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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:41 pm 
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I would probably also recommend against Perth. I've never actually been there and I've heard that it's really nice, but I don't think it's different enough to other cities (from what I know about it!) to bother with getting there. It's just so far away. My grandfather used to drive between Adelaide and Perth a lot for work and yeah, it's a loooong, shitty drive with nothing on the way.

I'm from Adelaide so I love it there, but I also don't really get why tourists would go there unless they want to use it as a base to see wineries or something. It's good, but you can find pretty much everything there in Melbourne, on a larger scale. I've driven between Adelaide and Melbourne a heap of times, the short route is pretty quick and easy but the Great Ocean Road would definitely be the nicer/more interesting way to do it, if you do end up deciding on Adelaide. But Melbourne is great, especially for vegans, so definitely go there. Whenever I'm in Melbourne I stay at The Greenhouse on Flinders Lane, the location is great (right around the corner from Lard of the Fries!) and it's always full of backpackers looking for people to travel with and stuff. There's a whole wall where people post notices of where they're going/where they want to go- and I've never heard of anyone leaving from there getting murdered (it's a valid concern). So it's a pretty good place to base yourself if you want to take a spontaneous sort of approach.

I don't like Sydney at all (sorry everyone!), but it's probably kind of a given for any traveller. Just don't be tempted to make the drive to Canberra from there. It's really close, but not at all worth it. There are galleries and stuff here, and Parliament House is pretty interesting for history nerds, but mostly it's just boring.

Stuff friends and family from overseas have done here: some friends from Canada spent their honeymoon driving along the NSW north coast (I went here- more specifically to Byron Bay- for the first time last month and really liked it!), and my family from Germany always head north when they come over. They usually get a campervan or something and drive along the top end somewhere. I've always wanted to go there but never have. A friend of mine is a tour guide in Kakadu and Arnhem Land and his photos always look amazing. It would be hot and sticky up there in January, but there's a ton of non-city-related stuff to see. I need to stop going overseas and see some stuff here!

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:46 am 
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Well, being from Perth I would also definitely recommend against Perth itself (it's really just boring), but actually, Western Australia is fantastic. There are heaps of other awesome places, particularly in the north west (if you like hot weather) - but the south west is great too. Some of the best beaches around, some of the most beautiful places to hike, national parks, camping, walking trails, etc etc.
But, that said, you can find wonderful stuff on the east coast (ie Melbourne Sydney etc), and the cities themselves are much more interesting. I'd actually try not to spend much time in the cities if you're more interested in outdoors sort of stuff, and especially because I don't really think Australian cities are anything particularly special. If you end up in Melbourne, though, I work at a food co-op at Melbourne uni and am always glad to have visitors! (All but one of the things we sell are vegan, so it's not such a bad place to get a bite to eat. Very cheap, too).

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:52 pm 
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If you're going to take a few weeks, I'd probably suggest landing in Melbourne or Sydney off your international flight, and spending about a week in or near each (including side trips like the Blue Mountains, Royal National Park, Mornington Peninsula, bit of the Great Ocean Road, and of course lots of great vegan food). You could drive between Melbourne and Sydney and see some coast and national parks along the way, which could take a good few days to a week if you wanted it to. Southern NSW is really pretty, albeit probably less ideal beach-going than the north. I'd strongly recommend stopping in Canberra if you want to see our national gallery, portrait gallery, museum, parliament, library, war memorial/museum etc. It's a planned capital and still doesn't have the patina of older cities, but there's more than enough for, say, two days (i.e. one overnight) of sight-seeing.

I agree that Tasmania in January would be a great option, unless you're really keen on hot weather. Northern NSW is lovely, and Brisbane is a lovely sub-tropical city. If you're going to Byron Bay area, maybe you'd prefer to fly to and from Brisbane. Or of course, you could do a Sydney-Brisbane road trip, then fly to Melbourne. You could drive Melbourne to Brisbane, too, and spend less time in any one place. That's obviously a whole lot of driving, though.

Generally, I'd stick to the three south-eastern states to get in some hiking and outdoorsy stuff in the middle of summer. WA, SA, the Northern Territory and Queensland are all brilliant, but somewhat lend themselves to travel in cooler weather (depending on your tolerances), and up north the dry season makes a real difference. I think Australia, like the States, is best divided into at least two major trips (e.g. East/West), if not four or five. Personally, the drive across the Nullabor is very much on my wishlist, because I find the lack of things to be the attraction. Looong drives for the win. And I don't think any of us have even mentioned Uluru and the centre yet...

For what it's worth, I disagree (mildly, gunk, mildly!) that Australian cities are nothing special. They're most similar to North American cities, so it depends on where you've been previously. Someone from the UK told me he found Melbourne and Sydney absolutely fascinating; I remember he described Sydney (paraphrasing) as being like a US city injected with Asian culture. But then, you're not so keen on cities, and my bias is that I love them. Oh, and the Sydney Festival takes place every January; it's an arts festival with lots of expensive ticketed events, but also a few free outdoor things. Festival First Night will be in its sixth year, and is (I assume) going to be on Saturday 5th.

ETA: Lard, that's a long post. Sorry. Feel free to PM for any more questions, especially about Sydney.


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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:45 am 
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I would also advise avoiding Adelaide and Perth if you're on a tight schedule. They do have their own charm but as others have said, there's nothing really super special about them to make one go out of their way.

I'm from Melbourne and I only appreciated how awesome this city is when I was living overseas for a few years. So definitely come here! There's so much to see and do but definitely try to go down the Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula. In Melbourne do the touristy things if you like (there's a free tourist shuttle bus, nice and air conditioned but crowded in the summer) but do something more 'behind the scenes' like the Melbourne laneways tour, thrift stores if you're in to that (we have Savers which is the equivalent of Value Village), the Manchester Unity building http://www.manchesterunitybuilding.com.au/index.php
If you like big department stores and shopping areas there are so many options. We have some cool libraries too.


Tasmania has some gorgeous scenery and history. Beautiful stuff. Sydney is worth seeing too although naturally, I favour Melbourne :) Sydney is a short flight from Melbourne, and Melbourne to Brisbane isn't that long. If your time here is short, personally I think flying is the better option. You can get some really cheap one way flights through last minute booking sites.

I'm yet to see Uluru myself so that's on my wishlist.

My sister and her partner recently did a Europe-USA 10 week trip with carry on luggage only. They said it was the best thing they ever did:
http://www.onebag.com/

This is a fabulous country, I hope you get to see it!


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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:49 am 
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I went backpacking around Australia in 2009! Even with a few months to spare I missed out on many places, particularly Uluru and Tasmania.

North Western Australia had some of the most stunning scenery I've ever seen, particularly this little place called Coral Bay.

Image

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Just driving around
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Broome
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More Kimberley region

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Kalbarri

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So yeah, Melbourne and Sydney are fun but if you come to Australia you may as well go off the beaten track a bit! Great Ocean Road and Great Barrier Reef are beautiful too but I think Western Australia and Northern Territory are worth checking out.

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:46 pm 
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Oh wow! Thank you all so much for the advice! And the pictures are amazing, Veglicious!
That's my issue: so much to see! A friend did Western Australia last year for about 2 months and she loved it, from Perth they drove around the south west and then all the way north to Darwin. That's too much for me but she said it was really really great.
But she had already done the east coast and recommended that side too, and now you guys do too, so aaaahhh! Too much.
Mumble mumble...

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:11 pm 
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Well, it's a given that you can't see all of it even in four or five weeks, so it really comes down to: what do you want to see this time, in January 2012? Are you in the mood for the more built-up areas and beaches, or almost entirely wilderness? What sort of weather and temperatures do you prefer? Maybe you'll find a particularly good deal on a flight or on a tour, and that will sway you one way or another. Australia will still be here in five years, ten years or even thirty years if you want to come back. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:23 pm 
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I feel really dodgy suggesting this, and figure I'm preaching to the choir, but..

We just started a new vegan food business in Brisbane, called "Delicious Regardless". At the moment, we're focussing on baked goods, etc. We're selling vegan cheesecakes and ice cream sandwiches at The Green Edge at the moment, and doing private orders of pretty much anything. We're also doing gluten-free baked goods. I've taken the leap, and decided to have a good go at this, so I've cut back my hours at work to part time so I can focus on being in the kitchen, learning from chefs, developing the business, and spreading the word that Vegan food should be delicious, etc, etc.

If you've got a second and like our philosophy/what we sell, would you PLEASE stop by our Facebook page and website? I'm fairly new to Facebook and would love to see some of your friendly faces..

I'd really really appreciate help spreading the word - two non vegan people have just started a vegan bakery here in Bris and they have great networks and it's getting hard to get our name out there.

Our facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/deliciousregardless
and our website is www.deliciousregardless.com.au


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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:29 am 
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I'll take a look matt!

Yeah I also think it will be important to consider the weather, if you are going up north you will have to think about wet season/dry season and in some areas you may have to be weary of cyclone risk. It is a very big country so it might be best to find an area that has lots of things you want to do, like if you want to hike in a particular place, or go diving, swim with whale sharks, walk in rainforest or bush, or spend days on the beach, go shopping, eat at nice vegan places...

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:17 am 
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Yup, definitely the weather thing is a big consideration. I grew up in Northwest Western Australia, and visited places like Broome, Coral Bay, Exmouth, and Karijini National Park as a kid.... so they're all really special to me and I think they're some of the most beautiful places around. But January is not necessarily the best time to see them, unless you're especially tolerant of pretty extreme heat and humidity. So I guess Drossie is probably right in that the east coast might be better this time around! Actually, I think all of her suggestions are really good ones.
(Also, ok, maybe Australian cities do have their own special something. I'm just not a city kid really, and living in Melbourne often feels really dull and stifling to me, without some of the exciting stuff of other cities I've lived in. That said, I love being able to see so much art and live music. And vegan food!)

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:02 am 
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gunk wrote:
I grew up in Northwest Western Australia

oh awesome, whereabouts?

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:26 am 
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joshua wrote:
gunk wrote:
I grew up in Northwest Western Australia

oh awesome, whereabouts?


Oh, in one of the not-awesome places - Karratha. It was fine whilst I was a kid, but I'm glad we moved back to Perth when I was 10. (For those who don't know, it's basically a mining town, and is pretty segregated between the middle-class white folks who work on the mines/for the mining companies, and the Indigenous folks who have to live in the shittier parts of town with none of the services and nice houses with airconditioning).

The one reason I feel glad about having lived there is that I got to see lots of the beautiful places in the Northwest.

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:26 am 
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ah right :) I passed through plenty of times, but never actually saw any of it.. I used to live in Hedland.

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:00 pm 
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Thanks Veglicious!!

I can't believe you've all done so much Aussie Travel - I haven't really done much at all, other than the capitals, and mainly Melbourne and Sydney. I keep hearing awesome food about the vegan food in Adelaide tho!


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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:17 am 
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gunk wrote:
So I guess Drossie is probably right in that the east coast might be better this time around! Actually, I think all of her suggestions are really good ones.
(Also, ok, maybe Australian cities do have their own special something. I'm just not a city kid really, and living in Melbourne often feels really dull and stifling to me, without some of the exciting stuff of other cities I've lived in. That said, I love being able to see so much art and live music. And vegan food!)

Well shucks. Thanks. And yes, I definitely am a city-lover (other bits are beautiful to visit, but not my natural habitat), and I am a wimp who wilts at about 28 Celsius.


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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:50 pm 
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joshua wrote:
ah right :) I passed through plenty of times, but never actually saw any of it.. I used to live in Hedland.


Oh wow! I had no idea.... you've lived in heaps of different places! I always imagine that Port Hedland is heaps less shitty than Karratha, but I could be wrong.

Drossie - I've mostly lived in really hot places, so Melbourne winter (just finishing my second one) has been tough on me! That said, I wasn't really a fan of 37+ celsius for over a month the last summer I spent in Perth.... can't win. I'm hoping to eventually find somewhere in Australia that feels like a nice compromise with weather, culture, nature, and size. It's probably an impossible dream. (Although friends tell me Newcastle might be worth a look?)

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:27 am 
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gunk wrote:
Yup, definitely the weather thing is a big consideration.

In January I'd stay Brisbane and further south. North Queensland averages 40 degrees with 90-95% humidity from December to February (from what I remember). Damn horrible weather.

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:20 am 
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just stopping in to say melbourne is so good. I'm so happy I moved here!


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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:40 am 
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:D!

some weird irony in the fact that I'd like to move to Wellington then, I suppose

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:07 pm 
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Everyone! (Mainly Josh but also everyone else.) Zambreros now has proper vegan options! They have clearly heeded my abundance of strongly-worded emails, and now the rice and beans are vegan. I am excited, but also deeply concerned for my own health. And savings.

We just got Guzman y Gomez here and it just isn't the same as Zambreros. Also, my burrito was full of cheese. The manager was really pissed when I showed him and he yelled at everyone there, which was good I guess, but the burrito just didn't compare to my long-lost love, Zambreros.

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:43 pm 
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ahhhhh! that's awesome. I'm...almost excited to go back to Canberra for a visit now. is that wrong? it feels wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:13 pm 
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I've had no luck with Zambrero in Brisbane. Had a big chat to them when tehy first opened about what was vegan, what wasn't, etc... Had a burrito - it tasted *amazing*, loved the freshness, etc, etc.. but then I was sure I could taste butter.

After me heavily grilling them (not on the burrito grill), it turned out the rice and beans are automatically cooked in butter here, too. Sigh! And they advertise themselves as healthy...!


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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:00 pm 
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mattomic wrote:
And they advertise themselves as healthy...!


That's exactly what I said to them (in person and in emails). They have signs up about being founded by a doctor- surely a doctor with an interest in food should know better than anyone that there's no need to put butter in rice and beans.

Anyway, their Facebook post about it is here- they've just opened a store at the shops near my house so I'll probably go there during the week and see if it's really only the sauces listed on that picture that are vegan (I used to love the tamarind one, so it'll be a shame if that's still not vegan).

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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:32 am 
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That's fantastic.. I've just posted on that thread to ask whether it's routine and across all stores.


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 Post subject: Re: The Aussie & NZ Thread!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:17 pm 
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I had a burrito last night and it was glorious. I felt like there should have been music and soft lighting and things happening in slow motion. It was also like the burrito guy instinctively knew it was my first burrito in forever, so he made it the most giant one of all time. He asked if I had a loyalty card and I was all 'NO BUT I WILL TAKE FOUR OF THEM'. Life is good.

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