Australia Travel Tips

Australia, the land of vast desert expanse, lush green rainforests, virgin beaches, exuberating coastal metropolitans, and breathtaking wildlife has something for everyone. If you are planning a trip to Australia here are a few travel tips that could help you shape your itinerary and make your Australian experience simply everlasting.

ATM Cards: ATM cards can be used in Australia at both ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) and at participating retail locations, so long as they have been enabled for international access. Your ATM card must carry either the CIRRUS, PLUS or STAR international ATM mark or the Interlink or Maestro POS mark. Travelers should contact their bank at home for information on availability and service charges.

Banking: Banks are generally open 9:30am-4pm Mon-Thu; 9:30am 5pm Fri. In some states selected banking facilities are available on Saturday morning. General office hours, including Post Offices, are 9am-5pm, Mon Fri. Stamps are often available at front desks of hotels and motels and at selected retail outlets.

Car Hire: Car on Hire is available at all major airports and major hotels to those over 21 years old. Documentation: An International Driving Permit is required by nationals of countries whose official language is not English. International, foreign or national driving permits are generally valid for three months. An International Driving Permit is only valid in conjunction with a valid national license. Permits must be carried at all times while driving.

Credit Cards & Travelers Checks: The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, Bankcard, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa and their affiliates. Use may be restricted in smaller towns and country areas and small retail shops. You should cash traveler's checks at banks or larger hotels as it may be difficult elsewhere. Some banks may charge a small fee for cashing traveler's checks. Banks will cash most traveler's checks in every currency.

Health: Australia is a vast country and journeys should be planned, especially if traveling to remote areas. Health precautions should be taken when traveling in the Northern Territory and Queensland. Go for diphtheria, tetanus and malaria immunizations before traveling to Australia. However, one also needs to have immunization proof against Yellow fever and hepatitis B.

Liquor Laws: While regulations vary from state to state, general licensing hours for public bars are Mon-Sat 10am-10pm. Sunday hours vary between states. Restaurants, clubs and hotel lounges have more flexible hours. You must be 18 years or older to buy or consume alcohol in public.

Money: Dollar is the basic unit of Australian currency and it is decimal. Currency exchange can be made at Sydney International Airport, banks or large hotels. Banks are generally open 9.30am-4pm Monday-Thursday; 9.30am-5pm Friday. Banks accept traveller's cheques in all currencies.

Must carry: While on an Australian trip always remember this tip that do not forget to carry effective sun blockers, glares, and necessary stuff for rains, mosquito repellant and required general medications etc

Read: Before visiting Australia do read some good travel books or general books about it, to have a gist of the culture, people, climate, places to visit, wildlife, etc. Season: Being in the southern hemisphere, Australia has a hugely varied season cycle. The summers begin in December. Plus, it can really get very nastily hot in Australia.

Shopping: Be careful while shopping in souvenir shops since they generally have highly inflated rates.

Tipping: Tipping is not obligatory and service charges are not charged at hotels and restaurants. For special service, a tip of 10% is acceptable for waiters. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip, but will appreciate a small gratuity. At any time, tipping is your choice.

Visa: All foreigners (except New Zealanders) are required to have a valid visa or Electronic Travel Authority to enter and spend time in Australia. New Zealanders are issued a visa on arriving in Australia.

Zones: There is no universally accepted daylight saving time in Australia. Each state handles it independently regardless of synchronization with the neighbors.