Hello! I’m 17 hours off from my norm, so all apologies for not keeping to a normal blog schedule this week. Also, greetings from the future. For the record, it’s sunny here.
We spent the first few days in a town about 70mi NW of Melbourne, Ballarat. It’s an old gold mining town–apparently Americans made passage to Ballarat during its gold rush period; the botanical garden contains sequoias brought over by the miners from California.
I had the opportunity to hang out with a few kangaroos
After the wedding we were here to attend, we flew to Sydney.
Sydney is a cityof approximately 4.5 Million. Easily one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited thanks to it’s setting on this extraordinary harbor just inland from the ocean. It has tons of beautiful vistas, water and beach access everywhere, world-class coffee, food, drink, culture, art, and very nice people.
It’s early-mid Spring here, and the weather is more than a bit unpredictable. One day it was like this:
Cold and 60+mph winds that closed the exhibit we were hoping to see, Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi Beach
The next day it was like this:
Sunny, high 70’s, a light breeze at Manly Surf Beach.
Tomorrow we head to the Northernmost point in Australia to the Daintree rainforest. I am excited for that, but also look forward to what Sydney has in store for us today.
A few observations on Australian employment. The current unemployment rate nationally is 5.6%. That seems like a strong number–but similar to the US, their workforce participation statistics are troubling. The percentage of Australians participating in the workforce fell to the lowest number since 2006 in October. Not great.
This is an expensive country to visit. A typical lunch out for two is rarely less than $50. A latte and a muffin is $12. The AUS national minimum wage is $16.37/hour, and everyone has health benefits. You’d think the high cost of eating/drinking out would deter people, but it hasn’t seemed the case. In doing a little benchmarking, it seems that other salaries are fairly comparable with Seattle–but cost of housing (in Sydney at least) is a fair bit higher. Makes me wonder how people afford to live here.
Hope this finds you all well. I’ll update again likely next week as we’ll be hiking in the rainforest on Saturday (your Friday).