A valid passport with a visa is required for all visitors to Australia with the exception of those travelling on Australian or New Zealand passports. New Zealand passport holders are issued a visa for Australia on arrival. More information is available at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's website.
No health certificate is required to enter Australia. Vaccinations are only required if you have visited a yellow fever infected area within six days before coming to Australia.
If you are taking $A10,000 or more in any currency out of Australia, you must declare this to Customs. Failure to do so is an offense. This includes all foreign currency but excludes travellers cheques.
All luggage maybe inspected before boarding international and domestic flights in Australia. You must declare any items of quarantine concern. Failure to do so can result in a fine or prosecution.
The departure tax fee is included with your international airline ticket. Children under 12 years and 24 hour transit passengers are exempted from this tax.
Due to its isolation, Australia is free from many diseases and pests found elsewhere in the world. As a result, Australia has strict quarantine regulations requiring you to declare any food, plant ,or animal items upon arrival. You can dispose of these items at special bins before going through Customs.
Australia charges 10% GST on goods and services which is displayed as inclusive by default, unless stipulated as exclusive. Some goods and services are GST free, such as fligts purchased overseas, by non-residents of Australia, and includes both international and connecting domestic flights. Tax is applied to purchases outside Australia of pre-booked and pre-paid goods and services in Australia, which includes services such as tours, accomodation, and transport. Airport taxes are included in the price of your ticket.
Tourist Tax Refund Scheme:
Travellers may be able to claim a refund for GST paid on goods purchased in Australia upon departure of Australia that have been purchased no earlier than 30 days before departing the country. To make a successful claim, travellers need to display their passport, international boarding pass, tax invoice, and the purchased goods.
Tipping is not expected in Australia, but is appreciated in restaurants. If the restaurant service is exceptional, then 10 percent of the bill is a respectable amount.
You should have comprehensive travel and health insurance that starts the day you depart for Australia.
Hygiene standards are high in Australia. You should protect yourself from risks such as HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Tropical Australia is in the receptive zone for malaria transmission and although it has been eradicated, in rare cases it can be present during major flooding.
Medicines brought into Australia are subject to declaration on arrival. It is helpful to have a prescription or letter or from your doctor describing your condition and medication.
The Australian sun is responsible for one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Minimise exposure by wearing a hat, shirt, and sunscreen, especially during the hours of 10am to 4pm in the summer months.
Surf and water safety:
Australia has more beaches than any other nation. Popular beaches are likely to have a patrolled area during the warmer months of October to April. For your own safety, you should never swim or surf alone, but should do so between the flags. Beware of venomous jellyfish such as the Box Jellyfish from October to May which occur in northern Australia's waters including North-west Australia, Northern Territory, and Northern Queensland. This includes islands. However, the Outer Barrier Reef area is usually free of venomous jellyfish. Warning signs will be displayed at frequented beaches. Some beaches provide protective enclosures to allow swimming during the at-risk months. Crocodiles live in Northern Australia. They exist in rivers, freshwater lagoons, swamps, and beaches near rivers. Never camp within 50 metres of a river or the sea and don't leave food or rubbish near the water.
Seasons & clothing:
December to February is summer in Australia. The temperature ranges from warm to hot. Wear lightweight clothes, but bring a jacket or sweater as the nights can be cooler. In winter months (June to August), wear warmer clothes and a jacket or light coat. Tropical areas suit lightweight clothing all year round.
Local calls from payphones are charged at a flat fee of $A0.50 for the duration of the call. International calls are charged by the minute. The main international prefix is 0011. The free call prefix is 1800. Calls to 1800 numbers may incur a charge The primary emergency phone number in Australia is 000. Mobile phones can be rented, but you can pick up a mobile phone and sim card quite cheaply. You can bring your mobile phone with you, but you need to activate international roaming before you leave your country of origin.
Internet & Email:
Australia has an impressive infrastructure for Internet access both through cable and wireless. Free access is available in some shops, cafes, and public transport.
The Australian and New Zealand three-pin power outlet is different from other countries, so an adaptor is necessary for electronic devices. The electrical current in Australia is 220-240 volts, AC 50Hz.
Post offices usually open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm, Some open on Saturday. Travellers can request to collect their mail at a post office of their designation. The service is free for mail held for no more than 30 days. Mail picked up this way should be marked 'Poste Restante' and must have your name on the envelope. To pick up your mail, you need to show your passport which must match the name on the envelope.
Australia has three time zones. Eastern Standard Time (EST) includes New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania. Central Standard Time (CST) includes the Northern Territory and South Australia. Western Standard Time (WST) includes Western Australia only. EST is half an hour ahead of CST and two hours ahead of WST. Daylight saving extends from the end of October to the end of March in New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, and South Australia. Tasmania is slightly longer with daylight saving starting at the beginning of October through to the end of March. There is no daylight saving in Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory.