Visitors to Australia may come to feel that the people there have a distinctive way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Although there may be differences, there also are similarities. Many questions characterize business travelers: What is the climate like? How do people greet each other? Will Americans be able to drink the water and eat the food? What everyday necessities may be unavailable in this country? Are businesspersons expected to socialize before conducting business? What sights should be seen? This report discusses and attempts to answer these questions.
Located in the Southeast Asia archipelago, Australia is the only nation that occupies a continent and is the sixth largest nation in the world. Although its size is roughly equivalent to that of the U.S. (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), Australians number less than one-tenth the population of the United States (Craighead’s 67).
Australia is bounded on the north by the Timor and Arafura seas, on the northeast by the Coral Sea, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the southeast by the Tasman Sea, and on the west and south by the Indian Ocean. Most of the continent is a low plateau with a regular coastline. The center is flat, arid, desert land. The southeastern corner consists of fertile plains with an average elevation of 900 ft. above sea level. The longest river is the Murray. Groundwater lies under most of the continent. Much of the inland depends on it for stock and domestic consumption. The native forests of Australia are hardwoods and occur mainly in wetter coastal belts. Just off the eastern coast is the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is an important marine ecosystem, a complex of islands and coral reefs containing many rare life forms. (Craighead’s 67)
The climate is generally pleasant without extremes in temperatures. Clear skies and low rainfall are characteristic of the weather. Australia has one of the lowest precipitation of any continent. About 40 percent of the continent lies in the tropics, and the rest are in the Temperate Zone. The coldest regions are in the southeastern corner of the mainland, where the only regular snowfalls occur. Winters are cool; summers hot; spring and fall very pleasant. Australia’s seasons are the opposite to those of the Northern Hemisphere (Australian Embassy Web Site).
I think it is important to find out all one can about the history of these people especially if you are considering moving half way around the world. History tells us that Australia was founded by Captain Cook in 1770. There were other nations that stumbled onto Australia prior to Captain Cook, but none of them thought that this country had anything to offer. Boy were they mistaken! Captain Cook had two naturalists on board Solander and Banks and in a weeks time collected a wide variety of plants, birds, and many other animals (Jarratt 29). Solander and Banks must have thought they had died and gone to heaven because of the varieties of Eucalyptus and other forms of trees, kangaroos, kookaburra, emu, platypus, koala, kiwi, and pumpkin. Cook planted the British flag for King George II around the tip of Cape York. The placement of the flag in this one area was to represent England taking the whole continent. There were no negotiations, no beads, and no treaty with the A!
borigines tribe that Cook encountered when he landed in Botany Bay. It was named Botany Bay because of all the specimens found on this land.
When the ship landed, two Aborigines were shot because they were curious. “Cook wrote about the “noble savage” stating: in reality they are far more happier [sic] than we Europeans; being wholly unacquainted with not only the superfluous but the necessary conveniences so much sought after in Europe ... the Earth and sea furnishes them with all things necessary for life.”(Jarratt 29). This direct quote speaks volumes about the mind-set of the Europeans in their quest for wealth. The Aborigines were regarded as savages even though Captain Cook saw their life as happier and simple without restraints and duties of King and country. According to Cook, they had it all, the land and the sea to give them sustenance. This simple way of living was happiness. Australia at that time was called New Holland and later on was named New South Wales.
The Aborigines are native to Australia and have been around approximately 30,000 to 40,000 years. They (the Aborigines) believe they are linked to the first people who lived and they call this the Dreamtime (Germaine & Burckhardt 8). In the mythology period, the first people were believed to be spirit and possess magical powers to create fire, rain and other wonders. All of this is handed down through stories told by the father to his children. In Aboriginal culture it is the father who is responsible for the education of the children. At one time in history, the Aborigines were approximately 300,000 people with 500 different languages (Jarratt 22). They are connected to the land, and for an Aborigine to be dispossessed from the land means a sentence of death. When an Aborigine dies, a ceremony is necessary for the person’s spirit to depart from their being and to enter rocks, trees, or animals. Ceremonies are very much a part of the culture whether it is for someone dyi!
ng or for rain or harvest. In many ways the Aborigines remind me of the American Indian. They, too, believe in the oneness of man being connected with nature. This is expressed through the art form of totems and rock paintings. Aborigines celebrate ceremonies with dancing, first painting their bodies and even scarring them. When the Europeans came to America and Australia, they brought smallpox with them and this disease literately wiped out the American Indian and the Aborigine. Their coming was the same for both continents, the quest for land and other sources of wealth. The native inhabits were never taken into consideration. The quest was always for King and country.
In the early 20th Century the Aboriginal population declined to 60,000. Today the numbers of Aborigines are approximately 160,000 (Jarratt 83). The reason for the increase in population has been government intervention of health and housing. Laws were established to give the Aborigines the same rights as Europeans. In 1976 a National Aboriginal Conference was established to give council to the federal government of Australia (Jarratt, Pg.84). Doesn’t this sound like the course of the American Indian with the Federation of American Indians? Today because of social consciousness a bill was passed to give territory back to the Aborigines. In 1976 the Aborigines Land Rights Act turned over more than 33% of the Northern Territory acreage. South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales enacted similar measures. But the bulk of land transfer was the Uluru National Park containing the Ayers Rock, a five-mile monolith that is sacred to the Aborigines. This transfer took place in 1!
985 (Craigheads 66); however, this move of consciousness was only for some, because the leaseholders, which are the mining companies and the National Party, have wanted to erode the Native Title Act. The Native Title Act established 1993 ruled by parliament removed the fiction that Australia was uninhabited when Captain Cook planted the British flag (Pilger 26). Why is this so important? For many reasons, first being that England did not even recognize the Aborigines as a people, let alone a sub class of people but saw them as wandering savages. Second, the Aborigines were not just devastated by the disease of smallpox but also by deliberate genocide. Prime Minister Robert Menzies gave permission to British atomic scientist to test nuclear weapons on Aboriginal land. The maps at that time marked the Aboriginal land as uninhabited (Pilger 26). This sounds like the atrocities of World War II. However, these poor people didn’t know that they were still at war with the British Commonwealth.
The Aborigines’ culture is celebrated in the sculpture that is seen in national parks and gardens throughout Australia. Some of their artists, novelists and playwrights are known throughout the world for their accomplishments. The average Aborigine life is better now with housing, health care and aboriginal schools. But according to statistics all is not great when only 2.7% of the Aboriginal children that make up Western Australia have an infant mortality rate three times greater than the white population and 58% of the juveniles are in detention homes (Pilger 26).
I get a little concerned when statistics are bandied about without stating the source material. In my research the infant mortality rate for the whole country in 1991 was based on an average of 1000 births and out of that were eight deaths (Ready 38). There was no distinction between a white and black child. I think the Aborigines have gotten a raw deal, however, I would have liked to draw my own conclusions without journalists doing it for me.
Sydney was established in 1776 as a penal colony. Britain’s jails were over crowded with people who were convicted of being debtors, pickpockets, thieves, prostitutes, and worse. In desperation of not knowing what to do, the lot of them were transported by a naval fleet and sent to Port Jackson. These 759 convicts, along with 13 of their children, 463 military types, set off for the new land. When they arrived with 1030 members on January 26, they drank a toast to the Queen and this day is commemorated every year as a national holiday. The penal colonies were the backbone of Australian development and the slave labor force built the roads and buildings of yesteryear. The Irish came as social political offenders in the 1830's. The convicts that behaved and survived were given the rights to earn money and later their freedom. Those repeat offenders went to penal camps that were very harsh and death was looked upon as a blessing. (Lush 34 -35). America was built on those s!
eeking escape from religious persecution and yet because so few survived the first few years that people were hesitant in coming to America. At that point, people from all walks of life were enticed to come to this land that offered wealth and to others it was a way of paying off a debt. When America won independence from England, she ended up looking elsewhere for her labor, namely the continent of Africa. It took a nation being torn apart to free its slave labor force namely the Civil War 1861 to 1865 (Halley 516). The convict labor force in Australia ended in 1852 (Lush 35). Remember Australia offered its convicts the opportunity to become free and many of them stayed and prospered in various trades. Others either left for England or died in camps or of the black plague outbreak around the dock area of Sydney. To an American locating in Australia, the historical similarities are many especially with England giving birth to both continents.
Today Sydney is home to approximately 40% of the population and for people visiting Australia, Sydney is Australia. Sydney’s heritage was Angelo-Celtic, but today it is very cosmopolitan like California. “Aussie” as the Australian is known is a mix of European and Celtic through intermarrying. The rest of the population comes from various parts northern and southern Europe, southeast Asians and the Pacific. Each group has added their own flavor to the city, bringing their tradition and food. Australia is so much like California that you would think that is where you are except, of course, for the “accent.” The official language is English. However, The Aussie’s have a way of running their words together and even dropping parts of everyday words to produce a vernacular called Strine and here are a few examples:
Billabong Water hole in semi-dry river
Billy Tin container used for boiling water to make tea
Bonnet Hood of a car
Boot Trunk of a car
Chips French fried potatoes
Digger Australian solder, now used by foreigners for Australians
G’day Good day
Strine was enunciated by the Irish convicts and is supposed to be closer in dialect to Cockney. This type of slang is spoken through the nose to prevent the blow flies from entering ones’ mouth (Borthwick 337). Let us not forget that health conditions were very poor to downright hazardous to ones health. However, I do suspect that the Strine might have started out as a sort of code for the Irish to communicate amongst themselves.
Australian dialects vary according to social status rather than geography. I would think that this would have to do with the amount of education one has and the school one attends. Lets face it, it takes money to go to a private school that is known for academic excellence as opposed to the public school system.
The Australian school system is like the British school system, which are government supported state schools and private schools. I don’t know if the private sector is fully funded by the government or whether it is partially funded. Church schools are maintained by their denomination. Most schools are good, but like most major cities you are going to have schools that are better than others and then you will have others that fall below the norm. I think this is true of any major city and it is up to the parents to do all they can do for their child to get the best education possible. Preschools and kindergartens are available but have long waiting lists so it is necessary to register ahead of time. Compulsory education starts at age five going to age fifteen or sixteen. International schools are available in Japanese, French and English. This is probably due to the number of immigrants from those countries. If a student wants a college education, those schools are al!
so available. The universities of Sydney or Melbourne are well known. If a student were to transfer to the U.S. or Canada, they would take CEEB exams that are given regularly in Australia and from the material stated there is no problem with transferring. Aborigines have their own schools (their language is taught in these schools first and the English language as second). This sounds like the Santa Ana school district where Spanish is taught first and English second (Craighead's 9).
Average Australian families have two or three children, which are much larger than American families that have one and a half children. I don’t know how statistics can arrive at a figure of Ѕ per child, but that has been cited on the news. Aussies have a growing number of single parent families. This is due in part to the average divorce rate for South Wales, which is at 40.9% (Hunter 98). Regardless of whether it is a single parent or a couple, women make up 38% of the work force. There was a time in our history when women stayed at home and raised families. This major change came about during World War II when men left for war and women were needed in the factories to produce weapons. Since then the family unit has not been the same and it seems like a large it also has affected the Australian family unit as well (Culturegrams 9).
One thing I found interesting is that Australia has pension plans for sole parents and care givers. Maybe the United States could learn something from this.
Care pension – who are giving care to disabled persons are eligible for a pension in their own right.
Sole Parent Pension – People who have sole custody, care, and control, of a dependent child are eligible for a pension in their own right (Culturegrams 9)
Housing agents are independent in Australia not like agents in the states that are associated with the real estate broker’s association and use multiple listings for selling or buying a home. The best way to buy or sell a home is by contacting several independent agents. Newspapers are available with real estate listings and make use of cryptic abbreviations. Real estate advertising in California also uses abbreviations; however, I would tend to think that the abbreviations wouldn’t be the same based on how the Aussie’s tend to use the vernacular.
All major cities have temporary housing that you can rent by the week or month. Tenants are required to post a security bond of one or two months rent and the tenant is responsible for connection of utilities. This sounds just like home. The difference here would be in the electrical appliances because they would need adapters to make them 240 volts, a 50C AC single phase. There was a warning given from the Craighead’s book pg. 94 that stated, “Some electrical items can be adapted to work while others will have to be replaced.” The source suggested contacting “Appliance Overseas” firm for help. This sounds like a wise thing to do especially since the Maytag man might not be available for house calls in Australia. If household help is a necessity it would be wise to look into a “Settling-in Service” that helps hire domestic help and provides a number of other suggestions for assimilation to Australian (Craigheads 9).
One last warning since we are on the subject of accommodations, let the tourists beware of the use of the word hotel. Hotels in Australia can be wonderful like either the Sheraton or the Regents or they can also mean the corner “pub” or drinking establishment. The reason for the discrepancy has to do with the liquor license that allows establishments to have a bar regardless of the accommodations. So when making a reservation be sure you ask the appropriate questions (Lush 11).
Water is uppermost in the minds of traveling Americans-is the water safe to drink? So let me assure you that when traveling to Sydney the water is fine and the choices in cuisine are limitless. This is due to the number of different nationalities that make up Australia. I am not aware of anything that you cannot get. So I will mention of few of the items that we “Yanks” are not familiar with such as:
Mutton - this is like lamb stew
Witchety grubs- a fat gooey worm (this is eaten by the Aborigines)
Vegemite- a salty black yeast spread on toast
Breakfast: Cereal consisting of Weet-Bix (like a shredded wheat biscuit), eggs toast and jam or Vegemite
Morning Tea: Coffee or tea with biscuits and cheese
Lunch: Sandwiches, pizza, or meat pie (Aussies love a pastry pie filled with meat)
Afternoon tea: Cakes like Lamingtons (yellow cake with chocolate frosting and coconut) (Germaine & Burckhardt 25).
Dinner: Soup (like pumpkin) grilled lamb chops vegetables or fish and chips (chips are french fries) and ice cream or pudding (Osborne 46).
Boxing Day was originally observed by boxing up old toys, etc. and giving them to charities, but now it is observed by taking back or exchanging the gifts you get on Christmas to the department stores (Culturegrams 9).
The Aussies are very friendly people, especially towards Americans. This came about due to both nations fighting in World War II. American fighting men knew the Aussies as true “warriors” famous for their ferocity in battle. This gained the respect of the Americans and the admiration was mutual. Australia is probably one of the few places in the world an American can go and know they will be warmly received. Aussies’ greet people with a handshake and if you’re inclined for a beer you will probably end up knowing everyone in the place on a first name basis. When a female is greeted and if she is a close friend, a hug or kiss on the check is appropriate. If she is an acquaintance, a nod or handshake or just a polite G’day. People in Australia use first names whether it is a friend or someone they just met, and don’t be surprised if you’re invited to dinner. Aussie’s enjoy opening their homes and if you are invited to someone’s home for dinner it would be good manners to br!
ing the hostess flowers, chocolates, or wine. It is always appropriate to say thank you whether you are in Australia or the U.S.A. By the way, utensils are held continental style that is the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right. Also, when dining in a restaurant when one is finished with a meal the knife and fork are placed together on the plate (this signals the waiter that it is time for the bill). However, if the waiter doesn’t notice a wave of the hand will bring him to your table. A very nice thing about eating out in Australia is that tipping is not expected; but it looks like tourist may ruin a good thing.
Litterbugs beware! The Aussies takes pride in their country and littering is not taken kindly. If you are caught you can expect a heavy fine (Axtell 33).
• The thumbs-up sign, which in the United States signifies hitchhiking or “O.K.”, is considered rude.
• For a man to wink at a woman, even when being friendly, is inappropriate.
• Men should not be too physically demonstrative with other men. (Morrison 13)
Entrance Requirements and Health Insurance
American citizens must possess a valid U.S. passport. Australia has joined the Visa-Waiver program with the U.S., meaning visas are no longer required for travelers to enter each other’s countries (Australia 53).
Under the Australian health insurance system, visitors to Australia are not covered automatically against the costs of medical and hospital treatment. Coverage against medical and hospital expenses incurred in Australia may be available through insurance companies and travel agencies in the United States (OBR WWW)
Australians are open, friendly people who like foreigners and enjoy meeting them and getting to know them. Perhaps because of the similarities between the U.S. and Australia, there is little in the way of conflict when “Yanks” and “diggers” get together (Craigheads 78)
Australians are conscientious workers; but unlike Americans are not as committed to putting in long hours at a job. If anything, most of them believe home life is certainly as important as the job and like to play hard, if not harder, than they work. Many other U.S. companies find Australians easy to work with and reliable (Craigheads 77).
Business in Australia is conducted in much the same way as it is in the United States. Appointments are made as far in advance as possible and it is expected that callers will be punctual. Expeditious handling of correspondence, including the use of airmail and postal routing codes, is indispensable (OBR WWW).
Australians tend to be more easy-going than the British. Don’t be surprised if you encounter a certain amount of playful teasing. Aussies like to challenge stiff, pompous people (also known as “tall poppies”). They generally admire Americans, but regard them as over-achievers who are more concerned about the dollar than human relationships. It is always best to be act formal in business dealings until the Australians indicate otherwise (Craigheads 76).
Don’t be surprised if Australian businessmen quickly get to a first-name basis. When addressing Australians, personal titles should be used (OBR WWW). Australians tend to be direct and to the point, much like Americans, however unlike Americans, many Australians like to argue and match wits. Australians secretly admire the blunt streetfighter approach to negotiation (Craigheads 76).
Dress tends to be a little more relaxed in Australia due to the climate; however, business attire is expected on appointments (OBR WWW). Suits should be worn for meetings, but be sure to bring a lightweight one for summer months. It’s acceptable to remove your jacket during a meeting. More casual clothes are suitable for an invitation to an associate’s house. Women executives dress similarly to those in the U.S. Bright colors and patterns are popular in the summer (Craigheads 76).
Women work in most fields in Australia, but their status is not quite equivalent to that of women in the United States. Australians tend to be more male chauvinistic than their American counterparts, and you will rarely find women in real positions of power. Women, it should be noted, have been fully excepted in government, and there already are a significant number serving in legislature. This seems odd to me that women are accepted more in politics than in the business world. Visiting women executives shouldn’t be too put off by what seems like bawdy banter. Aussie women partake in this as much as the men, and rarely is it meant offensively. Women are always included in after work activities (Craigheads 76).
In keeping with one of Australia’s favorite pastimes, business associates will often ask you out for drinks after work. Dinner may follow, but will usually be scheduled for another night. Whoever offers dinner should pay (in a casual situation the bill will often be split), but if your colleague pays one time, you should pick up the tab the next time. When out for drinks, it’s customary and polite for everyone to pay for a “shout’ (round). You’ll be considered rude if you neglect to do so. A word of warning: Australian beer has a higher alcohol content than mast British or American beers (Craighead’s 76).
The sliding scale for personal taxation ranges from 20% to 48%, with income over $50,000 taxed 47%. Employers are liable for a fringe benefits tax levied at 48%. The Commonwealth levies personal taxation on a sharply progressive basis. The pay-as-you-earn system (PAYE) is used. Social security taxes are included in income taxes, though there is a 1.25% surcharge for the National Health Service (Medicare).
Anybody that maintains a home in Australia or has been in the country continuously or intermittently, for more than a half year, is considered a resident and subject to the resident tax rate. The break down looks something like this:
Australia taxes working individuals on a worldwide basis: this means all income from foreign sources is counted in computing the tax bite (except for salaries earned abroad during a stay of more than one year). A partial exemption is available for monies earned abroad if the stay is between 90 and 365 days. A tax credit is given for foreign taxes paid on foreign income sources (Craighead's 83-84).
Tax Tips. The U.S. Internal Revenue service has a special department, IRS-International, for expatriates filing income tax returns. The department offers tax assistance over the phone and in person, distributes tax guides, sponsors workshops, and conducts a variety of other outreach efforts. IRS-International has an office in Sydney (Tel: 2-261-9275/7). For further information contact:
Assistant commissioner (International),
Attn: IN:C:TPS, 950 L’Enfant Plaza South, S.W.,
One of the most worrisome aspects of a move abroad is financial: paying bills at home and transferring funds from one country to another. Things go wrong with alarming ease and regularity, even within the most sophisticated banking systems, and the expatriate and his/her company are forced to spend undue time trying to locate funds lost in transit and bills lost in the mail.
In the U.S., Citibank and Chemical Bank offer programs to both corporations and relocating employees. Citibank’s is called “Personal Banking for Overseas Employees (PBOE),” and Chemical’s is “International Employee Banking”. Expatriates have access to a complete line of banking products, including transaction accounts, investment accounts, and credit products. The programs will pay expatriates’ U.S. obligations, and a full range of banking services is available. For further information, call:
Citibank’s “Personal Banking for Overseas Employees”,
Tel: 212-307-8511, Fax: 212-757-3179
Chemical Bank’s “International Employee Banking”
Tel: 212-638-0300, Fax: 212-638-0271 (Craighead's 83)
The Commonwealth of Australia is a democratic federal state system that recognizes the British monarch as the symbolic chief of state. However, Australia is an independent nation and does not consider itself a constitutional monarchy. The commonwealth’s constitution (like that of the U.S.) defines the powers of the central government and reserves others to the states. (Craighead’s 72)
The legislative branch of the government is a federal parliament, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Prime Minister, Paul Keating, heads the executive branch and is the head of the government. An independent high court heads the judicial branch. There are three major political parties; Labor, Liberal, and Australian Democrat. (Morrison 9) Although the major political battles are between Labor and the Liberals, there are no immediate threats to the political survival of this country.
In 1982, the government began legal actions to return the title of certain lands to Australia’s original inhabitants, the aborigines. Although the issue may some skillful political maneuverings, the situation is not life threatening to the Keating Government (Mayerchak 11).
Australian law places great importance on the rights of the individual to express popular opinions. They are open-minded and trusting until given reason not to be. Even so, rules and laws almost always take precedence over personal or emotional feelings about an issue (Morrison 10).
Politics and religion are taken very seriously, so expect some strong opinions if you discuss these topics during conversation. Australians respect people with opinions, even if those opinions conflict with their own. Arguments are considered entertaining, so do not be shy about expressing any truly held beliefs (Morrison 11).
If one decides to talk about politics in social situations, do not bring up the Australia’s treatment of the aborigines. The situation is not unlike the way Native American tribes have been treated in the United States (Morrison 12). Also, allegations exist that U.S. intelligence services intervened covertly in the 1980 Australian national elections. Whether this is true or not, many Australians believe it. The reasons for their resentment: CIA interference in their elections or the implications that Australia is in the same league as so-called banana republics where the United States has toppled governments (Morrison 12).
There are many Australian periodicals and broadcasting stations covering politics, news, sports, society, cultural events, and business. The Sydney Sun-Herald, published only on Sundays, has the largest circulation. There is also one national daily newspaper, The Australian. USA Today International has a special “USA Abroad” column with relevant information for expatriates that appear three times each week. There are AM and FM radio stations, four commercial TV networks, and one public network, which is managed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). Local News is at 1800 and ABC national is at 1900. Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) broadcasts international news on television at 1830 (Craighead’s 86).
Australia is a fascinating country, offering the visitor a wealth of intriguing sights and diversions. Be aware, however, that distances are enormous within the country, and domestic airfares are very high. Australians complain that it is far cheaper to fly from Sydney to Indonesia o than to Perth (Craighead’s, 114). Still, there is a lot to see and do in and near the major cities. A lot of train tours to the major tourist attractions are available, and it is possible to rent a car or camper for trips. The best time to visit places is from March through November, since the peak tourist season is December through February (Morrison 11).
A visit to the old and new Parliament house will give some insight into Australian history and politics.
As a port city, Sydney is famous for its stunning harbor (with its seashell-shaped opera house) and its 28 gorgeous beaches. There are boat tours that take only a few hours for travelers with limited time. Paddington, Sydney’s equivalent of Greenwich Village, is good for walking (especially Saturdays). The Australian Museum has exhibits on Aboriginal and Papuan New Guinean lifestyles and displays about Australian wildlife, geology, and social history (Tel: 339-8225) (Craighead’s 114).
Try a walking tour to sample a mix of Victorian and modern buildings. A trip to Carlton (an attractive northern suburb) is another good daylong excursion. Lygon Street is the center of Carlton’s Italian community, known for its food. The city offers a wonderful zoo, the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens (Tel: 347-1522). Queen Victoria Market, located on Elizabeth and Victoria Street, is a shopper’s paradise, with everything from toys, to crafts, to vegetables. The National Gallery of Victoria has exhibits on Australian, Aboriginal, European, and Asian art (Tel: 618-0356). Gemtech is a good place to buy opals (Tel: 654-5733) (Craighead’s 116).
The Australian outback has always attracted travelers worldwide. It consists of national parks and a small mining city northwest of Sydney. Mungo, Mootwingee and Kinchega are also some of the authentic sites which form part of the outback (Seamen 62).
The annual Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Australia, billed as the world’s largest nighttime parade, begins at dusk March 1 at the city’s Hyde Park. Viewing is free. Information: (847) 296-4900 (Los Angeles Times L3).
Because of the Southern-California-like climate, outdoor activities such as snorkeling, surfing, deep-sea fishing, rugby, tennis, and topless beaches are very popular. In winter, there is decent skiing in the mountain. Drinking is the basis for many social customs, and buying a “shout” (round) is considered good manners. There is nothing an Australian like better than to chat it up with a stranger at a pub (Axtell 33). For entertainment, the Australia tends to focus on the everyday interests of the people: horse racing and the pub.
Take a bus to Bondi Beach to see the country’s most famous strip of sand. Those who prefer topless sunbathing head to the south end. There are a wide range of bars and restaurants as well. Manly is a resort that is renowned worldwide for its surf. You can get there in 15 minutes on the hydrofoil or in 35 minutes by ferry. There is plenty of theater and opera. A half-price ticket booth on Martin Place offers tickets for the day’s shows from noon on. Check local newspaper for what’s on in town. The world-famous Sydney Opera House presents drama, opera, and orchestral concerts (Tel: 250-7111). King’s Cross is Sydney’s version of London’s Soho cafй, which offers everything 24 hours a day. Phillip’s Foote is casual wine bar and restaurant that stays open late (Tel: 241-1485) (Craighead’s 113).
Try to take in a game of Australian Rules Football (“Footie”), a rough mix of rugby and basketball played on bare grounds in Winter. Melbourne offers more in concerts and theater than Sydney, including the State Theatre, Melbourne Symphony, and Australian Opera. Aside from the many formal concert halls, there are theater restaurants such as the Last Laugh Theatre Restaurant (Tel: 419-6226). The Black Swan bar is good place for drinks with business associates (Tel: 653-0000). The Loaded Dog Pub Brewery is also worth exploring (Tel: 429-8222) (Craighead’s 112).
Perth is known as Australia’s “Gold Coast” because of its balmy weather and relaxed lifestyle. Perth offers various theater and operas as well as classical and pop music concerts. The hottest places for nightlife are Christie’s Nightclub (Tel: 430-4347) and Limbo’s (Tel: 328-1748) (Craighead’s 113).
Australians are sportsmen and innate gamblers. If they can’t race a horse through the bush, they will at least place a bet on it.
While regulations vary from state to state, general licensing hours for public bars is Mon-Sat 10am-10pm. Sunday hours vary between states. Restaurants, clubs and hotel lounges have more flexible hours. You must be 18 years or older to buy or consume alcohol (Australian Embassy WWW).
Even in the smallest town you will find an outlet distributing local tourist information and advice free of charge. Look for the international “I” sign (Australian Embassy WWW). For more info, contact these tourist offices:
Department of Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories
Although there may be differences between the United States and Australia, there are many similarities. For example, the U.S. was formed because the people wanted to avoid persecution, whereas, Australia was formed because the people were being persecuted. In addition, both countries regret how the native people were treated in the past and have taken measures to protect the rights of those people. Australia has a good public school system, medical facilities, and a stable central government.
Australia’s work ethics are like the U.S.; however, unlike Americans, Aussies believe that relationships and family are more important than work. They like to play as hard (if not harder) as they work. Another difference is that Australian businessmen tend to be more male chauvinistic; however, in politics women are considered equal.
In conclusion, Australia is a land with wonderful people that welcome Americans with open arms. It is a fascinating country, offering visitors intriguing sights and diversities. It is the home of unique and exotic wildlife. It is highly recommended that you take advantage of the many sights, tours, and outdoor activities Australia has to offer. We hope this report will help you and your family feel more comfortable during your stay in “ The land down under”.
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