Australia is a land of natural beauty and adventure. From the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef, there's something for everyone. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, here is some practical info for planning your trip to Australia.
Language in Australia
Australia's official language is English, but it is also a nation of rich cultural diversity, with many people from all over the world making Australia their home. As such, it is not uncommon to hear a wide variety of languages being spoken in Australia's cities and towns. There are also more than 250 Indigenous languages!
Currency in Australia
The currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar ($ / AUD). Check the currency conversion here.
Payment options in Australia
While most retail stores and restaurants will accept either cash or card, cash payments are rare these days. Even at local markets, most vendors will accept card payments. While some smaller shops may have a minimum for card purchases, this is becoming less common. Many places do still charge a fee for using AMEX cards though.
ATMs are widely available and easy to find but may have a small fee.
Tipping culture in Australia
Tipping is not a part of Australian culture due to the relatively high minimum wage, so it is never expected. However, a tip will always be greatly appreciated if you want to reward excellent service.
Plugs in Australia
Australia uses the type I plug. Since this plug type is uncommon, a universal adaptor will save you the hassle of buying and carrying multiple adaptors while traveling.
Visas for Australia
Australia has strict border controls. All travelers entering the country must apply for a visa before arriving, with New Zealand citizens being the exception. There are a few options for tourist visas depending on your citizenship. The easiest and quickest one to apply for is the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visa which you can apply for on the Australian ETA app. But this is only available to some nationalities. The Australian Government travel website has a questionnaire you can fill out to see which visas you're eligible for.
Safety in Australia
Because of its low crime rate, Australia is considered a safe country to travel to, even if you are traveling solo. Rather than people, you have to look out for the wildlife and mother nature here! But if you use common sense and follow local advice, you shouldn't have any issues.
Riptides and strong currents can quickly put even the strongest swimmers into a sticky situation at the beach. On beaches that are patrolled by lifeguards, they will put up red and yellow flags to mark the area that is safe for swimming, so make sure to stay between these flags. While the lifeguards try to keep an eye on the entire beach, this area between the flags is where they focus most of their attention, so it’s also where you will be most safe if something happens while you’re swimming.
The UV is also super high in Australia, which means it can be very easy to get burnt, even on overcast days. Don’t underestimate the strength of the sun here, even if you are used to being outside in hot weather. Wear protective clothing and plenty of sunscreen. Growing up with this harsh sun, Aussie kids are taught to ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ - slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sunscreen, and slap on a hat! Really words to live by here…
Australian wildlife is notorious for being some of the most dangerous in the world. Still, there isn't anything to be afraid of as long as you keep your distance and avoid touching animals you aren't familiar with. Even the cuddly ones are capable of inflicting some damage.
Be on the lookout for wildlife while driving on Australian roads, particularly between dusk and dawn. Kangaroos and other nocturnal critters frequently dart out in front of cars. In fact, Tasmania has even earned the unwanted reputation of the road kill capital of the world.
The emergency number in Australia is 000
Medical care in Australia
Australia has reciprocal healthcare agreements with Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, & UK. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, you might be eligible for free or subsidized healthcare while in Australia. Check the Services Australia website for the full details.
If you are not a citizen of one of these countries, you will have to pay upfront for your medical treatment, which can add up very quickly! Travel insurance isn't a requirement for most Australian tourist visas, but it's worthwhile, even if it's just for some peace of mind.
Our travel insurer of choice is Safety Wing for their affordable, flexible, and comprehensive plans.
Australia is a fantastic holiday destination for travelers from all over the world. If you follow these practical tips, you will be prepared to enjoy all that the country has to offer.