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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Australia's climate?
Broadly there are two climatic zones in Australia. About 40 percent of Australia is in the tropical zone, north above the Tropic of Capricorn e.g. Kimberley's, Top End and Tropical North Queensland) there are 2 seasons, the Wet and the Dry. The best time to visit is April - October.
The remaining areas lie in the temperate zone, which is in the South of Australia eg Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania, Kangaroo Island. There are 4 seasons - summer, autumn, winter and spring. March-May (autumn) and September-November (spring) are generally nicest as you avoid the cold and wet of winter and the hot and dry of summer.
However because of Australia's vast size there are variations within these zones.
Do I require a Visa?
A current passport and visa are necessary for entrance into Australia. If you are planning a holiday visit or a short business trip to Australia, you will need to apply for either a visa or an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority).
An ETA will let you spend up to three months in Australia, please click here for additional information.
There are a number of visas available for people to visit Australia as a tourist. For further information on visas, please visit Australia's Department of Immigration & Multicultural & Indigenous Affairs website.
Where are the Foreign Embassies & Consulates in Australia?
The principal diplomatic representations to Australia are in Canberra.
For more information, please visit the website of Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade.
What do I need to know about Clearing Customs in Australia?
You need your passport and incoming passenger card ready for inspection by Custom officers on arrival. There are strict laws prohibiting or restricting the entry of drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms, protected wildlife and associated products including caviar, clam shells and ivory. If you are uncertain about anything in your baggage declare it and bring it to the attention of a Customs officer.
While visitors are permitted to bring reasonable quantities of prescribed (non-narcotic) medications, they must be declared to Customs. It is advisable to have a letter or a prescription from your doctor describing your medical condition and the medication.
For further information please visit the website of Australian Customs Service.
What is Australia's currency?
Australia's currency is the Australian dollar, which comprises 100 cents. There are 5c, 10c, 50c, $1 and $2 coins, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 paper notes.
Changing foreign currency or traveller's cheques is no problem at almost any bank. Credit cards are widely accepted (eg Visa, MasterCard & American Express). Cash advances from credit cards are widely available over the counter and from automatic teller machines (ATMs).
Click here for a Currency Convertor.
Should I tip in Australia?
Tipping is not customary in Australia, however if you feel your guides/hosts have done an exceptional job you may like to give a small amount at the time. It will be appreciated, but again, not expected.
Tipping is common only in the more expensive restaurants and is not part of the wage structure; 10% is considered usual.
How many Time Zones are in Australia?
Australia is divided into 3 time zones, South Australia and the Northern Territory is plus 9.5 hours GMT/UTC, while Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland are plus 10 hours GMT/UTC.
In summer, South Australia, NSW and Victoria put their clocks forward one hour due to daylight saving.
Are there any ethical considerations when photographing in Australia?
As in other countries, politeness goes a long way when taking photographs; ask before taking photos of people. Many Aborigines do not like to have their photographs taken, even from a distance, for spiritual reasons.[back to top]
What is Australian Cuisine like?
Australia is a melting pot of nations and this is reflected in the wonderful variety of food available including the very best of our fine local products. Australian beef and wines are world-renowned and Australia has a superb range of seafood, many unique cheeses and an enormous selection of fresh, high quality fruit and vegetables.
Australian bush cuisine is original, innovative and of the highest standards. It is often a reflection of the lifestyle of your hosts and the variety of farming activities they are engaged in. Vegetarians are well catered for and a multitude of ethnic cuisines are present in all major cities.
Is Tap water safe to drink in Australia? Consuming alcoholic beverages in Australia?
Tap water is generally very safe to drink all over Australia and you will be provided with bottled water on the rare occasion it isn't.
Australia has some of the world's best wines and locally brewed boutique beers. Regulations on the consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages vary from state to state. You must be 18 years or older to buy or consume alcohol.