Australia has a land mass the size of the continental USA, but its population is just less than 27 million, with 80% living on the coast and 95% of the land uninhabited. (That’s less than 10% of the population of the US! ) The major cities are huge- Sydney and Melbourne approaching 6 million each, but the vibe is definitely more chill, feels much safer and more economically and socially equal. Suburbs are connected to the cities with great, inexpensive public transportation. Housing and food costs are high, and more people are feeling the squeeze, but the safety net regarding homelessness and health care seems vastly superior to what we know. We share similar political and cultural attitudes, especially with regard to music, sports and just having fun. Getting on the “piss”, a great Aussie euphemism, leaves a lot of Sunday morning availability for early brunch and court time.
A welcoming and friendly bunch, it’s easy to navigate this great country. People are used to driving long distances to get to the “good stuff” and there is plenty of that! Vineyards, water sports, spectator sports, hiking, wildlife, biking trails, great food, water sports, sailing, diving, snorkeling, golfing, art, shopping, ease of air travel, respect for their military, extreme patriotism, fabulous farmers markets, great pubs, comedy, music, multi-generational and husband wife operations serving the tourism industry, farms handed down through the generations where family farming is still a thing.
Young history- European settlers largely came in the 1800s. Petty thieves from England and Ireland built this land for England settling in what is now Sydney and Tasmania. No wonder someone in England would “nick” a dress to be deported to The Land Down Under. It’s been a fabulous couple of months immersing in this culture and I can’t wait to tell you more.