by Vicky Gray
Parking in Australia is free in most places, barring airports and Hospitals. Unlike in Essex where I was horrified to discover that I had to pay and display at my local Somerfield store, even when I was just popping in for a pint of milk and some peanut M&M’s. I was reimbursed when I produced the other half of my ticket at the checkout, but that really wasn’t the point, it’s extremely inconvenient and if you don’t have a 20p coin on you, you’re buggered and forced to shop elsewhere.
Anyway, all you have to do here in Oz is observe the clearly marked signs that tell you how long you can park – and on which days. Car park bays are spacious and you no longer have to squeeze carefully out of your car to avoid banging into the car next to you with your door. The child parking bays are ridiculously oversized and you feel unworthy of using them unless you have a minimum of three children, a dog, two goats and a couple of loose chickens.One rule that must be obeyed, which is totally different from England is that you can only park your car on the road the way the traffic is flowing. So you can no longer eagerly hop across to the other side of the road when you spy a space, you must first turn around and then go into it. Otherwise you may face a fine and even some penalty points.
Reverse angle parking seems to be the rage in Queensland – but this varies from State to State. If you do come across these type of bays, never park ‘nose in first’ – you will be frowned and tutted at, but only by Australians as they are justifiably fed up of seeing Poms hopelessly manoeuvring their 4WD’s into relatively easy spaces. You will probably find though, that fellow Poms will recognise you as a ‘newbie’- wonder over to introduce themselves and maybe even become firm friends!