In addition to a valid passport, a visa is required for entry into Australia. For visits of up to three months, most U.S. citizens can easily get a visa, at no charge. This is often done by the airline on which you're flying; just be sure it's done!
The unit of the currency is the Australian dollar. At the time of this writing (Sept. 2000) the rate of exchange was U.S. $1.00 equaled Aust. $1.67, and it has been relatively stable. In addition to cash, traveler's checks and major credit cards (i.e., VISA, Master Card, American Express) are widely accepted. Find out before you go whether your credit card charges a fee for overseas use. Some charge 1% to 3%; if you'll be spending several thousand dollars, that adds up.
Tipping is not as compulsory as in the US; however, a tip of approximately 10% is expected in more upscale restaurants. The actual percentage can vary depending on the quality of service rendered. Tips are not expected in a cab, but you might round up if you're so inclined.
CLIMATE & CLOTHES
The weather in summer can be quite hot with temperatures climbing into the high 90's in the Sydney area. Despite the heat waves, it's advisable to bring a sweater or jacket for cooler days. Preparation for rainfall is also quite advisable. Due to the hole in the ozone layer over Australia, items such as sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses are also necessary. For walking in the bush, sturdy yet comfortable boots are a must.
Stores are generally open from 9 to 5 from Monday through Friday. Some stay open until 9 PM on Thursday nights. Many shops are open all day on Saturday, yet most are closed on Sunday.
Postal services in Australia are reliable yet expensive. Stamps can be purchased at newsstands, as well as at the post office.
Voltage is 220-240 AC, the same as in Europe. Plugs are flat and three pronged but are not the same as the British type. Converters can be purchased in hardware stores and in some pharmacies.
In normal conditions, vaccinations are not required to enter Australia. If you're traveling from a country where yellow fever is endemic, a vaccine may be required. (People with HIV are often advised against getting this vaccine, and the requirement is often waived in such cases. Get up-to-date regulations if you're in this situation.)
Smoking is forbidden in many restaurants and hotels, as well as on all public transportation.
Australia has some of the world's best beaches, including many right around Sydney. These are one of the country's top attractions, but the currents can be dangerous. Understand, and obey, the flags used to warn of hazardous conditions.
Forget the dingoes, wombats, and sharks. The most dangerous creatures in Australia are the cars, buses, and trucks -- because they drive on the left. More Americans are smooshed because they look to the left, then step off the curb, than from any other natural cause.
We advise caution before renting a car in Australia. Most American drivers quickly adjust to staying on the left while on a single road. But sooner or later -- probably sooner -- you'll reach one of Australia's many traffic circles, and suddenly realize you're pointing in the wrong direction. True, you'll probably survive it. But if you can find other ways to get around, why not postpone the onset of those grey hairs?
I agree with pinki in terms of all the great many things there are to see and do in Australia.....it is a truly epic destination, amazing country, amazing people - put it on your travel bucket list, quite the dream trip for any family!
I did want to point out that there is an Australia for almost any budget, as with most places around the world. Currently, the AUS$ and the USD$ are almost even, so there is little worry about in terms of cost variances due to currency inequities.
I visited there solo, on a budget but never felt like I was on a budget and it was the first trip anywhere in the world where I came back with WAY too much Aussie currency leftover!! I never spent near what I had budgeted and I think I had quite a full, exciting trip that also included New Zealand and Fiji. I found it refreshingly affordable, my lodgings, restaurants (sometimes breakfasts were included - load up!) and sight seeing. I shopped a little bit and even attended the ballet inside the Sydney Opera House.
Flights can be expensive but there are sales from time to time and if your family is seriously considering a trip Down Under, and can't find a decent air fare, consider contacting an "Aussie Specialist" who are agents certified by the Australian tourism board. You don't necessarily need one to book your trip but why I mention it is because of airfare; sometimes the Aussie Specialists get promo rates on air that are not offered anywhere else. We had one such specialist as a frequent contributor on our boards at our sister site independenttraveler.com.
It is a big trip and with international travel, currency rates can have an effect on the choices in planning a trip. It's possible to have a great trip in Australia without breaking the bank; plan, search, save! Come back and ask us, we're here to help guide you along the way
First and foremost it is best to swim at patrolled beaches. Travelling around Australia you will find that many beaches are not patrolled, often these are long stretches of rugged and dangerous coastline that are best enjoyed from the sand for very good reason, if you get into trouble at these beaches, you are on your own.
At patrolled beaches the first thing to do is pay attention to any signage, particularly if the signs say the beach is closed. This is not because the lifesavers are on strike - it's because the beach is too dangerous to swim at. If the beach is open the safest place to swim is between the red and yellow flags. The flags are placed at the safest places to swim at the beach and are for swimmers only; if you are surfing it is not good form to do it between the flags.
In summer patrolled beaches, particularly tourist Mecca's like Bondi and Manly will be positively heaving with people, on a busy day Bondi Beach can have over 50,000 people on it. Lifesavers and Lifeguards are best able to keep the beaches safe if you follow their directions - they will use whistles, sirens and verbal directions to keep beach-goers safe. And never dive into shallow water, there are often sandbars under shallow water that will cause serious back and spinal injuries.
Lastly, children should always be supervised when playing, even on the shoreline and they should always be accompanied in the water by an adult who can swim.
Rips and currents
Try not to swim alone, particularly if you are not a strong swimmer. Even if you are a strong swimmer know your limitations, the surf can be very rough and conditions can change quickly. Many of Australia's beaches have rips, these are powerful currents of water that can drag you along and out to sea. If you find yourself being caught in a rip, do not panic (easier said than done), try to stay calm and swim parallel to the beach. A rip is a narrow current that flows against the waves back out to sea, so if you swim parallel to the beach just a few metres you can often swim out of it. You can also float and go with the rip as they often disperse just beyond the breakers, as long as you are a good swimmer to then get yourself back to shore. If you are in trouble and need help from the Lifesavers raise one arm up in the air to signal you need help.
Bites & stings
Another crisis in bank baptize and forth the amnion bend are stingers. It should appear as no abruptness to apprehend that Australia is home to a ample ambit of baleful and non-lethal abyssal stingers, the ambush is to acquisition out which is which! Afore you absolutely re-think your Aussie Bank Holiday, stingers are usually appealing simple to abstain and spot. The absolutely baleful ones can could cause a bank to be closed, in actuality throughout Far North Queensland some beaches are bankrupt during the stinger division from November to March - yet addition acceptable acumen to apprehend signs on beaches.
Lethal stingers cover Irukandji, Box Afraid and the blue-ringed octopus. To amusement these stings bathe the afflicted breadth with alkali or alkali baptize - not freshwater or urine (yes, you apprehend that correctly) as some humans may suggest, and aces off any tentacles that accept ashore to the skin. Try not to rub the afflicted breadth and seek out a charity or lifeguard for assistance. If you are at an unpatrolled bank and accept been stung by annihilation you anticipate may be baleful punch 000 for emergency assistance. Further treatments will depend on what affectionate of stinger you accept been attacked by.
Non baleful but aching nonetheless are Bluebottles, a baby afraid which absolutely is ablaze dejected (makes them simple to spot). You will apperceive if and if Bluebottles are present at a bank as some done up forth the shoreline. Some people, abnormally children, acquisition the bite painful, others say it causes a balmy itch. The best analysis is hot baptize (as hot as you can stand), the next best analysis is ice. Again, aces off any tentacles, don't rub with sand, and don't use vinegar. The affliction goes abroad afterwards 15-30 minutes, and the red bruise will abandon in a day or two.
Sharks? There were 16 bluff attacks in 2010, but alone 2 were fatal. The USA had 2 deaths, but 40 abstracted attacks, so stop acrimonious on Australia.
The alarming fun at Aussie beaches doesn't end there, afore you even access the baptize you are faced with acute crisis from the sun. Sun aegis is a actual austere amount in Australia, as the Ultra Violet (UV) is actual top at all times of the year. Thank the abundant big aperture in the blast band aloft Australia for this! The UV acknowledgment is at its greatest amid 10am and 3pm so it's best to absolutely abstain derma acknowledgment to the sun amid these times, decidedly children.
The key to getting sun-safe in Australia is 'Slip, Slop, Slap'. This is the advocacy from The Australian Cancer Council - Slip on accouterment that covers accoutrements and legs; bang on a hat; dash on sunscreen; seek adumbration and accelerate on sunglasses. Try to abrasion a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at atomic SPF30 and reapply it regularly, decidedly afterwards pond or sweating. Abrasion a hat and sunglasses to assure your face, arch and eyes and alcohol baptize consistently to anticipate dehydration. Sunburn and sunstroke are no fun and astringent aridity will acreage you in hospital on a acrid drip! So, to abstain searching like a absolute day-tripper - don't get sun-burnt and accomplish abiding you bathe amid the flags.
In addition to a valid passport, a visa is required for entry into Australia. For visits of up to three months, most U.S. citizens can easily get a visa, at no charge.
Hi I think this page is a great help if you are looking for visa services for Australia, Canada, US and UK. There website is here http://www.migrationexpert.com if I am not mistaken. I am one of their customers that I can say that they're service is very good and my visa has been approved in time with my flight to America.
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