Are you searching for practical information about travel to Australia? It's maybe not the most exciting part of planning your trip, but still equally as important. We have provided some information to help get you started, but of course, our travel specialists are happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Visa and passports
Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a valid visa to enter the country. As a British passport holder, you will need to apply for the free eVisitor 651 visa which will be linked to your passport. This allows you to enter Australia multiple times over 12 months and stay for a maximum period of 3 months.
You can apply online. Firstly, by creating an ImmiAccount where you can activate your email. Requests are generally approved within 4 days of application. And the visa starts on the day it is granted. We recommend you print all the email attachments and take them with you to Australia.
You need to have a valid passport before travelling to Australia. You should ensure that it has a validity of more than 6 months. Children are also required to have a valid passport. To apply for a visa, go to the Australian Department of Home Affairs website. Or, you can visit your local Australian Embassy. If you are unsure of anything, we can help you find the answers.
How long can you spend in Australia?
The eVisitor 651 visa is valid for 12 months. This visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to a maximum of three months at a time. However, you are free to return again within the 12-month validity, and stay another three months. You must have proof that you are able to financially support yourself throughout the duration of your holiday.
Cost of living in Australia
The cost of living in Australia is slightly higher than in the United Kingdom. You can expect to pay more when purchasing groceries. However, you may find eating out to be overall, slightly cheaper than in the UK. Also, petrol is generally cheaper in Australia. And so is public transport.
Language and money
The official language in Australia is Australian English. Similar to British English, you will have no trouble communicating with the locals, who love to share a story or three! Ask your hosts to teach you some Aussie slang words too. There are definitely a few quirky phrases to learn.
The Australian currency is the Australian dollar - AUD. Credit cards such as American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa, UnionPay and JCB are accepted in Australia. VISA or MasterCard can generally be used everywhere that credit cards are accepted.
The banks are usually open from 9.30 am-4 pm Monday to Thursday and until 5 pm on Friday, but it’s best to check with each branch directly. Some branches are open on Saturday mornings, generally until 1 pm.
Australian notes and coins are colourful and unique. They often have a range of Australian animals on them. The famous Australian (or Commonwealth) Coat of arms features an emu and a kangaroo. This can be found on various coins, including the 50 cent coin. Please note: Aussie coins can be typically heavy, especially if you have a collection in your pocket!
If you would like to see where Australian money is made and learn more, you can visit The Royal Australian Mint. Located in Australia’s capital city, Canberra, this is the place all the coins are made in Australia. Here, you can take a free guided tour!
If you hold a valid driver's license in English, you can drive in New Zealand and Australia for up to 12 months while travelling as a tourist. In both countries, you drive on the left side of the road, just like the United Kingdom!
The speed limit in both countries is generally 50 km/hr in residential areas and 100 km/hr on motorways and open roads. Be aware, during school hours there are strict speed limits. We advise paying close attention to all road signs.
What do I need to rent a car?
- A MasterCard, Visa card or American Express in the driver's name.
- An international drivers licence.
- A national drivers licence.
What do I need to take into account when renting a car?
- A deposit will be held on your credit card for each rental car.
- You will sign a rental agreement when you collect the car. By doing so, you agree to the terms and conditions of the car company. Please read these in advance. You will find the terms and conditions in your travel documents.
Safety and ease of travel in Australia
Is Australia a safe country to travel? Yes, overall it’s a safe destination to visit. Australia has a low crime rate and generally, Australians live a safe lifestyle. And Aussies are renowned for being friendly. But, we still recommend using your common sense as you would if you were at home.
Most cities and towns are safe at night. However, in some places, it's better to call a cab for a short distance than walk the streets alone. If you are unsure, please ask your hosts for more information about the local area.
Internet in Australia
The internet in Australia can be slow and expensive. In many rural areas, there is also no WiFi. We recommend that you buy yourself a hotspot before you go. This is the cheapest option.
When you buy a prepaid SIM card from a local provider, you can also obtain Internet access, so you can use Google Maps for navigation when travelling for instance. Your own telephone must be SIM-free for this purpose.
Immunisations & vaccinations
At this moment, you are not required to receive any special immunisations or vaccinations before you depart to Australia. Unless you have recently visited a yellow fever infected country (within 6 days) of your arrival. If you are not sure or have any questions, we would suggest checking with your doctor. Or the Australian Department of Health before you leave home.
Wear sunscreen in Australia
It is important to wear sunscreen every day in Australia and reapply throughout the day. Don’t underestimate the strength of the sun, even when it is cloudy. You don't want to risk getting sunburnt! Be sure to wear a hat and sunglasses too. And as the Aussies say ‘slip, slop and slap’!
Drinking tap water in Australia
Tap water is generally safe to drink throughout Australia. We recommend you bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day. This way you can ensure that you stay hydrated.
If you are planning to drive in a remote area, be sure to bring a large supply of water with you. Enough to last you a sufficient amount of time.
Australia’s time zones
Australia is divided into three time zones: Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST) and Australian Western Standard Time (AWST).
The time difference between the UK and Australia, therefore, depends on which time zone you are in. We suggest that you add the regions you will visit on the world clock on your smartphone. This will hopefully help to save any confusion.
The time difference may also be affected by daylight savings. Which may add or minus an hour. Daylight savings occurs from October through the end of March.
Officially, Australian Daylight Saving Time begins on the first Sunday of October and ends on the first Sunday of April. However, not all parts of Australia are affected by daylight savings.
Tropical - In the most northern parts of Australia, you will find a tropical climate. With a wet and humid season (November till April) and a warm and dry season (May till October).
Subtropical - Some parts of Australia have a subtropical climate, such as Brisbane. During the summer (November till March), you can expect sunny weather with the chance of thunderstorms. It can get humid too. In the winter months (June to August), you will experience mild sunny weather with an average temperature of 20 - 10 degrees celsius.
Desert - The middle part of Australia is mostly made up of desert landscape with an arid climate. Summer temperatures are generally hot throughout. And in winter, you can experience freezing temperatures.
Dry Mediterranean - In some southern parts of Australia, you will find a Mediterranean climate, mild and rainy winters and sunny summers.
Temperate - The southern part of Australia has a temperate climate. The rainfall is generally spread out over the seasons. And you can experience a warm to hot summer and cool to cold winter.
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