Second Time Around travel blog

Bonus attraction

A geographic highlight

Friendly reminder

As reluctant as I was initially to do so, we hired a car with which to tour the famous Margaret River region.

Traffic is on the left. It takes getting used to. Fortunately, I've had experience in New Zealand and Ireland.

Several times, I've been so far left that I've driven on the shoulder rumble strips. That elicits a "move right" gesture from Mo, with variations in emphasis

Road conditions are better here than in New Zealand or Ireland. Lanes are wider, surfaces in better shape, and drivers seem less agressive. Maybe because I'm so timid, myself.

I don't notice much use of the horn. I have not been tailgated. Roundabouts are everywhere. Thoughtful signs remind you to "keep left." Unless marked, there are no free turns.

Distances are in kilometers, so it feels like we get to places faster. Speed limits and speedometer numbers are also in kilometers. Driving 110 is less scary than it sounds.

Your vehicle is tracked in many places by camera systems. South of Perth, I noticed "average speed" camera signs complete with camera. I understand that if you are a speeder, you can get warnings and/or fines in the mail.

Violations result in demerit points given to the owner of the vehicle. Accumulating too many points can result in higher insurance rates, official letters informing you that you are a danger to others, and possible loss of licence.

New drivers get a plastic "P" to display on the license plate. It means "provisional," and gets you extra attention. We found a stray "P" in a parking lot, and I plan to display it on our fridge and/or Christmas tree.

Pedestrians do not get right of way. I don't know what the law is, but cars don't even slow down for you when you try to cross the street. I stunned a couple sets of pedestrians in small towns by stopping for them. One fellow refused my offer, and we might still be at an impasse had not cars appeared in my rear-view mirror.

Cyclists can be found on roadways, and signs tell you to give them clearance. As a cyclist myself, I give them plenty of clearance. An Australian comedian on U-tube complained that "those lycra-flaunting bastards think they own the road and you can't do anything about it because they're a protected species."

Signs that point to things of interest like park entrances are small and infrequent. You have to more or less know what's coming up to take advantage of them.

Warning signs include outlines of kangaroo and koala. So sad those little guys don't know they're pedestrians.

I've been told people in Western Australia don't know how to merge. So far, so good in the merging department.

Distances are long, long, long. Tedium can set in. Everywhere are signs reminding you to rest, take a break, pause and live.

Good advice.

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