Handy hints and useful information before you leave home
Travel and Health Insurance
Australian hygiene standards are very strict so it is unlikely you will encounter any health problems during your time in Australia. Should you be in need of medical assistance, our doctors and dentists are highly skilled, our hospitals are modern and well-equipped, and medical attention is available around the clock.
It is strongly recommended that you obtain personal travel insurance before your trip to cover theft, loss, accidents and medical problems. Please remember to bring an adequate supply of any prescription medications you may need for the duration of your trip. We recommend you bring a prescription or letter from your doctor outlining your medical condition and the medicine you are carrying.
You do not require vaccinations unless you have come from, or have visited a yellow fever infected country within six days of your arrival.
All travellers to Australia should be up-to-date with their routine ’background’ vaccinations. These are usually commenced as an infant, and some boosters are due in adult life. These vaccinations include tetanus and diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (German measles). Influenza is now considered a routine vaccination and travellers should have an annual influenza vaccination.
Australia’s currency is Australian Dollars (AUD). The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, MasterCard, Visa, JCB, Diners Club and their affiliates. Current exchange rate information can be found at www.xe.com
Tipping and Bargaining
Service charges are generally not added to the bill in hotels or restaurants. At any time, tipping is your choice. Bargaining is not the general custom in Australia.
Tourist Refund Scheme
There is a mandatory Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent in Australia. This is usually included in the quoted price for any purchase. 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 the Australian Government information on the Tourist Refund Scheme
When it comes to doing business in Australia, language is not an issue. English, the international business language, is also Australia's national language.
There are comprehensive multi-lingual services available in Australia for international business travellers who do not speak English.
The electrical current in Australia is 220-240 volts, AC 50Hz. The Australian three-pin power outlet is different from some other countries so you may need an adaptor. If appliances are 110V, you may need a voltage converter. Universal outlets for 240V or 110V shavers are usually found in leading hotels.
Weather in Australia
Australia's pleasant climate makes it a fabulous destination all year round. Even in winter you will enjoy blue skies and warm, bright days. There are two climatic zones in Australia. Approximately 40 per cent of Australia is in the tropical zone - this is north of the Tropic of Capricorn. The cities of Cairns, Townsville and Darwin lie in this zone.
The remaining areas of Australia lie in the temperate zone, including Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth.
Please note that Australia's seasons are the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere:
Spring: September to November
Summer: December to February
Fall/Autumn: March to May
Winter: June to August
Australia has three time zones:
Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT+10): New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland
Central Standard Time (CST) (GMT+09:30): South Australia and the Northern Territory
Western Standard Time (WST) (GMT+8): Western Australia
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of winding clocks forward one hour during the warmer months of the year. New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia do this from the beginning of October to the beginning of April. The Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia do not have daylight saving.
GMT offsets during daylight saving:
EST (GMT+10): Queensland
Daylight Saving EST (GMT+11): New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania
CST (GMT+9:30): South Australia and the Northern Territory
WST (GMT+8): Western Australia
Australia observes a number of national public holidays:
New Year’s Day – 1st January
Australia Day – 26th January
Anzac Day – 25th April
Good Friday – Friday before Easter Monday
Easter Monday – first Monday of April
Christmas Day – 25th December
Boxing Day – 26th December
The emergency number for police, ambulance and fire brigade is 000.