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Australia Country Notes

Where to start? 🇦🇺

Official government tourist website

Every state has a tourist website, for instance Queensland 

Official travel guide with advice on visa requirements together with a plan your trip guide

TIP : Local tourism initiatives mean towns and places of interest could have a website focused on their area, for example Quirky place in South Australia see my post on Burra.  Remember to check online.

Sunrise at natures window in Kalbarri national park, Western Australia
Sunrise at natures window in Kalbarri national park, Western Australia
Tree Ferns in Black Spur Drive, Healesville, Victoria
Linking the Yarra Valley with the mountain areas around Marysville

Language

English

Weather  🌤

A country of four seasons with the top of Australia dominated by wet or dry season.  Southern hemisphere means summer months are December to March with an average temperature of 30c.  Interior Australia can easily top 40c. Australia experiences heat waves January / February. Winter in the top half has an average temperature of 18c while Melbourne and Sydney can be below 10c in July / August.

TIP: be safe listen to weather reports and keep hydrated.  TIP : check average temperatures before planning your trip.

What is the best time to travel? ✈️

Summer  heat, sun and surf beaches in Victoria, walking tours in Tasmania, tennis in January in Melbourne.

Spring snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, walk among desert wildflowers in Western Australia, check out Museums and cultural events in Adelaide, binge on the various food festivals throughout Australia, not forgetting Tasmania and its world class food and feast experiences.

Autumn wildlife centres and parks are vibrant with colour, plan an exploration of the bush and forests of Tasmania, Adelaide’s fringe festival or explore the Kimberley Ranges

Winter escape to Queensland’s rainforest,  enjoy Darwin and the top end, check out Perth’s winter fest, explore the Atherton Tablelands, cosy up in a Melbourne cafe after a visit to the vibrant art galleries.

Avalon Beach
George Street, Sydney
Wentworth Falls

How can I get around? 🚗

Australia is big,  Getting around the outback, travelling between States, along with accommodation is going to eat up your budget.  Plan accordingly.

Australia is a continent,  considerable distances mean driving between destination could take several days.  Planning is necessary to avoid your holiday being swallowed up with travel days. Consider flying between States with rentals and / or public transport within the State.

TIP :  NZJane does not encourage hitchhiking. Exercise caution when travelling, even if in a group.  Authorised travel (rail, bus, plane) has a record of passengers and is strongly recommended.

Check out Australia’s official tourism website with advice on travel.

Public transport within major cities is excellent however smaller regional areas are dependent on cars. Public transport / Long distance buses between centres is daily, check out Greyhound

TIP : bus is not always cheaper than flying.  Flying seat only options can make domestic flights very reasonable.  Plan to travel light and/or store excess luggage

Manly Beach
East Coast

Rental cars enable you to visit regions with little or no public transport, remember to check out return policies and location of rental pickup and return. Four wheel drive vehicles, 4WD check out helpful advice.

Trains in Sydney and Melbourne are excellent however long distance trains are slow.  The scenery is great however after 10 hours between Sydney and Melbourne NZJane just wanted to arrive.

Cycling check out for tips and advice.

What to wear? 👕

 Australia is a country of clothing layers in its shoulder seasons (Spring and Autumn).  Summer is T-shirts and shorts. While Queensland is tropical heat and humidity the interior is bone dry searing heat.

TIP :  Road trips into the interior ensure that your accommodation hosts are informed of your planned route and time of arrival.   This is an essential safety tip.

Is  Australia expensive?  And what is the currency? 💳

The currency is the Australian dollar.  Backpacker or full inclusive travel packages as well as where and when you plan to travel make it impossible to provide timely and accurate advice.

Where can I change money?  NZJane recommends you acquire cash before you depart.  In hot spot tourist areas there are dedicated foreign exchange vendors.  ATM machines give visitors the flexibility of withdrawing funds when and where needed.  Credit cards are widely accepted with the proviso that American Express has a more limited range.

Queen Victoria Building, Sydney
Chadstone - The Fashion Capital, Melbourne

Shopping and market protocols. 👜

It is not expected you will haggle the price.  Retail prices include a sales (VAT) tax locally known as GST.

Large shopping malls and major urban areas are open seven days a week between 9.00 to 5.00pm with individual shops and supermarkets having extended hours.   Regional areas and small towns are likely to be closed on Sunday with grocery stores having reduced hours.

TIP :  Remember to check public holidays especially for museums and parks.  

TIP :  Remember to check school holidays, for the areas you will be travelling to if you want to avoid school holidays.

Food and feast experiences. 🍷

Strong Mediterrean and Asian influences, particularly in Victoria and Western Australia have led to an exciting fusion cuisine.  Explore street markets for pop up stores for the foodie experience. Australia is nirvana for coffee drinkers. Tea drinkers do not despair, herbal / fruit teas as well as standard breakfast tea is available wherever coffee is sold.

Aussi classic BBQ beef
Fairy Bread

Food Australian style

Barbecued meat – meat on a barbecue, duh!

Meat Pies – classic Australian pies made out of meat.

Bunning’s Sausage Sizzle – Read below on why trying this sausage on bread will be one of your most memorable experiences in Brisbane!

Chicken Parmigiana – Baked chicken breast with a layer of tomato and parmesan cheese

Vegemite – the australian version of Marmite, don’t even ask me what it’s made of!

Tim Tam’s – Australian chocolate cookies found at every supermarket!

Anzac Biscuits – Oat biscuits traditionally made for the Australian and Kiwi soldiers during the war.

Pavlova – Meringue based dessert topped with fruit and whipped cream.

Lamington’s – Australian butter cake coated with chocolate sauce and coconut.

Ginger Beer – The most famous is the Bundaberg one, order it at any bar!

What about my personal safety? 🏡

Excellent safety record.

Important emergency numbers 

Triple Zero (000), which can be dialled from any fixed or mobile phone, pay phones and certain voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services.  

Travel safe with your valuables and documents stored appropriately.    Travel theft does occur, lock your car, do not leave valuables in plain sight and lock your hotel / motel door.   An independent solo female traveller is safe in xxx.   

Passport and identity

ID will be required at foreign exchange.  Remember to check your visa requirements for entry into Australia.

Lamington National Park, Queensland
Lifeguard

TIP Carry duplicate passport ID photographs as well as international driver’s licence, authorised bank account details, photograph your passport and any relevant visa information.  

TIP : Loss of credit and/or debit cards remember to know how to contact your bank to cancel the card (either online or calling).

Time zones. ⌚️

Australia is divided into three separate time zones: Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), and Australian Western Standard Time (AWST).

Health. 👩‍⚕️

NZJane recommends travel with a summary of your existing medical condition together with a prescription description.  Medical clinics are open six days with emergency care available from public hospitals. Health care is state funded for citizens.  

Always invest in travel insurance and check the policy matches your proposed activities.

TIP photograph your prescriptions so that it is at your fingertips when you need it, plus email yourself a copy of the photographs.  

TIP provide your emergency contact at home with all your medical details as well as notify your doctor you are travelling overseas

Taipan snake
Redback spider

Dangerous animals. 🦘

Australia is home to dangerous snakes, tropical insects that bite.  In rural areas nocturnal animals wander on roads as often there are no fences.  Wild buffalo are hazard risk together with kangaroos on open rural roads.

Frequently asked questions. ❔

Do you have a favourite city?

No, as each State offers a contrast in weather, geography and cultural attractions.  

Australia is famous for its wine growing regions if you had time for one area where would you go?

South Australia,  Clare Valley with the Barossa Valley as my second choice.

Fitzroy Island near Cairns
Lake Fyans

Is it too hot in summer (January / February) to enjoy outdoor activities?

It depends where you are, for instance unwinding under the shade of an eucalyptus tree in a vineyard is very pleasant.  Always remember to protect yourself in the direct sun and carry insect repellant.

Am I going to spend all my time travelling due to the large distances between attractions?

Definitely if you plan to visit Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth in a two week holiday.  It is recommended you focus on a region, select a base (hub) for activities and rotate around your chosen area. 

I have only time to visit either Australia or New Zealand which one would you recommend?

Ouch, that is difficult as I am NZJane.  Look at your interests and remember you can always come back again to check out the places missed off your bucket list.

The journey is worth it.