AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDE
Australia rivals the USA in size but is home to only 25 million people - giving it one of the lowest population densities on earth. Every aspect of Australian life and culture is a direct result of the scale of this contemporary country and its population. Australia is a land of savage beauty and huge horizons just begging to be explored. It's touted as the ultimate adventure travel destination and even if it's golden beaches, rain forests and iconic outback doesn't tickle your fancy you will find its major cities to be outstanding destinations in their own right. When taken as a whole, the sum of Australia's numerous contrasts is exactly what makes it a destination equally fascinating as it is diverse.
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AUSTRALIA QUICK FACTS
Currency : Australian dollar ($, AUD)
Area: 7,741,220 km²
Population: 24,953,887 (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
Language: English (spoken by everyone), numerous other languages are spoken. Aboriginal Australian languages still are spoken in some Aboriginal communities even though many of these languages have been lost.
Electricity: 240V, 50Hz (plug Type I)
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AUSTRALIA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
26 January, Australia Day
25 April, Anzac Day
2nd Monday in June, Queen’s Birthday (except Western Australia)
Also, Good Friday through Easter Monday.
FESTIVALS IN AUSTRALIA
BEST TIME TO VISIT AUSTRALIA
The best time to visit Australia depends on where you want to go and what you want to do. Australia is a large country with a varied climate, so the weather can be quite different from one region to another.
- Spring to summer (October to March) is warm or hot everywhere, tropical in the north, and warm to hot with mild nights in the south. This period is the classic tourist season when northern hemisphere visitors seek to escape winter temperatures and soak up some sunshine, although Australia is essentially a year-round destination.
- For a week - beginning at the end of October to mid to late November (depending on area) - Australian teenagers finishing high school (known as "Schoolies"), will celebrate the end of their school term. The sheer volume of teen revellers can completely change the nature of some of the cities and towns they visit during this time - particularly the popular Gold Coast.
- If you want to visit the beaches and enjoy the warm weather, the best time to visit is during the summer months of December, January, and February. This is also a good time to visit the Great Barrier Reef, as the water is warm and the weather is generally sunny and clear.
- If you want to visit the Outback and see the natural beauty of the country, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. This is also a good time to visit Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) and other landmarks in the desert regions.
- If you want to experience the ski season, you can visit the ski resorts in the Snowy Mountains during the winter months of June, July, and August.
Overall, the best time to visit Australia is during the shoulder seasons of March-April and September-October, when the weather is generally pleasant and there are fewer crowds.
AUSTRALIA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
AUSTRALIA TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN AUSTRALIA
The snow sports season in Australia can stretch from June until October, with the most consistent season being from July to September.
HIKING & CYCLING IN AUSTRALIA
The best time for outdoor activities in Australia will depend on where in the country you are. It is generally too cold during the months of June, July and August. Some hikes are closed during the fire season from November to April. December to February are the hottest months. Autumn and Spring arguably give you the best options.
BEACH OPTIONS IN AUSTRALIA
Australia has a long, stunning coastline with plenty of beautiful beaches. The best time for relaxing on these beaches is from November till March, with December to February being the busiest and hottest months.
SURFING IN AUSTRALIA
Australia offers fantastic surfing conditions all year round. Conditions vary depending on where you are along the coast, with the most consistent swell generally found during Summer and Autumn.
KITESURF IN AUSTRALIA
Australia, in particular Western Australia, is a fantastic kitesurfing destination for beginners to professionals, for wave surfing and wakestyle riding. The windy season stretches from October to March, with the most consistent winds between November and February. You can usually kite in Cairns and Townsville from April until November and then head over to the west coast, south, south-west, and east coasts for summer.
For more details on kite surfing in Australia expand this section!
HEALTH RISKS IN AUSTRALIA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
AUSTRALIA TRAVEL COSTS
Australian prices always come as a shock if you had travelled from Southeast Asia, but now with the strong AUS dollar and the booming economy, Australia can now easily feel as expensive as Europe or the US, especially for food and drink. This is most noticeable in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and the WA mining towns – the cost of living has crept up over the years and any prolonged length of time spent in these places will quickly drain savings.
The cost of traveling to Australia can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the time of year you go, how you get there, where you stay, and what you do while you're there. Here are some rough estimates of the costs you might incur when visiting Australia:
- Airfare: $700 to $1,500 or more, depending on your departure city and when you book
- Accommodation: $100 to $200 per night for a budget hotel, $200 to $400 per night for a mid-range hotel, $400 or more for a luxury hotel
- Transportation: $20 to $50 per day for a rental car, $5 to $10 per day for a public transportation pass
- Food and drink: $30 to $50 per day for meals, depending on your dining preferences
- Activities: $50 to $100 per day for tours, attractions, and activities
Keep in mind that these are just rough estimates, and the actual costs will depend on your specific travel plans and preferences.
Here are some additional tips to help you save money when visiting Australia:
- Consider staying in a vacation rental or hostel instead of a hotel to save on accommodation costs.
- Look for deals and discounts on tours, attractions, and activities.
- Eat at local restaurants and markets instead of tourist areas to save on food costs.
- Avoid traveling during peak season, when prices are generally higher.
- Consider purchasing a travel insurance policy to protect against unexpected costs.
AUSTRALIA TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some travel tips for Australia:
- Plan your trip in advance: Australia is a large country with a lot to see and do, so it's a good idea to plan your trip in advance to make the most of your time. Consider what you want to see and do, and research the best way to get around.
- Pack wisely: Australia has a varied climate, so it's important to pack clothes that can be layered. Bring a mix of lightweight, breathable clothes for the warmer weather and a jacket or sweater for cooler evenings. It's also a good idea to pack comfortable shoes, as you'll likely be doing a lot of walking.
- Get travel insurance: Australia has a high standard of healthcare, but it can be expensive if you need to see a doctor or go to the hospital. It's a good idea to get travel insurance to protect against unexpected costs.
- Respect the wildlife: Australia is home to many unique and interesting animals, but it's important to respect their space. Don't feed the animals, and keep your distance from wildlife, especially if it looks dangerous.
- Stay safe: Australia is generally a safe country to visit, but it's always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your belongings, and be cautious at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.
- Have fun: Above all, Australia is a fun and exciting place to visit. Don't be afraid to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. You're sure to have a memorable and enjoyable trip!
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF AUSTRALIA
Australia is a large and diverse country, and it can be divided into several regions:
- The East Coast: The East Coast is home to some of Australia's most iconic cities and landmarks, including Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Gold Coast. Highlights of this region include the Sydney Opera House, the beaches of Bondi and Manly, and the scenic Blue Mountains.
- The Outback: The Outback is the vast, remote region of central and western Australia, known for its rugged landscape and unique wildlife. Highlights of this region include Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), the Red Centre, and the Kimberley region.
- The West Coast: The West Coast is known for its pristine beaches, beautiful national parks, and vibrant cities like Perth and Broome. Highlights of this region include the Margaret River wine region, the Pinnacles Desert, and the Ningaloo Reef.
- The South Coast: The South Coast is home to some of Australia's most beautiful beaches and natural landscapes, including the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians National Park. Highlights of this region include the Twelve Apostles, the wineries of the Yarra Valley, and the Phillip Island Penguin Parade.
- The Northern Territory: The Northern Territory is a vast and rugged region known for its unique wildlife, natural beauty, and Indigenous culture. Highlights of this region include Kakadu National Park, Arnhem Land, and the Katherine Gorge.
Considering the vastness of Australia, deciding where to go will always be a juggle between how much time it takes to cover distance and your budget. (Flight time from Melbourne to Perth is more than 4 hours!). With such an expansive tourism industry and an excess of places to see and visit, one could easily spend months driving around the outback, explore national parks, or just hang out on vast, sandy beaches. Or you could hit the popular trinity of Sydney, Barrier Reef, and Uluru in short 2 weeks. Either option is bound to leave you wanting more as you will barely scrape the surface of this vast and diverse country.
There are many amazing things to see and do when visiting Australia. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Visit Sydney: Sydney is Australia's largest city and home to many iconic landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and Bondi Beach.
- Explore the Great Barrier Reef: The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system and home to an incredible variety of marine life. You can snorkel or dive to explore the reef, or take a boat tour to see it from above.
- Visit the Outback: The Outback is the vast, remote region of central and western Australia, known for its rugged landscape and unique wildlife. You can visit Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) or take a tour of the Red Centre to learn about the region's Indigenous history and culture.
- Explore the national parks: Australia is home to many beautiful national parks, including the Daintree Rainforest, the Grampians, and the Blue Mountains. You can go hiking, camping, or wildlife watching in these parks to experience the country's natural beauty.
- Visit the wineries: Australia is home to many world-class wineries, particularly in the regions of the Barossa Valley and the Yarra Valley. You can take a tour of the wineries to taste the local wines and learn about the winemaking process.
- Go surfing: Australia is known for its excellent surf, and there are many great spots to catch a wave along the East Coast and the West Coast.
- Experience Indigenous culture: Australia has a rich Indigenous culture, and there are many opportunities to learn about it when visiting the country. You can visit an Indigenous cultural center, go on a tour with an Indigenous guide, or participate in traditional activities like painting, weaving, or didgeridoo playing.
Australian cities are surprisingly cosmopolitan and waves of postwar immigration from southern Europe and, more recently, Southeast Asia have done loads to erode Australia’s original Anglo-centrist culture somewhat.
- Canberra - the purpose-built national capital of Australia usually fails to grip the attention of visitors, but away from the suburbs is the transitional 'bush' and beyond that the wilderness of the Outback.
- Adelaide - the modern-day wine capital of the world and a relaxed South Australian alternative to the big eastern cities.
- Brisbane - the capital of sun-drenched Queensland and gateway to beautiful white, sandy beaches.
- Cairns - the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas, Daintree National Park, and many stunning beaches and resorts.
- Darwin - Australia's tropical northern capital, at the top end of the Northern Territory.
- Hobart - picturesque and quiet capital of Tasmania, the site of the second convict settlement in Australia.
- Melbourne - Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne is a large sporting, shopping and cultural capital and regarded as Australia's most European city in style.
- Perth - the most remote continental capital city on Earth, on the south-western edge of Western Australia
- Sydney - Australia's oldest and largest city, famous for its picturesque harbour.
- Lord Howe Island - Two hours flying time from Sydney, with a permanent population, and comprehensive developed facilities.
- Norfolk Island - Direct flights from the East Coast and from Auckland with a permanent population and well-developed facilities.
- Christmas Island - Famous for its red crab migration. Reachable from Perth and Kuala Lumpur.
- Cocos Islands - Coral atolls, accessible by flights from Perth, with some facilities for tourism.
- Torres Strait Islands - between Cape York and Papua New Guinea, most islands have some traveller facilities but require permission from the traditional owners to visit. Reachable from Cairns.
- Kangaroo Island - The third largest island in Australia and a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers.
Though often overlooked, Tasmania is well worth the trip across the Bass Strait. For your effort, you will find vast tracts of temperate wilderness and a wealth of scenery, from alpine mountains to quaint villages.
- Blue Mountains - a mountainous region in New South Wales, including the Three Sisters.
- Dandenong Ranges - these beautiful ranges offer world-class gardens and the picturesque villages of Mt. Dandenong.
- Great Barrier Reef - off the coast of Queensland, easily accessible from Cairns, and even as far south as the Town of 1770.
- Great Ocean Road - a spectacular coastal drive in Victoria past many scenic icons including the Twelve Apostles.
- Kakadu National Park - outback adventure travel, aboriginal culture and nature activities in the Northern Territory.
- Nitmiluk National Park - the amazing Katherine Gorge, close to the town of Katherine.
- Gold Coast - famous beach-side and national park playground south of Brisbane.
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park - Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) are iconic rock formations in the Red Centre.
- Watarrka National Park - most famous for Kings Canyon, a mighty chasm reaching a depth of 270 metres.
WHAT TO EAT IN AUSTRALIA
Australia has a diverse food culture, with influences from many different cuisines. Here are some local dishes and ingredients you should try when visiting Australia:
- Barbecue: Australia has a strong barbecue culture, and you'll find many "barbie" events and BBQ restaurants throughout the country. Try some grilled meat, like beef, lamb, or pork, and don't forget to add some salads and vegetables to your plate.
- Seafood: Australia has an abundance of fresh seafood, and you'll find many seafood restaurants and markets throughout the country. Try some local specialties like oysters, prawns, and fish and chips.
- Meat pies: Meat pies are a popular snack in Australia, and you'll find them at bakeries and convenience stores throughout the country. They are small pies filled with meat and vegetables, and they are a great option for a quick and tasty meal on the go.
- Vegemite: Vegemite is a spread made from yeast extract, and it is a popular condiment in Australia. It has a strong, salty flavor, and it is typically spread on toast or sandwiches.
- Tim Tams: Tim Tams are a popular chocolate biscuit in Australia, and they are made from layers of chocolate biscuit and cream, coated in chocolate. They are a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth.
- Lamingtons: Lamingtons are a traditional Australian dessert made from squares of sponge cake coated in chocolate and desiccated coconut. They are usually served with cream or strawberry jam.
LGBTQ IN AUSTRALIA
Same-sex marriage in Australia has been legal since 9 December 2017. According to a survey, published in late January 2018 by the Social Research Center along with the Australian National University, same-sex marriage was ranked the most historic event to have shaped the lives of Australians.
Today same-sex relationships are predominantly accepted. Australia is recognised as one of the most LGBT-accepting countries in the world, with an active Australian Pride Network. Opinion polls and the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey indicate widespread popular support for same-sex marriage. With its long history of LGBT activism and annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, Sydney has been named one of the most gay-friendly cities in Australia, and the world as a whole.
WHERE TO STAY IN AUSTRALIA
There are many great places to stay in Australia, and the best place for you will depend on your specific travel plans and preferences. Here are some suggestions for different types of accommodations:
- Hotels: Australia has a wide range of hotels, from budget to luxury, and you can find a hotel in most cities and tourist areas. Hotels are a good choice if you want a comfortable and convenient place to stay with amenities like a pool, gym, and room service.
- Vacation rentals: Vacation rentals, such as apartments, houses, and cottages, are a popular choice for travelers who want more space and privacy. They are also a good option if you're traveling with a group or want a fully-equipped kitchen.
- Hostels: Hostels are a budget-friendly option for travelers, and they are a great way to meet other travelers. Hostels usually have shared dorm rooms as well as private rooms, and they often have common areas and activities.
- Camping and caravan parks: If you're looking for a more rustic or budget-friendly option, you can consider staying at a camping or caravan park. These parks often have basic amenities like toilets, showers, and BBQ areas, and they are a good choice if you're traveling with a tent or caravan.
Ultimately, the best place to stay will depend on your budget, the type of trip you're taking, and your personal preferences. It's a good idea to research your options and read reviews before booking your accommodation.
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