Australia Travel Tips: 10 Things You Must Know Before Travelling Down Under

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Australia Travel Tips: 10 Things You Must Know Before Travelling Down Under

by Holxo Travel Specialist

AUSTRALIA
TRAVEL TIPS

From swimming in the pristine waters to seeing koalas and kangaroos and soaking up the summer sun, it’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of visiting the land down under. However, there are some crucial tips for visiting Australia that can save you from a whole lot of confusion and often, embarrassment.

Before we get down to Australia travel tips, here are a few quick facts about Australia.

Capital city

Canberra

Area

7.692 million km²

Population

2.46 crores (2017)

Currency

Australian Dollar

Exchange rate

1 AUD = INR 48.54 (August 2019)

Language

English

Time zones

3 (Western Standard Time, Central and Eastern Standard Time)

No. of states

Six states - Tasmania (capital - Hobart), South Australia (capital - Adelaide), New South Wales (capital - Sydney), Western Australia (capital - Perth), Victoria (capital - Melbourne) and Queensland (Capital - Brisbane)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

19

Now that’s out of the way, here are a few Australia vacation tips to keep in mind.

1. Australia is extremely huge and diverse

Looks can be deceiving is the perfect dictum for this tiny looking yet a gigantic country. Australia is the 6th largest country in the world and occupies a territory (7.692 million km²) which is more than all the countries in the European Union!

Australia map
Australia map

Yes, Australia is massive. Unless you plan to spend more than six months travelling around and a stash worth a few million, you cannot see it all. A quick flight from one corner of the country to the other is quite a feat. A plane from Perth to Brisbane will take you more than five hours and it’s a three-day drive! On the bright side, each state has so much to offer that you’ll have plenty to do wherever you visit. Whether you make it to two or more territories or states, or just stick to one Australian destination, there’s never a dull day Down Under.

Plus, if you book with Holxo Holidays, we’ll ensure that we cover all prominent destinations and you won’t miss out on anything.

2. The weather in Australia and when you should travel

Australia climate map
Australia climate map

When you plan to visit the country largely relies on what part of the country you wish to travel to. One of the essential tips for visiting Australia is that the country is located in the southern hemisphere, so the seasons are opposite that of countries in the northern hemisphere like India, Russia, Canada, etc. The winter is from June through August and summer from December through February.

The southern part of Australia which includes Melbourne and Sydney have summer in the months of December, January, and February. The warm weather makes it a popular time to visit. Since it is peak season, expect more crowds and costs to be higher. Melbourne and Sydney travel tips include visiting during the months of October, November, March or April when the weather is pleasant and crowds are fewer.

Up in the north, regions like Queensland are best visited during June, July or August, the winter months. Summers are very hot, humid and have frequent downpours. Other desert regions like Uluru are good to visit in winter as well. The Great Barrier Reef has warm weather all year around. During summer expect tropical rain. The wet season is during spring and summer with fewer tourists.

In general, Australia travel tips states that the time to avoid visiting the country is the north’s hot and wet summers and the south’s chilly winters.

3. Wear lots of sunblocks - the sun is no joke 

No doubt, vacation calls for some beach time and soaking up some sun. But, unlike other countries, Australia has rules! The sun in the country is set to red hot and it’s harsh. You need to lather on layers of sunblock or you will burn if you lay out in the sun all day. It’s one of the many Australia travel tips you can’t ignore, forget or pass up on.

Australia heats up much faster than other countries as the ozone layer is thinner and the rays are harmful. Sunburns can last for weeks and sometimes even turn to blisters. Those who are sunburn prone, it’s best to wear a hat, sunglasses and even a shirt to avoid catching the sun’s rays for extended periods. Additionally, avoid the hottest parts of the day (11 am to 2 pm). Also, carry ample water and stay hydrated to avoid a heat stroke.

4. You’re prohibited from bringing certain things into the country

There’s a popular show called ‘Australian Border Control.’ If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what we’re talking about. Apart from obvious things such as weapons, firearms, drugs, etc. there are certain other items which cannot be brought into the country. Items like fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, shoes which haven’t been cleaned and have clay or mud sticking on them, plants, seeds, feathers, skins, protected wildlife, etc. are prohibited. Certain medications are also subject to control. In such situations, a doctor’s letter which states your medical condition and why you need the medication helps. When your close family or friends living there ask you for their favourite homemade pickle, this Australia travel tip should come to mind. 

For more information read about what you can bring and cannot bring into Australia.

5. Know your transport options

Each state in Australia has its own public transportation system. In Melbourne, you have trams, buses, and trains that you can use by purchasing a Myki card. Similarly, Sydney too has ferries, buses and trains which you can board with an Opal card and the Go card works in Brisbane. A key Australia travel tip to keep in mind is that each transport card is specific to that state. It’s best to use your Myki Card in Melbourne and Opal card in Sydney and so on. 

Sydney Trains
Sydney Trains

Apart from this, you can definitely hail taxis on the road. Depending on the state, the prices vary. For example, the approximate starting price in Melbourne is $5 and in Sydney, it is $4.50 and $2 for each kilometer after that. They’re good for short distances. For longer journeys you can either use public transport or use Ola, Didi and Bolt, they’re the popular ones.

6. Swim between the flags

Thousands of visitors flock to Australia for its gorgeous beaches to swim, surf and unwind. But the beaches have hidden dangers - rips which are caused by strong currents which can sweep you out to the open sea. It’s vital to keep in mind that you ought to swim between the yellow and red safety flags. Also, visit a beach which is patrolled by lifeguards. Typically, popular beaches like Bondi Beach are patrolled throughout the year while other beaches are patrolled during the summer months.

Keep in mind, Aussies are raised amidst sun, sand, and surf and they’re confident swimmers. Most of them can likely read a rip and survive one. As a tourist, this will be new to you, especially if you’re not a confident swimmer in the sea. Swimming in an enclosed pool is one thing but the open water is a whole different ball game. It’s better to follow the rules and stay safe. It’s yet another Australia travel tip which is important and you need to keep it in mind.       

7. Learn the local language     

Although Aussies speak English, the strong Australian accent along with their own slang words makes it hard to understand. Here are a few words to help you out.     

Arvo = afternoon

G’day = hello

Brekkie = breakfast

Bikkie = biscuit

Barbie = BBQ

Have a gander = have a look

Beauty = great!

You ripper = how fantastic

Grog = alcohol

Mozzies = mosquitoes

Tea = dinner or an evening meal

Nah yeah = yes

Yeah Nah = no

Hot chips = fries

Chips = crisps

Youse = the plural of you

Scorcher = a hot day

Togs/swimmers/bathers = bathing suit

Thongs = flip flops

Chuck a U-ey = make a U-turn/turn around

Tomato sauce = ketchup

8. Tipping in Australia

There are no hard and fast rules to follow. Most often service charge is included in the bill, so you don’t have to worry about adding that extra bit. But if you had a good dining experience or a deserving polite server, feel free to leave a tip. The amount can be based on service, food quality, etc. If you choose not to tip it’s not considered impolite as it’s a new practice. In certain areas like Docklands in Melbourne or Darling Harbour in Sydney, tipping is mandatory.

If you’re in a dilemma and unsure of when and where to tip, it’s best to round off your bill to the nearest $10. Similarly, for taxis, when drivers are polite, good company or simply nice people you can round off to the nearest $5.

The norm is 10% of the total bill. 

9. Internet and connectivity 

As opposed to places like London, you do not have the internet everywhere. The cheapest and best option to remain connected at all times is to buy a hotspot like Skyroam.

10. Visa

Unless you’re an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you need to have a valid visa to enter the country. Visa on arrival is valid for New Zealand citizens others must apply for a visa in their home country. As a tourist, the easiest visa is a tourist visa. Under this visa, you can visit Australia for a holiday or recreation. It’s valid for up to three or six or twelve months. 

Other Australia travel tips:

  • Call 000 in an emergency - Once you dial triple zero, you’ll be directed to either ambulance, fire or police departments depending on the severity and emergency. They will guide you through the process and provide assistance via the phone.
  • Exchanging your money in Australia - With ample ATMs and the currency widely available, exchanging money in your home country or in Australia shouldn’t be an issue.
  • Travel insurance - Although Australia has top-notch medical, health and other services, it’s best to keep your guard up beforehand and opt for travel insurance. Insurance is a great way to enjoy your vacation in a hassle-free manner. Depending on the service provider you pick, you’ll have different covers. Typically, it includes cancellations and delays, medical expenses, loss of possessions, personal accidents, etc. Keep in mind that not all policies are the same.      

With so many Australia travel tips in at hand, your trip is definitely going to be a smooth one. All you have to do is book with Holxo and sit back and enjoy your trip.

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