Practical Information

Below is some useful information for international visitors.


Getting Around Australia

Air

Flying is the best way to cover large distances in a short time. You’ll spend less time travelling and more time on the ground savouring Australia’s can’t-miss landscapes and laid-back lifestyle. Australia’s domestic airlines – Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Rex and their subsidiaries – serve all state capital cities and regional centres. Competition amongst domestic airlines means that great fares are available.

Paid Roads

If travelling by car from Sydney to Narromine, or on highways around Narromine, you should not have to pay a toll.

However, many highways when travelling from capital cities in Australia, are toll roads. This means you have to pay a toll to use them. All toll roads are cashless, meaning that you’ll either need to arrange a tag or pass before you travel or know which toll roads you will be using and pay within 3 days of passing through the toll gates. Find out more…

Driving Laws

Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road, with the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the car. The maximum speed limit in cities and towns is 60km/h and 50km/h  in residential areas. On country roads and highways, the maximum speed is usually 110km/h. For your safety, drink-driving laws apply, and drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times. Motor cyclists and cyclists must wear helmets. An international visitor may drive in Australia on a valid overseas driver’s licence for the same class of vehicle. You should carry both your home licence and international licence when driving. Unless specifically signed, cars must be parked facing the direction of travel. Find out more…

Fuel

Leaded and unleaded and diesel grades are sold by the litre. Petrol costs between A$1.20 – A$1.60 per litre, depending on where you are and how many service stations are available. Prices are marked clearly on boards outside the station. Prices are often higher in country areas. Petrol stations are plentiful but trading hours vary. Most accept international credit cards.

Road Navigation

You may find using the navigation road signs a bit tricky at the beginning. In general, pay more attention to the names of the towns you’ll be travelling through as these are shown on signs on all major highways. We strongly recommend using a GPS navigation system, which will be especially useful during outlanding retrieves. Make sure your navigation database is updated, as there are many new roads of good quality which you do not want to miss using the old ones.

Bus/Coach

Coach and bus travel in Australia is comfortable, easy and economical. Coaches generally have air conditioning, reading lights, adjustable seats. Services are frequent, affordable and efficient. Australia’s national coach operator, Greyhound, offer passes to fit every budget.

Rail

Train travel is a convenient, affordable and scenic way to explore Australia. Interstate and intra-state rail services connect our cities and regional centres, while cross-country train trips offer a unique insight into Australia’s size and diversity.  Travelling options range from budget to luxury, and a range of rail passes can reduce your costs if you plan to see large sections of the country.

Countrylink trains connect New South Wales destinations and also travel along Australia’s east coast to Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.

Public Transport

All of Australia’s capital cities are served by a wide variety of public transport, including trains, buses, ferries, monorail, light rail and trams.  Taxis charge according to their meter.

Walks

Walking is a great way to get around our cities, so get ready to pound our wide, easy-on-the-feet pedestrian streets. You can also tackle some of the longest tracks and trails in the world in Australia – impressive journeys of a thousand kilometres or more that can take several weeks to complete. 


Financial Information

Currency & Money Exchange

Australia’s national currency is the Australian dollar which comes in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Coins come in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and one and two dollar denominations.

Currency exchange is available at banks, hotels and international airports. Australian banks offer the same range of services typical in other western nations, and cash withdrawal machines or Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are widespread, although facilities may be limited in remote towns and the Outback. EFTPOS is also widely available in most Australian shops. Fees may be charged on transactions, particularly if withdrawing from an international account.

Banking hours are usually 9.30am to 4.00pm Monday to Thursday and until 5.00pm on Friday. Some branches can be found open on Saturday mornings. Australia’s four largest banks are: National Bank of Australia, Australia New Zealand (ANZ) Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corporation. Smaller banks include: ING Direct, AMP Banking and HSBC Australia.

Australia Post also provides banking services on behalf of more than 70 banks and financial institutions, so you can use your credit or debit card for deposits and withdrawals, account balance enquiries, paying credit card bills and sending money overseas.

Credit Cards and Traveller’s Cheques

Credit cards such as American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa and JCB are accepted in Australia. VISA or MasterCard are commonly accepted and are both accepted everywhere credit cards are accepted. American Express and Diners Club are accepted at major supermarket and department store chains and many tourist destinations. JCB is only accepted at very limited tourist destinations. Discover is not usually accepted.

It is best to carry more than one type of card as not all cards are accepted by all merchants. Always carry a little cash, because many shops will not take cards for purchases under AUD$15. Merchants may impose credit card surcharges in some places.

Traveller’s cheques are not as widely accepted in Australia as in many other countries. If you do purchase them, it is best to buy them in Australian dollars as smaller shops, restaurants, and other businesses are unlikely to know what the exchange rate is if you present a cheque in a different currency such as US dollars or British pounds.

Goods and Services Tax

Australia has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent. You may be able to claim a refund of the GST paid on goods bought here if you have spent AUD$300 or more in one store, no more than 30 days before departing Australia. Tourist Refund Scheme facilities are located in the departure area of international terminals. Find out more…


Other Useful Info

Mobile Phones

Digital mobile phones will operate in Australia if brought with you from overseas. Pre-paid SIM cards can be bought easily. All GSM operators also provide mobile internet access. Australia’s 3 main telecommunications companies, Vodafone, Optus and Telstra have an effective digital network that covers the main parts of the country. Telstra tends to have better coverage in regional areas, due to previously being government owned. When bringing your phone to use with an Australian SIM card, please make sure your phone is not simlocked.

Security & Emergencies

There are no critical security dangers in Australia, though a general caution is advised like in many western cities. Emergency phone is 000, both from mobile phones and landlines. Law enforcement is performed by Police.

Foreign Languages

The language spoken in Australia is primarily English.

As most “Dinki Di” Australians are well known around the world for their friendly helpful nature, if you have trouble understanding us at any time, we are sure the majority of good Aussies will gladly offer assistance if you need help.

Weather

The climate is generally pleasant without extremes in temperatures. Broadly there are two climatic zones. In the north, above the Tropic of Capricorn, about 40 per cent of Australia is in the tropical zone. The remaining areas lie in the temperate zone. However, because of Australia’s vast size, there are variations within these zones. The temperate regions have all four seasons, while those in the tropical zone have two (summer “wet” and winter “dry”). Australia’s seasons are the opposite to those of the Northern Hemisphere. Spring is September-November, Summer is December-February, Autumn is March-May and Winter is June-August.

Time Zones

There are three time zones in Australia – Eastern Standard Time (AEST) which operates in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland; Central Standard Time (CST) in South Australia and Northern Territory; and Western Standard Time (WAST) in Western Australia. CST is half an hour behind AEST, while WAST is two hours behind AEST. Australian States except Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland have daylight saving during the summer months.

Clothing

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 handle 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.

Food

The range and quality of produce found in Australia is one of the keys to our culinary creativity. With so many different climate zones, from tropical to desert and temperate to cool, there’s almost nothing Australia can’t grow or produce. We also have ingredients that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. The ‘bush tucker’ ingredients of indigenous Australia are having a growing influence on our distinctive culinary style.

The Typical dining day starts with an continental breakfast, usually cereal or toast. The main meal of the day is eaten around 12-1PM, usually a cold meal of sandwiches. Evening meal, is usually more extensive and often warm. Fortunately, this code is not strictly observed by restaurants. Usually you can order warm meals any time from early afternoon till late evening. Tips are unusual in Australia and waiters will not expect to receive one.

Most tap water is drinkable but it is wise to enquire about it before drinking outside of major cities.

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