We got in touch with Peter Richards, Managing Director of TripTide – an Australian travel community that connects travellers and locals. He shares his thoughts on work-life balance, the importance of connecting with locals and discusses just why so many millions of people come to Australia.
What is it about Australia that makes so many people come here, and often move here permanently?
I think Australia is the land of opportunity. It’s the 21st century equivalent of 20th century America where if you work hard anything anything is possible. Whilst Europe is largely densely populated, recessive and engulfed in political trauma Australia remains, on the surface, free of these constraints. It has always appeared to me that as an immigrant you will be given a ‘fair go’ and the rest is up to you. For an immigrant from a somewhat claustrophobic UK the opportunity in Australia is as big as the country.
TripTide highlights the benefits of local knowledge to enhance the travel experience. How does local knowledge augment the experience in a country like Australia?
Any traveller visiting Australia for the first time will be over-awed by the amount of choice available and in planning a trip to a country so big and so diverse it’s a bit of a challenge knowing just where to start. A little local knowledge goes a long way when you are a complete novice (like I was) and a bit of friendly advice from the right quarter can make the difference between a good trip and a memorable one. Small nuggets of information can make a big impact e.g. Get into Sydney on New Years Eve before noon, Sydney Harbour Ferries (the gold ones) have all got wifi.
How would you describe the Australian attitude towards life? And towards work?
I have great empathy with the Australian attitude to life and there is a good balance between work and play. Attitude and national pride here has evolved over the years in a relatively young country. It is one of the most popular countries for immigrants to relocate due to a mixture of the fine weather, the laid back attitude to life and the huge potential for the future. Coming from work obsessed UK, for example, the new immigrant will have to get used to a more relaxed style in the work environment. This doesn’t make the end product any less worthy – quite the opposite. In my view Aussies work hard but they also relax hard as well – and have found a great balance between the two.
In your view, what is the Australian attitude towards tourists or migrants?
Fair and even handed to newcomers in a young country where everyone was a newcomer once. I am sure that many of the ‘£10 Poms’ of the 1960s will endorse this view wholeheartedly.
How did the idea of TripTide come about?
I first visited to Australia three years ago to visit my daughter for Christmas who was looking after an international group of children at a school in Brisbane. I had not really put much thought into the trip other than spending time with her. I also could not get much in the way of online information about where to go and what to do beyond the normal tourist traps in Sydney, Alice Springs and Cairns. When I got there I started to ask the locals and was presented with a kaleidoscope of information e.g. Fraser Island – how to get there, where to stay, who to hire a 4×4 from etc. and where to stay when embarking on a Bruce Highway road trip. We had a fantastic time discovering an Australia that I did not know really existed and when I came back to the Uk I wanted to create a repository of interactive information that might enable clueless travellers like me to get a a handle on Australia’s hidden nuggets.
If working a full-time job in a city like Sydney, what kinds of experiences would you recommend for a full-time worker if they want to have an escape?
Sydney and surrounding area has many things to recommend it. For me the Northern Beaches are a must as is an evening spent in in the Rocks and the last ferry home to enjoy a unique view of the most iconic of City sites – the Opera house and the Bridge
Excerpts from this interview were used in our article on why 200,000 people immigrated to Australia last year.