Flashman on 2006 05 02 at 12:37 AM • permalink


    1. Hmmm. Melbourne in December, the AFL is over for the year I think, although there may be a few games floating around. We would be well into the cricket season, with the Ashes having begun.

      We’ve got some good bands playing around down here these days, so a couple of nights out could be arranged if that’s what he’d like.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 05 02 at 12:52 AM • permalink


    1. #73 I was going to leave Crazy Clark’s for day 2. Milli Vanilli cassettes only $2.50! Not the greatest hits, unfortunately, but excellent value all the same.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 05 02 at 01:01 AM • permalink


    1. Melbourne in December?

      OK, when we (the ex and I) were posted back to Brisbane in 1992 we had to prepare for uplift and in the week before Christmas we had days when the temp didn’t get over about 14C degrees (57) and nights were 7C degrees (44F) it was FREEZING). And it was raining, impossible to dry stuff to pack for storage.

      Not conducive to babes in bikinis!

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 02 at 01:02 AM • permalink


    1. #69 Allan –

      “November/December is a bit “iffy” weather-wize”.

      Iffy?  Not sure which country you’re in, but anywhere in Australia in spring & early summer is generally pretty good in the weather stakes.

      Country – clever; you turned a thread about a Mum wanting holiday suggestions for her son –  who happens to be serving in Iraq at present – into being all about you, you, you!

      Dear Sergeant’s Mom – Tim.B and Nick & Nora seem set to make delightful hosts for your fine son in Sydney and Queensland (respectively), so that’s pretty well sorted, and I reckon he’ll have the best possible time, in excellent company.  So, that just leaves other states / territories that he might like to visit, and depending on how long he’ll be here.  Best wishes to you & your family.

      Posted by Ck on 2006 05 02 at 01:08 AM • permalink


    1. #80: Bullshit Ck. Original post was an attempt to put up suggestions that may hopefully be useful to a young veteran on R&R. Have Gulf War vets in family, greatly respected. The travel opinions were from personal experience, so how else could they have been presented? There. No personal pronouns used.

      Soldier profile definitely indicates Perth and Surfers Paradise.

      Posted by Henry boy on 2006 05 02 at 01:42 AM • permalink


    1. Okay Sonetka’s Mom, please put your hands over your ears (but before you do, thank you and the Sgt for his service)…

      Now then, geez Louise folks, this is a young guy comin’ off his second tour in Iraq not some busload of old ladies from Dubuque. Fer cryin’ out loud, tell him where he can score some action. Like it or not, Imassie’s on the right track.

      Okay, Mom, you can come back now.

      Posted by Kyda Sylvester on 2006 05 02 at 01:43 AM • permalink


    1. #79

      Oops, I don’t think I made that very clear, we were posted from Melbourne back to Brisbane. Melbourne was freezing.

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 02 at 01:46 AM • permalink


    1. Ah, Melbourne’s weather is a bit “iffy” all year round – you know, four seasons on any given day.  But, November & December are pretty good – climate change has probably done wonders down this end.

      Posted by Ck on 2006 05 02 at 01:51 AM • permalink


    1. Coogee Beach Sydney.  Everything a young man could want is on tap or on a plate.

      Posted by Howzat on 2006 05 02 at 02:57 AM • permalink



  • #79, 83 Melbourne’s changed since you were here, kae. it never rains and never gets below 30C in Nov/Dec now. fair dinkum

    Posted by larrikin on 2006 05 02 at 03:59 AM • permalink


  • Can I just point out that of the approximately 200 federal politicians in Canberra, you people from everywhere else elect about 196 – and we Canberrans are getting a bit concerned about the quality of those you are sending down to us?  We have standards to uphold!

    Seriously though, I think all tourists to Australia should get out of the regions like Sydney and Melbourne, and visit the Nation’s Capital.  As well as the War Memorial (more a museum) mentioned above, you should check out Tidbinbilla (tracking station and nature reserve), the National Gallery and – well pretty much anywhere down here. Beaudiful

    Posted by PeterTB on 2006 05 02 at 04:05 AM • permalink


    1. What the bold

      Posted by PeterTB on 2006 05 02 at 04:07 AM • permalink


    1. Trying again

      Posted by PeterTB on 2006 05 02 at 04:07 AM • permalink


    1. Beach,  beer and birds?

      Come to canberra.

      we have beer, especially high priced boutique ones. He could go and drink copious amounts of belgium beer in kingston (if he doesn’t mind going home broke)

      We have a beach, there’s a roped of swimming area of lake burley griffin. We even have a lifesaving club. And don’t let people say it’s too cold. It gets up to fourteen of fifteen degrees (celsius) during the day in November.

      Birds? Sure lots of public servant babes with severe bobbed haircuts and John Lennon glasses. A good intellectual discussion could be had by the young sergeant. And if that doesn’t work, as someone had pointed out, there’s always fyshwick.

      Posted by Francis H on 2006 05 02 at 04:11 AM • permalink


    1. Cripes its bold in here

      Posted by Francis H on 2006 05 02 at 04:13 AM • permalink


    1. I think as many have suggested (and seeing he maybe flying west from the M.E.) that a stop off in Perth, W.A. would be a good thing…  we have great weather, superb beaches and as good a food as u could want, without all the attitude and ponciness u find in some places with elevated opinions of their own importance and sophistocation…

      Good nightlife can be foung in Fremantle, Subiaco, Northbridge, Scarbrough etc…  we have Margaret river, wineries and more beaches down South, if he arrives here in the Winter months we have the Kimberley, Ningaloo Reef (nearly as good as the Great Barrier Reef) and Broome etc up north which would be delightful when its cold down here in Perth….

      all in all Western Australia has quite a bit to offer and i think we can be quite friendly and accepting and lots of US sailors do like stopping off here for a variety of reasons u can imagine…

      then after staying here for a bit, head over East to a Sydney or Gold Coast or Canberra depending on your time/money available and interests…  visited all of them and they have their good and average points like all places….

      but highly suggest stopping on both the West and East coasts of Australia to get the whole experience….

      Posted by casanova on 2006 05 02 at 04:33 AM • permalink


    1. Tidbinbilla? Locals say there are King Brown snakes that rear up to about 4 feet and give chase (urban myth?)

      Francis H: multi-state workers report that Canberra girls have the biggest boobs (Sydney best legs, Melbourne best clothes, Brisbane least clothes…).

      Posted by Henry boy on 2006 05 02 at 04:36 AM • permalink


    1. Country member: Really. Hadn’t noticed. I am more interested in their minds of course.

      Posted by Francis H on 2006 05 02 at 04:57 AM • permalink


    1. melbourne for great live bands & a huge number of small friendly bars

      Posted by KK on 2006 05 02 at 05:51 AM • permalink


    1. #94
      I visited Tidbinbilla and Mt Stromlo (observatory) when I was a kid. I remember the snakes!  All along the fence there was a nice collection of them hanging as a warning.

      My uncle also sconned a tiger while we were having our picnic.

      I’ve still got family in Canberra. Can’t remember which suburb – probably Tuggeranong, although that could be because I just like the name.

      I haven’t heard much for Adelaide or South Aussie.

      I used to drive over to Adelaide regularly for partying with friends and family. Got family there, too. I always had a great time when I was there. I think it’s a place where you need to know the locals.

      Regarding bands here in Melb, I know the girls in Tirany and they are good mates with the Godmother. I’m sure we can get the Sergeant out with the band. As well as being a cool bunch of babes, they are a bloody good band. If you like a sort of punk/pop/rock feel to your music.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 05 02 at 06:07 AM • permalink


    1. I’m sure that after his two tours he will have a great time anywhere here. If we are updated about his itinerary we will all be pleased to shout him a meal and thank him for being part of the dedicated band of brothers in the US Forces.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2006 05 02 at 06:28 AM • permalink


    1. What, Adelaide?

      The only cemetary in Australia that is lit up at night?

      There’s a reason it’s named the “Great Northern Road” – it’s great to be leaving!

      Just don’t drink the water while you are there.

      Posted by Kaboom on 2006 05 02 at 06:35 AM • permalink


    1. In November Darwin will be a bit muggy in between the downpours but it is a tourist town and we have a nice selection of pubs and multi-culti restaurants, there are female backpackers from everywhere as well as plenty of soldierly types AND you can go to Doctor’s Gully and have a diamond back mullet suck your fingers.  That’s probably about as close as you would want to get to ocean water here at that time of year (since it will be stinger season) but the hotels have pools and booze aplenty.

      If you want to see the crocs et al at Kakadu November is a good time.  It’s the start of the Wet, the water is low, and those beasties, as well as all the other water creatures, are more concentrated, geographically speaking.

      Or just take the jumping crocs cruise down on the Adelaide River.  But try not to get on a boat with lots of Italian tourists.  When the tour guide says, “Here’s one coming,” they all rush to that side and the boat, not surprisingly, then takes on a worrying list.  There’s one big croc every 70m in that river and I, for one, would be most upset to find myself in the drink with a croc trained to come to a boat for food.

      Apart from the diamond back mullet finger sucking experience one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever done was take a boat ride from Townsville and go snorkelling at Kelso reef (90k offshore).  The water was pleasantly warm and that was in late May.  Do box jellies travel to reefs so far offshore?  I don’t know, sorry.  But I would recommend a reef snorkelling adventure to anyone with a soul – just make sure to get out of the water and back on the boat before it heads home.  Townsville isn’t so bad either.  Olde worlde in parts and there are pubs there with proper outdoor beer gardens.  Also female backpackers.

      Perth for white, sandy beaches, Margaret River wines and the odd great white.  Brisbane for its proximity to Surfers.  Or just go straight to Surfers.  I love Surfers.  Canberra for culcha.  Sydney for shopping. Melbourne for crappy weather.  Adelaide for crappy weather, awful drinking water, general misery gutsedness, lots of great whites and an air of superiority.  Never been to Tas so I can say nothing about that place.  However, I do know that it can snow in Hobart in January.

      Sonetka’s Mom, if your boy is interested in coming to Darwin let me know.  My husband plays golf with an army PR guy who’s done a tour in Iraq.  I’ll see what can be arranged to make your son feel welcome.

      Posted by Janice on 2006 05 02 at 06:59 AM • permalink


    1. “Could his mother give us a little about him to make more sensible and detailed recommendations?”

      “He’s a young male. If he’s into books I can recommend some excellent libraries. Somehow I doubt it.’‘


      Making due allowance for the fact that no young man ever tells his mother everything…
      For what it’s worth, his emails often contain requests for books and music.  The last two CDs to go out to him were Handel’s Water Music and Holst’s “Planets’‘, and the most recent books were a couple of Steven Pressfield novels and (are you ready for this?)  “The Code of the Woosters.’’  So when he comes in off the beach, you might direct him to a good bookstore.

      He does know how to scuba-dive, but all his equipment is sitting in our bedroom closet here in Chicago, so unless you can rent wetsuits, etc. right on the spot (can you?  I have no idea) that’ll be out.

      Nilknarf, what is “sconning’’ a tiger?

      Posted by Sonetka’s Mom on 2006 05 02 at 08:57 AM • permalink


    1. Petertb

      and we Canberrans are getting a bit concerned about the quality of those you are sending down to us?  We have standards to uphold!

      You do jest I take it.  Have a look at the lot you put in your ACT parliament then think can you really have a go at the rest of us?

      But then again we in Victoria have Bracksy and his comrades.  What have we done to deserve that?  I voted National so it isn’t my fault!

      Posted by youngy on 2006 05 02 at 10:03 AM • permalink


    1. 76 Harry:

      In Oz there seems to be one question that decides your social acceptability, but it varies by region.

      Adelaide: “May I ask, who’s your family?”
      Melbourne: “So, what do you do?”
      Sydney: “How much do you make, blue?”
      WA: “Another beer?”

      Posted by Jim Whyte on 2006 05 02 at 11:10 AM • permalink


    1. Well, so far we’ve collectively reccommended the whole bloody country.  Said a lot about Aussies too.  As you can tell, they’re a great bunch of people (along with the Kiwi’s) to hang around with-just ask them.
      Anyway, Janice (100) had the best advice here, except for mine of course.  A few more thoughts:
      If I was a young guy leaving that pisshole in Iraq with around 5 grand US to spend I’d get on an Asian airline to Hong Kong or Thailand. Three days in HK or 5 in Phuket (it’s back to normal, get a room in an off the beach hotel in Karon beach). Fly to Perth and stay in Fremantle.  Spend the day at Cottesloe beach and the afternoon (when the seabreeze blows you off) at the Cott Hotel (large bar) and look up some of the SAS guys that hang out there.  Mention where you’ve come from and enjoy the rest.
      After you’ve recovered, you can invite yourself for a sail at Royal Perth yacht club.  They’re always looking for a deck hand on race days and the members will provide you with a different and friendly experience.  Get one to take you down South.  It’s worth the trip, but leave the surfing alone.  Big water down there.
      Then head off to either Darwin, Surfers or the Reef, depending on what you like to do.
      Finally Sydney for a couple of days.
      As I’m in the North Chicago (Highwood)area retailing Australian Furniture, stop by when you get back.

      Posted by lmassie on 2006 05 02 at 11:44 AM • permalink


    1. re gold coast, avoid “schoolies week” like the plague (nov 19 to december 3). seriously.
      maybe thin man #16 or skip #27 can confirm, debunk, or give more detailed advice on this.
      re canberra: Sure, Canberra has lots of nice museums. Maybe you can see those on your second trip…

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 05 02 at 12:46 PM • permalink


    1. #13—Christchurch isn’t the most exciting place in the world, but I’ve heard from other Yanks who’ve been Down Under, and it seems the #1 most raved-about activity is taking in New Zealand’s South Island.  Australia’s much of what you can find in the States—fortunately for both places, I might add—but you can’t get South Island in America.

      That said this guy needs to go to Sydney and meet as many of you good folk as he can, I’d certainly hope to do so should I ever make it into town, but that close to NZ he shouldn’t miss it.

      Posted by Clubbeaux on 2006 05 02 at 02:05 PM • permalink


    1. #101 Sonetka’s Mum, `sconning’’ a tiger?…means to hit a tiger snake(deadly) over the head(scone). Imperative as tigers will chase you. Bastards.

      Posted by JAFA on 2006 05 02 at 03:08 PM • permalink


    1. Clubbeux likes the South Island and he’s right I did 3 trips by car and loved every one of them-well except for the first one with the pain in the ass Aussie girlfriend (the second two I took the PIA Aussie wife-I’ll never learn).
      Anyway, Kiwi’s are the nicest people I’ve ever met, but the weather sucks big time in November/December on the S.I.(11 inches of rain one day and the locals didn’t even notice).  Christchurch is a nice place to live, but Queenstown is the place for anybody under 40.  Rafting, jet boats, doing stupid things involving elastic bands, etc. Plan on a week if you fly to Queenstown, three if you drive from Aukland (a great drive too).  Better yet, do LA-Tahiti-Roratonga-Aukland-Aus. on a return trip next year( on Air New Zealand).

      Posted by lmassie on 2006 05 02 at 03:21 PM • permalink


    1. #101 Sonetka’s Mum, `sconning’’ a tiger?…means to hit a tiger snake(deadly) over the head(scone). Imperative as tigers will chase you. Bastards.

      You guys got some scarry shit down there. I understand there’s a plant that can kill you by mere touch. Ouch.

      Posted by Kyda Sylvester on 2006 05 02 at 03:30 PM • permalink


    1. I believe Australia has ants that can inflict a bite that can kill a person.  I think it’s Australia.  Might be Tasmania.  Is there a difference?

      Posted by wronwright on 2006 05 02 at 03:45 PM • permalink


    1. Most think so,about the Tassies, not the Bull ants.  Big suckers though.
      They do have a spider around Sydney that you don’t want to know.  Also, about 12 of the worlds 10 deadlest snakes (some are worth 2 points each).  I remember this Tiger in a Melbourne beachside pub.  Really cleared out the beer garden and yah it did get sconned.  There’s a vine up north that’s called “wait awhile” which is interesting in a bad way.  Course there’s enough big bitey things in the top end to prevent a lot of locals from learning how to swim.  They figure they would’nt live long enough to drown so why bother.  About the only thing they’re really afraid of is something called a stinger.  I’ll let others describe that one.

      Posted by lmassie on 2006 05 02 at 04:50 PM • permalink


    1. #105
      Well Daddy Dave, truth be told the locals who are not night clubbing pissheads avoid Surfers Paradise at all times with the exception of Indy (CART) Week.

      Even during ::shudder:: schoolies (end of high school celebrations – debauchery like the US spring break), there’s still plenty on the Gold Coast to do without going anywhere near Suffering Parasite, er Surfers Paradise.

      However if a young man is looking for some easy female company, Surfers is the place to go.

      Among the reasons why the locals no longer go there is its become just a jungle of residential high rises, all crammed together. Yes the name is anachronistic – the best surf is at the southern end of the city at Burleigh, Kirra and Coolangatta.

      As for scuba diving Sonetka’s Mom, there is some nice sub tropical coral and fish to see on the Gold Coast’s Broadwater or perhaps a dive on the old HMAS Brisbane, recently scuttled in Moreton Bay as a diving attraction. Also over the border in northern NSW there is some great diving around Kingscliff. All equipment can be hired around here.


      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2006 05 02 at 05:05 PM • permalink


    1. Ah yes. The stinger. aka “sea-wasp” aka “box jelly-fish”.

      We will tell more about it if you really want to know, but really all you need to know is that if you want to get wet in the stinger months, stick to the hotel swimming pool. Serious. But only a problem in the far north (Cairns etc). And you will get plenty of warnings and more if you attempt to go in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      We hardly ever lose a tourist.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 02 at 05:14 PM • permalink


    1. Since somebody raised the subject of nasties (prematurely and inappropriately I thought) I will have to say this.

      By far the biggest danger to visitors around here is going into the surf where or when the beach is unpatrolled. If you were not born and bred on a wave DO NOT DO IT! Even if you are a strong swimmer. Even if the water looks “placid”. Even if you do not intend to go out far. Often a “placid” spot in the surf is a rip.

      There are plenty of patrolled beaches and the flags are placed by people who know what they are doing.

      BTW I agree with—Nora about Burleigh, Kirra and Coolangatta. And Kingscliff. Top spot.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 02 at 05:42 PM • permalink


    1. #107 JAFA
      Thanks for that. I forget sometimes that not everyone here speaks our lingo. I used ‘sconned’ all the time, and the tiger mentioned was, of course, a tiger snake.

      And yes, they are nasty mongrels.

      I once spent a memorable New Years Eve getting drunk with a bunch of Dutch backpackers and scaring the living daylights out of them. If the animals don’t get you (spiders, snakes et al) the countryside will (droughts, floods, dust storms, hail storms and the rest).

      Needless to say i don’t remember much apart from their looks of horror.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 05 02 at 05:58 PM • permalink



    1. Further to what Geoff said,

      Beach Safety

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 02 at 06:14 PM • permalink


    1. Wodonga offers close proximity to the Hume Highway and the twin-town of Albury.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 05 02 at 06:24 PM • permalink


    1. Hardly ever lose a tourist?  Hell, they’ve made movies about Aussies losing tourists.  Well forgeting where they put them anyway, but joking aside Australia is safe enough, just don’t step off the curb without checking both ways twice.  Wrong side drivers and all that.

      Posted by lmassie on 2006 05 02 at 06:25 PM • permalink


    1. Tasmania has given us … well, the immortal phrase “map of Tasmania”.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2006 05 02 at 06:37 PM • permalink


    1. In addition to previous Aussies to avoid, these buggers, while not poisonous, give a nasty bite.

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 02 at 06:47 PM • permalink


    1. Note for tourists: best to avoid anywhere described as a “Gateway to…” something else. The term Gateway is an Australian term meaning “Abominable shithole adjacent to”…

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 05 02 at 08:49 PM • permalink


    1. kae—don’t forget everybody’s friend, the blue-ringed octopus…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 05 02 at 08:56 PM • permalink


    1. #123

      OMG, Richard, I forgot that one. Stay away from this little fellow (Hapalochlaena maculosa, and Hapalochlaena lunulata, especially when his blue rings are fluorescing – it means he’s ANGRY, and that’s when he’s most dangerous.

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 02 at 09:04 PM • permalink


    1. The problem with the blue-ringed octopi is that they look so pretty so people want to pick them up – well, whoever heard of a venomous octopus?

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 02 at 09:07 PM • permalink


    1. 122 – MM, it’d be good to have a list of “Gateways” to avoid… huh?

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 02 at 09:08 PM • permalink


    1. #126 A quick web search shows that Cairns is a Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Glenbrook is a Gateway to the Blue Mountains, while Lithgow is a double Gateway to both Sydney and western NSW.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 05 02 at 09:25 PM • permalink


    1. The last time I looked there was a big sign in the international arrivals hall at Sydney Airport, just before Customs, saying “Welcome to Sydney. Gateway to New South Wales.”

      I make no further comment.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 02 at 09:43 PM • permalink


    1. Mr Google advises that Albury-Wodonga is a gateway to the Murray region, and Heyfield is the gateway to the Alpine National Park. However the font of all gateway knowledge must be the Ballarat Gateway Tourist Information Service.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 05 02 at 09:51 PM • permalink


    1. What about some gateways around the world?

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 02 at 10:05 PM • permalink


    1. I have not been to any of these places, but:

      Miri in Malaysia is the gateway to Sarawak; Shibaura, in Japan is a gateway to Odaiba; Mountain Home Arkansas is gateway to Twin Lakes Area; Newtownabbey is the gateway to Belfast; and Hamilton, Ontario is gateway to the Niagara region.

      Maybe some readers who have been to these places can confirm their gateway status.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 05 02 at 10:19 PM • permalink


    1. Albury is the gateway to Wodonga. Or is it the other way round?

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 02 at 11:07 PM • permalink


    1. #132 Cripes, a question to rival, “If a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears…”

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 05 02 at 11:20 PM • permalink


    1. MM:

      Hamilton’s really pretty pleasant, apart from the odd biker bar on Barton St. and screechy or just plain weirdLiberal Members of Parliament. It even has south-central Ontario’s nicest swamp. You’ve been listening to too many Toronto artsyfartsyupyerarsey types.

      Based on the recognized definition, I’d be more inclined to nominate Welland as the arseh, er, gateway to the Niagara region.

      Posted by Jim Whyte on 2006 05 03 at 12:43 AM • permalink


    1. #108 – Start in Queenstown, yes, and see what strikes your fancy from there.  The poor guy’s been in the military for two tours, he might just enjoy what my Kiwi wife calls “blob time” where he’s an hour from a ton of stuff and can do what he likes when he likes.

      And he’s been in Iraq for two years?  Rain’d be a pleasant novelty at this point.

      Posted by Clubbeaux on 2006 05 03 at 01:29 AM • permalink


    1. # 127 Margos Maid

      I hesitate to correct a person who gives me so much amusement so often but I have been to Lithgow, more than once, and I have to tell you that its correct description is “The Arsehole of the World”.  I could say it is the anus of the world but the only difference is a few phonemes so why bother with Latin when there is a perfectly useful English word that says the same thing?

      # 131, uh oh, Margos Maid again

      OK.  I’m getting used to it.  Miri, another place where I have been, is in Sarawak, which is part of Malaysia.  Lutong is much closer to the Sarawak/Brunei border and therefore is the proper gateway to Sarawak if you’re coming from the north, whereas Kuala Belait would be the gateway to Brunei – if you’re coming from the south.  Unless, of course, you’re travelling down the Rajang river in which case I have no idea where the gateway would be but my father once travelled through it in the days when the dayaks were still on the prowl for heads to shrink.

      Posted by Janice on 2006 05 03 at 05:25 AM • permalink


    1. Drop into Hong Kong on the way, I’ll probably be still here before his discharge.

      Texas Bob … I’m now in Honkers.

      Posted by Stevo on 2006 05 03 at 07:00 AM • permalink


    1. I’m living now in Istanbul, your Gateway To Europe/Asia, depending on which direction you’re going across the Bosphorus Bridge.

      Posted by Clubbeaux on 2006 05 03 at 07:10 AM • permalink


    1. Iowa: Gateway to Nebraska.

      Posted by Urbs in Horto on 2006 05 03 at 07:27 AM • permalink


    1. The best comeback I ever heard was when Jerry Sienfeld said that Melbourne was the asshole of the world and some wit said Sienfeld thought that because he was just passing through.
      Gateways?  Arvada Colorado (an exceptional pisshole) Gateway to the Rocky Mountians (which you can’t see from there because of the aformentioned pisshole’s smog).

      Posted by lmassie on 2006 05 03 at 10:35 AM • permalink


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