Well, it's official, mates! ... I'm now able to drive on the left side of the road in Australia. It was 5 minutes of sheer terror as I watched the cars approach me... but once I got past that I was able to do it. My wife and I drove approximately 500 Km (yes, it was Australia, and they converted to metric in the 1970's) in a hired car (that's a rental car to you and me in the USA).
We drove from Sydney to a place called Pokolbin, which is part of the Hunter Valley wine region. It's much less commercialized than Sonoma and Napa, which was nice. There were no fees to taste wines, and there were plenty of good ones.
We brought back a couple of bottles from Peterson's and learned about Verdelho, it's a wonderful white wine variety. We have found a few varieties sold here in Houston. It's always fun to learn something new!
Here are some general thoughts:
- Yuch! ... there were flies almost everywhere... and they were aggressive. Imagine trying to hit a golf ball with a fly in your ear... not fun :( ... that's the only bad thing...
- The people in Australia are very friendly and have a low worry quotient... "no worries, mate!"
- Getting around was easy, although you have to get used to the "left side" being the primary side.
- Sydney is beautiful, but hard from a transportation/commuting standpoint.
- Melbourne isn't as beautiful, but is much easier to move about in.
- The Great Ocean road is unbelievable. It's a must see. If you go, take the helicopter!
- Overall, Australia is a very livable and vibrant place. There is a lot going on economically as well as in the arts. Prices were a bit high, but the dollar is weak right now. If the dollar were more solid, I would expect that prices would have been fine.