I've been lucky with these little blighters and managed to avoid them til now...touch wood. I was surprised to read that they say not to use Vaseline against them. The last time I attended a St Johns Senior First Aid course (about 3 yrs ago), it was taught that Vaseline or personal insect repellent would remove the tick (by starving them of air forcing it to back out).
Thanks for a great post Mark. My own experiences confirm a lot of your observations. I have walked in areas in winter and never picked up a tick. However in summer there have been plenty ticks in the exact same places. In December I pulled over a dozen ticks off me at Monadnocks shelter on the Bibbulmun Track. These were mostly small red ticks although the Kangaroo ticks came charging at me on their stumpy little legs in Nerang, Mt Cooke and Gringer Creek shelters.
I am interested in how they locate you, it does not seem from vibration as banging a walking stick did not create any interest, I suspect they may use smell.
I have found that the best way to avoid being bitten is to liberally apply Rid or sunblock with insect repellent (Le Tan and Coles work well). In my younger days we used to use Kerosene although I am not sure of the health issues. I am also told that Deep Heat or Tiger Balm work well.
For treatment of bites I carry an anti-histamine cream called Anthisan, this is available in the UK, New Zealand or South Africa (but sadly not locally) . If applied early it stops swelling and itching. If not applied early then I find bites can itch for up to a month. Stingose and a Mopiko Ointment give some relief. The itching is definetely worse if the tick was coated with a chemical.
I also find removing ticks to be quite easy with tweezers and even with your fingers if gentle and consistent pressure is applied.