Fall 2003 CSANews Issue 48  |  Posted date : Apr 25, 2007.Back to list

Australia ... the name itself conjures up images of a world far away, isolated in its existence. However, now more than ever tourists are seeking a 'down under' experience to fulfil their lifelong dream of travelling to the world's only single nation occupying an entire continent.

In today's world, many snowbirds find themselves searching for a safe, international destination. Australia still offers that. In addition, Australia's national airline, Qantas, boasts the safest travel record of any major air carrier in the world. Even though the travel time between the west coast and Sydney is approximately 15 hours, Qantas can assure you of a safe, comfortable and service-oriented flight. Recent upgrades include individual television monitors for each seat in economy class on their entire 747 fleet!

Snowbirds considering travel to Australia are in for a treat. Australians are extremely welcoming to North Americans, and share a common heritage and ideological bond not found in many other areas of the world. Sharing a common language, outside of a few slang terms, makes communication flow with ease. In fact, you might want to allow yourself a little extra time when chatting with the locals...they tend to treat you as one of their own.

Australia's weather offers a great escape for snowbirds looking to spend some time in a warmer climate. Being in the Southern hemisphere, seasons are exactly opposite of North America's, which creates an ideal destination for seniors wishing to escape the cold. Average temperatures from November through March vary from warm to hot throughout the country.

April through early October would be considered the rainy season, but still offers a wealth of sunshine. Don't forget, being in the Southern hemisphere, the further north you travel, the warmer it gets! Spring and fall dates are usually suggested for moderation.

Sightseeing in Australia is not a matter of hopping into your car for a leisurely drive. It is a vast country, with most sights hundreds of kilometres apart, and requiring air travel. Comparatively, Australia is roughly the same size as Canada or the continental United States. When choosing specific areas to visit, most travellers focus on the larger cities of Sydney and Melbourne which offer a variety of interesting sights for everyone. Whether it's Sydney's famous opera house and historic Rocks district, or Melbourne's beautiful Victorian architecture and Dandenong Mountains, even these metropolitan areas offer unique contrasts. Of course, a trip to the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns is high on most lists, where you can enjoy a full-day catamaran excursion to the reef, viewing its opulence via scuba diving, snorkelling, semi-submarine or glass-bottom boat. Other popular areas include the island state of Tasmania, or the vast, semi-arid outback areas of Alice Springs and Ayers Rock.

Of course, Australia's geological isolation has resulted in many animal species not found anywhere else in the world, which is a major attraction for most snowbirds. Nearly half of the native mammals are marsupials; animals which produce their young imperfectly formed and suckle them in pouches. Marsupials include the kangaroo family, koala, wombat, dingo, possum and platypus. Don't expect to see a kangaroo crossing the road in downtown Sydney, but DO expect to have some unique animal adventures throughout your travels in this fantastic country.

Australia's geological isolation has resulted in many animal species not found anywhere else in the world.

Australians, like snowbirds, are generally casual people and reflectively casual dressers.

Australians, like snowbirds, are generally casual people and reflectively casual dressers. Lightweight clothing is suitable all year round, with a good pair of walking shoes a must. Due to increased amounts of sun exposure, a sun hat is also advisable in most areas. Don't forget the sun block as well! Those planning to dine in upscale atmospheres should plan on more formal dress attire to suit those occasions.

Snowbirds planning to visit Australia will need to have a valid passport and a visitor's visa (free of charge from agency issuing airline tickets). The visa allows for up to a 90-day stay within Australia's borders. Use of all major credit cards and cash cards is widely accepted, and exchanges on currency are virtually on par with Canadian dollars, receiving about .67 Australian dollars to the U.S. dollar.

When choosing a booking agency for your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia, snowbirds may want to consider Premier Vacations, Aussie specialists located in Eau Claire, WI. Premier Vacations also attends our annual Snowbird Extravaganza, and will be in attendance once again in January 2004, offering three main itineraries to Australia, including a visit to New Zealand as well. Those interested can call 1-800-321-6720 for a free brochure, or plan on visiting their booth in Lakeland.