Traveling in Australia
Distance has always been a defining challenge for Australians. However, some international visitors still tend to underestimate distances and travel times between city and rural centres in Australia.
Australia has a surface area of more than 7.7 million square kilometres and most of the nation’s 20.6 million people live in widely separated cities along its 36 000 kilometres of coastline.
More than 800,000 kilometres of road crisscross the land, of which just under half are sealed (paved). More than 14 million people have a driver’s licence and transport is the second-largest item of household expenditure in Australia. Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road, with the steering wheel located on the right-hand side of the car.
In the tropics lightweight (natural fibers) clothing is suitable all year round. In the southern temperate regions, summers (Dec-Feb) are warm to hot and lightweight clothes are suitable for daytime, but keep a jacket or sweater as nights may be cool. For the southern winters (Jun-Aug) sweaters and warmer clothes are advisable. Most of the time just keep it light and comfortable.
Here in Australia our currency is Australian Dollars (AUD). We also accept American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa, JCB and their affiliates. Currency exchange is available at banks, hotels and international airports. Here we have a goods and services tax on purchases (10%) but you may claim this and the Wine Equalisation Tax when departing our shores.
Health and Safety
Take advantage of our many beaches but always remember to follow basic water safety. Always swim or surf at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags which mark the safest area for swimming.
For further information on swimming or surfing safety, check out the following websites: Coastal Watch, Surf Life Saving Australia and the Queensland Government Environment. Venomous marine stingers and crocodiles occur in coastal waters, as well as the tropical swimming holes of northern Australia.
The emergency number is 000.
All travellers to Australia or any country should consider a health insurance. Have a look at the Australian Medicare site to see if we have a reciprocal health care agreement with your country.
Our country code is 61. We have service for all mobile (cell) phones. Internet access is available at many Internet cafes, accommodation and libraries.
Australia Post offices are usually open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and some are open on Saturday morning from 9am to 12pm.
The electrical current in Australia is 220-240 volts, AC 50Hz. The Australian three‑pin power outlet is different from some other countries so you may need an adaptor.
Shopping plays a large part of travelling. Whether you are shopping or sightseeing, there is always a place to shop or purchase souvenirs. In Australia you are covered by Australia’s consumer protection laws which require businesses to treat you fairly.
If you have a disability and plan to explore Australia, there is a host of services and special deals to meet your needs. Make your travel agent aware of your needs and have a look at the NICAN site for in depth information on Australia meeting accessible travel needs.