Travel Information - F

Fishing is probably Australia's most popular sport (as it has no age boundaries). All around the country you will find people fishing from boats, off jetties, beaches, rock platforms, in rivers, dams, lakes or trout streams. There's a lot of fish to be caught, mostly good eating, and you will be fishing in pleasant surroundings. Bait and tackle shops abound. Gear can be hired in many forms, but a handline and relevant tackle is relatively inexpensive. Australian anglers are also generous and willing to share information about where the fish are biting!

The main rule on Australian breaches is to 'swim between the flags'. Beaches develop currents known as 'rips', which can be so strong they literally pull swimmers off their feet in water knee high and sweep them out to sea. These are hard to identify as they can occur in quite calm conditions with relatively small waves.

Lifesavers regularly monitor a beach for such 'rips' and place red and yellow flags on either side of stretch of beach where it is safe to swim. Swimmers must stay within these flags, and watch their position in the water. Lifesavers will wave to swimmers and use loud hailers to warn them if they are moving outside the safe swimming area. Never enter the water if the flags are crossed. This means conditions are too dangerous for swimming and the beach is closed. Most people who get into trouble in the surf simply ignore this simple rule (some because flags on beaches in some countries denote a private section of a beach).

Many beaches have pools where you can swim safely if you are not confident of tackling the waves. These are washed clean at high tide and a good place for families with children.

Surfboard riders and windsurfers are not allowed near swimmers in areas designated by the red and yellow 'safe swimming' flags. Board riders everywhere have a special fellowship and visitors are made welcome. Simply ask a lifesaver or one of the locals where you should ride and what the local rules are when it comes to 'catching a wave'.

Some beaches put up dark blue flags either side of the safe swimming area to mark the 'no go' area for board and ski riders. Surf boards, surf skis, body boards and windsurfers are available for hire at many major beaches - either on the beach or at a nearby 'surf shop'. If you get into trouble, stay with - preferably on - your board or surf ski.

The range and quality of food in Australia is unequalled, whether it be 5-star seafood or a take-away pie. Health rules are extremely stringent and the authorities diligent so food from any outlet should be fine. Many restaurants display their menus (if they don't, feel free to wander in just to read one - Australian waiters are friendly!) - or drop in to a supermarket and make up your own picnic hamper.