Naturally, Australians ask about my impressions of Australia, this being my first trip. The impressions have been subtle. Apart from the accents, great coffee, exotic flora and fauna and fine weather, this could be a large Canadian city. People are busy, but not too hurried. Apparently Sydney has the same opinion of itself relative to Australia as Toronto does of itself relative to Canada - enough said (after all, I'm just from a prairie outpost - we don't even have paved roads or schools and still hunt buffaloes to feed and clothe ourselves).
Generally, I have tried to compare Australia to Canada. Canada's and Australia's beginnings were significantly different, but both started off as British colonies and maintain a relationship with Britain and Her Majesty. White Australians seem more distinctly British, however, than do Canadians. There's more of a sense that a white aristocracy still exists that holds some allegiance to Britain. Like Canadians, Australians seem generally good natured and content with their place in the world. Politically, as you know, Australia has recently aligned itself with the B. administration and that perturbs many Australians in a similar way that some Canadians are dismayed with our current government's political leaning.
I get a sense that, if possible, rural Australia is even more isolated from the major cities and more sparsely populated than rural Canada. The difference is that you can drive to most of the isolated parts of Australia.
Quite a few of the 20-somethings I've met have been to North America and Europe - better traveled than many of my acquaintances of the same age and socio-economic profile in Canada and the U.S. Perhaps that is because of Australia's great distance from anywhere.
So those are some of my impressions from my short time here. Australians, especially, feel free to comment.