AUSTRALIA TRAVEL TIPS
|Destination||Standard Time||Daylight Savings|
|ACT Australian Capital Territory||GMT+10||GMT+11|
|NSW New South Wales||GMT+10||GMT+10|
|NT Northern Territory||GMT+9:30||n/a|
|SA South Australia||GMT+9:30||GMT+10:30|
|WA Western Australia||GMT+8||GMT+9|
In Australia, the official language is English.
Australia is a very multicultural nation. The majority of the population are Christian while also consisting of strong influences of Islam, Hindu and Judaism in several parts of Australia. When visiting a religious monument, some areas may be off-limits to visitors who don't practice the faith and/or taking photographs may also be prohibited.
The Australian Dollar is the official currency of Australia ($). There are one hundred cents to each Australian Dollar ($). Notes are issued to the value of $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5. Coins are issued to the value of $2, $1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.
In Australia travellers cheques are widely accepted and can be exchanged at hotels and banks.
Credit cards can be used at hotels, most restaurants and shops.
You must declare to Customs any amounts of AUD$10,000 or more in foreign or Australian currency (notes and coins) that you bring into Australia.
ATM outlets are numerous in Australia.
Exchange currency only at authorised outlets such as banks and hotels, and exchange only what you think you will spend in country. Coins cannot be reconverted on departure.
Save all receipts from any currency exchange transaction. You may be asked to produce them when you exit the country, and they are required if you intend to reconvert local currency.
Many travellers view tipping as a difficult subject, though this need not be the case. The first thing to remember is that tipping is not compulsory, nor are there any fixed amounts. The bottom line in determining whether and how much to tip is to ask yourself how much the individual did to make your travels more enjoyable.
You are travelling on an independent itinerary, and the cost of your programme does not include gratuities. The following guidelines are general local standards.
Tips to hotel maids and other hotel staff are at your discretion.
A charge for service is not added to restaurant cheques, a typical gratuity would be equal to 10 - 15% of the total.
If a guide performs a special service for you, it would be appropriate to tip him or her at the same rate you would tip a hotel concierge in Australia for similar assistance.
Best time to go to Australia
Australia has a distinctly mild climate and many parts of the country are perfect even in the middle of the year, the Australian winter. When it is winter in the northern hemisphere, Australia is basking in the southern hemisphere's summer, and vice versa. Remember, unlike in the northern hemisphere, the farther south you travel in Australia, the colder it becomes.
The peak travel season in the most popular parts of Australia is the Australian winter. In much of the country – Queensland, the Top End, the Red Centre and most of Western Australia – the most pleasant time to travel is April through September, when daytime temperatures are 66° to 88°F (19°-31°C) and it rarely rains. June, July and August are the busiest months in these areas.
On the other hand, Australia's summer is a nice time to visit the southern states - New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia from Perth to the south, and Tasmania. Even in winter, temperatures rarely dip below freezing, and snow falls only in parts of Tasmania, in the ski fields of Victoria and in the Snowy Mountains of southern New South Wales.
Ultimately the best months to visit Australia are September and October. During this period it's still warm enough to hit the southern beaches, but also cool enough to tour Uluru (Ayers Rock). As well, the humidity and rains have not yet come to Cairns or the Top End and the wildflowers are in full bloom in Western Australia.
In addition to the period from December 26 to the end of January when Australians take their summer vacations, Easter (from Good Friday to Easter Monday) and all school holidays are very busy.
Conservative 'smart casual' clothing will be most useful for daytime touring. Bring clothing you can layer, remembering that autumn and winter temperatures can change without warning. Pack a coat, hat, warm socks and sleepwear, etc. if you are visiting between June and August.
When dining at better restaurants, dress is more formal. For gentlemen, a "jacket and tie" standard is appropriate and expected, with an equivalent standard of eveningwear for ladies.
Bring comfortable walking shoes with low or no heels.
An umbrella or light raincoat may come in handy.
Pack a swimming suit with sunscreen and a hat which are a must as the Australian sun can be quite strong in some areas.
Cathedrals, churches, and other religious sites require conservative dress. Both sexes should cover their arms, legs and shoulders.
No vaccinations are required to enter Australia from any country.
For up to date information on latest health and vaccination recommendations, please contact your doctor.
Australia operates on 240 volts AC / 50 hertz. If you are taking personal electrical appliances you will require a plug that has two or three flat prongs forming a V-shape.
We suggest you take a U/V filter and dust cover to protect your camera. A lens brush is also a good idea.
Etiquette requires that you ask permission before photographing local people, unless you are shooting a crowded public scene. This applies especially to Indigenous Australians. Please be considerate of a desire not to be photographed.
Arrival and Departure Formalities
Most nationalities will require a visa or ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) for entry to Australia. Please check before you make travel plans. A useful website is: www.immi.gov.au/visawizard/
Australia has a strong opal and wine industry based in Sydney and Melbourne. Opals have been mined in the Australian outback since the 1880's, producing 95% of the world's opals. Melbourne and Adelaide have exquisite wineries and wholesalers which can organise wine shipments home.
Markets are also very popular in Australia with most destinations having regular Saturday and Sunday bargains. Items sold include produce, antiques, clothing and authentic Australian souvenirs. However, before purchasing please make sure you understand custom enforcement of strict rules when it comes to exporting indigenous art and products.
Receipts for shop purchases should be obtained and saved. Local officials may want to see them when you exit the country, and you will need them for Customs on your return home.