Whenever you hear about Australia, no one ever mentions the flies. Maybe it's because when people come here they are so overwhelmed with the beauty and the good memories they forget about the flies. As a public service, I'd like to talk about the flies =).
The flies here are not like any flies I ever encountered back home. They are big and bold. They don't leave you alone ever! They buzz around you constantly and dive bomb your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. They love to hitch a ride on you, mainly on your back. You don't bother to brush them off because if they you do they just keep buzzing around your head and land on you again anyway. So as you walk along, you will often see people's backs covered in flies. The worst is when you try to eat. Australia has a lot of outdoor restaurants. When you go to these in the summer on a hot day, the flies are unbearable. They come at your food incessantly. I really don't know why people enjoy eating outdoors here in the summer.
The flies were a lot worse in the Sydney area last summer than they are this summer. I think it is because this year the temperatures have been oscillating between hot and cold days where last year it was just plain hot. Last summer the flies really bothered me here and I thought they were terrible. When we went to Adelaide a couple of weeks ago they were so much worse there. It's probably because Adelaide is a desert. Instead of just hitching a ride on you they go for any moist area they can find, usually your eyes, nose, and mouth. Dave swallowed more than a couple flies on this trip. We thought Adelaide was bad, but Kangaroo Island won the fly award in our book. The first day wasn't too bad. The flies were there, but not too obnoxious because there was a strong wind. The next couple of days were wind free and the flies were overwhelming. We tried 3 different fly repellents, none of which worked. We tried a natural one with Eucalyptus and tea tree oil, Off, and an Australian one mixed with sunscreen. We didn't notice any difference with any of them. We really enjoyed the beautiful island, but hated the flies. We decided there must be billions of them on the island. I went to use a public restroom on the hottest day that we were there. When I approached the toilet I thought the seat was black. As I got closer the flies started to fly off the seat and I realized the seat was white, just covered in black flies. Disgusting. How are you suppose to use a toilet like that. The flies try to fly into the openings of my face, I can only imagine what they'd do if I sat down on that toilet. No thanks!!
In the more southern parts of Australia flies are only a problem during the summer months and disappear by fall. I can't speak for Northern Australia, but I would guess they are a year round problem there, since it stays hot year round. I'm grateful these flies don't bite though. They do have sand flies that bite, but they don't seem to be as prevalent as the black (house)flies. When it is time to leave Australia I will be more than happy to leave the flies behind =).