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Climate of Australia

Best time to go
With an entire continent for a country, Australia can be visited anytime depending on what you want to do. The summer season, December to February is the best time to visit the south. You can lie on the beaches, visit Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra or Tasmania and enjoy great weather throughout. This is the time to hike, bike and have a good all round holiday. The central part of the country is hot during this period while the north is damp and humid. Swimming in the coastal waters of northern Australia in summers could include being bitten by 'box jellyfish' even though the water is incredibly tempting and green and perfect for fishing.

The winter season, June through August, is the time to visit the north. Queensland and other northern areas are relatively free of humidity and make great holiday destinations. Even central Australia is cool and do-able by road and the bush-flies that can drive you nuts in the summers stay away. The south, on the other hand, offers great skiing opportunity in the Victorian Alps or the Snowy Mountains - do check the snowfall before departure. Spring and autumn are probably the times of the year that you can go everywhere. Then its temperate weather all over the country, spring is the season for a riot of stunning wildflowers to bloom in the Outback.

Whatever the season be, avoid going when schools are off or you'll find yourself in a traffic jam all the way across Australia. Christmas is quite avoidable for those who want peace and quiet.

 

 

Currency

Australian currency is known as the dollar, and the currency symbol is "$". There are 100 cents in every dollar. The dollar is called 'the Australian dollar' usually written as 'AUD' or A$ when it is necessary to distinguish it from other currencies. No other currency is accepted for transactions in Australia.
The coin denominations are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. The note denominations are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Australian notes are produced in plastic polymer rather than paper. If the total of a transaction is not a multiple of 5 cents the amount will be rounded to the nearest five cents if you are paying in cash. The exact amount will be charged if paying by card.
The dollar is not pegged to any other currency, and is highly traded on world foreign exchange markets, particularly by currency speculators. Its exchange value to other currencies can be quite volatile, and 1-2% changes in a day are a reasonably regular occurrences.
1 Australian dollar = 55.1287 Indian rupees as on 18 October 2012

 

 

Clothing

Dress Code, What to Wear
As far as dressing for Australia is concerned, casual wear is generally the go.
If you wanted to, you could go to the opera in jeans, and no one would give you a second look, although this is one of the few activities for which some people like to dress up.
Unless it’s a really formal occasion, one has no need for a tuxedo or a formal long gown; a jacket and tie are not de rigueur for other occasions but the rule of thumb is usually whether one is comfortable with one’s choice of clothing for a particular occasion.

Some dress restrictions
Some clubs — such as returned services league (RSL) clubs or some sporting clubs — may have a dress code for general entry (for instance, no thongs, rubber shoes, jeans or collarless shirts allowed) or for entry to the club’s formal dining room (jacket and tie required). These rulings may vary from club to club, and one usually has to be signed in for entry.
If you plan to visit any of Australia's casinos, such as Star City in Sydney or Wrest Point in Hobart, jeans and other casual wear — except really scruffy ones — are certainly acceptable.
And do dress for the weather, of course.

Summer
December: 17.5°C (63°F) - 25°C (77°F)
January: 18.5°C (65°F) - 25.5°C (78°F)
February: 18.5°C (65°F) - 25.5°C (78°F)

Autumn
March: 17.5°C (63°F) - 24.5°C (76°F)
April: 14.5°C (58°F) - 21.5°C (71°F)
May: 11°C (52°F) - 19°C (66°F)

Winter
June: 9°C (48°F) - 16°C (61°F)
July: 8°C (46°F) - 15.5°C (60°F)
August: 9°C (48°F) - 17.5°C (63°F)

Spring
September: 10.5°C (51°F) - 19.5°C (67°F)
October: 13.5°C (56°F) - 21.5°C (71°F)
November: 15.5°C (60°F) - 23.5°C (74°F)

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Health & Safety
Australia is generally a safe destination with travellers enjoying unhindered travel experiences in terms of their personal safety and security. Our stable political system, well-maintained roads, low crime rate and high standard of health make it a safe and easy country to explore.
With common-sense, you can safely enjoy Australia’s unique landscapes – from the vast outback to wild ocean beaches and pristine wilderness. However, as with all travel at home or away, you should observe the same precautions with your personal safety and possessions.
Here you will find practical information out about the health facilities and services available and website links for more detailed information.

Travel Insurance & Medical Services
A travel insurance policy that covers you for theft, loss, accidents and medical problems before you leave home is highly recommended. If you plan on doing any adventure activities like scuba diving, bushwalking or travelling in remote areas, check that your policy fully covers these activities. Remember to bring your insurance policy details and emergency contact numbers and with you.
Australia's public health care system is called Medicare and Australian hospitals provide world-class medical facilities and standards of care. The Australian Government has reciprocal healthcare agreements with some countries for medically necessary treatment while visiting Australia, however it is best to check your eligibility before you leave home and have appropriate travel insurance to cover your stay in Australia.
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Vaccinations & Medications
No special immunizations or vaccinations are required to visit Australia unless you have come from, or have visited a yellow fever infected country within six days of your arrival. However, regulations and medical advice can change at short notice, so check with your doctor and the relevant Australian Government websites before you leave home.
Medicine brought into Australia for personal use is subject to controls and must be declared on your arrival. It is recommended you bring a prescription or letter from your doctor outlining your medical condition and the medicine you are carrying. If you need to obtain prescription medicine while you are here, the prescription must be written by a doctor in Australia.
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Accessible Travel
Much time and effort has been spent in recent years to ensure that travelling with a disability won't stop you enjoying all that Australia has to offer. If you have a medical condition or special needs, you will find plenty of services available. Speak to your travel agent about your specific requirements or visit the websites below to help you prepare before you leave home.
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Sun protection
The Australian sun is very strong and can burn your skin in as little as 15 minutes in summer, so it is important to protect yourself all year round, even if it is a cloudy day.
The Australian Government has invested a lot of time and effort over the past few decades educating Australians about protecting themselves from too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, the major cause of skin cancer; the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia.
All Australian children now wear sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats to school; and many bathing costumes are now made using sun protective materials.
While travelling in Australia, be 'sun smart' and protect yourself against sun damage by wearing clothes that cover as much of your skin as possible, even when swimming; applying a high-level water resistant sunscreen regularly; wearing a hat and sunglasses that provide good protection for the face, nose, neck, ears and eyes; and sitting in the shade rather than directly in the sun.
Extra care should be taken in the middle of the day when UV radiation is most intense, and make sure you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
The Australian Government’s SunSmart UV Alert will tell you the time period when you need to be most careful and appears on the weather page of most daily newspapers and on the Bureau of Meteorology website.
Cancer Council Australia has developed a range of high quality, affordable sun protection products including sunglasses, UV protective clothing, sunscreens, hats, sun shelters, swim goggles, marquees, umbrellas and cosmetics, which are available online and from state and territory Cancer Council shops, department stores, pharmacies and other retail outlets around the country.
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Surf & Water Safety
Most of Australia's population lives close to the coastline and the beach has long occupied a special place in the Australian identity. Australians love the water, and every day thousands of people flock to Australia’s coastline to swim, surf, relax and have fun. But our beautiful beaches can hold hidden dangers in the form of strong currents and beach conditions can change dramatically for those who are not used to them.
Popular beaches are usually patrolled by volunteer lifesavers from October to April and red and yellow flags mark the safest area for swimming. Be safe and always swim between these flags and always swim with other people.
If you intend to go diving, check with a dive operator in the locality or contact the Diving Industry Association in the state that you are visiting for information on site conditions, safety regulations, licences, permits and diver rating requirements.
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Wildlife
Australia’s unique and extraordinary wildlife is one of our key attractions for visitors, but use common sense, and you don't need to worry too much about dangerous Australian wildlife.
Shark attacks in Australia are very rare. Shark netting on Australian beaches deter sharks, but you can further reduce your risk by always swimming between the flags on patrolled beaches and never swim alone.
Crocodiles live in rivers and coastal estuaries across northern Australia. When travelling near crocodile habitats, observe safety signs and don’t swim in rivers, estuaries, tidal rivers, deep pools or mangrove shores. Also seek expert advice about crocodiles before camping, fishing or boating.
Marine stingers are often present in tropical waters from November to April. During this time you can only swim within stinger-resistant enclosures, which are set up on the most popular beaches. You will also need to wear protective clothing when swimming in these areas and always observe any warning signs.
Australia does have poisonous snakes and spiders, but bites are extremely rare and rarely fatal. When bushwalking or hiking, avoid bites by wearing protective footwear and using common sense. If bitten, you should seek immediate medical attention.
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Travelling in remote locations
Australia’s outback tracks are among the best four-wheel-drive journeys in the world, but driving in Australia’s remote and rugged areas requires thorough preparation. Before embarking on an unescorted outback journey, check road conditions, ensure your vehicle is properly equipped and that you have a good map, extra provisions and an emergency plan. Make sure you inform someone of your expected arrival. Distances between towns in Australia are often hundreds of kilometres apart, so plan your trip accordingly. Be aware that mobile phones may have limited coverage in remote areas. If your vehicle breaks down in a remote area, always stay with your vehicle. This is the single most important rule of survival. Some roads should not be travelled unless part of a well-organised convoy.
If bushwalking or hiking check the length and difficulty of the walk and consider using a local guide for long or challenging walks. Check the Parks Australia website for the latest information on track conditions and hazards.
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Natural disasters
From time to time Australia experiences a range of 'natural disasters' including bushfires, floods, drought, heat waves, severe storms, and occasionally earthquakes and landslides. These events are often seen as part of the Australian national character and are part of the natural cycle of weather patterns in Australia.
Many Australian Government agencies have a role to play during significant emergencies. In the event of a health emergency, the Australian Government's Health Emergency website provides up-to-date information, important health messages, and health related response arrangements.
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Emergency Services
000 is the number for all emergency services in Australia. An operator will connect you to police, ambulance or the fire brigade. You should only call 000 in an emergency.

Tourist Visas
Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a visa to enter Australia. New Zealand passport holders can apply for a visa upon arrival in the country. All other passport holders must apply for a visa before leaving home. You can apply for a range of visas, including tourist visas and working holiday visas, at your nearest Australian Consulate. You can also apply for certain types of visas online.
There are important things you should know before applying for, or being granted, an Australian visa. These include applying for the right type of visa, application requirements, your obligations while in Australia and the importance of complying with visa conditions.
For more detailed information visit the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

Tourist visa
A tourist visa is for people visiting Australia for a holiday, sightseeing, social or recreational reasons, to visit relatives, friends or for other short-term non-work purposes. There are a number of tourist visas available for people wishing to visit Australia as a tourist. Visit the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship website for eligibility requirements.

ETA (Visitor) (Subclass 976)
An electronically stored authority for short-term visits to Australia of up to three months. Available to passport holders from a number of countries and regions, who live outside Australia.

eVisitors (Subclass 651)
An electronically stored authority for visits to Australia for tourism or business purposes for up to three months. Available to passport holders from the European Union and a number of other European countries, who live outside Australia.

Tourist visa (Subclass 676)
A temporary visa allowing a stay in Australia of up to three or six or 12 months. Applicants can apply from both outside and in Australia. Some tourists are eligible to lodge an online application for an e676 Tourist visa.

Sponsored Family Visitor visa (Subclass 679)
For people seeking to visit family in Australia for a stay period of up to 12 months. Formal sponsorship by an Australian citizen or permanent resident is required.
Non-Australian citizens from certain countries are eligible to transit through Australia without a visa. If you do not qualify for transit without a visa, you will need to apply for a Transit visa.

Useful Tips
Prepare for your Australian trip with our practical tips. Learn about our currency, how to call home, keep safe, shop responsibly and travel with a disability. Then you’re ready to go.

Money
Australia’s currency is Australian Dollars (AUD) and currency exchange is available at banks, hotels and international airports. The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa, JCB and their affiliates. Try this handy currency converter.

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. For more detailed information see Australian government information on the Tourist Refund Scheme.

Shopping
You’ll find large department stores, arcades, malls, gift and souvenir shops across Australia. Trading hours vary across the country but shops in tourist and city areas are generally open until 6pm, with the exception of late night shopping on either Thursdays or Fridays in different states. In Australia you are covered by Australia's consumer protection laws which require businesses to treat you fairly.

Tipping and bargaining
Hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill. In up market restaurants, it is usual to tip waiters up to ten per cent of the bill for good service. However, tipping is always your choice. It is not custom to bargain in Australia.

Emergency assistance
The emergency number for police, ambulance and or fire brigade is 000.

Surf and water safety
Australia’s popular beaches are usually patrolled by volunteer lifesavers from October to April and red and yellow flags mark the safest area for swimming. For information about marine stingers and crocodile safety read the Queensland Government website.

Language
Australia’s official language is English. However, being a multicultural nation with a significant migrant population, we also enjoy a tremendous diversity of languages and cultures.

Electrical power points
Our electrical current is 220 – 240 volts, AC 50Hz. The Australian three-pin power outlet is different from some other countries, so you may need an adaptor.

Communication
Australia’s country code is 61. Local calls from public pay phones are untimed and charged at AUD$.050. Mobile, long distance and overseas calls are usually timed.Mobile phone network coverage is available across Australia, however coverage may be limited in some remote areas. Internet access is widely available at internet cafes, accommodation and libraries.

Postal services
Post offices are usually open 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, with some city post offices open on Saturday morning. Travellers can arrange to collect mail at post offices throughout Australia.

Accessible Travel
If you have a disability and are planning to explore Australia, there is a host of services and special deals to meet your needs. Thorough preparation is essential to a successful trip, so speak to your travel agent about your specific requirements. For more information on accessible tourism in Australia go to NICAN or the AustraliaForAll  websites.

Australia's Customs and Quarantine
Australia's customs laws prevent you from bringing drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms and protected wildlife into Australia. Some common items such as fresh or packaged food, fruit, eggs, meat, plants, seeds, skins and feathers are also prohibited. There is no limit on currency but you will need to declare amounts over $10000. For more detailed information go to the Australian Government Customs and Border Protection website at www.customs.gov.au.
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service can be viewed at www.daff.gov.au/aqis.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is responsible for issuing visas to people who want to visit, work, study or live in Australia. It is responsible for the management of lawful and orderly entry and stay of people in Australia, including through effective border security. It provides information and application forms for migration to Australia, and information about settling in Australia, Australian citizenship, and multicultural affairs. Visit www.immi.gov.au.
The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service manages the security and integrity of Australia's borders. It works closely with other government and international agencies, in particular the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Department of Defence, to detect and deter unlawful movement of goods and people across the border. Visit www.customs.gov.au. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) manages quarantine controls at Australian borders to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country.
For further information about the Australian Governments departments and their responsibilities visit www.australia.gov.au.

Getting around Australia
You know Australia is a big country, but you may not know how easy it is to get around. The untouched beaches that stretch for miles and deserts that touch the horizon are all within your reach. Want to sail the Whitsundays, cross the continent by car or take a train through the rainforest canopy? Following are the different ways you can explore our vast and diverse country. 

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 Blue, Rex and their subsidiaries - serve all state capital cities and regional centres. Competition amongst domestic airlines means that great fares are available.

Drive
Australia has a vast network of well-maintained roads and some of the most beautiful touring routes in the world. Travel from Sydney to Brisbane past sleepy seaside towns and lush hinterland. Experience Australia’s Red Centre in an epic drive across the desert. Or follow Victoria’s Great Ocean Road as it hugs our spectacular south-east coast. You’ll find car rental companies at major airports, central city locations, suburbs and resorts. So hire a car, four wheel drive, caravans or motorbike and hit the highway.

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 some suburban 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.

Bus/Coach
Coach and bus travel in Australia is comfortable, easy and economical. Coaches generally have air conditioning, reading lights, adjustable seats and videos. 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.  VLine trains link Melbourne with regional hubs in Victoria, Traveltrain covers Queensland and TransWA criss-crosses Western Australia. 
Australia also has epic rail journeys such as The Ghan and Indian-Pacific, which sweep across the continent, offering comfort and a sense bygone romance. The Indian-Pacific travels between Sydney to Perth, stopping for whistle-stop tours of Broken Hill, Adelaide and gold-rich Kalgoorlie. The legendary Ghan travels between Adelaide and Darwin, taking in Australia’s Red Centre and the tropical Top End.

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.

Ferries
The Spirit of Tasmania runs a passenger and vehicle ferry service between Melbourne and Tasmania nightly. Extra services are running during summer peak times.  Sealink ferries connect South Australia and Kangaroo Island several times a day.  Ferries connect suburbs in our capital cities – they criss-cross Sydney Harbour, the Swan River in Perth and the Brisbane River in Brisbane.

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.

 

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