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Apres le déluge. Kristina Woolnough finds Australia awash with basic pleasures and party atmosphere.

It was the lightest. emptiest suitcase I‘d ever managed. I could actually lift it. Five bikinis. three swimming costumes. two pairs of flip-flops (hard to buy in an Edinburgh April). four pairs of shorts and two large beach towels. Anticipating the glare of the sun and the business of surfing. I left the latest riveting Post-Modernism in the Post-Modern Age book of literary theory behind. grabbing only Cosmopolitan to fend off marauding Australian men.

The flight via Singapore was smooth and uneventful. even though the mind gets a bit out ofsynch as you try to follow a film with its sound trailing three minutes behind the action. We saw the sun rise over Australia with high expectations. We‘d been promised a breath- stopping view of Sydney Harbour from the air. In anticipation. we

stayed awake all night.

Unfortunately we didn’t even see the ground until we were on it. It was raining. Pouring. Bouncingoffthe pavements. For the whole two miserable weeks I was there. it persisted: stair-rods. cats and dogs.

golf-balls and javelins.

Friends had chartered a yacht for our first weekend. successfully

Getting There

I THE CHEAPEST FLIGHTS are those which go the most indirect routes You can get a return ticket from about £700 return. depending on the time ofyear. Scheduled airlines and Apex flights cost between £150 to £200 more. Essentially. you‘ll need a very patient travel agentto shop around for

Western vegetarian). inform the airline atthe time of booking. and double check if nearer departure. Unfortunately. the extra leg-room seats are by the toilets. so it's hard to geta wink of sleep. Bahrain isa common fuel stop onthe way home. so ifyou wonder why all passengers leap out of the plane atfourinthe morning. it's because

by phone is on (O2)669 5111 There‘s a Newsfront open every day B.30am-4.30pm at 22 Playfair Street. The Rocks. Otherwise a Sydney Information Booth can be found in Martin Place (open 9am—5pm Mon-Fri). phone (02) 235 2424. The TRAVEL CENTRE OF NEW SOUTH WALES can book accommodation and travel.

Sydney and to other suburbs is BY BOAT. Sydneysiders commute to work in their thousands via the Harbour every day. It’s cheap (from $1) and spectacular. Boats leave from Circular Ouayto several destinations.

I A city MONO RAleas under construction during my sojourn- much tothe disgust of many inhabitants - so it may now be in


Australians think nothing of driving a hundred miles. so trips outside Sydney include jaunts to the Blue Mountains. where Sydney yuppies go ski-lng. and the Hunter Valley. site of hundreds of vineyards. The brave might like to head for bits of bush. canoe trips and the like.

Eating Out

fooling us for the first half hour that theydid thisall the time. Equipped with pink zinc for our noses in the event ofsun and armed with crates of tinnies and boxes ofstubbies. we sailed out into the gloom with the motor going. For once Sydney Harbour was bereft of boats. No-one else was trying to sail with limp tarpaulins and without a puff of wind. And no-one else was sitting

' out on deck in the deluge. pretending nothing was amiss. Afeard of the wind and water (even though there was none of the former i and an excess ofthe latter). I roped myself to the side. and zipped my jacket up to the chin. I can claim to be the only one in Sydney Harbour with a life-jacket on too (I could hear . my mother waggin her finger).

We puttered by. but Could not see. romantic-sounding bays: Rushcutter. Rosemount. Watson‘s. Elizabeth. Our hosts despondently gave a running commentary on what lay beneath the impenetrable mist. We moored the boat in a deserted harbour. ate Balmain bugs (enormous prawns) and swam into our bunks for the night. The hour of sleep I managed was tortured: crocs. snakes. poisonous spiders. coming

drink-forfis orless. The most expensive Australian champagne we couldfind was £2.50. Wines arelrom vines originally imported from Europe. ltook a shine to the Rosemount Chablis. although others raved about the Chardonnays. Types of beer(lager) include Fosters. VB (Victoria Beer) and Tooheys. They drink in schooners (bigger glass) or

YOU- Bahrain airport has the Open 9am—5pm Mon—Fri. it operation. midis (hall) in Sydney— if

Gem" In cheapestOuty-Free inthe is atthe cornerolPitt Street I BUSES are cheap and IThis is often cheaperthan varies in Melbourne and 9 world -. with an enormous and Spring Street. easy too. although not the eating in. Because ofthe elsewhere. Beer is always

IYou‘ll need aVISA. Pick range of stereo equipment. I POST OFFICES are open fastest way to getabout.A multi-cultural, ice-cold.

up a form from the jewellery etc. Elam-5pm on weekdays. Sydney Explorer Bus tours multi-national nature of

Australian Consulate. Hobart House. 80 Hanover Street. Edinburgh (031 226 6271). Free. visas can be

processed very quickly. but charged at a miraculous flat Wh are To Sta can use the ticket on some ironicalofwils and payable- Tiler? was some you‘ll need yourpassport. If rate ciao cents-nomaner .V regularbuses. The Explorer unfamiliarvegetables. talk ofaboflshrng/reducing you travel via the USA. how long you talk. Thereis IWITH FRIENDS. You must ticket costs StOforaduIts. Restaurants coverthe it. but it was stillnecessary you'll need a visa for entry a move to change this. but it know someone who knows with concessionary rates of world. the most expensive in April.

there too. The American hasn‘thappened yet. someone who’s outthere $5. bailiff Japan?“ and Useml

Consulate is at 3 Regent Sydney‘s code is 02. enjoying the good life What To 00 European. "ll" '"dlan. . .

Terrace. Edinburgh. I rue POPULATION of temporarily or Cantonese. Vietnamese. PUbllcallonS

IYou cannot take FOOD Sydneyis over3 million.for permanently. IThe SYDNEY MORNING Thai. MalaYSian. Lebanese. .Apanrmm hundreds“

into Australia. although the city sprawls up and I BED AND BREAKFAST , HERALD on Saturdays has a Chinese being the best grassy photo books on 02‘ , they allowed me through down the coast and inland. Sydneyside sounds l comprehensive value and the cheapest. As (new a", several excellent 5 with Twiglets and various It takes several hours to promising at between £14 I entertainments guide for they change hands too mums guides. The besr 01 '

flavoured crisps which are non-existent in Oz.

IAUSTRALIAN CURRENCY is dollars and cents. with roughly 52 to the I21.


drive round the edge ofthe city. which gives some idea

I A BICENTENIAL HOTLINE gives information about special events on (82) 233 8888.

and £24 perperson. Write to PO Box 555. Turramurra.

round the city. giving you an hour and a hall's viewing of the sights. You can get on

and off for a closer look. and

the following week. Otherwise the usual sort of

Australia. you get the best of all food Austrian and German pastries. Scandinavian bread.

frequently. it‘s hard to recommend. but I enjoyed

Getting Out

I You probably won't want to. but when you have to. a departure tax oISZO is


of the land area, People 2074, Sydney. or phone (02) l what's on information is the excellent cuisine of edited b yon Wheeler Wha‘ You Shonld generallylive in suburbs. 449 4430 or(01)5302250. 1 available atTourist Satasia. Balmain;Cafe (Lonery [yuaneyy £9.95). Know as the city centre is taken up I The Sydney YOUTH i Information offices. Elan. Surry Hills; Rasa Frank and (0 the pom. The .THEAUSTRAUAN by oftices and commerce. HOSTELis located opposite i I Several BOAT CRUISES Malaysian. Bondi Beach "my Berliyzgumg‘ro I TOUNST OFHCE in 8mm I CLIMATE in spite ofthe Darling Harbour at 176 Day i leave from Circular Ouay. and Safari Seafare. AUSTRALIA (£4.95) serves . can be phoned on 01434 above is good. Summer Street (02) 267 3844. E I Although there are plenty Hewiovvn, its undersized purpose. ; 43710rvisited at Heathcote (Dec- Jan. Feb) averages Getting Around i MSW“? m “mix” "Illsl maissvouwonde' the msuonr GUIDE To House. 20 Savile Row. 25 5 Cla'lhough ilisollen . l "Willi". lsnolaboulPe'M wvwepuiupwiihle AUSTRALIA(EB.95)goesin London. MUCH higher); Willle (June. I are rem'we'y a 'ou'ISl- "'8 abou' enloymg standard and cost 0' co|our photos‘

I FLYING TIME to Sydney is atleast 26 hours. depending on route. wind direction. overnight stops etc. If you have special requests (seats with extra leg-room. baby cots.

. Octobeyto March, makingit pavinolo SilSiill- to traipse into museums haves high quality ve etarlan meal -- one," get Eas'emsoryou can eleven hours ahead. I EW '8' "l8 DBSi WHY '0 99' and galleries. even though three-course meal out- I TOURIST INFORMATION "0'" "‘9 c"Y '0 North Sydney has some excellent with as much a; you can

July. August) is12.6 C; Spring and autumn are about 18 C.

I They are TEN HOURS AHEAD of GMT. although they have daylight-saving time alone hourfrom

cheap in Sydney. and locals use them without much ado. However. rush hourtraffic is appalling in Sydney. so don'tget in one between 8am and 9am and 4.30pm amd 6.30pm, oryou‘ll be

yourself. The sun seemsto enable the inhabitants to really make the most of leisure time - sailing. the beach life. public barbecues. beer drinking. eating out. There’s no need

restaurants here. Most restaurants are BYO (Bring Your Own). charging $1 corkage. As Australian WINES ANO BEERS are extremely cheap (and very good). this means you can

history. inhabitants etc. In Sydney. buy CHEAP EATS ($5.95) a Iatmagazine listing over 750 places to find tucker.

"fhe fist-1‘2 18—August WHH 79