Australia is one of the world’s most developed and urbanized countries in the world. Famous for beautiful beaches, unique wildlife, coffee culture, and fantastic wine regions, it is a destination worthy of anyone’s travel list!
For a seamless trip, here is our list of things to know before you travel to the land down under.
Australia is generally a very safe and has very low crime rates. It consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in the world. However, you do need to look out for the country’s flora and fauna. Australia is notorious for its poisonous species of spiders and snakes as well as the deadly jellyfish and sharks that swim along its shores.
As with any destination, you will need to be vigilant as a foreigner, and always be aware of your surroundings and use common sense.
Dial ‘000’ for Emergency
In Australia, the emergency call number is 000 (triple zero). This number is a free call from any phone (including mobile phones). An operator will answer your call and ask whether you need police, fire and rescue or ambulance. You do not need to explain your emergency to the operator, simply let them know which service you need.
Customs and Quarantine
To make sure no unexpected plants or animals get into the country that could upset the delicate ecosystem, you must declare the risk goods. The Australian Government takes quarantine laws very, very seriously.
If you are travelling with prohibited goods and do not declare them, you can be faced with hefty fines. It is always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the quarantine laws of Australia before you pack, and if you are not sure whether you need to declare an item or not, declare it anyway.
Australia is Massive!
Unless you are planning to spend 6 months traveling around the country, you are not going to see it all. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, and is roughly the same size as the United States, so you need to be prepared for long distances between places.
You may think you could hop on a quick flight from one side of the country to the other, but the reality is that a flight from Melbourne to Darwin will take over four hours, not an easy feat. If you are planning a trip to Australia, you are going to need to either tackle it by state or coast, to get the most out of the places you are visiting.
The Sun is No Joke
The sun in Australia is very strong. With a thinner ozone layer, not only does Australia heat up very quickly, but the UV rays are also harmful to your skin. So, we recommended sunscreen SPF50+ is a must and respect the fact that you may get burned a lot faster than you would anywhere else in the world. Wear a hat, cover up and keep hydrated with plenty of water throughout the day to avoid heatstroke.
Swim Between the Flags
Australian beaches are influenced by tides and rips. It is unpredictable and dangerous to people who are unaware of the hazards that can be present at times. That is why lifesavers put up flags on the beach to show where it is safe to swim.
The most important flags on the beach are the RED and YELLOW flags. The flags mark the area where it is safe to swim. It is essential to swim between the flags, especially if you are not a strong swimmer.
Australia is Expensive
For most foreign visitors, Australia is an expensive country, things here tend to be quite pricey compared to other parts of the world. Accommodation, as with most places around the world, goes up in high season, as do the prices of tours and attractions, which makes this land down under is not exactly your number one budget-friendly destination.
The official language in Australia is English. But, be warned – Australian’s have their own lingo. It is full of rhyming slang and shortened words. Here are some words to remember:
Thongs = flip flops
Bathers = swimsuit
Tomato sauce = ketchup
Chuck a uey = make a U-turn/turn around
Barbie = Barbeque
Arvo = afternoon
Brolly = umbrella
Do’ya wanna join us for tea = do you want to join us for dinner
Crikey = an expression of surprise
G’day = hello
Australia’s national currency is Australian Dollar (AUD), which is colourful and plastic, and the size of the notes increases as the value increases. Also, everything is rounded to the nearest five cents.
Credit Cards and ATMs
Credit Cards are widely accepted and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are widespread; bank lobbies, on the streets, shopping malls, convenience stores, and petrol stations. However, facilities may be limited in remote towns and the outback.
EFTPOS (Australia electronic payment system) is widely available in most Australian shops, restaurants and hotels, allowing you to pay for purchases with your credit or debit card. Fees may be charged on transactions, particularly if withdrawing from an international account, so it is advised you check with your bank before travelling.
Wi-Fi & Internet
Internet in Australia has improved over the last few years. Free Wi-Fi is available in every hotel, Airbnb and in almost every café. However, Australia’s internet can be slow and non-existent outside of urban areas. If you have to remain connected, the best and cheapest option is investing in a Wi-Fi hotspot device to take around with you. The two main mobile networks are Optus and Telstra.
Football is Not a Thing, AFL is the King
To the rest of the world, football is great, but AFL (Australia Football League) and rugby are Australia’s preferred sports. If you happen to be in the country at the right time, buy tickets and head down to watch a game, or watch on the TV, over a few stubbies.