How to Get to Australia
There are three main international gateway cities in Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. There are non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Sydney on Air New Zealand and Qantas Airways, and flights to Sydney via Nadi, Fiji on Air Pacific.
How to Get Around in Australia
Australia has an extensive, modern travel network. Qantas Airways has some inexpensive domestic air passes available for purchase outside of Australia. There are several smaller regional airlines that service the small towns throughout Australia. There is some wonderful train service in Australia, including the famous Indian-Pacific (Sydney to Perth)and Ghan (Melbourne to Alice Springs) train trips. Other regional train service is available. There is extensive bus service throughout Australia. Rental cars are available at major air and rail terminals and from central city locations.
There is no mistaking that special ‘Aussie English’. Although they claim to speak English, Australians at many times seem to have their own unique language!
Australia Time Zones
There are three time zones in Australia – Eastern Standard Time (EST) which operates in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland; Central Standard Time (CST) which operates in South Australia and Northern Territory; and Western Standard Time (WST) in Western Australia. CST is one half hour behind EST, while WST is two hours behind EST.
Australia’s Climate & Weather
The climate is generally pleasant without extremes in temperatures. There are two main climatic zones. Forty percent of Australia is above the Tropic of Capricorn, in the tropical zone. The remaining areas lie in the temperate zone. The seasons are reverse from North America. The temperate regions have all four seasons, while the tropical zone has two seasons (summer=wet, winter=dry).
Australian Currency and Banking
The currency of Australia is the Australian dollar. Notes come in 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100, while coins come in 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 dollars. Prices are marked in single cents, and rounded to the nearest 5c. Credit cards are generally accepted. Banks have ATM machines (many offer 24-hour ATMs).
Australia Entry Requirements
All visitors to Australia must have a current passport, valid for at least 6 months beyond their return date. In addition, an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is required to enter Australia. We can electronically attach an ETA to your international ticket. A free tourist ETA allows multiple entries into Australia for a period of one year (maximum stay of 3 months per each arrival).
Electricity is 220-240 volts, so a converter and adapter are necessary if you want to use North American appliances. The converter is a three pin outlet.
Shopping hours in Australia vary from state to state, but generally, big department stores are open 9:00a-5:30p M-F, with late shopping either on Thursday or Friday (until 9:00p).
Tipping is not the general custom in Australia, and service charges are not added to accounts by hotels and restaurants. Porters, taxi drivers, hairdressers, etc. do not expect to be tipped. In better-class restaurants, it is usual to tip food and drink waiters up to 10 per cent for good service.