From deserts to coral reefs, from mountains to metropolitan cities, Australia has it all. Australia is a very popular toutist destination for South Africans because the climate is roughly the same, and they also have a very similar culture (they also love seafood, steak and beer). Australia also boasts with 14 World Heritage-listed areas.
Australia is divided into three time zones. The Eastern third is 10 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, the center third is 9.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and the Western third is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. The currency used in Australia is the Australian dollar. Getting around in Australia is easy because of the excellent public transport (busses, trains and ferries) available.
Australian dollar (AUD)
UTC+8 to +10.5
Daylight Savings Time
Summer UTC+8 to +11.5
240V / 50HZ (Plug Type I)
Drives on the
When to go
Australia’s climate varies by region. There are basically 3 regions: the southern third, the northern third and the centre. The centre is very similar to South Africa with winter during June to August where some places might get very chilly, and warm summers from December to February. In the northern third is the monsoon belt where it is either hot and wet during the months of October to March, or hot and dry from April to September. The centre region it is hot and dry during the day with some very cold nights throughout the year.
However somewhere in Australia you will find nice weather all year round: when it’s cold and wet in the South, it’s usually nice in the North and vice versa. Australia also has many events and festivals throughout the year. Just try to avoid prime destinations during the peak of school in January and also during public holidays. During these peak periods the prices of petrol and accommodation also tend to rise.
Major attractions in Australia
Educational and Enriching Experience Art is an abstract expression of emotions and opinions that people view differently. The ultimate goal of art is to elicit feelings and reel emotions and opinions and bring forth changes in this world. While art may be subjective in terms of how people interpret a creation, one thing is constant...Read more
People want a place they can relax and unwind. Preferably a place that offers pretty much everything they need to help them relax. Entertainment complexes are a great attraction for such people as these places usually contain almost every form of rest and recreation one can think of to do. From spas and fitness centers...Read more
Nature, History, Culture and Family Bonding Some form of lush greenery is always a refreshing take on vacationing and traveling. Going to parks and botanical gardens are a breath of fresh air especially for city dwellers that are looking for spaces where they can relax and unwind during their vacation. These spaces offer a tranquil...Read more
Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is a very popular tourist destination in Western Australia, about 26 km north-east of Denham. The main attraction is do watch the dolphins come and feed on the beach where they are fed by visitors (see our tips below to find out tow to be picked to feed them). An interesting...Read more
History preserved in Modern Times Bells are oftentimes attached to one of the most important events that happened in the past. Bells are usually associated with churches and kingdoms and people usually ring it for an important town event. Nowadays, bells are hardly heard but can still be seen in some places preserved and maintained...Read more
The Royal Botanic Gardens, located at Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney, is a family-friendly tourist destination where you can enjoy a relaxing and beautiful day. You can also turn this park event into an educational trip to learn more about plants. You can also visit the National Herbarium of New South Wales where you can see...Read more
The Sydney Opera House is an architecture marvel, which was sixteen years in the making. Designed by the young Jorn Utzon (1918-2008), this masterpiece is popular because of its modern design, especially the eye-catching vaulted roof formed into shells. To go along with its backdrop, the Sydney Harbour, it was said that the Opera House...Read more
Perth is one city that offers a hoard of attractions for anyone visiting it. The thing about being a tourist in any city, though, is that most of the time, one can only cramp so many sights and sounds in a schedule. With so many things to experience and so many places to see in...Read more
One of the best things about Australia’s cities is that they are only minutes away from beaches. Any traveller who doesn’t live in a cave knows that Sydney has Bondi Beach and Melbourne has Brighton Beach. Perth in Western Australia is certainly no slouch in this category. After all, its entire western portion is bordered...Read more
Perth may be one of the more cosmopolitan cities in Western Australia, but like any other Australian city, it doesn’t lack in natural wonders. Beaches and natural reserves are just minutes away from the centre of any Australian city, Perth included. For visitors of Perth who want to take a respite from the hustle and...Read more
Everybody knows that Australia produces some of the most exquisite wines in the world, but as for a wine tour, it is something that does not really come to one’s mind when Australia is mentioned. Tourists are somehow more accustomed to the more popular Australian tourist attractions like taking a picture in the Opera House...Read more
Waiting for you beside the Darling Harbour is a sight to behold and a wonderful experience, especially for those who love marine creatures. The Sydney Aquarium is a public facility that allows visitors to experience what it feels like to be within the confinements of the Australian pride, the Great Barrier Reef. The Aquarium, made...Read more
Sydney is home to many modern structures (remember Sydney Opera House?), that is why the city is a very popular tourist destination. Another favorite destination and remarkable structure is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, also known as the Coathanger, where you can challenge yourself and your friends to climb. This construction is the largest, although not...Read more
If you are walking along the roads of Sydney, it is impossible to miss another remarkable structure in this city. A freestanding composition rising 309 meters from the ground is the Sydney Tower, fondly called Centrepoint, located at the Market Street. It was opened for public viewing in 1981 and four decks has been the...Read more
Preparing to visit
Australia has some very strict Visa requirements but generally you will either apply for a three-month visitor or a business Visa. The requirements (and also cost) of an extended visa are higher, but it is required if you intend to visit for longer than 3 months. Visas are obtained from the Australian High Commission in South Africa and details can be found on their website at http://www.southafrica.embassy.gov.au/pret/Visas_and_Migration.html.
Australia uses the same electrical current as in South Africa which is 240V A/C, but you will need adapters for the power outlets. They use 2 or 3 flat prongs where we use round ones. It is advisable to buy your adapters before you leave for Australia, since this shot in Australia only sell converters to convert their appliances for other countries.
A hat and sunscreen is essential when visiting Australia. The sun is very harsh in this country and you need to protect your skin from its harmful rays. Comfy walking shoes is a must as well as flip-flops, you will blend right in with the locals.
Money and cash
Although Australia’s very affordable, it is not a budget country. Your highest expenses would be for accommodation and transport. Currency and travelers cheques can be converted at most of the major banks and also at licensed moneychangers such as Amex.
Australia has a Tourist Refund Scheme where you can claim back tax on your purchases made within 30 days before your departure, valued over $300. The $300 might include separate products purchased at one store. It cannot be consumable items since you will need to have it with you either as hand luggage or wearing the item when you claim. To process your claim you need to visit one of the TSR booths in the international departure areas at the airports.
For hotels and restaurant staff you can tip the usual 10% or round up to the nearest $10. Taxi’s usually don’t expect tips, but small change is always welcomed. There is no need to tip at salons or for theatre ushers and bar staff.
Health and safety
Even though Australia has its own fair share of crime, it is generally safe to withdraw money during the day or to wear jewellery in public. Pickpocketing is only really a problem in major tourist destinations such as Sydney’s Bondi, or Queensland’s Gold Coast. As usual don’t leave any valuables in your car or leave it on the beach while you are swimming.
Woman should try to avoid isolated areas such as empty beaches or quiet streets. Single woman will also usually attract attention when entering clubs and bars, but usually being firm and polite should stop the attention.
In case of emergency, dial 000 from any public or private phone (free call) to connect to the police, ambulance or the fire department.
Be aware that there are several dangerous creatures in Australia, and these includes snakes and spiders, crocodiles and white sharks. They are not so common but it is something to be aware that, and always listen to any guides that might take you on trips or hikes.
No certificates or shots are required before you enter Australia, and there are plenty of pharmacies with familiar brand-name products. Even though there is no malaria in Australia, you might encounter Ross River fever, so use repellent and wear long clothes when visiting far North.
The healthcare system in Australia is excellent, and there are plenty of doctors and hospitals to assist in case of emergency.
Drinking water is generally safe throughout the country.
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