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Australia - Traveling

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Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Getting around on your own in Australia can sometimes be difficult because of the lack of public transport. Taxis are used a lot in Australia. They are not difficult to find and they are often the best means of transport, particularly in large cities. Public transport networks are less developed and above all less efficient and punctual than in most European countries. Each Australian State capital has a train/metro network and bus companies (usually well equipped but sometimes getting old). Melbourne has the most extensive tram network in the world. However, Australia remains – like the United States – marked by the culture of the private car.
Maps of urban networks: Sydney tram system map

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

Because of the distances involved, taking a plane is almost inevitable. Since the collapse of the second Australian airline in September 2001, only Quantas Airways, Virgin Australia, Jetstar Airways and a certain number of small independent companies offer domestic flights.
Air transport is excellent but the cost of domestic flights is high. The air network is extensive and there are services between all the main cities. There is a flight almost every hour between the most important cities. There is a rail network but it is not very efficient and it is faster to travel by plane because of the distances involved. Buses are efficient and comfortable.
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
QANTAS Major Yes Yes
VIRGINBLUE Low cost Yes Yes
JETSTAR Low cost Yes Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: The state of the roads is good, especially around big towns. If, however, you want to venture off the beaten track, in the bush, it is better to do so in a 4X4. Finding fuel is reasonably easy. Fines are heavy for driving offenses and they are doubled over long holiday weekends (double demerits); your license may be withdrawn if you do not wear your seat belt. The Australian authorities have set up a large number of speed cameras along the roads to encourage drivers to observe speed limits (110km/h on motorways). There are many traffic jams in and around Sydney.
Road maps: Autopages
Find an itinerary: WHEREIS


Different forms of tourism

Historical: Australia is made up of six states and each one of them has its particular features:
- Sydney with its historical sites connected with the first European immigrants, as well as with the indigenous people of Australia, the Aborigines. For further information about the city: Sydney
- Melbourne with a large European community such as Greeks and Italians, but also the Chinese population. For further information about Melbourne and Victoria, please visit: Melbourne.
Cultural: Several hundreds of museums and festivals. Sculpture, Paintings, Theater, Concerts, Cinema, Literature, etc.
Sydney : its famous Opera House (Opera House) and the bridge over the bay (Harbour Bridge).
Melbourne is well known for its lively cultural life, with theater, music, fashion and international sporting events.
Over the last few years, Brisbane has developed its cultural and night life (museums, theaters, galleries).
The city of Adelaide is appreciated for its architecture, its modernism and very relaxed life-style. The city has many restaurants, shops and entertainments.
Western Australia : The capital is Perth 3 200 km from Sydney and probably the most isolated capital in the world. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful, modern city with a very pleasant climate and life style and it has kept the atmosphere of a provincial town.
Nature: Australia has a large number of spectacular national parks and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Tasmania is an island south of Victoria, famous for its landscapes, its horticultural products and its wines. The capital is Hobart. There is practically no pollution in the air and waters of Tasmania thanks to there being very little industry there.
Northern Territory : this is the region where much of the land is still uninhabited. The climate varies from tropical in the north to desert and tundra in the south. The most well known tourist attraction in the region is Ayers Rock. There is a wide variety of wildlife such as the great sea water crocodile, the dingo, the wallaby and many different species of birds. Aquatic creatures and reptiles are numerous. Darwin is the main city of the territory (tropical climate).
Religious: Australia is a "young" country but it has a vast number of ancient Aboriginal sites of great religious and mystical significance.
Thermal: There are hot springs in the Northern Territory.
Beach: Australia is the country of beaches par excellence. Its coast is spectacular and offers unlimited possibilities and discoveries. There are some very beautiful beaches not far from the center of Sydney.
Winter sports: The Australian Alps have very pleasant ski resorts but they are expensive, like Thredbo or Perisher.
Outdoor activities: Rambling, surfing, mountain bike, climbing, mountain climbing, rafting, 4x4.
Shopping: Today, especially in Asia, Australia is known to be a great place to shop, in particular for fashion and products seen to be "exotic", and culinary specialties and wine.
Tourism organizations: Tourism Australia

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: There is no compulsory vaccination. A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year old arriving in Australia within the 6 days following a stay of at least one day and one night in a contaminated country. Asthmatics may also meet difficulties because of the dust and should always have an inhaler to hand.
For further information on sanitary conditions: Government information website

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney (GMT+10 in winter, GMT+11 in summer), Adelaide (GMT+9h30 in winter, GMT+10h30 in summer), Perth (GMT+8)
Summer time period: Summer time from October to April.
Climate: Most of the country does not have wide variations of climate. Only Tasmania, in the far south, and the Australian Alps south of Canberra sometimes have extreme cold. The further north you go, the smaller temperature differences are, until you reach the tropical zone. Darwin, for example, only has two seasons: the dry one and the wet one. The center of the continent is arid, hot and dry during the day, but often bitterly cold at night. In Sydney and Melbourne the temperatures in summer vary between 22°C and 28°C. In winter they vary between 12°C and 16°C in Melbourne and never drop under 0°C in Sydney.
Useful links:


Food specialties: Australian cuisine, which still had a bad reputation 30 years ago, has been enriched by contributions from the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Asia. Melbourne for example is a Mecca for worldwide gastronomy. "Contemporary Australian cuisine" is rich in sea foods: barramundi, crayfish, etc. Vegemite is a pure product of local culture.
We can mention:
- Australian Cheesecake.
- Australian Dinkum Chili: Australian chilli with bacon, beef and pork, seasoned with cumin, garlic, chilli powder and onions.
- Chicken with basil sauce.
- Curried Mussels with Mushrooms.
- Kangaroo Escalopes with Spinach and Anchovy Butter.
- Octopus Salad.
- Anzac Biscuits.
- Strawberry Meringue Pudding.
Drinks: Today wine is almost as popular as beer, the national drink. Aperitifs and liqueurs are less common. On the other hand, alcopops (alcoholic drinks mixed with fruit juice or cola) are very popular with young adults.
Dietary taboos: Dietary restrictions are almost inexistent but may vary, in this multicultural country, according to religion.


Getting some knowledge: TRAVLANG
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