Travel Tips for Australia

Australia a wonder unto itself.  This wide expanse of land holds many secrets, unique landscapes & experiences and sustains a vibrant culture waiting to be explored.  From the bustling cosmopolitan cities, the sun kissed beaches, the vibrant red interior, the characters you’ll meet and the memories you’ll keep, your Australian vacation will not fail to impress you.  These travel tips will help you get the most out of your Australian vacation.

 

 

Location

Australia forms part of Oceania and is located in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, neighboring the countries of New Zealand and Indonesia.

Climate

Australia’s climate varies from tropical in the North to temperate in the South. There are four seasons: Summer from December to February, Autumn from March to May, Winter from June to August and Spring from September to November. The Northern part of Australia generally distinguishes it seasons as “Wet season” and “Dry Season” reflecting the amount of rainfall during the year. The Wet season is generally the summer season and the dry season is generally the winter season.

Time Difference

There are 3 time zones in Australia; Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST) which is one half hour behind EST and Western Standard Time (WST) which is two hours behind EST. Australia's EST is 10 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Departure taxes

A departure tax of AUD38.00 is included in your international airline ticket. Exemptions include children under 12 years old and passengers transiting through Australia.

Entry requirements

You will need a passport valid for at least 3 months beyond your departure date. All visitors to Australia who are not Australian or New Zealand citizens require either an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or a visa to enter the country. Visitors from the USA and Canada (click here to see a list of ETA eligible countries) can enter with an ETA and Springboard Vacations can issue an ETA for you. The fee is $25 per person. The fee is waived if we issue your international airline tickets from North America to Australia. If you are not a citizen of an ETA eligible country you need to get a visa from the Australian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission in your country of residence. For more information visit www.border.gov.au.

Tipping protocol

It is not customary to tip in Australia, but if you feel your server performed well you are most welcome to tip.

Dress

Australians dress informally on most occasions. Be sure to pack layered clothing all year round with a waterproof jacket so you’re prepared for any changes in weather.

Language

English is the national language of Australia, but you will find a bustling multicultural environment filled with the sounds of many other languages too.

Health

Australia has an excellent health care and hospital system. No vaccinations are required, but we do strongly suggest travel insurance to all travelers to cover the cost of emergencies and medical services should they be needed. Take safety precautions such as sunscreen application, water consumption and full coverage clothing tips seriously when in the sun and outdoors.

Currency & exchange, credit cards, banking

The currency of Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD). Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express & Diners Club) and debit cards are widely accepted and can be used in ATMs throughout the country. Traveler’s checks can be cashed at airports, banks and most hotels. The normal banking hours are from 9:00 am-4:30 pm Monday to Friday. While prices are show in single cents, they are rounded to the nearest 5 cent which is the smallest denomination of currency.

The current bank-to-bank USD/AUD exchange rate is USD100 = AUD Keep in mind this is a bank-to-bank/mercantile rate and is subject to commission and/or exchange rate fees, typically between 1 to 3 percent depending on your bank, credit card company or financial institution. Information and rates here are provided as an indication and guide only and provided without warranty.

Currency data courtesy coinmill.com

Cigarettes & Tobacco

If you are aged 18 years or over you can bring 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco products duty-free into Australia with you. All tobacco products in accompanied baggage are included in this category, regardless of how or where they were purchased. You will pay duty on all tobacco if you are bringing in more than the duty free allowance. If you incorrectly/falsely state the amount of tobacco you are bringing into the country you may face steep fines and confiscation of the tobacco products.

Electricity

Electricity in Australia is 230V and the frequency is 50Hz. The socket/plug type is Type I, which looks like this:

Religion

Australians are predominantly Christian in religious beliefs. The major religions practiced in Australia are Anglican and Catholic though most other religions are also practiced.

Sports

Australian’s love sport! There are many different sports widely followed in Australia and the main unique sport is Australian Rules Football. Played in the winter months it has a huge following and all eyes are on the “footy” for the Grand Final held in Melbourne in September. In the summer months its cricket and tennis season, both popular spectator sports. The Nation stands still at 3:00pm EST, the first Tuesday of every November, to watch the Melbourne Cup Horseracing with hopes their horse will place first.

Communication

There are a range of ways to stay in touch. Internet cafes are everywhere but you can also access the internet at most hotels and libraries. Cell phones can be easily rented. Public phones accept Australian coins, credit cards and some calling cards. Australia Post will take care of all your postal needs.

Jet lag

Westbound flights appear to be the worst for jet lag but many people report feelings of jet lag with any long haul flights. To prevent feeling the worse for wear when you arrive at your destination try the following tips:
Be well rested before boarding your flight, drink plenty of fluids and cut back on the alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, try to exercise by stretching in your seat or strolling the isle. One of the best tips is to try to set your body clock to your destination’s time while in flight. Waiting until you land can leave you literally in the wrong time zone.

Driving

Australians drive on the left side of the road. Care should be taken to follow all road signs and traffic lights. International travelers are encouraged to pay close attention to their driving, especially when driving for the first time. International driver’s licenses are not necessary but a valid US or Canadian driver’s license is a must.

In an Emergency

The emergency telephone number for the Police, the Fire Service, Ambulance or Search and Rescue in Australia is 000. It is a free phone call.