Hopefully after going through this part of my blog, you’ll gain a better understanding about the culture of Australia/New Zealand and also able to learn about some of the must-visit places in this continent. Keep in mind, my trip to this continent does not include the Western part of Australia, the Outback, nor the southern part of New Zealand. For those places, you just have to wait for next time when I head off to another journey. ;)
If you would like a complete video blog instead, please visit here: Video Blog 1, Video Blog 2.
Of course, in my written blog I will also talk about the cultural and language differences between Australia and Canada. When I was in Australia, although it is still a commonwealth country, the differences stood out to me. I must say that the choice of words are quite different. Examples include greeting people with“How you going?”, rather than “How are you doing?”; and saying “Cheers” or “TA”, rather than saying “Thank you”. Vocabulary differences include using the word “Chemist”, rather than “Pharmacist”. The list goes on forever.
Let’s just say that Australians love either using slang, shorten the word, or add a “ie”, or “y” at the end of the word. For example: Instead of saying “let’s have barbecue”, they would say “let’s have barbie”. If you are at outsider in Australia, you will be very confused. Try Google “Australian slang”, and you’ll notice that the result is endless.
My flight from Toronto to Cairns was about 19 hours in total, with 5 hours of layover in Tokyo. Considering that some of these airline companies did not provide free movie entertainment on flight, I would suggest bringing a book in order to fill up the time on these long haul flights.
After accounting for all the time zone differences, my flight from Toronto to Cairns took “2 days”. I had finally arrived in Cairns.
One thing I would like to mention about Australia was the lack of free wifi. It seemed to me that wifi is a scarce commodity. In the Cairns airport, wifi was not free because the airport was privately owned. In hostels, wifi was predominantly provided by the same company called Global Gossip. I believe due to monopoly over the hostel-internet industry, wifi was therefore not free. Even in places such as Starbucks, you would have to purchase food in order to get a password that would allow you to have wifi for only one hour.
After meeting up with my friend Yale, we rented a car and drove up north for 45 minutes to a place called Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, which is slightly south of Cow Bay Beach.
This park is not only a crocodile zoo but also a crocodile incubator farm. According to the tour guide, wild crocodiles in the past had been overly hunted for their skin that were used in purses and hand bags. The black market for crocodile skin was large and substantive that cracking it down was almost impossible. As crocodiles were facing the threat of extinction, the government partnered up with local operators and decided to open a crocodile incubator farm to combat the Australian black market. The government legalized and incubated their own crocodiles from an egg to an adult, and skinned them in a controlled environment. The strategy was very effective because the black market lost its purpose when customers could purchase crocodile skins directly and legally from the government. This strategy also ensured the preservation of the crocodile species from facing extinction.
At the park, we were entertained by the tour guide through shows such as below:
The park is also the home to many different local Australian animals, such as koalas, wallabies, quolls, cassowaries etc.
Here are some pictures of me and wallabies. At first, I mistakened them as kangaroos until Yale corrected me. Wallabies are much smaller than kangaroos.
Here is a video of my attempt to stay with the wallabies:
Of course, you cannot miss out on koala bears:
In the park, we were able to see quolls, which is basically a hybrid of a rat and a cat. Here is a video of it.
I apologize that I wasn’t able to take a picture of a cassowary. Cassowaries are extremely rare and they only exist in the northeastern part of Australia. They are huge but smaller than an ostrich and an emu. On our drive from the crocodile farm to our hostel, we were able to witness a wild cassowary walking alongside of the road. Here is a picture of what a cassowary looks like:
After Hartley’s Crocodile farm, we drove up north to our hostel. As you can see from the map above, there is a river south of Cow Bay Beach that requires a ferry to cross over. On our ferry ride, I was able to take a picture such as below.
Our hoste called Daintree Crocodylus Village was pretty much in the middle of nowhere in the jungle.
The hostel was great and dinner food was excellent. However, since we "stayed" in the jungle, we had to sleep under mosquito tents.