5 Photographic Reasons to Visit Australia

Melbourne

The CBD with Federation Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Flinders Street Station.

Ok, so I haven’t traveled all of Australia. I’ve seen a tiny piece of Victoria and Tasmania. Nevertheless aside from the fact that Australia was recently named the world’s happiest nation by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, I’ve got some compelling reasons as to why you should visit Australia too.

Melbourne is the capital of Victoria and the fashion, cultural, arts, and sporting capital of Australia. In August 2011, the Economist Intelligent Unit named Melbourne the most livable city in the world and it’s not the first time. Second in UNESCO’s City of Literature program, Melbourne is home to many cultural and multicultural festivals, fine dining, shopping, and is sports mad. It may not be the most beautiful city in the world or have a distinctive landmark such as Sydney’s Opera House or Harbour Bridge, but it is a terrific city and one worth spending time in.

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10 Australian iPhone Apps

I was never able to get my beloved iPhone fully working while I was in Australia. I didn’t use it to make or receive phone calls and text messages, but I did use my apps while at home on the Wi-Fi. And I have some great apps! Here are a few of my favourite apps while travelling in Australia.

There’s Nothing Like Australia is a guide to exploring the Lucky Country through the eyes of locals. Search for travel experiences by city, state, or the type of experience such as food and wine, aboriginal, and nature. It contains thousands of beautiful, annotated photographs, and you can share your favorite images and travel adventures via Facebook, Twitter, and email. The app also offers maps and help finding a travel agent. Free.

Oz Planner is a great app for ideas on where to go, what to do, and where to stay. It also offers some great tourist resources such as tours, help with getting a rental car, and using public transportation. Among my favorite features are the maps and events listings. Free.

OffMaps2 is awesome because it downloads your maps for access when you are offline. It is really useful when you don’t have an internet connection. $0.99

Oz Weather contains 7-day forecasts, animated radar, detailed observations, and maps for hundreds of locations. $1.99. (There’s a free lite version.)

Art Guide Australia is a comprehensive guide to art galleries, exhibitions, and artists. Free.

iPhone app

Everguide

Everguide is a guide to all things entertainment in Australia. Whether you’re interested in music, fashion, art, sports, or food and wine, you’re sure to find something to do with the help of this app. Free.

Aussie Slang Dictionary contains more than 700 words and phrases. Even if you don’t find it all that useful, it’s a pretty fun app. $0.99

Show the Loo is the perfect app for those of you that need to go to the bathroom a lot. It’s a handy guide to all the loos in Australia and where to find them. Free.

AFL Live Official App is your go-to app for all things footy. There’s extra content for Telstra subscribers, but you can still get scores,  news, and video highlights even if you’re not. Free.

AFL Collingwood Pulse lets you keep with news and scores as well as chat with other supporters and vote for your favorite players. If you’re not a Collingwood supporter (why not?), Pulse is available for every team in the AFL. Free.

Do you have any favourite travel or Aussie apps?

12 Fun Facts About Australia

Here are some things you probably didn’t know about Australia. Well, unless you’re Australian.

  1. There are about a million feral camels in central parts of Australia.
  2. Because Sydney and Melbourne couldn’t stop bickering over which city should be the capital of Australia, neither of them received the title. Instead, a new capital was built between them. Canberra is the capital of Australia.
  3. Voting in Australia is compulsory.
  4. Australian schools have a no hat/no play policy. Schoolchildren must wear a hat to protect them from the fierce sun or they have to sit in the shade during recess.
  5. The koala is a marsupial, not a bear. Stop saying “koala bears”.
  6. Australia is just slightly smaller than the U.S., but has only about 23 million people. The U.S. has 313 million.
  7. Australians call the English poms or pommies, from the initials POME on convicts’ uniforms, which stood for “Prisoner of Mother England.”
  8. 90% of Australians live along the coast.
  9. In 1894, Australia was the second country in the world to grant women the right to vote. New Zealand was the first.
  10. Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving, Heath Ledger, Russell Crowe, Chris Hemsworth, Guy Pearce, Toni Collette, Simon Baker, Anthony LaPaglia, Eric Bana, Portia de Rossi, Ryan Kwanten, Olivia Newton-John, Kylie Minogue, and Elle Macpherson are Australian.
  11. Melbourne has the largest Greek population outside of Greece.
  12. Cotton candy is called fairy floss in Australia and all candies are referred to as lollies.

Do you know of any fun or little known facts about Australia?

Sunday Gratitudes

A few things that are making me happy this week and that I’m grateful for:

Excellent Indian Food

Butter chicken, goat meat spicy curry, lentils, chicken in spicy sauce, naan (bread).  Theo’s sister and her husband took us out for Indian food the Sunday before my departure and it was delicious.

Qantas

I’m grateful to have arrived home safe and sound and be able to travel on a comfortable Qantas flight.

Young Adult Fiction

I read The Hunger Games on my long flight back from Australia. If this is what kids are reading, the future is bright.

Love

I’m grateful that I have been blessed with so much love in my life. Theo and I had a houseful of people who came to say goodbye the Saturday before my departure. Back home, it’s been wonderful seeing the smiling faces of my my nieces and nephew again, hearing the meow of my cat, and feeling the embrace of my friends. It feels bittersweet to be loved and missed and to be loving and wanting.

A Bright Future

I’m grateful to the possibilities open to me.