australia
Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
Language: English
Capital: Canberra
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +8/9.5/10
Population: 19,000,000
VISA: Most countries require electronic VISA for a stay less than 3 months.

Australia is a vast country with the majority of the population living in a few cities on the coasts. The centre of Australia is mainly desert, commonly known as the bush or the outback. Being so isolated on the globe, there a many native creatures to Australia well worth seeing and admiring, and many wonderful traditions in the Australian culture. So warm up the BBQ and head down under.

Must see and do

Sydney is often mistaken for being the capital of Australia due to its global recognition and famous landmarks. For tourists it is a haven of activities throughout the year. The Sydney Opera House hosts numerous singing and dancing events throughout the week, and guided tours are available everyday which take you into the auditoriums and backstage. The Harbour Bridge can be scaled to the top of the arch which gives a great view of the harbour, zoo, and city. Of course, there are also restaurants and entertainment to be found on every corner.

Great Barrier Reef is accepted as the only natural feature on the planet to be visible from space. Beneath the waves in is a sanctuary to thousands upon thousands of species of sea life. It is possible to go diving or snorkelling on the reef and is a definite highlight of Australia for any visitor. You will be required to wear a stinger suit in jellyfish season which begins in early November but out of season it is just recommended. To protect the coral you are not allowed to break or touch it.

Cruise the Whitsunday’s These islands are on the southern tip of the reef and are great for a few days relaxing out on the blue waters. Many boats take groups of people out on their boats for 2 or 3 days to cruise around visiting the beaches and mooring for barbecues. Whitehaven beach is a necessary stop for its perfect, golden and totally unspoilt beach. There are plenty of opportunities for snorkelling too.

Ayres Rock is situated close to Alice Springs in the centre of Australia. It is one of the most recognised sights in the country and is sacred to the native aborigines. Tourists can do a climb to the top of the rock or take a guided tour around the base being lead by an aborigine with heaps of knowledge. It is worth being around Uluru (Ayres Rock) at sunset as the rock changes colour as the sun goes down changing between reds, pinks and mauves.

Sky Diving is a popular adrenaline sport in Australia for backpackers and residents. You can skydive all over the country with many opportunities in major cities. The company then drives you to a rural location and takes you up for the jump. For beginners a tandem dive is mandatory (strapped to an instructor), but experienced jumpers can go alone. Sky diving is expensive because of the cost of the plane, equipment and the instruction before the jump and the videos and photos can also be very expensive for what they are.

The Animals You may be luckily enough to see native creatures in the wild if you visit the bush or even while driving, but for a guaranteed sighting and a close up encounter it is best to go to a zoo or a sanctuary. Here you will be able to see kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, platypus, emus and a whole series of lizards, insects and reptiles. There are zoos in Sydney across the harbour from the Opera House and in Melbourne.

Ramsey Street if you do not know already, this is where Neighbours is filmed. You can tour the street which is located in Melbourne on the official tour or try and find it yourself. The tours operate everyday and take you to the school used in the soap and of course the street where there is plenty of time for photos. Most of the filming takes place in studios which are not visited on the tour but you do get to learn a lot about the characters from the knowledgeable bus drivers. They also try to get a member of the cast to join the bus for photos and autographs. Ask the bus driver about the pub in Melbourne where all the cast hang out.

Money Savers

Coming soon

Weather

As a rule northern Australia is warmer and should be visited in the winter (July-September), while the cooler south is best visited in the summer. The wettest time of the year is in the transitions between winter and summer. During spring and autumn it is best to stay central to get the driest weather.

Transport

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Food

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Vaccinations

Disease Required? See doctor
Yellow Fever Certificate of vaccination needed if travelling from an infected region and older than 1 year old. 10 days before travel
Malaria No Not Applicable
Japanese B encephalitis Sometimes 1 month before travel

Festivals

Sydney Festival The festival occurs every year for three weeks in January. There is a large program of outdoor events including dance, music, theatre and films.

Melbourne International Arts Festival presents unique Australian performances including dance, theatre, visual arts and music. The festival lasts for 17 days in October and is definitely worth seeing if you cannot make the Sydney Festival.

Note that during festival periods it can be more difficult to find cheap accommodation so book in advance.

Hostels

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