As a tribute to my Australian visit, I compiled a list of notable things.
Tips for Travelers (most of which I learned the hard way):
- A US citizen needs a visa to visit (VISIT) Australia. It’s best to do this online rather than last minute, at the airport, because you didn’t know you needed a visa, as this will save you money. (http://www.immi.gov.au/e_visa/visitors.htm)
- If you will not rent a car or be staying with someone who has a car, invest in a Multi Pass (“Corban Dallas Multipass?”) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It’s $40 for the week and works on buses, trains, and ferries. No one told me of this magical entity until I’d already spent as much on public transportation, and then I had to buy a pass anyway because a bus that I needed to take required it.
- The Sydney Buses website (http://www.sydneybuses.info) is da bomb. Even someone as bus/train retarded as me was able to get around Sydney because of it.
- Like England, people drive on the opposite side of the road. This sounds simple in theory, but it’s much more confusing in practice, especially when one is rounding corners. Look “right then left,” or like me, look both ways twice, and when no car is in sight, run to the other side.
- Ask for a “lift,” not a ride.
- Look into the free tours. They’re awesome. Not only do you learn about the city, but you get some exercise (it’s a three hour walking tour), see the notable landmarks, and you get a map with great ideas on cool/cheap things to do. (http://www.imfree.com.au/) Try not to wait until the end of your trip to do this.
- Upon leaving (LEAVING) Australia, you must go through customs. Don’t stand in the line only to get up to the window without having completed (or even known where to find) the customs card because then you are “that person” who can’t read signs. (ps. They forms are on the tables after the security check-in)
My list of Top things
This is difficult because I like secluded beaches, so I’m tempted to say Balmoral. But overall, I think it’d be Manly Beach. It has the best combination of everything: long stretches of soft sand, people for people-watching (especially those taking surfing lessons who manage to slip off their board while it’s lying on the sand), good shopping, and great food. Plus, you can get there by ferry, which is neat.
Oddest combination restaurant
The Coffee Café, serving coffee, breakfast and Korean BBQ
Wood and Stove pizzeria in Manly
Best Pizza (from said Pizzaria)
Sweet potato pizza- Even I—lover of sweet potatoes—was skeptical, but Colin convinced me to try it, and unless I end up in Naples someday, it may just be the best pizza of my life.
Best Gelato Place
Ice Creamery in Cronulla
(I had a scoop of tiramisu and mocha cherry)
Best Ice Cream Place
(and in case you’re wondering, I am now a full-fledged imitator of Liz Gilbert because I ate gelato or ice cream every day)
Movenpick, in Manly. A small cup (one scoop) costs $5, but it’s worth it. The hardest part is deciding which flavor to get. (I decided on Swiss Chocolate and Coconut swirl, but I sampled Boysenberry and Crème, Maple Walnut, Rum Raisin and Espresso.)
Best Store Name
Manly Cosmetics and Facials
(Colin could not get me to stop giggling at every sign that began with “Manly”—indicating the town, of course, and not the adjective. Manly Bar, Manly Optometrist, etc.)
Steepest Street Outside of San Fran
Awaba. It takes to you Balmoral beach, and it rivaled my descent into the grand canyon.
(Here’s a picture of Balmoral beach, not Awaba street, because taking pictures of steep roads does not accurately portray my pain)
It seemed there were more Thai food restaurants than any other class of restaurants, including coffee shops. Why Thai? Why knot. (get it? Tie. Knot. Nevermind)
Best Restaurant Name
Best New Word
Bogan. The Aussie version of a hick.