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My Australa Travel Guide is created to showcase all that Australia has to offer. Australia is a country in the Asia-Pacific region. Often regarded as part of Oceania, it is the only country to occupy an entire continent - albeit the smallest one. The land area of Australia totals 7,617,930 square kilometers (2,941,299 square miles), making it the sixth largest country in the world. The population of Australia, however, is a mere 22.1 million, giving it a population density of less than 3 persons per kilometer.

The modern settlement of Australia was founded when British colonies were created in parts of New South Wales. This began with the founding of Port Jackson by Captain Arthur Phillip on 26 January, 1788. That date is used as Australia's national day, called Australia Day. The passing of the Australia Act 1986 cut the final constitutional ties between Australia and the UK.


Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House


The capital of Australia is Canberra. It is located on the northern part of the Australian Capital Territory, which was carved out of New South Wales in 1911. Canberra was named the National Capital of Australia two years later, in 1913.

Australia's independence from Britain began with the drafting of the Australian Constitution on 1 January, 1901. It continued with the Statute of Westminster of 1931, which severed constitutional links between Australia and the United Kingdom.

Most of the population of Australia is concentrated into half a dozen major cities, while the rural areas are sparsely populated. Visitors to Australia come to appreciate its landscape and its nature. Distances are great and going from one place to another may take a full day, if not days. Nevertheless, there is much to see, from the Great Barrier Reef in the northeast to the desert and natural rock formations in the central and western parts of Australia.


Surfers Paradise, Queensland
Surfers Paradise, Queensland

Fast Facts about Australia

  • Official Name: Commonwealth of Australia
  • Capital: Canberra (327,000)
  • Population of Australia: 20,264,000
  • Languages: English
  • Currency: Australian Dollar
  • Religions: Anglican, Roman Catholic, others
  • Size: 7,617,930 sq km (2,941,285 sq miles)
  • Region: Oceania

    When to visit Australia

    For a country the size of Australia, there is something to do to fill every season. You can split Australia into two climatic zones: the tropical zone all the way from the north to the Tropic of Capricorn, and south of that, the temperate zone. The summers (December to February) are hot, but it's a great time to head to the beach. In the north, however, it gets very humid and often rainy in summer. The weather is milder in spring and autumn. Winters are cold in the temperate zone, while in the tropics, it is cool and dry. You can ski at some mountain resorts in New South Wales in winter.


    Camel Cup, Alice Springs
    Camel Cup, Alice Springs

    What to wear in Australia

    In the south, lightweight clothing is sufficient for summer, with warmer clothing in the cooler months. In the north, you can survive with lightweights throughout the year. Protection from the sun is recommended if you are going to the sea, the beach or the desert.

    Australian Time Zones

    Mainland Australia operates under three time zones:
  • Eastern Standard Time (EST, +10GMT), in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland.
  • Central Standard Time (CST, +9.5GMT), in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
  • Western Standard Time (WST, +8GMT), in Western Australia.

    Australia Entry Requirements

    Apart from the nationals of New Zealand, everybody else require a visa to enter Australia. Please check with on the Australian Immigration website, www.immi.gov.au. Citizens of some countries may also use the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) Visa. Australian Visa processing times website For details, go to www.eta.immi.gov.au


    Scotts Peak, Lake Pedder, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
    Scotts Peak, Lake Pedder, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
     

    Getting into Australia

    International travellers may enter Australia through any of its major cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin. Approximately half the international travellers to Australia arrive through Sydney, most staying in Sydney Hotels.

    Sydney Airport (in full, Sydney Kingsford-Smith International Airport, SYD), located south of Sydney in Mascot, NSW, is the most important airport in Australia for both international and domestic flights. Sydney Airport is only 8km from the city centre, and has three main terminals: T1, T2 and T3. T1 is the International Terminal, while T2 and T3 are for domestic flights. T1 is separated from T2 and T3 by a runway, so travellers transiting between terminals should allow sufficient time between flights. Terminals T2 and T3 are next to each other, so you can walk between them. To reach T1 from T2 and T3 or vice versa, you need to take a transport. If you are flying with Qantas, you can use the air-side shuttle service. Otherwise, the options are train, bus and taxi.
    • The train between terminals is the AirportLink, which is connected to Sydney's suburban train network. It takes just 2 minutes to go between terminals. Follow the train sign to the station, and make sure the train is heading in the right direction. The fare is $4.70.

    • The bus service, called T-Bus, use the normal road to go between terminals. It takes 10 minutes to shuttle passengers between terminals, some times more if they get stuck in a jam. The fare is $5.00
    • The third option is by taxi. Taxis are not entirely happy to ferry passengers between terminals. That's because they have been in the taxi queue for a while, and doing so puts them at the end of the queue again, for a 10-minute journey that does not earn them as much as a trip to the city. Nevertheless be firm about it, for it is legal requirement for taxis to take you there. The fare is $10.00

    Getting Out of Sydney Airport

    The following options are available to travellers leaving the airport:
    1. By Bus. Taking the bus and then connecting to commuter train is probably the cheapest way into Sydney. Bus No. 400 goes to Bondi Junction and Burwood via Rockdale Station. It costs $2.90 for the international terminal, and $3.90 for the domestic terminals. From Rockdale, take the train to the city for $3.20. Get the Red Travelpass for $33. It allows you 7 days of unlimited use of the bus, train and ferry in Sydney. Go to CityRail TravelPass for details and terms of use. Also, visit 131500 Transport Infoline for information on transport in the Greater Sydney area.
    2. By Taxi. The fare to the city is approximately $25-$30, including tolls. It will cost more to farther destinations in Sydney, ie The Rocks $35-$40, North Sydney $35, Manly $50, etc. Expect long queue for taxis if arriving on Friday evenings.
    3. By Train. Airport Link, connects Sydney Airport to the city. One way fare is $12.00. Airport Link connects to Cityrail, www.cityrail.info/ the commuter rail system of Sydney. They share the same ticketing system. As the trains are part of Sydney's commuter lines, expect them to be busy during rush hours (7:30am - 9:30am).
    4. By Car. If you want someone to collect you from the airport, take note that waiting is not allowed. Minimum charge for parking is $7.00 for the first half an hour.
    5. By Rented Car. Car rentals are available at all terminals. To book your car online, the low-cost option in Australia is EasyCar


    If you've looking at Moving to Australia, check out https://www.pomsinoz.com for lots of useful visa information.

    Information

    The Tourism NSW Information Desk is available at Level 1 of the T1 terminal, and open from 6:00am to 11:00pm every day, to provide you help on accommodation, tours, etc.

    Budget Travel within in Australia

    Visitors planning to explore Australia on their own must always take into consideration the great distances between places. The most practical option to traverse tge distance between cities is to fly, and upon arrival to drive.


    Elder Park Rotunda, Adelaide
    Elder Park Rotunda, Adelaide
    Author: Peripitus (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

    Domestic Flights in Australia

    Flying is the most popular and least time-consuming way to travel between cities in Australia. The following are airlines flying domestic routes:
    • Qantas: the only full-service airline serving major cities and towns in Australia
    • Virgin Blue: nation-wide low-cost carrier serving major cities and towns in Australia
    • Jetstar: low-cost arm of Qantas serving major cities in the eastern states
    • Regional Express: airline covering major towns in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia
    • Skywest: airline covering Western Australia
    • AirNorth: airline covering the Northern Territory
    • MacAir: airline covering Queensland
    • O'Connor Airlines: airline covering South Australia and parts of Victoria

    Across Australia by Train

    Unlike more densely populated developed countries, Australia does not have a high-speed train service across the country. There are a few great cross-country trains as is documented below. Those taking the train across Australia will be rewarded with memorable experiences that cannot be duplicated by domestic flights.

    Tourist Trains

    Great Southern Railway, www.gsr.com.au offers one of the most absorbing train experiences across Australia, on three lines, namely The Ghan, Indian Pacific and The Overland:
    • The Ghan: The Ghan is the name of a historic train journey that is still available today. Originally the trip was between Adelaide and Alice Springs, but in 2004, 70 years after it began, the journey was extended to Darwin, covering a distance of 2979km either direction in two nights.
    • Indian Pacific: As the name suggests, the route links Perth in the west to Sydney in the east, passing through Adelaide. It covers a distance of 4352km in 3 nights either direction.
    • The Overland: Named after the pioneers who travelled between Melbourne and Adelaide on horseback, the Overland is a day trip covering 828km in either direction.
      Savannahlander, www.savannahlander.com.au is another great train experience. It travels from Cairns on a 4-day journey through mountains, bushland and other arresting sights.

    Commuter Trains

    • CountryLink, provides train services linking the towns in New South Wales, with services from Sydney to Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra as well.
    • CityRail, is the train network that serves the Sydney metropolitan area.
    • VLine, is the public transport provider for Victoria.
    • MetLink is the public transport provider for the Melbourne metropolitan area.
    • Transwa provides trains and bus services for Western Australia.
    • TransPerth provides train, bus and ferry services for the Perth metropolitan area.
    • TravelTrain provides train services across Queensland.

    Across Australia by Bus

    Greyhound Australia provides interstate bus services across Australia.

    Money matters in Australia

    The Australian Dollar (AUD, symbol A$) is composed of 100 cents. Banknotes come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 while coins are available in 5, 10, 20, 50 cents, $1 and $2. Banking hours are 9:30am to 4:00pm Mon-Thurs and 9:30am - 5:00pm Fridays, but may vary slightly across the country.

    At time of writing (Oct 2007), USD1.00 = AUD1.11, €1.00 = AUD1.57. For the latest exchange go to the Oanda Currency Converter.

    Education in Australia

    Australia continues to attract students from around the world for its high-quality standards in education. Learn why Australia is now a great place to learn a foreign language, among others, as well as one where thousands are obtaining their undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.

    Plan for Australia

    Plan your perfect trip abroad this year by arranging a holiday in Australia. Make sure to stop by Sydney. You will find a list of Sydney vacation ideas all over the web. Whether it's a couples getaway or a family holiday, make sure you get cheap flights to Australia online.


    Pinnacles Desert, Western Australia
    Pinnacles Desert, Western Australia

    Australia Travel Tips

    1. Arriving in Australia by air
      Details for international visitors entering Australia by flight.

    2. Domestic Flights
      Details for taking domestic flights in Australia.

    3. Traveling by Car
      Get details about driving in Australia, the rules of the road, petrol stations, and so on.

    Things to do in Australia

    1. Where to stay in Australia
      Find out about the different accommodation options available in Australia.

    2. Eating in Australia
      Everything you need to know for dining in Australia.

    3. Food of Australia
      Get to know the local food and delicacies.

    4. What to drink in Australia
      Information on the different beverages available, alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

    5. Shopping in Australia
      Learn about shop opening hours, taxes, sales and regional products.

    6. Outdoor Activities in Australia
      Information on recreational activities in Australia such as bushwalking, extreme sports, cycling, camel trekking, and more.

    Getting By in Australia

    1. When to Visit
      Find out which part of the year is most ideal for you to visit Australia.

    2. Entry Requirements
      Do you need a visa or will a valid passport do? Find out here.

    3. Student Travel in Australia
      Are there any privileges available to you if you are a student? Find out here.

    4. Electricity
      Details on the voltage in Australia, and the conversion plugs you will need to bring.

  • Administrative Divisions of Australia

    Australia comprises six states and two mainland territories that function as states in most respects.
    1. Australian Capital Territory
    2. New South Wales
    3. Northern Territory
    4. Queensland
    5. South Australia
    6. Tasmania
    7. Victoria
    8. Western Australia

    Discover the Towns and Cities of Australia

    Helping you prepare for visiting most of the towns and cities of Australia, with details on how to get there and what to see.
    1. Canberra - capital
    2. Sydney - biggest city
    3. Adelaide
    4. Albany
    5. Albury
    6. Alice Springs
    7. Apollo Bay
    8. Ararat
    9. Armidale
    10. Ayr
    11. Bairnsdale
    12. Ballarat
    13. Bendigo
    14. Bowen
    15. Brisbane
    16. Broken Hill
    17. Broome
    18. Bunbury
    19. Bundaberg
    20. Burnie
    21. Busselton
    22. Cairns
    23. Caloundra
    24. Campbelltown
    25. Charters Towers
    26. Cobar
    27. Coffs Harbour
    28. Darwin
    29. Devonport
    30. Dubbo
    31. Echuca
    32. Emerald
    33. Esperance
    34. Euroa
    35. Fremantle
    36. Geelong
    37. Geraldton
    38. Gladstone
    39. Gold Coast
    40. Gosford
    41. Goulburn
    42. Griffith
    43. Gympie
    44. Hervey Bay
    45. Hobart
    46. Horsham
    47. Ipswich
    48. Kalgoorlie-Boulder
    49. Kangaroo Island
    50. Karratha
    51. Katherine
    52. Kununurra
    53. Launceston
    54. Leeton
    55. Logan City
    56. Mackay
    57. Mandurah
    58. Maryborough
    59. Melbourne
    60. Mildura
    61. Mount Gambier
    62. Mount Isa
    63. Murray Bridge
    64. Narrandera
    65. Newcastle
    66. Newman
    67. Noosa
    68. Nowra
    69. Orange
    70. Palmerston
    71. Parkes
    72. Perth
    73. Port Augusta
    74. Port Douglas
    75. Port Hedland
    76. Port Lincoln
    77. Port Macquarie
    78. Port Pirie
    79. Queanbeyan
    80. Richmond
    81. Rockhampton
    82. Sale
    83. Shepparton
    84. Smithton
    85. Southport
    86. Stawell
    87. Swan Hill
    88. Tamworth
    89. Tennant Creek
    90. Toowoomba
    91. Townsville
    92. Traralgon
    93. Victor Harbor
    94. Wagga Wagga
    95. Wangaratta
    96. Warrnambool
    97. Weipa
    98. Whyalla
    99. Wodonga
    100. Wollongong
    101. Yulara