Australian culture from a newcomer's perspective of four cities: Going to several places around the world gives provides a benchmark on different cultures, food, weather, clothes and fashion. When one has been also to different parts of Australia and you could see the different cultures, food, weather, clothes.

Perth. A little peaceful, serene and relaxed City. The people here are so relaxed, very animated and so friendly and ever so helpful. When trying to find an office in the city and stopped a young man at an office centre and he himself did not know where it was and offered to use his office to check on the internet. Now if you do not call that helpful!. Fremantle is also a unique little town. The food at a favourite place is Joe's Fish Shack, especially their chocolate brownie with hot fudge and ice cream.  The Swan River runs right through the city. The Swan valley with the vineyards are also a very pretty sight. via the boat ride - really relaxing.

Melbourne. Romantic city of Australia. The view from Crown Towers was simply overwhelming. There were pillars at night that spit out fire and heats up the place when having a meal and it is cosy.  Most of the people are friendly but being a big city they just get on with their lives. The food here was the best - eg Malaysian mamak mee. Green curry chicken even better than the Thais, Greek food and it was scrumptious. The weather can sometimes be too cold and even in summer in Melbourne you need to be equipped with more clothes.

Queensland, Gold Coast. Loved it. The people are so friendly, loved the seafood, the weather was a bit nifty sometimes but mostly gorgeous. Surfer's Paradise is always buzzing. You have all the guys ogling at the Meter Maid girls dressed in skimpy clothes and boots. The guys were all burnt backed clad only in board shorts running around with surf boards. Really did not want to leave and wanted to stay even more.

Sydney. Well Sydney is more of a University of it's own. It is filled with students of all countries everywhere. I look left I see a student, I turn right I see a student. Not that I am against students, but just that it is too much of noise and hustle and bustle and no one really is interested in anything but just getting themselves somewhere in a jiffy.

When a recent survey indicated that Australians are the happiest people in the world, its easy to see why. Newcomers such as the writer look forward to being part of Australia and be proud to be called a happy citizen.

GERI GOMES-BUCK 2006