This fall I was lucky enough to make a trip to Australia to visit my sister, Bri, who has decided to call Brisbane home. Now in the Southern Hemisphere, fall is the beginning of summer, so a trip to the beach was mandatory - to me anyways. The main beach options from Brisbane are to head north to an area known as the Sunshine Coast, or south to the beaches near the city of Gold Coast. I never realized that the Gold Coast was actually a city! I thought it just referred to a stretch of beaches, but apparently Gold Coast is the second most populous city in the state of Queensland. Anyways, we decided to visit both areas, first with a trip south to Currumbin and then with a trip north to Caloundra.
A month ago I decided to take a rather impromptu trip to Australia to visit my sister, Bri, who lives in Brisbane. I'd visited her when she lived in Perth and we'd eaten our way around the city. We had delicious Aussie breakfasts like eggs and avocado on toast, decadent coffees, and visited a fish and chip shop in which sheets of newspaper were laid on our table onto which the chips were poured. That was three years ago and I was determined to make a trip out to see her life in Brisbane. When she found out I was coming she assured me that like before, we'd eat our way across the city.
You land in Australia and head to customs without any premonitions because you've done this dozens of times. You fill out the customary questionnaire and send your things through the x-ray machine. As one of your boxes goes through a scowl appears on the face of the customs agent. He leans closer to the screen. He's seen something. He signals an assistant to take the box and you're led to a long metal table where various pieces of luggage are being searched. This assistant - let's call him Kevin - puts on gloves and addresses you in a stern tone: "Did you pack this box?"
In June of 2012 I was privileged to join my sister on the trip of a life time: nearly a month traversing the Canning Stock Route (CSR) in the Australian Outback. In order for you to grasp what an awesome opportunity it was, allow me to tell you a little bit about the Canning Stock Route. As the name suggests it was a cattle route created in the early 1900s to service the beef industry in Western Australia. Spanning 1,150 miles it is the longest historic stock route in the world. After the last cattle drive in 1959 the route slowly began to gain popularity as a challenging 4x4 adventure route.
I think a lot of people make the mistake of staying too close to shore when making a trip to see the Great Barrier Reef. At least that's what we did when we first started to visit it. There are a lot of islands situated along the inner reef, like Green Island, that make for an easy day trip from Cairns (one of the main towns to book trips to the Barrier Reef from). Only 30-45 minutes off shore and cheaper than a trip to the outer reef, they were our choice at first. Brochures and websites about each island described wonderful snorkeling and diving and we were generally happy with what we found. But after awhile we got restless and decided that there must be a spot where we could truly see the vibrant corals and vast array of fish and other animals that the Great Barrier Reef is renown for.
When I first started traveling to Australia I found myself a bit lost at times due to their penchant for shortening words paired with their own unique set of terminology. When my sister married an Australian and moved to Perth I suddenly had my own "dictionary" for decoding Aussie lingo. With their help, I've put together a list of some of the more common terms and phrases. This definitely isn't all of them, but it's a start.