Australia Sailing/ independent travel
Denise, I lived in Oz for almost 20 yrs, have 4 kids born there who carry Aussie passports, and still consider it to be the best place I''ve ever lived. You''ll find the people friendly (a lot of affinity between yanks and Aussies), especially if you make an effort to find out about them. The culture is very similar to ours, but less money-oriented (I did not say that Aussies do not care about money, they do, but no one lives in as money-oriented country as do Americans) and much more laid back and relaxed. It is not 20 or 10 years behind the States, it is every bit as modern as the US is but with only about 1/14 the population, the spaces between centers of population are much greater. Climate is overall warmer, size is almost identical to the lower 48. You''ll have no problems with travel -- less than you would here. Sailing is bigger there per capita, and you''ll find sailors and sailing spots everywhere near the coast. Remember that there is almost no inland water, very very few lakes, but as Aussies are coastal dwellers for the most part, they do their sailing in saltwater.
OK, that''s it in a nutshell -- I''d be glad to carry this on with you more if you email me at the above address.
Good luck and fair winds,