As an American who just traveled to Melbourne, Australia this winter (their summer), I thought I would offer some tips for Australia, along with more general tips about daily life there.
Quality over quantity
I think this tip applies to any travel destination and I know I am not the first to suggest it. I tended to pursue the activities I wanted to do or the places I wanted to see, rather than those I felt I was supposed to do or see. I noticed that this change made all the difference. This is one of the best travel trips for Australia and beyond.
For example, many people in the group went to the Australian Open during our time there, which I think is awesome if you enjoy watching sports. However, I know that for me, watching a sports game, especially in extreme heat or cold, often feels like watching someone knit for hours on end.
Although I had to hear “How could you NOT go to the Australian open while in Australia you dimwitted fool?!” (Well, they may not have phrased it exactly like that, but I imagine its what people were thinking), I did not regret it at all. I remember having an equally fun time that day hanging out with friends who also did not go to the match, along with my Australian penpal, who I still correspond with every couple of days.
If you have never been on one and get the chance, go on a vineyard tour! My friends and I went on one of these tours in Melbourne and not only were the vineyards beautiful, but the experience was a lot of fun as well.
Great Ocean Road
Take a tour of the Great Ocean Road! It certainly lives up to its title as one of the most scenic roads in the world and I was amazed at the beauty that surrounded us.
Get to know locals
Make friends with Australians! They may try to convince you that drop bears (the koalas’ evil second cousin) are a real thing or think its comical to offer you the wrong directions at first, but I love how friendly and easy going they are. Meeting up with my Australian penpal helped made my trip one of the best experiences of my life and he often gave my friends and I tours of some areas we most likely would not have discovered without him, such as Chelsea Beach.
During our trip to Chelsea Beach, we got to swim in the crystal clear water, where we got free get ski rides, and later, made friends with one of the happiest ice cream shop owners (an elderly man who wore a captains hat, played cheerful music, encouraged us to do a conga line around the shop, and to serve free samples to customers) I have ever met. Lesson learned: making friends with locals = awesome experiences!
Bring an outlet converter before you leave for your trip. Otherwise, your hair straightener, phone charger, etc, will be as useful as VHS tapes are now.
Note that, at least for Americans, the portions at some places here are a lot smaller than we’re used to! (It made me think that perhaps I should pursue my diet in Australia).
For instance, the Burger King here is called Hungry Jacks and a medium shake is basically the equivalent of our small. I remember I ordered a large shake and was amazed when the woman behind the counter kept asking if I was sure I wouldn’t prefer a small or a medium instead. I thought, “I am American, of course I don’t want a small!” and knew that if I’d gotten a small, it would be the equivalent of Zoolander pronouncing, “What is this, a [drink] for ants?!”
If you get a chance, get the converter app for your smartphone, which converts temperature from Farenheit to Celsius so you can avoid looking befuddled when someone states how hot it is at 30 degrees.Enjoy!
Just have fun and do what you want to do! Going to Australia will most likely be one of the best experiences of your life! 🙂