ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Australia back then and now!

Updated on July 21, 2013
Blue sky, gum trees and birds, typical Australian scenery
Blue sky, gum trees and birds, typical Australian scenery
A river estuary and mountains in the far distance from a Sawtell lookout
A river estuary and mountains in the far distance from a Sawtell lookout
Clear sky and a dark blue ocean amid Australian vegetation
Clear sky and a dark blue ocean amid Australian vegetation
Sawtell beach
Sawtell beach
A pathway in a Sawtell lookout
A pathway in a Sawtell lookout
Sawtell chili festival!
Sawtell chili festival!

I first migrated to Australia from Peru in 1969, but there were not that many Latin Americans there then. My family first went to Hobart, but then we moved to Brisbane, where we made friends with people from Peru, Colombia, Chile and Venezuela, who were either studying in Australia, or had migrated there. Every member of my family left Australia in 1976 and we settled in the Dominican Republic. Life was good in the Caribbean, but in 1988 I decided to visit Expo 88 in Brisbane and there I met who was to become my husband a year and a half later. Once married I returned to Australia to live and our two children were born there a couple of years later.

My husband was then offered a good position in Austria, the country he originally comes from, so in 1993 we moved to Graz and have been living there ever since. Even though it is so far away, we have visited Australia a few times, including last year when my stepdaughter got married in Melbourne. A few days ago we also came back from attending one of my husband’s conferences in Sydney and from visiting my sister and nephew in Brisbane, as well as my mother, who has recently moved to Australia from Uruguay.

My husband will become emeritus in two years time and we are considering the possibility of moving back to Australia again, as we both have family there and it could be a place for our two children to carry out their studies, as they have dual nationality.

We left Australia seventeen years ago, so this trip was a way of getting to know the country again and evaluating how the place has changed since we left. It also gave us the opportunity to start looking for a suitable place where we could retire when the time comes. For that reason we rented a car in Brisbane and then drove south to Sydney, so as to arrive in time for my husband’s conference.

It was winter in Australia when we went, but everyday we had blue sky and temperatures just under 20°, which was more like spring or summer in Austria! Once on the road we were surprised to find that there is a four-lane highway now from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and 50 story buildings are quite common now! The speed limit was mostly 100kph, with only a few stretches of 110, while in Austria it is 130! New traffic fines have been introduced recently and it seemed as if everybody was obeying the speed limits! Apparently smoking has also been banned indoors and that was a change I really welcomed!

We stopped in Surfers’ Paradise, Currumbin, Coolangatta and Byron Bay, places that we used to visit often in the past and somehow, the Pacific had never seemed so blue, or the waves more parallel as they approached the coast. We went for many beach walks and I had to agree with the 79 year old man we met doing exercises on the beach, who said that we should enjoy the view, as it was free!

Whether they had beach or river view, we enjoyed every hotel we stayed in and we also noticed that they all had coffee and tea making facilities and in some cases, even a couple of Arnott’s biscuits! We also noticed that food is quite different now, as it all seemed to be mainly gourmet, obviously a result of the new multicultural Australia.

After visiting Byron Bay we came across Sawtell, which is on the north-eastern coast of New South Wales, about 10km south of Coffs Harbour. It is a small and peaceful holiday resort and in recent years its population has increased to over 5000 people.

The predominant feature and raison d'etre of this tourist town is its pretty beach and its two rocky promontories that are adjacent to the estuaries of the Boambee and Bonville Creeks.

Sawtell has a small shopping centre, with a very distinctive median strip in the middle, with many old and luxuriant trees. It also has some good walking areas near the river and beach and there is good fishing in the creeks and the ocean.

Daniel Scott, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, says "A survey last year by the University of New England, which assessed a raft of important amenities, proclaimed it the most desirable place to move to in NSW. If I had to envisage my ideal coastal town, Sawtell would come close to fitting the bill."

I had a dream one night while I was in Australia and in it there was a bushfire and I could see kangaroos running away from it. I told my sister about my dream and she reckoned that fire in dreams means passion! I don’t think I am passionate about kangaroos, but certainly about the country they inhabit!

Map of Sawtell, NSW


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • ReuVera profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      My niece lives in Albany, Auckland. I am scared of earthquakes. I had this experience in Israel and it is soooo scary. Being on the 8th floor of a shaking building when things are falling down from shelves and beds are sliding in the room.... oooooo...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for your comment and I hope you are able to visit your niece soon! I just hope she does not live in Christchurch, as I heard last night that they had a strong earthquake! I did not know NZ got earthquakes, although that is not surprising I guess, as they do have volcanoes.

    • ReuVera profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Oh, this is my dream to visit Australia and New Zealand (I have a niece living in NZ). And I am not afraid of long flights. Used to them.

    • sylvia13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Gadea de Beer 

      8 years ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia

      Thanks for your comment and I recommend you go and visit Australia, although the flight is never-ending!

    • ReuVera profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I like what I read about Australia. Recently I found a speech that Australian prime-minister made regarding immigrants and I liked it. This is the only way to respect the country!

      Thank you for a nice description of Australia. Now I want to visit it.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)