When my friend first invited me to visit Australia, I was kind of apprehensive at first. I knew I wanted to visit Australia, but it just wasn’t at the top of my list for 2023.
The trek to get there seemed like it would never end. My flight originated in Columba, SC with a quick layover in Atlanta GA. Then I flew from Atlanta to LA (where I had a nearly three hour layover). From LA I flew 14 hours nonstop to Sydney. It wasn’t that bad (I’m used to long flights, especially since traveling to South Africa and Egypt). When I arrived in Sydney, I took another three hour flight to Cairns.
Prior to arriving, I had to download the Australian ETA app. The app is a requirement for everyone entering from the USA because this is where you apply for your visa. I was instantly approved. I couldn’t check into my flight until the vis was approved.
What to Expect
Language: The official language in Australia is English.
Currency: The currency in Australia is called the Australian Dollar (the US Dollar was not accepted).
Credit Cards: Most restaurants and retailers will accept credit card as payments. If you need to withdraw cash, you can find ATMs everywhere.
Plugs: The plugs in Australia are type I. The standard voltage is 230V. I recommend buying a universal adapter (make sure it has surge protection).
Safety: Australia is one of the safest countries in the world. It has a low crime rate. The only thing you need to look out for is the poisonous species of spiders and snakes and sharks that swim alongside the shore occasionally.
Best time to visit: I went in October. The weather was perfect. It wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t too cold. Australia’s seasons are the exact opposite of the US. Our winter is there summer and vice versa. Your visit should depend on where you want to go and what you want to do. The temperatures are pretty warm year-round. The best times to visit the Great Barrier Reef is in the summer or spring months
Upon arriving in Cairns, my driver took me to the Crystalbrook Riley hotel where I stayed 3 nights. The hotel was only 10 minutes from the airport so it was a quick transfer. Breakfast was included in my stay.
Cairns is located off the coast of North Queensland, and is one of Australia’s top destinations to visit. With easy access to the Great barrier reef to the East it was the perfect launching point for a multitude of adventurous and outdoor activities. In addition to visiting world’s largest reef, I visited Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures where I witnessed crocodile live feedings, saw the Aussie Big 5 and shopped at the night markets.
I stayed at the luxurious Park Hyatt hotel. It was a 15 minute drive from the hotel. This hotel is located in the “Rock”. It was close proximity to everything. Each morning I woke up with a view of the Sydney Opera House, the Bridge and a new cruise ship arriving every day.
Sydney is a city full of charm. Endowed with a sparkling harbor, dazzling beaches and a sunny, Mediterranean climate, its setting alone has guaranteed Sydney a place among the most glamorous cities in the world.
There are plenty of ways to explore the harbor – on ferries, cruise vessels, high-speed jet-boats or sea kayaks. I visited the sandstone warehouses and Victorian Merchant’s houses in the Rocks area (where I stayed), which have been transformed into a cosmopolitan gateway to the city, complete with art galleries, boutiques, cafes, a weekend market, and some of the best views on earth. Make sure you walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and visit the Sydney Tower Eye.
Sydney offers a dynamic, exciting mix of tours, attractions and events that allow you to discover this welcoming, free-spirited city. I enjoyed my time there and felt like I could have stayed a few more days.
Overall, Australia was one of those bucket list destinations that I thought I would visit eventually but I am so happy I went when I did. The people are friendly and kind. Although there weren’t a lot of black Americans, I felt completely safe.
When you are ready to cross Australia off your bucket list, I will be more than happy to assist you. Fill out my planning form so you can get started.