Australia : Travel Information before you go!
About 24 hours. Canberra is 10,547 mi from London.
Sydney: Kingsford Smith airport is 6 miles
(20 to 35 mn) from the city centre. It can be reached by bus and minibus ($7 to $11), taxi ($25) and, since 2000, by train (20 mn to Central station.
Canberra: 4 miles/15 minutes ($16 by taxi).
Melbourne: 12 miles/35 minutes ($9 by bus and $25 by taxi).
Hobart: 14 miles/20 minutes ($9 by bus and $25 by taxi).
Adelaide: 4 miles/15 minutes ($7 by bus and $17 by taxi).
Perth: 12 miles/30 to 40 minutes ($11 by bus and $26 by taxi).
Darwin: 7 miles/15 minutes ($6 by bus and $15 to $20 by taxi).
Brisbane: 8 miles/25 minutes ($7 to $9 by bus and $18 by taxi).
Cairns: 3 miles/15 minutes ($5 by bus and $10 by taxi).
Attacks and crime: in general, Australian towns are very safe, even in the middle of the night.
The danger from animals: salt-water crocodiles (salties), box jellyfish, some spiders, sharks and snakes can be a mortal danger for man. However, accidents are limited, due to a policy of prevention and efficient signing. Respect the recommendations for caution on the beaches and in the parks and do not hesitate to seek information there: as they are approachable, Australians generally take pleasure in sharing their knowledge of the country with you. Regarding the dingoes (wild dogs), they will leave you alone provided you do the same with them. Do not feed them and do not let young children approach them alone. Outside the towns, mosquitoes are everywhere. Prepare yourself with creams, sprays and candles, or anti-mosquito diffusers for the evenings and nights.
Required travel documents for
Your passport must be valid six months after your return date. Your return ticket can be requested. A visa is no longer necessary but is replaced by the ETA (electronic travel authorisation). Valid for 3 months, it is rapidly issued by your airline company or at your travel agency. It can also be obtained on the internet. Cost : 20 AUD. More information : www.eta.immi.gov.au. For a tourist stay between 3 and 6 months: pre-paid visa issued at the Australian Embassy, or via mail.
26.1% Anglicans, 26% Roman Catholics, 24.3% various Catholics (Unitarian, Presbyterian, Orthodox and Baptist churches), 11% non-Christians, and 12.6% religious minorities (1% Muslim, 1% Buddhist and 0.5% Jews).
The Australian dollar (AUD) consists of 100 cents. £1 = 1.7 AUD. Travellers cheques and many credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Eurocard, American Express, Diners Club, etc.) are accepted almost everywhere. You can withdraw money at ATM machines and banks, which are open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm (5:00 pm on Fridays).
Apart from the two big transcontinental lines (Indian Pacific and Ghan), most trains go east; between Cairns and Adelaide.
You can book several types of fixed-price tickets:
- the Austrail Pass offers substantial reductions, but should be bought before you leave for Australia. Unlimited trip: $660/14 days, $860/21 days and $1,035/30 days.
- The Austrail Flexipass also allows an unlimited trip, with more flexibility for stops whose days are not taken off your pass: from $550/8 days (apart from Perth and Alice Springs), $790/15 days, $1,110/22 days and $1,440/29 days.
- The East Coast Discovery Pass offers several possibilities for discovering the cities on the eastern coast, like Melbourne, with one-way tickets from $160 to $330.
The fine Australian trains:
The Indian Pacific, from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide in 65 hours (from $459/economy to $1,430/first class).
The Ghan, from Adelaide to Alice Springs in 20 hours (from $292 to $973).
The Queenslander, from Brisbane to Cairns in two days (a prestigious train, $389/first class).
The Great South Pacific Express, from Sydney to Cairns in
4 to 5 nights (without doubt the finest train in the whole of the southern hemisphere, from $1,550 to $3,930 (following the route). You can also discover other trains, such as the Spirit of the Outback (Brisbane-Longreach), the Kuranda Scenic Railway, the Queenslander (Brisbane-Cairns-Brisbane) and the Savannahlander (Cairns-Forsayth-Cairns).
Although the buses are less comfortable, they are faster and more frequent than trains, and also offer broader possibilities of discovering the country. The national companies (Greyhound Pioneer Touring and McCafferty's Express Coachline) also offer passes valid for 7 to 90 days or for 6 to 12 months, which can be combined with youth hostels vouchers (from $180 to $975).
It can be preferable to have access to planes for long distances, which is easy, as the internal Australian air network is very well supplied. You can also benefit from good rates on internal flights:
1) 30% on the economy price for non-resident international travellers, on presentation of their international ticket at the time of booking.
2) Up to 55% on the applicable rate if the booking and payment are made at least 21 days in advance and on condition of staying at least 21 days before the return flight.
3) 25% on the normal economy price for students up to 26 years of age. Presentation of the student card is generally required.
4) The Boomerang Pass is bought before your departure and allows you to combine from 2 to 10 internal flights with your international ticket (from $440/coupon).
Whether at airports, large stations, town centres or suburbs, you can easily hire traditional vehicles, 4x4, and camping-cars (average prices: $65/day for a small car; $75/day for a medium-sized car; $85/day for a large car, and $95/day for a 4X4). It is, however, advisable to book in advance. An international driving licence may be required, depending on the States. Driving is on the left in Australia.
A few addresses for hirers of 4X4 and camping-cars:
No vaccines required except for the Yellow Fever vaccine for travellers coming from countries at risk. Australian hospital infrastructures are excellent. However, treatment while in the country can be expensive, thus it is recommended to have good insurance. Someone who is HIV positive can be denied entry into the territory.
In case of an emergency, dial 000.
220/240 volts (50 hertz), three-pin plugs, adaptor required.
The satisfaction rating of tourists coming back from Australia is one of the highest in the world.
Taxes and tips
Tips are not included in the bill, but are not mandatory either.
From England to Australia: 00 61 + code of State minus initial 0 (New South Wales/02, Queensland/07, South Australia-Western Australia and Northern Territory/08, Victoria and Tasmania/03) + number of party called.
From Australia to England: 0011 + 44 + number without initial zero.