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AUSTRALIA             Australasia Enquiry Form

A world within a continent, Australia is a land of extreme contrast epitomized by its ancient origins. Older than man and immortalized by the writings of its earliest inhabitants, the ‘dream people’, and remembered by their native aboriginal descendants, Australia is shrouded in mystery.

The vast uninhabited desert areas of Western Australia and the Northern Territory contrast strangely to the sprawling, modern, cosmopolitan metropolises of Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and the capital, Canberra. These and other cities are the monuments to the vast number of settlers who made their way to Australia in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today their descendents thrive in the culture, language, cuisine and history of the people who made this land their home.

Australia holiday

Deserts, mountains, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, vast vineyards, the tropical forests of the north, kilometre after kilometre of pristine beach, islands, the country-sized sheep and cattle stations; all make up this enormous and diverse nation. Unique wildlife including the unforgettable kangaroo, koala bear, platypus and dingo are native only to this remarkable country.

Australia holiday

MAJOR REGIONS & CITIES                  Back to top

Capital Territory                                  New South Wales
    *  Canberra                                        *   Sydney


Northern Territory                                South Australia
   *  Alice Springs                                    *  Adelaide


Queensland                                        Victoria
   *  Brisbane                                          *  Melbourne
   *  Cairns

Western Australia                               Tasmania
   *  Perth

WEATHER    Back to top

Australia is temperate, most of the country receiving more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. In summer (December to March) the average temperature is 84°F (29°C). The hottest region is the northern two-thirds of the continent, which experiences humid and wet conditions in summer. Further south summer is warm with occasional hot spells and mild nights. Winter (June to August) averages 56°F (13°C) for the country as a whole, with warm days and mild nights in the northern areas, becoming cool and showery in the south (although there are still plenty of sunny days).

GOOD TO KNOW    Back to top

Time: Australia is divided into three time zones. Eastern is GMT +10, Central is GMT +9.5, and Western is GMT +8. Other than the Northern Territory and Western Australia, all states observe daylight saving time in summer.

Electricity: Electrical current is 240/250 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are used but are different to those in most other countries, so an adapter is normally required.

Money: The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of AU$5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

Approximate Currency Exchange Rates

AUD 1.00 =

USD 0.75

GBP 0.41

CAD 0.84

AUD 1.00

ZAR 5.34

EUR 0.59

NZD 1.22

Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only. Please go to our Currency Converter for the latest rates.

Australia holiday
Australia holiday

Language: English is the official language.

Passport/Visa Note: Visitors must hold sufficient funds and all documents required for further travel. A visa or ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) is required. An ETA is an electronically issued and verified visa, not visible in a passport. ETAs are issued to passengers travelling for tourist or business purposes. Tourist ETAs are valid for 12 months or the validity of the passport (whichever is shorter) for multiple stays of up to three months each and business ETAs are also available for multiple entries of up to three months each. ETAs are obtainable at: certain travel agents. ETA’s can only be issued for certain passport holders – at present, South African passport holders can not obtain ETA’s.

Health: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by travellers over one year of age arriving within six days of having stayed overnight or longer in an infected country. No other special immunizations or medications are required for most trips to Australia, however insect repellents are strongly advised for the Northern Territory, north Queensland and north Western Australia, as well as certain parts of New South Wales and Victoria, because of the risk of Murray Valley encephalitis, Ross River virus infections, dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Beach-goers are warned to beware of jellyfish in the coastal waters; stings have proved fatal on occasion. Another health risk is sunburn, and visitors are advised to take precautions. Medical services are excellent, but can be expensive so travellers should ensure that they have adequate insurance. Australia has a reciprocal health agreement with the United Kingdom providing for free hospital emergency medical treatment; proof of UK residence is required.

Tipping: A gratuity of between 5 to 15% is usually expected in cafes and restaurants in the larger cities, though tipping is a relatively new phenomenon in Australia. Taxi drivers are happy to be left with the change.

Safety: The crime rate in Australia is low, however travellers should be aware that tourists could be targeted by petty criminals. Be vigilant about personal possessions and travel documents, particularly in popular tourist destinations such as along the Gold Coast. There has been an increase in incidents of spiked drinks and women in particular should be cautious in nightspots; many victims were also sexually assaulted. Tropical cyclones normally occur between November and April in some parts of Australia, usually in Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory.

Customs: Generally an informal attitude, in dress and behaviour, prevails in most social and business situations. Sport, particularly rugby and cricket, is almost a religion.

Communications: The international access code for Australia is +61. The outgoing code is 0011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001144 for the United Kingdom). Local calls from public payphones are un-timed and cost a standard rate, while international and long distance calls are charged according to the time spent on the phone. Mobile phone operators use GSM and CDMA networks; mobile phones are available for rent. Internet cafes are widely available.

Duty Free: Travellers to Australia over 18 years do not have to pay customs duty on 1.125 litres of alcohol; 250 cigarettes or 250g cigars or other tobacco products. Gifts are included in the AU$400 duty-free allowance. Fresh produce and animal/plant products are prohibited.


Please complete the Australasia Enquiry Form and we'll come back to you with ideas and costs for a wonderful holiday in Australia.
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