Why do YOU travel? Why do people, in general, save up their hard earned money for months, sometimes even years, to visit a foreign place only seen on television or heard in a passing conversation? Although the answer to this is dependent on the individual and his/her situation one thing can be said for sure: We, as humans, long for a change! Whether you know it or not, our state of being deteriorates if the same mundane routine is practice day in and day out, year after year. Which brings us to the topic of this post; It’s a simple 10 point list of what we learned while visiting another country. There is just so much to learn across the world that ignorance will never be conquered but it can at least be subdued which is why we love to travel; In the general sense, we love to learn and in turn share our knowledge.

Here are few mind blowing things (according to two Americans) that you can be prepared for when visiting Australia!

1) Right Side Driving.
We understand that many countries that use the Metric System also drive on the right side of the road (Europe for example…and just about every other place in the world besides America.) However, we didn’t think Aussies drove on the right side of the road. What an experience it was, though…quite scary at times, but completely worth it!

2) Pharmacies are chemists.
It’s never planned, expected, or fun when coming down with a sickness while on vacation. Your will power says “get up, explore!” while your body says “no today.” One way to avoid walking around town in search of some medicinal remedies is to know that pharmacies (Wal-marts/Targets/Walgreens) are called chemists! There is no one stop shop in the land down under.

3) Alcohol sold separate – 18+ years old can purchase alcohol.
As stated in the previous point, there is no “one-stop-shop” that you can buy your cough medicine and alcoholic spirit over the same counter. There are dedicated liquor stores with the simple title of “BWS” (Beer, Wine & Spirits). Don’t worry, if you can’t find “BWS” franchise, you’ll be able to find a similar locale quite easily. Also, drinking is allowed at the ripe old age of 18 in Australia!

4) Take-away means take-out.
“Can I get this to go please?” will have locals giving you a grin or confused look. If you want something for later because you need to catch your ferry to Bondi Beach, be sure to ask for Take-away.

5) Restroom: flush has 2 buttons and no toilet seat covers.
I (Reid) never realized that the two buttons are used respectively for number 1 or 2. I wasted a lot of water pushing both down at the same time and never did I bother to ask…only did I realize into the second week why there were two. Don’t be me, a wasteful American, only press whichever one is needed.

6) On/Off switch for outlets.
Along the same lines of not being wasteful, in Australia, you have to be sure to turn on (or off) the switch by your plug-in. Nothing is worse than plugging in all your devices, to charge overnight, only to find them all dead the next morning because you didn’t flick a switch! Great that it saves energy but terrible if you are a clueless tourist and didn’t turn the switch!

7) Australia has the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere
The building is called Q1 and we were lucky enough to be in it!
Straight from Wikipedia:
Q1 (an abbreviation of Queensland Number One)…is the tallest building in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere when measured to the top of its spire (fifth tallest building behind the Eureka Tower, the Prima Pearl, the Rialto Towers and the Infinity Tower, when measured to roof and highest habitable floor), the tallest building outside Asia, Europe and North America and the second-tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere…”

8) Bats are everywhere.
I have to say, we probably saw more bats than birds, no exaggeration. Seagulls were in the troves around Sydney Harbor and that was when we first saw the bats! I’m surprised Batman (the hero) is American because in Australia these bats swarm in the flocks (aka colonies)! There are in the neighborhoods, forests and in the main city! It was a sight to behold.

9) No tipping necessary unless you choose to.
Self-explanatory title here. Fun fact: Australia’s minimum wage: 17AUD an hour. So, if you had great service feel free to leave a little something extra, however, it will not be frowned upon if you do not.

10) Paper money begins $5AUD. $1AUD and $2AUD are coins.
No small bills here!

This was difficult in making a short list of only 10 things. There still is so much to be learned and things we did learn although, these are our most highlighted aspects of our trip to Australia.

Check out other Australia related posts:
Guide to Tamborine Mountain
Guide to Byron Bay
Guide to Manly Beach
How To Explore Sydney: Opal Card + Public Transportation


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