We are now in Brisbane and sorting ourselves out, our holiday drawing to a close - sob sob. I have been thinking while traveling around about the pros and cons of Australia, how I could best describe it to those who have not had the chance to visit and so far what I have come up with is:-
Australia, a wonderful mix of the UK, USA and the continent of Africa. The food, language, driving, signs, and general feel (in the East anyway) is like the UK. The open space, layout of residential areas, railway crossings, motels are like the USA and for us, the main thing, the land and the weather felt like Africa in the Northern Territory and top end of Western Australia. This special country has bits of everything and something for everybody. The only downfall is the cost, most things are about the same cost as in the UK so it is not a cheap place to live and the further West you travel the more costly it gets.
Would I recommend Australia to anybody for a holiday or work? I think the answer from my blog is obvious, without a doubt, yes.
Did Australia live up to our expectations? Again, without a doubt. We had extremely high expectations that we would at last find what we have been searching for over the past 20 years since leaving Africa - open space, land that had not been ripped apart by humanity, good climate, distance from the shallow world of manicures, branded clothing and commercialism. This we found in the top end of Western Australia and Northern Territiory (not Alice or Ayres Rock but they really are tourist areas and cater to this to the limit but in an acceptable way). Our choice of places to visit, and it is only those I can talk about, were places we felt so comfortable, so at home, so at peace with ourselves (with the exception of Western Australia in the flat lands where the removal of all the trees for farming made us shudder and want to leave, and the further East we traveled which lead us to dense areas of population which we are trying to escape from). In fairness, dense populations and cities anywhere in the world are all the same. The ability of the Aussies to call a spade a spade, direct language and a brilliant sense of humour was so refreshing. The 'oneness' of those in the outback, a true community. The stars, oh the stars, we had forgotten how wonderful the skies looked without the light pollution we have become accustomed to.
When we left Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and Kenya) for the final time 20 years ago we left our hearts there knowing it would be hard to find the quality of life we had ever again. It was a hard life but shortages of commodities, distance from commercialism, no need try to 'keep up with the Jones's' was what we knew, what we understood. Unfortunately the violence and corruption drove us away for the sake of giving our children and chance in life. The outback showed us it all still existed here is Australia. When we leave here in a couple of days time we will be leaving parts of our hearts behind once again. This is the only country we have visited that we would love to return to if given the opportunity.
Thank you Australia for allowing us to visit your most wonderful country, words not spoken lightly but from the heart.