Taking In Australia On Your Round The World Travels

It’s a fact: the most travelled to country on round-the-world trips from the UK is Australia. And why not? If you’re taking off and wanting to travel to the farthest reaches, why not make one of your stops on the other side of the world – literally?

So, with that in mind, we’ve compiled a few things that might be worth knowing about this fair country if you happen to be stopping by.

Weather

If you’re leaving the UK in the winter and travelling straight to Australia, you’ll arrive during their summertime. Australia’s climate is the exact opposite of ours in the northern hemisphere. The hottest and most humid weather is between December and February, so you need to bear this in mind. Southern Australia has a particularly harsh climate during the summer season. It’s a temperate region too, so take a jacket for the cooler evenings.

Accommodation

Hostels are particularly good in Australia, so check them out before you decide on more expensive options. It’s not unheard of for an Australian hostel to have a swimming pool, to give you an idea of the standard we’re talking about. Hostels usually send you out with a breakfast in your stomach too, so that’s a great way to start the day.

If you’re looking to rent somewhere for a longer period of time, you should think about getting references before you leave the UK.

Travelling

It might seem we’re stating the obvious, but Australia is a big country. So, when it comes to getting between cities you need to make a rough plan. There are trains, backpacker buses, or you could even hire a car or campervan. You might also want to think seriously about internal flights – you can get some good deals if you shop around.

Money

Money for travel is probably the major expense, so you’ll want to budget particularly carefully here. Food is fairly cheap – especially in comparison with Europe. It’s not usually expected that you tip either.

If you’re staying in the country for longer, you could always think about setting up a bank account. The four nationwide banks are ANZ, Commonwealth, National and Westpac, and each welcomes temporary residents – although they will require ID such as your passport.

Making phonecalls

The main phone operators in Australia are Telstra and Optus. Local calls and calls to mobiles are quite expensive, but you can get great deals on international calling which is great news for keeping in contact with the UK.

When it comes to your mobile, you can buy a pre-pay pack if your handset isn’t pay-as-you-go or chipped. This is a cheap way of running your phone, giving you an Australian number with credit dollars assigned to it – it is usually valid for up to a year. The companies you might want to check out are Telstra Mobile Net, Optus, Vodafore, Dingo Blue, Orange and Virgin Mobile.

Using the email and the internet

You’re never too far from an internet cafĂ©, so this is another great way of keeping in contact with people back home. The cheapest places to use the internet are usually in the big cities – mainly because of the competition.

African Travel Tips When Visiting Kenya

Kenya is the land that has given birth to the most popular African activity for tourists, namely the safari, and its easy to see why. Blessed with tremendous topographical diversity stretching over four climatic zones and featuring coral reefs, desert landscapes, volcanoes and snow-capped mountains, Kenya has it all in one.

Inhabiting these diverse landscapes and wilderness areas are Kenya’s world-famous wildlife, which can be viewed from horseback, 4×4 vehicle, verandah or on foot. There are over 1000 species of birds and huge colonies of colourful butterflies. Also attractive is the rich history, which dates back to the Stone Age, and the various cultures expressed through the sought-after arts and crafts.

So, if you are lazing on the white sand beaches of exotic Mombasa or gazing at the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle, the annual wildebeest migration, you are sure to enjoy a world-class experience.

CAPITAL:

Nairobi

CLIMATE:

Four climatic zones exist: tropical, equatorial, semi-desert and desert. Only two seasons are identified, namely dry and rainy. Due to altitude and topographical differences of the various regions, these seasons and temperatures are not uniform and vary greatly. However, in general the climate is warm and humid at the coast, cool and humid in the central highlands, and hot and dry in the north and east.

CURRENCY:

The official currency is the Kenya Shilling. Traveller’s cheques are widely accepted and many hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept credit cards. Foreign currency such as US dollars, British pounds and Deutschmarks can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and authorized hotels. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya, but taking out more than 500,000 Kenya Shillings requires written authorization from the Central Bank. Before departure, travellers are advised to convert any excess Kenya Shillings into foreign currency at a bank or bureau de change. Departure taxes can be paid in local or foreign currency.

ELECTRICITY:

220/240 volts, 50Hz. Plugs are 3-pin square.

HEALTH:

A yellow fever vaccination is recommended if the traveller comes from an infected country or area. Visitors are also advised to take pre-arrival precautions against typhoid, hepatis A, polio, malaria and meningitis depending on the area visited and time of year. Other health concerns include cholera, rabies, the Nairobi beetle (don’t touch, threaten or kill), dysentery and diarrhoea.

LANGUAGE:

English is the official language, but Kiswahili is the national language.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS:

New Year’s Day (1 Jan); Good Friday (09 Apr); Easter Monday (12 Apr); Labour Day (1 May); Madaraka Day (01 Jun); Moi Day (10 Oct); Kenyatta’s Day (20 Oct); End of Ramadan (14 Nov); Independance Day (12 Dec); Christmas Day (25 Dec); Boxing Day (26 Dec)

SHOPPING:

Traditional artefacts, beaded jewellery and decorative items, animal wood and soapstone carvings, furniture, coffee, precious stones, furniture, Khanga and Kikoy cloths, musicical instruments, modern art, basket work e.g. Kiondoo/Chondo sisal baskets, Maasai Shukka blankets, ‘Thousand Miler’ sandals, ‘elephant hair’ bracelets.

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS:

Culture here is a mix of the modern and the traditional, with European habits prevailing throughout the country. Kenyans are a very friendly nation and you can dress informally for most occasions.

TIME DIFFERENCE:

GMT +3

TIPPING:

Not mandatory. Guides, drivers, waiters and hotel staff can be tipped at your discretion.

TOP TEN ATTRACTIONS DESCRIPTION:

Maasai Mara:

National Reserve The world’s most famous Game Reserve due to the annual wildebeest, zebra and gazelle migration over this vast plain offering breathtaking views; home to a profusion of wildlife and birds; activities include excellent game viewing year round, balloon rides and bird watching.

Tsavo East and West:

The twin national parks of Tsavo, totalling 10 million acres of wilderness, form Kenya’s largest National Park, which make it ideal for those who enjoy solitude; of the two Tsavo West is visited more; apart from the wildlife and birds, visit Lugard Falls, the volcanic Mzima springs and a unique underwater observatory.

Mombasa:

One of the world’s most exotic tropical ports with a turbulent history. Visit the magnificent Fort Jesus and harbour, see the Arab architecture in Old Town and smell the scent of spices. Many fine temples and mosques can be explored such as the Shiva Temple, the Baluchi mosque and the Dawoodi Bohra Mosque. Also don’t miss the Mombasa Marine National Park, the Moi Avenue gateway arch, dhow cruises and the beaches.

Amboseli National Park:

One of the most popular national parks in Kenya with a wide range of accommodation; the landscape is dominated by Mount Kilimanjaro and the park is famous for its big game and scenic beauty; bird life is abundant.

Lake Nakuru National Park:

Famous for its flamingoes and so popular with bird watchers and other nature lovers. Make full use of the view point and visit the Euphobia forest.

Mount Kenya National Park:

The country is named after Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa. For mountain climbers and hikers, it offers easy and challenging ascents with superb scenic beauty. The local tribes believe it is the home of Ngai (God). A number of unique, rare and endangered species can be found here and there is abundant bird life.

Lamu:

A peaceful tropical island with a fascinating history, which can be explored in the winding streets of its medieval stone town, a World Heritage Site partly due to it being the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa.

Lake Turkana National Parks:

The three national parks serve as a stopover for migrant waterfowl and are major breeding grounds for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and a variety of venomous snakes. Turkana is outstanding for the study of plant and animal communities and the Koobi Fora fossil deposits have contributed more to the understanding of paleo-environments than any other site in Africa, it is also the most saline of Africa’s large lakes and a World Heritage Site.

Aberdare National Park:

A must for landscape lovers, where one can view spectacular mountains, waterfalls, rainforest, trout streams, moorlands, thickets of giant heath, caves, abundant bird life, duikers, the black rhino and the elusive, rare Bongo – a forest antelope. This area is ideal for walks, picnics, trout fishing, camping and night game viewing.

Mount Elgon National Park:

One of Kenya’s most beautiful and pristine areas where you can find giant trees, about 400 animals, over 240 bird species and ‘cave elephants’ that venture deep into the four caves at night to feed on the salt rich deposits. Mount Elgon is also a famous botanical locality with a great wealth of Afro alpine flowers. Hot springs occur and sport fishing is popular on the Suam river.

Montana Glacier National Park

A historic landmark with plenty of activities for all ages, Glacier Montana National Park is comprised of roughly 1.4 million acres of wonderful wilderness land in the western United States. Open year round, a full range of park services are available from late May through September, and limited service is available off season.

The park was established in the late 1890’s with visitors arriving at West Glacier (formerly known as Belton) by train. Since no roads existed at that time in the mountainous region, sightseers would then continue traveling by stagecoach for several miles to Lake McDonald. Then they continued by boat to the Snyder Hotel, an approximate 8-mile trip.

The region became a Forest Preserve in 1900, open to mining and homesteading. However in 1910, after efforts of explorer George Bird Grinnell and others to further help protect the area, President Taft signed a bill establishing Glacier as the country’s 10th national park.

Glacier Montana National Park Facts

Enrich your education with these facts about the area:

– Archaeological surveys found evidence of humans in this area dating back more than 10,000 years.

– Various Indian tribes inhabited the area; the Blackfeet Indians (east), Salish and Kootenai Indians (west).

– The Lewis and Clark Expedition came within 50 miles of this park in 1806.

– The railroad over Marias Pass was completed in 1891; the Great Northern Railway resulted in homesteaders settling small towns developing.

– Aggressive mining efforts resulted in the mountains east of the Continental Divide being taken from the Blackfeet in 1895. However, no large copper or gold deposits were ever located, as evidenced by abandoned mine shafts throughout the park today.

– Wildlife in the area today includes: big horn sheep, black and grizzly bears, endangered bald eagles, moose, mountain goats, mule & whitetail deer, wapiti, (elk) and wolves.

– Glacier Montana National Park began as sediments deposited in an ancient sea that slowly hardened into thick layers of limestone, mudstone, and sandstone.

– Most of the rocks that visitors see in the park today are sedimentary rocks from the Proterozoic age that were deposited from 1,600 to 800 million years ago.

A historic land, in Glacier Montana National Park visitors can visit all types of rock formations, beautiful mountain scenery and wildlife, many sacred spiritual sites of former inhabitants; ie the Blackfoot and Kootenai Indian tribes. And travelers can check out the more than 50 glaciers in the park, over 200 lakes or streams and enjoy more than 730 miles of hiking trails, where glacier and travel go hand in hand.

www.glacier-travel.info