Useful info and tips to an Australian trip

Australia is one of the biggest travel destinations in the world. But before travelling to Australia, prepare for your trip with some practical tips and information. There are things you must know like their currency, communication, shopping and emergency assistance Geography Covering a total area of 7.69 million square kilometers, mainland Australia is the world’s largest island – but smallest continent. Cities, states and territories Australia is divided into six states and two territories. Canberra is the national capital and the center of government. New South Wales is Australia’s oldest and most populated state. Melbourne is sometimes referred to as the “cultural capital of Australia”. Western Australia is Australia’s largest state by area. Tourist Visa You will need a tourist visa to enter Australia.  A tourist visa is for people visiting Australia for a holiday, sightseeing, recreational reasons or for other short-term non-work purposes. Flights Many airlines fly to Australia and prices differ considerably. Start by contacting the major airlines or your local travel agent. Language Australia’s official language is English. However, being a multicultural nation with a significant migrant population, also get pleasure from great variety of languages and cultures. Multicultural Australian society is made up of people from a rich diversity of ethnic, cultural, cultural,and religious backgrounds Currency Australian Dollar is the Australian’s currency and currency exchange is available at various establishments like banks, airports and hotels. Most commonly accepted credit cards are Diners Club, JCB, MasterCard, Bankcard, Visa and their affiliates. Time zones Australia has three time zones: Eastern Standard Time (EST) for the eastern states, Central Standard Time (CST) for the Northern Territory and South Australia and Western Standard Time (WST) for Western Australia. CST is half an hour behind EST and WST is two hours behind EST. Accommodation Australia offer vast type of accommodation, ranging from budget to luxury hotels, hostels, camping grounds, to self-serviced flats and holiday units. Public holidays prices are usually at their highest while during off season, you can get the benefits of lower rates. Weather Australia experiences temperate weather. The northern states typically experience warm weather much of the time, with the southern states experiencing cooler winters.  December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring. Communication Australia’s country code is 61. Local calls from public pay phones are untimed and charged at AUD.050 while mobile. Mobile phone network coverage is available across Australia. Internet access, which is usually free, is widely available at internet cafes, hotels, restaurants and more. Goods and Services Tax Australia has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent. You can claim a refund of the GST paid on goods and services bought across the country if you have spent AUD 300 or more in one store. Shopping You’ll find huge department stores, malls, arcades, souvenir shops across Australia. Trading hours vary across the country but shops in tourist and city areas are generally open until 6pm, with the exception of late night shopping on either Thursdays or Fridays in different states. Beach safety Australia’s well known beaches are usually patrolled by volunteer lifeguards from October to April; Red and yellow flags mark the safest area for swimming. Electrical power points Electrical current is 220 – 240 volts, AC 50Hz. The Australian three-pin power outlet is different from some other countries, so you may need an adaptor. Post Office Post offices are usually open 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, with some city post offices open on Saturday morning. Travelers can arrange to collect mail at post offices throughout Australia. Emergency assistance The emergency number for police, ambulance and fire station is 000.