Useful Information


Essential information when travelling Australia

Some general tips to get you started or help you on your way. On the right hand side you will see a list of headings click on areas that interest you. Passport - General / Lost/ Applications


General Information

All visitors must have visitor visas and current passports, which should be valid for three months longer than the intended stay. The only exceptions are citizens of New Zealand, who require only valid New Zealand passports. All visitors need valid passports to enter Australia and return home. Australia does not allow entrance if the holder's passport expires in under six months; returning home with an expired passport is illegal, and may result in a fine.



It is a good idea to photocopy the page of your passport that contains your photo, passport number, and other identifying information, as well as other important documents such as visas, travel insurance policies, airplane tickets, and traveller's cheque serial numbers, in case you lose anything. Carry one set of copies in a safe place apart from the originals and leave another set at home.

Consulates also recommend that you carry an expired passport or an official copy of your birth certificates in a part of your baggage separate from other documents.

Lost Passports If you lose your passport in Australia, immediately call 13 12 32.

To expedite its replacement, you will need to know all information previously recorded and show identification and proof of citizenship. In some cases, a replacement may take weeks to process, and it may be valid only for a limited time. Any visas stamped in your old passport will be irretrievably lost.

In an emergency, ask for immediate temporary travelling papers that will permit you to re-enter your home country.


Passport Applications

All applications for new passports or renewals should be filed well in advance of your planned departure date - remember you are relying on government agencies to complete these transactions.
Most passport offices offer rush services for extra charge.

Citizens residing abroad who need a passport or renewal should contact their nearest embassy or consulate.



Information: Toll free Tel. 13 12 32 or check out their website  here.

Citizens must apply for a passport in person at a post office, or at an Australian diplomatic mission overseas.

Adult passport
Aus$126 (32 page passport) valid 10 years.
Aus$188 (64 page passport) valid 10 years.

Child passport
Aus$63 (32 page passport) valid 5 years
Aus$94 (64 page passport) valid 5 years

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United Kingdom:

Tel. (01870) 521 0410 or check out their website  here.

Application forms are available at passport offices, main post offices and many travel agents.

Apply by mail or in person to one of the passport offices located in London, Liverpool, Newport, Peterborough, Glasgow or Belfast.

The whole process takes about 4 weeks, but the London office offers a 5-day, walk-in rush service - arrive early.

Adult passport
UKi?1/231 valid 10 years

Child passport
UKi?1/211 valid 5 years (under 16)

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24hr recorded Information line: Tel. (202) 647 0518
or check out their website  here.

Citizens may apply for a passport at any federal or state courthouse or post office authorized to accept passport applications, or at a US Passport Agency located in most major cities.

Processing takes 3-4 weeks.

Refer to the "US Government, State Department" section of the telephone directory or the local post office for addresses.

Adult passport
US$60 valid 10 years

Under 18
US $40 valid 5 years

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Information: Access their website here.

Canadian Passport Office, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;

Ottawa: Tel. (613) 994 3500
Toronto: Tel. (416) 973 3251
Vancouver: Tel. (604) 586 2500
Montreal: Tel. (514) 283 2152

Application forms are at all passport offices, Canadian missions and many travel agencies.

Adult passport
CDN$60 (plus CDN$25 consular fee) valid for 5 years

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Information: Access their website here.

Department of Foreign Affairs, Passport Office, Setanta Centre, Molesworth st, Dublin 2:

Tel. (01) 671 1633
Fax. (01) 671 1092
Tel. (021) 27 25 25

Obtain an application at a local Garda station or post office or from Passport Office.

Adult passport:
IRi?1/245 valid 10 years

Under 18:
IRi?1/210 valid 3 years

Over 65:
IRi?1/210 valid 3 years

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Holiday Visa

The Australian Embassy website.

Australia requires all visitors except Australian citizens and New Zealand passport holders to have a visa.

Tourist visas are issued by Australian consular offices abroad, they are the most common visa and generally valid for stay of either 3 or 6 months. Three month visas are free, for a six month visa there is a charge of AUS$35.

The visa is valid for use within 12 months of the date of issue and can be used to enter and leave Australia several times within that 12 months.

When you apply for a visa, you need to present your passport, a passport photo as well as sign an undertaking that you have an onward or return ticket and sufficient funds.

You can also apply for a long stay visa which is multiple entry , four year visa allowing stays up to six months on each visit these cost AUS$35.

Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)

For more information on ETA visas check out the government page here.

For the traveller who gets an ETA there is no visa application form, no stamp in the passport and no need to send a passport to an Australian visa office.

Travel agents are able to obtain the ETA at the same time as they book travel to Australia.

Your travel agent will ask for your passport details. This information may be given over the phone; there is no need to visit your agent personally. The agent will key your passport information into the same system used to process your airline reservation. Within a few seconds your travel to Australia will be electronically authorised.

When you arrive at the airport for check-in, the check-in staff can electronically confirm that you have authority to travel to Australia.

A visa system called the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), is used by about 80% of Australia's visitors. Quick simple and free, the fully electronic ETA replaces a standard visa and is available from most travel agencies and airports. The ETA allows three months on each visit within a one year period. It is free for those staying less than three months and AUS$45 for stays over three months or visitors requiring a four year multiple entry visa.

Standard visas may be obtained from the nearest Australian High Commission, embassy or consulate. If you register in person, it will take two days to process, allow 21 working days by mail. A return or onward-passage ticket or evidence of enough funds for the period of intended stay may be required.
On arrival in Australia, visitors will be asked to produce completed incoming passenger cards (which are usually distributed aboard aircraft and ships), passports and visas.

Visitors cannot undertake employment or formal studies and are expected to leave at the end of their authorised stay.

If a stay beyond three months is required there is a $30 fee for processing the application.


Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA and the Vatican City.

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Working Holiday Visa

by James Fraser (a traveller from the UK)

To get your visa application, you have to decide whether to go through an agency - which cost more, but they do everything for you, or deal directly with the embassy - Personally I went through an Agency "Trailfinders".

For your application to be accepted, the first thing that you need is two thousand pounds which has to be the funds available for your time in the country.

Once you have the money, you need a note from your doctor saying that you are healthy - so as long as you are fit and don't look like death warmed up from the night before, your doctor will probably be happy to write this for you.

Next you must prepare yourself for probably the most arduous task in obtaining the visa - the photo. Actually four passport photos are needed, all reasonably respectable.

If you are lucky enough, you will get a photo booth that lets you select your image - but be aware you can only change the image eight time, before it gets a mind of it's own and gives you the ninth picture.

So just a little bit of advice; don't smile, don't look unhappy, don't look dodgy, and definately don't be too fussy!

Finally you need is a copy of you bank statement confirming your two thousand pounds. Sound easy? well not always - watch out for cheques clearing, delays in statement, etc.

Now you are ready to send it off, all you can do is sit, wait and hope they accept your application (excellent drinking time).

Good Luck!

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Other Working Holiday facts.

Eligible for those from the ages of 18 to 25 (though people up to 30 have been known to obtain one) valid up to 12 months from UK, Ireland, Canada, Netherlands and Japan, granted only under certain conditions.

  • Any work done in Australia must be solely to supplement your holiday.
  • You must have a good chance at finding work.
  • You are not allowed to work full time for more than 3 months.
  • You may not enrol in any informal studies.
  • You must show a return ticket or sufficient funds to leave the country.
  • You must take out private medical insurance;
  • A fee of $145 is charged when you apply for a visa.
  • The visa can only be applied for outside Australia (preferably in your own country but not a necessity)
  • You can't change from a visitor visa to a working holiday visa
  • You can't extend a working holiday visa past 12 months - oh how we've tried.
  • You can apply for a working holiday visa up to 12 months in advance, and it's a good idea to do it as early as possible as there is a limit on the number issued each year

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Study Visa

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs in Washington DC works in connection with the Australian Education Office. For details access their website here.

To be granted a student visa you must complete an application form, pay the application charge, obtain a confirmation of enrolment issued by a registered provider and meet health and character requirements.

Working and studying plans vary according to your plans.

Contact the Australian embassy or consulate in your home country with questions.

Foreign study programs vary in expense, academic quality, living conditions, degree of contact with local students, and exposure to local culture.

US High school students can usually find exchange programs sponsored by US universities. However some local universities can be much cheaper than an American university program, although it can be hard to receive academic credit.

Schools that offer study abroad programs to foreigners are listed below.



University of New South Wales.

Offer several 6-week study programs for undergraduates, graduates and a dults in the fields of Art, Communications, the environment, engineering and screen acting among others.

Contact: Russ Alexander.
Project Manager, University of New South Wales, Study Abroad, Sydney 2052, Australia.
Tel. (02) 9385 3727
Fax. (02) 9385 1265

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United Kingdom:

Association of Commonwealth Universities

Administers scholarship programs such as the British Marshall scholarships and publishes information about all commonwealth universities.

For details access their website here.

John Foster House, 36 Gordon sq., London WC1H OPF, UK
Tel. (020) 7387 8572
Fax. (020) 7387 2655

Email here.

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United States:

American Institute for Foreign Study organizes programs for high school and college study in universities in Australia.

For details access their website here.

Contact: Dana Maggio

College Division, 102 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich, CT06830, US
Tel. 800 727 2437 ext. 6084

Email here.


Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)

Sponsors work, volunteer, academic, internship and study abroad programs in Australia.

For details access their website here.

205 E. 42nd St., New York, NY 10017
Tel. 888-COUNCIL (268 6245)
Fax. (212) 822 2699


School for International Training, College Semester Abroad.

Runs semester and year long programs in Australia costing between US$1800 - US$10,300 (all expenses included)

For details access their website here.

Admissions: Kipling rd., PO Box 676, Brattleboro, Vermont, VT 05302
Tel. 800 336 1616
Fax. (802) 258 3267

Also runs: Experiment in International Living The summer programs offer cross cultural, educational, homestays, community service and ecological adventure in Australia. 3 - 5 weeks long cost US$1800 - US$5000. Email here.

Tel. 800 345 2929
Fax. (802) 258 3428

Countries allowed to be involved in study exchange:

Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Calendonia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Norway, Malaysia, Malta, Papua, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, USA, United Kingdom.

If you are looking for the student application and are one of the above countries, you should obtain the form 157Y and the requirements through the Australian Education Office or Fax a request (including address, course length and country of citizenship) to the Department of Immigration on Fax. (202)797-3100.

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Sydney Migration Consultancy Pty Ltd are specialists in all facets of temporary and permanent residence applications on and offshore for Australia in accordance with Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Migration law and regulations.
Access their web site: www.sydneymigration.com
Migration agent number 58090.


Immigration Addresses:

The Australian Immigration and Multicultural Affairs website.

Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs
Chan St
Belconnen 2617


United States

Chicago Consulate (312) 645 9440
New York Consulate (212) 245 4000
Aust Embassy Wash. (202) 797 3222
Aust Tourist Comm. (800) 445 4400 489 5th Avenue, New York NY 10017


United Kingdom

Migration Branch,
Australian High Commission
Australia House
Strand, London WC2B 4LU

Ph.(UK) 071 379-4334

Australian Consulate
Chatsworth House
Lever St
Manchester M1 2DL

Australian Consulate
Hobart House
80 Hanover St
Edinburgh EH2 2DL

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Australian Embassy
Fitzwilton House
Wilton Terrace
Dublin 2


Immigration Criteria

Family (almost automatic):
  • Spouse
  • De-facto spouse
  • Immediate family
  • You have a job that was advertised extensively in Australia without success
  • You pass the points test, and they feel like letting you in
  • "Distinguished talent" ie., bloody good at sport
Special eligibility:
  • Former citizen
  • Former resident
  • Relative of a New Zealander living in Australia

To get the relevant forms, you will need to contact an Australian consulate, who will advise you that you to send them some money (about $15) for the forms. When you get these forms you then send about half a ream of photocopies (give or take a few sheets) back with the "application processing fee" (this fee is regardless of which class you are applying under). If they decide that they like you, you need to get various medicals done (which in England cost about one hundred pounds) with a nominated (probably private) practice - if you happen to be a medical doctor, mention this when making your appointment and they don't charge you.

This medical includes an AIDS test (Note: this can stuff up your life insurance in the UK) as well as X-rays for TB, checks for a bad heart and anything else that could possibly cost Australia lots of money. The whole application process takes a minimum of 3 months (once you have sent the forms). All correspondence must be by mail.

With the points test, if you are less than 30, have a degree or trade (plus some experience) and can speak English, you pass.

Being employed on a graduate program doesn't count as experience.
Some occupations get preferential treatment.

If you have a criminal record or known health issues, this could understandably cause some problems with your application, and professional advice from a Migration Agent should probably be sought.

Should you get past all this, you get a visa stamped in your passport that is both for migration in the next year and multiple-entry for the next 4 years. However, it will be very unlikely that your visa will allow you to work.

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Embassies - in Australia

The principal diplomatic representations to Australia are in Canberra. There are also representatives in various other major cities: Look under Consulates & Legations in the Yellow Pages.


United Kingdom:

Commonwealth Ave, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6270 6666

16/1 Macquarie Pl., Sydney Cove, Sydney NSW 2000
Tel. (02) 9247 7521

17/90 Collins St., Melbourne Vic 3000
Tel. (03) 9650 3699


United States:

19 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
Tel. (02) 9373 9200

553 St Kilda Rd., Melbourne Vic 3004
Tel. (03) 9526 5900



Commonwealth Ave., Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6273 3488

Level 5/111 Harrington St., Sydney NSW 2000
Tel. (02) 9364 3050



6 Perth Ave., Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6216 0100

31 Market St., Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel. (02) 9261 5779

492 St Kilda Rd., Melbourne Vic 3004
Tel. (03) 9820 0921



119 Empire Circuit, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6270 1911

13 Trelawney St., Woollahra, NSW 2025
Tel. (02) 9327 9624

280 Punt Rd., South Yarra, Vic 3141



8 Darwin Ave, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6250 8600

236 Maroubra Rd., Maroubra, NSW 2035
Tel. (02) 9344 9933

22 Queens Rd., Melbourne Vic 3004
Tel. (03) 9525 2755

20 Harry Chan Ave (PO Box 1953), Darwin NT 0801
Tel. (08) 8941 0048



20 Arkana St., Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6273 3022


7 Perth Ave., Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6273 1543

67 Victoria Rd., Bellevue Hill, NSW 2023
Tel. (02) 9327 7565



120 Empire Circuit, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6273 3111

500 Oxford St., Bondi Junction, Sydney NSW 2022
Tel. (02) 9387 6644

Level 4, 118 Queen St., Melbourne, Vic 3004
Tel. (03) 9670 5573


New Zealand:

Level 14/1 Alfred St., Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel. (02) 9247 1511


Papua New Guinea:

39-41 Forster Crescent, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6273 3322

100 Clarence St., Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel. (02) 9299 5151

Level 15/15 Lake St., Cairns, QLD 4870
Tel. (070) 521 033



17 Forster Crescent, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6273 3944



111 Empire Circuit, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel. (02) 6273 1149

131 Macquarie St., Sydney NSW 2000
Tel. (02) 9241 2542

277 Flinders ln, Melbourne, Vic 3000
Tel. (03) 9650 1714

101 Wickham Tce, Brisbane SA 4000
Tel. (07) 3832 1999

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Australian Embassies around the world


United Kingdom:

Access Australian Embassay website in the UK here.

High Commission, The Strand, London WC2B 4LA
Tel. (020) 7379 4334
Fax. (020) 240 5333

Consulate, Chatsworth House, Lever st, Manchester MI 2QL
Tel. (161) 228 1344
Fax. (161) 236 4074


United States: Visa requests should go to Los Angeles or Washington

Consulate, 2049 Century Park E. #1900, 19th fl., Los Angeles, CA 90067
For visas:
Tel. (310) 229 4840
Fax. (310) 277 5620

For general information:
Tel. (310) 229 4800
Fax. (310) 277 2258

Embassy, 1601 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel. (202) 797 3000
Fax. (202) 797 3040

Consulate, 150 E, 42nd St. 34th fl., New York, NY 10017
Tel. (212) 351 6500
Fax. (212) 351 6501


Canada: High Commission, 50 O'Conner St, #710, Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2

For visas:
Tel. (613) 783 7665

For general information:
Tel. (613) 236 0841
Fax. (613) 236 4376

Consulate, 888 Dunsmuir St., #1225, Vancouver, BC V6C 3K4
Tel. (604) 684 1177
Fax. (604) 684 1865

Consulate, 175 Bloor St. E. #314, Toronto, ON M4W 3R8
Tel. (416) 323 1155
Fax. (416) 323 3910



Fitzwilton House, 2nd fl., Wilton Tce., Dublin 2
Tel. (01) 676 1517
Fax. (01) 678 5185


New Zealand: Visa requests should go to Auckland.

Union House, 32 - 38 Quay St., Auckland 1
Tel. (09) 303 2429
Fax. (09) 377 0798

72 - 78 Hobson St., Thorndon, Wellington
Tel. (04) 473 6411
Fax. (04) 498 7118


South Africa:

High Commission, 292 Orient St., Arcadia, Pretoria, 0083
Tel. (012) 342 3740
Fax. (012) 342 8442

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Customs and Duty Excise

Click here for Australian Customs Service Web Site.

Australian customs are very strict on prohibited goods and are extremely efficient on finding them when the opportunity comes past. If you don't want to check in to the local jails, don't bring illegal drugs with you, especially if you are arriving from South-East Asia or India.

Customs in Australia allow you to bring in just about any article providing that customs are satisfied that they are for your own personal use and that you will be taking them with you when you leave the country.

There is also a duty-free, per-person quota of dutiable goods up to the value of $400 , 250 cigarettes and 1125 ml of alcohol.

Animal and plant products are a big problem. You will be asked to declare all articles of animal or vegetable origin - straw hats, the lot - and show them to a customs official.

Australia has so far been able to escape many of the agricultural pests and diseases prevalent in other parts of the world.br /> Therefore customs officials are keen to prevent weeds, pests or diseases getting into the country.

Fresh products are also unpopular within customs, especially meats, fruit, vegetables and flowers.

There are also restrictions on taking fruit and vegetables between states.

Most quarantine control of the time the government relies on your honesty, however there are a few checkpoints where you may be inspected.

The carrying of firearms or weapons are either prohibited or require a permit and safety testing.

Other goods that are not permitted are products that are made from protected wildlife species, live animals and unapproved telecommunications devices.

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Sydney, like most parts of Australia, presents no real health risks for foreign visitors.

Tap water is good-most of the time, restaurants and eating places are required by law to maintain a high standard of food preparation, and the city is generally clean.

Smog is less of a problem than with cities such as London, Hong Kong and Bangkok - but is still quite high.

Exposure to the sun can be a problem for those who are fair-skinned.

Those with little experience in swimming in the surf should be cautious when swimming at Sydney's famous surf beaches, Bondi and Manly, and should always swim between the warning flags erected by lifeguards.

Medical costs in Australia are not exhorbitant like in the United States and Europe, but travel insurance is still recommended.

Australians are remarkably healthy considering that the majority of the country lies in the tropics. Many Tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever are unknown of.

Diseases of insanitation such as cholera and typhoid are unheard of or yet to be recorded.

Your travel health depends on your preparation before travel and your daily health care during travel and how you handle your medical problems.

For hospitals and pharmacies in your local city please check under the specific area.



Australian visitors will be covered by their normal Medicare or private health insurance schemes. Offices of most private schemes operate within the major centres but there are no offices in the smaller regional centres.

Overseas visitors whose travel insurance package does not have a comprehensive health component, are urged to take out private health insurance before they depart their home country. Medical treatment in Australia can be very expensive and visitors are not covered by Australia's national health insurance scheme, Medicare, unless they are covered by a reciprocal health care agreement.

Visitors extending their stay in Australia must produce evidence of health insurance. It is possible to obtain such insurance after arrival in Australia.

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Dangers and Hazards


Snakes There are many venomous snakes, but few are aggressive, unless you have the bad fortune to step on one. However, it is highly unlikely to be bitten by a snake.

If you are bitten do not wash the wound - a swab will be taken by the hospital so the exact antivenom can be administered.
If bitten on the hand, strap up the arm with bandages - to stop the venom moving (do not cut off the circulation).
Sit back and don't move. If possible remember what the snake looks like and describe it to the ambulance people.

Spiders Funnel-web, redback, and white-tail spiders are all deadly.
The Redback is found everywhere but the funnel web is found in the southern and eastern states.

Flies and mosquitoes are always a bother, but just bring your bug spray and invest in the Genuine Aussie Fly Net when exploring areas heavily populated with insects.

Scorpions, Bull-ants and wasps their sting or bite is normally not harmful (unless allergic) but may cause pain and discomfort.

Ticks Check your skin for lumps each night.
Ticks should be removed by dousing it with methylated spirits or kerosene and promptly removed with tweezers keeping it intact.

Blue-ringed octopus Commonly found in rock pools all over Australian states. Their bite can paralyse in 15 minutes resulting in death. Unless provoked the distinctive blue rings of this dangerous octopus may not be evident.

Box jellyfish (Marine Stingers) appear during summer (October to May) north of Great Keppel Island and Queensland.
A sting from their long tentacles can be lethal (though not always) By the time you see the jellyfish, you're likely to have been stung already. Douse stings with vinegar. Costal beaches North of Rockhampton are prohibited at this time.

Stone Fish Poisonous stinging fish, found all around the northern coastline, beaches badly affected are normally signposted. Reduce chances of being stung by not turning over coral and rocks and wearing sand shoes.

Sharks Need I say more?

Only that If you want to avoid them;
stay out of the water at dusk and dawn,
avoid beaches where sharks are known to congregate (most patrolled beaches have shark nets),
avoid water that becomes abruptly deeper,
avoid areas of low visibility and turbid water.

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In some remote areas , floods can occur, and after the start to the year in Queensland (what with Cyclone Steve) I thought I had better put this in..

Floods can occur without warning. Do not camp in dry river beds or too close to edges of creeks or streams.

Always exercise extreme caution when approaching flooded roads or bridges.

If you are caught in a flash flood there is a good chance you will lose some possessions and maybe the car , however you life is far more important so get onto higher ground.

If you cannot keep your feet after leaving the car, swim or float with the fast moving water, not against it and look out for a projecting embankment or an overhanging limb to help you. (you've all seen Indiana Jones!)

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If you have to travel on days of critical fire danger (that is total fire ban days), make sure you carry some woollen blankets and a filled water container.

If you are trapped and a bushfire approaches; Do not panic.

Stop the car in the nearest cleared area.

Wind up all the windows.

Turn on the hazard lights to warn any other traffic.

Do not get out of your car. The temperature may become unbearably hot, but it is still safer to stay in your car.

Lie on the floor, below window level to avoid radiant heat.

Cover yourself and your passengers with blankets.

The car will not explode or catch fire, and a fast moving wild fire will pass quickly overhead.

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Beach Hazards and Safety


The sun in Australia is very strong.
Always wear a hat and sun-screen with sun protection factor 30+ and apply before and after swimming.

Always swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safest place to swim and the areas where lifesavers and lifeguards patrol. Areas not marked often contain dangerous rips.

If you are caught in a rip or a strong current and you are a strong swimmer, swim across it to safer waters.
Otherwise, float and raise one arm as a distress signal, until help arrives, do not panic.

Before diving into unfamiliar territory test the deepness of the water to avoid diving into a sandbar or shallow water.

Do not enter the water directly after a meal, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If seized with cramp, keep the affected part perfectly still, float and raise one arm until help arrives.

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  • Know the boating rules and local regulations, and the distress signals.
  • Check the weather forecast and watch the weather.
  • Tell someone where you are going.
  • Ensure engine reliability.
  • Guard against fire.
  • Do not overload the craft.
  • Carry adequate equipment.
  • Carry effective life jackets.
  • Carry enough fuel and water.
  • Do not drink alcohol.

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Watch out for:

Blue-ringed octopus Commonly found in rock pools all over Australian states. Their bite can paralyse in 15 minutes resulting in death. Unless provoked, the distinctive blue rings of this dangerous octopus may not be evident.

Box jellyfish (Marine Stingers) appear during summer (October to May) north of Great Keppel Island and Queensland.
A sting from their long tentacles can be lethal (though not always) By the time you see the jellyfish, you're likely to have been stung already. Douse stings with vinegar. Coastal beaches North of Rockhampton are prohibited at this time.

Stone Fish Poisonous stinging fish, found all around the northern coastline, beaches badly affected are normally signposted. Reduce chances of being stung by not turning over coral and rocks and wearing sand shoes.

Sharks Need I say more?

Only that If you want to avoid them;
stay out of the water at dusk and dawn,
avoid beaches where sharks are known to congregate (most patrolled beaches have shark nets),
avoid water that becomes abruptly deeper,
avoid areas of low visibility and turbid water.

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Personal Safety

On arrival to an Australian airport, the first thing you may need to do is exchange money.
Do not carry large amounts of cash.
Any cash you do carry should be kept in a safe place such as a money belt. It is recommended that you do not keep all your money, credit cards or traveller's cheques in the one place.

Remember to always keep your passport secure.

When in public be aware of others around you and keep personal belongings safe and close to you at all times.

Report the loss or theft of any personal items to your closest police station.

Dial 000 in an emergency.

Stay alert to traffic and observe road safety rules. When crossing the road look in both directions first, and be aware that traffic may be coming from the opposite way to which you are accustomed.

Always use designated pedestrian crossings and only cross when you have the green 'walk' sign.

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When driving in Australia you could be in for a few surprises.
Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road. An important rule you must know is "give way to the right" - If an intersection is unmarked, you must give way to the vehicles entering the intersection from your right.

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Speed Limit

The speed limit in built up areas is generally 50km/hr (31mph), with main metropolitan roads usually around 60km or 70km/hr (37-43mph). On open highways the speed limit is usually between 100-110km/hr (62-68mph).
Although in the Northern Territory there are certain outback areas with no speed limit.

The police are always out in full force with speed cameras, radar guns and red light cameras being used throughout the country, as well as many fixed speed cameras. They are never to shy to use them, but beware they can be well hidden from the eye.

All cars in Australia are fitted with seat belts back and front. You are required to wear a seat belt if your seat has a belt, otherwise you will be given a fine. Beware - drivers can be liable if their passenger is not wearing a seat belt!

Small children must be belted into an approved safety seat.

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Drink Driving

Due to an increasingly large number of alcohol related deaths and injuries on the roads over the last few decades, most states in Australia introduced restrictions on the legal blood alcohol level allowed for drivers. A limit of .05 is now in force in most areas in an effort to try and reduce the road toll.

Police do crack down on those found to be over the limit, and if you are caught with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit than you should be prepared for a hefty fine and the possible loss of your license (and jail in extreme cases).

Random breath testing is now quite common throughout Australia.

Fuel is available in diesel, super and unleaded and prices generally vary between 75c up to $1.00 a litre. Prices are quite fluid, and can change a number of times a day, especially in metropolitan areas. As soon as you leave the major cities the prices can soar up to between 10-20cents a litre over and above city prices.

When driving in the outback remember distance between fill ups in can be long.

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There are many hazards on the roads.
Cows and kangaroos are the two most common hazards on country roads and a collision could damage your vehicle severely and is likely to kill the animal.
The most common time that Kangaroos are most active is around dawn and dusk, and they often travel in groups.
If you see one on the side of the road or hopping across the road, slow right down.
If one hops out right in front of you, hit the brakes and swerve only if is necessary and safe from oncoming traffic.

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Gas, Electricity & Telephones

Voltage is 220-240V, the same as United Kingdom though unlike the United States which uses 110-120V.
The physical plugs are different than both the UK and US. Australia uses a flat, 3-pin plug. Leading hotels will have 110V outlets available for electric razors and personal hair-dryers. However, it is always a good idea to purchase a converter for any electrical device you depend on.

Laptop and notebook computers purchased in the US will definitely require an adapter for use in Australia.

Energy Australia
Residential Enquiries: Tel. 13 15 35
Business Enquiries: Tel. 13 13 67

Ergon Energy
Accounts/General Enquiries: Tel. 13 10 46

Integral Energy
General Enquiries: Tel. 13 10 81
Account Enquiries: Tel. 13 10 02

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AGL All enquiries: Tel. 13 12 45

Gas Leak: Tel. 13 19 09

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When using a telephone in Australia there are a few differences.

When dialling long distance (50 km or more) all you need to place area code in front of the telephone number, which can vary from place to place. e.g. 02 (area no.) 9212 4777(phone no.)

When dialing international, you need to place 0011 then the country number you are calling, the area number (drop the 0) then the phone number.

The 0011 number can vary depending on the provider you are using. e.g. 0011 (international no.) 44 (country no.) 181 (area no.) 4687143 (phone no.)

If you have any problems calling interstate or international contact the local phone server.

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Public Holidays

National Holidays:

1st January [New Years Day]
Commemorates the first day of the new year.

26th January [Australia Day]
Commemorates the arrival of the first fleet, in 1788.

March/April [Easter]
Celebrates the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

25th April [ANZAC Day]
Commemorates the landing of the Anzac troops at Gallipoli in 1915.

2nd Monday in June [Queens Birthday] (except WA)
Commemorates the Queens birthday.

Last Monday September [Queens Birthday] (WA only)
Commemorates the Queens birthday.

25th December [Christmas Day]
Celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.

26th December [Boxing Day]
It is the first week day after Christmas and Marks the day of giving Christmas boxes to Service men.

[Labour Day] Date varies by state
It is the recognition of working people.

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Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Holidays

March [Canberra Day]

1st Monday in August [Bank Holiday]

1st Monday in October [Labour Day]

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New South Wales (NSW) Holidays

1st Monday in August [Bank Holiday]

1st Monday in October [Labour Day]

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Victoria (VIC) Holidays

2nd Monday in March [Labour Day]

1st Tuesday in November [Melbourne Cup Day]

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Queensland (QLD) Holidays

1st Monday in May [Labour Day]

August [RNA Show Day]

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South Australia (SA) Holidays

May [Adelaide Cup Day]

1st Monday in October [Labour Day]

Last Tuesday in December [Proclamation Day]

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Western Australia (WA) Holidays

1st Monday in March [Labour Day]

1st Monday in June [Foundation Day]

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Northern Territory (NT) Holidays

1st Monday in May [May Day]

1st Friday in July [Alice Springs Show Day]

2nd Friday in July [Tennant Creek Show Day]

3rd Friday in July [Katherine Show Day]

3rd Friday in July [Darwin Show Day]

1st Monday in August [Picnic Day]

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Tasmania (TAS) Holidays

14 February [Regatta Day]

February [Launceston Cup Day]

1st Monday in March [Eight Hours Day]

Tuesday following Easter Monday [Bank Holiday]

October [Launceston Show Day]

October [Hobart Show Day]

1st Monday in November [Recreation Day]

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Time Zones

Australia has three time zones:
Central Standard Time (CST) in the middle of Australia, covering the Northern Territory and South Australia;
Western Standard Time, covering Western Australia;
Eastern Standard Time, covering Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania.

Eastern Standard Time is 30 minutes in front of Central Standard Time; and Western Standard Time is 90 minutes behind. For example, if it is midday in the Northern Territory, it will be 12.30 pm in the Eastern states and 10.30 am in Western Australia.

However, this formula is somewhat complicated in the summer months by the introduction of daylight saving in some states.

New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory have daylight saving from November to February,

South Australia and Victoria from November to March

Tasmania from October to March.

This takes the clock back one hour. For example, if it is midday in the Northern Territory, it will be 1 pm in South Australia and 1.30 pm in New South Wales.

The Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland ignore it completely.

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