Travel Information - G
"G'day" is a popular Australian greeting and is obviously an abbreviation of "good day". But it's amazing how many visitors from other countries have trouble pronouncing it, especially when it is coupled with 'mate' (Australians are quick to invite friendship by calling people 'mate' - 'mate' also is a fine substitute when you forget someone's name) - "g'day mate" will undoubtedly pop up in your travels. Unless you are pretty sure of your pronunciation however, your own reply of "g'day" may well be greeted with a smile and "where are you from, then?" The correct pronunciation is not quite 'gidday' or 'gedday' but when you do get it right and it feels comfortable saying it, it's probably time you went home!
Australians are big gamblers - not all in huge amounts, but on the whole they will bet on anything - slot machines (pokies), horses, dogs, eight-ball, football matches, two flies up a wall. you'll often hear it in everyday conversation - "bet you can't hit that from here". And I'll bet you there's no other country that stops for a horse race (the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November). Pokies are found in pubs, clubs and casinos.
Australia has a huge range of natural and created fauna due to its range of climate from tropical to temperate. Major capital cities have Botanical Gardens and fine parklands to explore and, in many areas, private gardens are put on display, depending on the season.
Australia is a big country but it is easy to get around whether by air, road or rail. Car rental is not expensive (by world standards - as a guide, allow $AU50 a day for something decent). Internal airfares can be heavily discounted due to recently introduced competition and bus and rail travel are also reasonable, whether it be interstate travel or local public transport. In some areas ferries supply public transport and taxis are readily available and should be clean (with co-operative drivers). Taxis are metered. Drivers are sometimes a good source of information for what restaurant, nightclub or attraction to visit, will undoubtedly have an opinion on politics and will not expect a tip (although rounding up to the nearest dollar will be appreciated). It's an Australian custom to use the front seat of a taxi.
An hour or so south of Brisbane (running to the NSW/Qld border) is the Gold Coast. It's a holiday spot for couples and families. Think Miami high-rise with sweeping, golden beaches and heaps of restaurants and things to do. There's a heap of quality accommodation from resorts to serviced apartments and, behind the coast, is the green of the lush hinterland. For families it will be hard to avoid at least one of the main theme parks - MovieWorld, SeaWorld, DreamWorld or Wet 'N' Wild - they all provide an excellent full day's entertainment and are actually very good value when you weigh up what you get for your entrance cost.
Some people say that golf is a good walk wasted but there are a lot of great places in Australia to waste a good walk, no matter what your handicap (if indeed you have one). There are public golf courses dotted throughout all capital cities and most towns with a population over 1000 will have a course. Green fees are very reasonable, clubs and buggies can be hired and your welcome into the '19th hole' is sure to be friendly.
Great Barrier Reef
Although it is mentioned under B as well - the Barrier Reef is worth another mention - it really is one of the world's wonders, the climate is usually exceptional, the locals are friendly and there is nowhere else like it in the world.
Since July 1 2000 there has been a Goods and Services Tax of 10% on most things (some food excepted). Whether GST is included in the price will be displayed on the item (also see Tourist Refund Scheme).