I love everything about Australia –– the friendly people, the lovely culture and the endless opportunities for exploration.
Years ago we lived in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland and Australia’s third-largest city which is centered along the banks of the Brisbane River and sandwiched between the buzzing beaches of the Gold Coast to the south and the tranquil, sun-kissed shores of the Sunshine Coast just north. I got my master’s degree at The University of Queensland and my husband worked at an architectural firm in Brisbane’s CBD (Central Business District), both of us relying on the CityCat –– the high-speed ferry service that runs up and down the wide and meandering milky brown river snaking through Brisbane –– to get from our riverfront apartment in Toowong to wherever we were going. When we wanted to get out of town and explore the coast, we’d hire (Aussie speak for “rent”) a car for the weekend and drive to Byron Bay or Mooloolaba. And when we had the time to venture a bit farther, we’d book a flight to Sydney or Melbourne, ferry to Tasmania, or head to Far North Queensland to dive the Great Barrier Reef and hike through the Daintree Rainforest.
What many people don’t realize is how vast Australia really is. Australia is approximately 11 times the size of Texas but has roughly the same population, with people mainly concentrated along the country’s coastal zone. To put that in perspective, traveling from Sydney to Perth (Australia’s East Coast to West Coast), is similar to flying from New York City to Los Angeles. We relished the time we spent in Australia, and while we traveled as often as we could while we lived there, so much still remains on our bucket list.
When I received an invitation to attend the global launch of Come and Say G’day in New York City last month –– Tourism Australia’s new global creative campaign inviting international travelers to plan an Australian adventure of their own –– I couldn’t send my RSVP fast enough.
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After a challenging time around the world (Australia had some of the world’s strictest border controls and longest lockdowns for two years), Australia is welcoming back international visitors in 2023. Alongside Tourism Australia’s global launch event in New York City, its first global campaign since 2016, media and viewing events also took place in Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai, Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris and London.
At the heart of Tourism Australia’s multimarket, mass awareness campaign is “G’day,” a nine-minute live-action short film that depicts the unlikely adventure of a souvenir kangaroo named Ruby, voiced by beloved Australian actress Rose Byrne, and a toy unicorn, Louie, voiced by actor Will Arnett. Both Arnett and Byrne, Tourism Australia’s global ambassador, attended the New York event to speak about why they love Australia and their roles in the just-debuted film “G’day,” directed by Australian director Michael Gracey (“The Greatest Showman”).
Clever and captivating, the short film follows Ruby, a CGI animated kangaroo and the face of Tourism Australia’s new campaign, and Louie as they break out of a gift shop on the Great Barrier Reef to venture all around Australia. The curious duo visits some of Australia’s most iconic sites –– Sydney Harbour, Melbourne’s laneways, Uluṟu and Nitmiluk Gorge –– teasing the magnitude of travel experiences Australia has to offer.
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If you were ever on the fence about visiting Australia, “G’day,” which debuted online last month and can be viewed here, will have you planning your trip down under.
And there are plenty of reasons for Texans to start planning a visit in 2023, ranging from expanded air service from the U.S. –– starting next month, two direct flights will be offered from Dallas –– to hallmark events –– for the first time, SXSW will grow beyond its Austin roots to Sydney next October and five Australian cities will host the FIFA Women’s World Cup next July and August.
To arrange the best time down under, plan your trip to Australia three to six months in advance. And remember that Australia’s seasons are opposite of ours –– Australia’s summer is December to February while winter is June to August.
If You Go
There’s a direct flight from DFW to Sydney on Qantas. The airline has also added a direct flight from DFW to Melbourne, which will operate four times a week starting December. U.S. passport holders staying less than 90 days will need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which is processed immediately, but can take up to 12 hours.
Insider tip: Brush up on classic Aussie-isms before heading Down Under. Here’s some lingo to know before you go:
Arvo – Afternoon
Barbie – Barbecue or BBQ
Beaut – Beautiful
Brekkie – Breakfast
Chock-a-Block or Chockers – Extremely full
Coldie An ice-cold beer
Crikey – An expression of surprise, usually followed by ‘mate’ for the full Aussie experience. G’day – A friendly way of saying hello Down Under
Mate – Friend
No Worries or No Wokkas – No problem
Schnitty – Chicken schnitzel
Schooner – A measure of beer
She’ll be right – It’ll be ok
Sunnies – Sunglasses
True Blue – Very genuine and loyal
Yarn – To chat