Good to hear you two are extracting some enjoyment from Far Cry 2; as for the travel problem, I guess the developers are damned if they do, damned if they don't - they've been criticised for making the game "too realistic" in some senses, but "not realistic enough" in others. I suppose they just figured after all the effort they went to in creating the map/world (and let's be honest, it's really an amazing work of art - I'd love a multiplayer/co-op game in that world), they wanted to "encourage" people to see it.
I don't have too much of a problem with the travel, partially because I take short-cuts and cut across country, but also because I set my own mini-missions whilst travelling from "A" to "B" (usually with a pit-stop at a gun shop/armoury along the way) - but each to their own.
On the generic issue of video game violence and the Australian Classification Board, you may find this interview with a former Deputy Director interesting (especially the last question):
Inside the Classification Board Part II: Q&A with a former deputy director - GameSpot AU News Blog - Gaming News and Videos
As for L4D2 specifically, Valve have indicated that they have appealed the decision (instead of the Australian distributor, Electronic Arts?) but there has as yet been no media release announcing a review by the Australian Classification Review Board - we're hoping for an update next week when Valve studio head Gabe Newell visits Australia
(notionally for other reasons).
In the past, some games (eg., F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin) originally labelled "RC" (refused classification) by the Classification Board have been subsequently labelled "MA15+" by the Classification Review Board (without having to modify anything in the game at all), so there is some hope for L4D2.
Oh, and the "COD 4 mod" with a zombie mode is in fact COD5 (Call of Duty: World at War) and the zombie mode is in-built to the original game, it's not a separate mod.
Forgot to mention, the whole issue of "violent video games" was covered by Penn & Teller
(both interesting and humorous - usual NSFW applies to P&T's show).