8 Confusing Things For Backpackers in Australia

Most round-the-world tickets will stop in Australia, or at least Sydney, at some point. If you’ve spent a fair bit of time backpacking in Europe or America, then there are a few things worth knowing before you head off to the unusual land of Oz. So let’s take a closer look at 8 confusing things for backpackers in Australia.

1. It’s massive. Sounds obvious, but if you’re used to American or European travel, then the sheer size of the country will hurt your head.

2. Animals are everywhere. Kangaroos dart in front of cars, penguins cross the road, and bulls charge into pretty much anything. The signs aren’t just for fun.

3. Aussies love Big Things. The country is littered with over 150 oversized versions of small things. Designed as tourist traps, they’re now a cult phenomenon. Two highlights are the Big Banana (13m wide) in Coffs Harbour and the Big Pheasant (17m high) in Tynong.

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Wishing for the Whitsundays

As I look out the window at the wind blowing the trees around and the thick grey clouds rolling in, I can’t help but think back to the turquoise waters and blindingly white sands of the Whitsunday Islands.

Three months have gone by, but it feels like longer. It feels like years since I was laying on the netting of the Avatar, our trimaran, letting the sun brown my skin; competing with fellow travelers on cannonball splashes and floating atop the Great Barrier Reef, my feet tickled by rainbow fish.

It was three days of snorkeling, sand between my toes, laying on the beach while waves crashed against my legs. These short trips always seem to yield some of the best-traveling friendships. You’re in an enclosed space sharing gripes about sea-sickness and sunburn with people you’ve never met, but conversation flows so easily.

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Increase Success and Luck with Gemstones and Crystals

You would be surprised at how much luck you will obtain from using crystals and gemstones. The first thing that you should do is look up the stones that apply to your birthdate.

Once you have gathered this information you can begin purchasing necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants. cufflinks, or simply your favorite type of jewelry. Make sure that these items have a good vibration and that they feel good to you.

If you are just starting out with crystals and gemstones you can use loose stones that can be purchased inexpensively for about .50-$1.00 at mineral and rock stores. You can graduate later to jewelry if you haven’t already done so.

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Things I Wish I’d Known About Australia

Australia is one of those places you never have to leave. It is full of everything you could possibly need: beaches, ski mountains, big international cities, rainforests, and deserts. It’s also a well-traveled country, which means there is a lot of information available. When I was researching our travels I was overwhelmed by the number of forums, blogs and tourism websites that told me all that I could see and do and how to get there to do it.

I generally try not to over-plan or research too much when I set off on a trip because I don’t want to have a set itinerary in mind. I want to have room for last-minute changes or impromptu excursions and I want to be surprised by what I see. The problem with this method, I found, is that I missed out on some key information that would have been helpful on our journey.

If you’re going to travel through the outback, you need a 4WD. We only rented a 2WD campervan, and due to the high insurance excess, we were not willing to take the chance of taking it “off-road”. Because of this, there were loads of little waterfalls, swimming areas and aboriginal art sites that we missed out on. When we come back, we’re coming back with a Toyota Landcruiser.

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Emerald and other Green Gemstones

For thousands of years, Emeralds have been considered some of the most beautiful and valuable gems in existence. In many instances, their value can exceed the value of a diamond of comparable carat weight.

Emerald and other Green Gemstones are rare and precious gems of the beryl family, distinguished by their rich green color. The largest quantities of Emeralds are found in Brazil, Colombia, and East Africa.

Some more precious and semi-precious gemstones include Amethyst, Ametrine, Aquamarine, Citrine, Iolite, Peridot, Topaz, Tourmaline and more.


Emerald is a member of the beryl family of minerals. Other gemstones in this family include Aquamarine, Bixbite, Golden Beryl, Goshenite, and Morganite. The most prized color for Emerald is a deep, vibrant, rich green. Inclusions are extremely common among Emeralds. These are an important way to mark the distinction between natural and synthetic stones.

Almost all Emeralds have some inclusions. The visibility of fractures can be reduced by filling them with oils and resins. Both of these methods are accepted practice and do not in any way diminish the value of the stone.

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Aquamarine, Emerald, and Tourmaline

There is quite a variety of rough gemstones such as Tourmaline, Aquamarine, Emerald, Sapphire, Topaz, and Quartz, just to name a few. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them that are mined across Latin America and Africa.

Aquamarine is a fascinatingly beautiful gemstone. The name “aquamarine” comes from Latin. Aqua is water, and Mare is sea. Rumor has it that the aquamarine’s strengths are optimally developed when the stone is placed in sunlight-bathed water. There are hardly any other gemstones in the contemporary world of jewelry design that are so refined and available in so many varieties of ways to work with as aquamarine.

Regardless whether the aquamarines are shown as clear, transparent gems in the traditional, classic step cut, or cut in a creative way or in a more contemporary artistic design, they are always beautiful in a fascinating way. Uncut the aquamarine is impressive as well, and if you come across one that has many inclusions brought about by a designer’s idea of how the stone should be cut, an aquamarine can be very beautifully refined to become a stunning and fascinating creation.

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The Great Barrier Reef Pollution – Farms & Fossil Fuels

For years, we learned as students that the Great Barrier Reef was the most beautiful reef in the world, and many of us (myself included) took a gap year after working hard toward our high school diploma (I failed). I took and passed the GED Test while using Best GED Classes online prep to get all set in a timely manner. So I too visited this famous place. It was worth it! Now we hear new but alarming things about the Great Barrier Reef.

All rhetoric and policies around the Great Barrier Reef issues have in no way matched reality while one of the world’s greatest natural wonders keeps on suffering from ongoing pollution. But as in late November 2015, corals in the northern portions of the Great Barrier Reef began to get a bleached white color, things finally turned around.

For many years, the Australian population had been told that one of the world’s most precious ocean jewels was getting better, and it had been only months ago that Australia’s government had been successful to not include the Great Barrier Reef in a United Nations list of endangered world heritage sites.

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Blue Gemstones Cutting Practice

All gem shops in Central Queensland’s Sapphire area have the mission to enhance the beauty given to each natural stone placed in their hands for cutting and setting. They strive to amplify the natural qualities in the most beneficial way – there is nothing natural about faceting a stone, but the study and best use of that stone, continues a natural theme. Let’s look better at Blue Gemstones Cutting Practice.

With that in mind, these professionals pursue the process by designing settings and choosing “forms” to follow the “function”. Whether you choose to allow them to cut, design, or set, or buy one of their stones for your own ideas and designs, it’s entirely up to you. They all offer at least one concept that few other places in the world can – the ability to design your jewelry from the gemstone rough, through the cutting, and finally to the finished setting. Looking around their ateliers, you’ll find plenty of beautiful examples of such finished products.

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The Difference between Cutting Yellow Gemstones and Cutting Diamonds

That is a simple question without a simple answer. Historically, colored gemstone cutting and carving go back at least 5000 years, but the techniques used to cut diamonds have only been used for several hundred. Diamonds are the hardest material known to man and only diamond can be used to cut another diamond. So here we look a little further at the difference between cutting Yellow Gemstones and cutting Diamonds.

Diamond has different degrees of hardness depending on its ‘grain’, which makes knowing how to cut diamonds a tedious business. And diamonds, by comparison, take a great deal more time to cut and polish then corresponding colored gemstones. Other than that the tools and techniques used have a lot of similarities.

A colored gemstone cutter has a specialized knowledge of the stones that are cut, as diamond cutters have with diamonds. Colored gemstones may require a specialized polishing technique, whereas diamond always uses the same.

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Mining Sapphire and Gemstone Fever

THE SAPPHIRE GEMFIELDS – Now here, It’s all about the bling-bling, baby!

When you’ll be visiting the towns of Sapphire, Rubyvale, Anakie, and Willows Gemfields, all located in the region of the Sapphire Gemfields, Central Queensland, you are bound to be caught by some pretty serious gemstone fever…

The region of the Central Queensland Sapphire Gemfields is found just a short 45-minute drive to the west of Emerald on the Capricorn Highway, some 3 three hours due west of Rockhampton. The area is representing more than 900 square kilometers of the best gem fossicking opportunities in the world.

The Sapphire Gemfields can be explored in many ways.  Gemfields. You can take one of the guided tours to explore an underground mine or you can sign up for a tag-along gem digging tour.

Another option is to set out on a self-drive fossicking tour, bring all the necessary equipment and maps by yourself and explore the region’s backtracks. You can visit one of the fossicking parks, buy a sapphire “wash” bucket, be taught how to sieve the material, and learn how to recognize a sapphire in the rough.

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