Australia is a beautiful country to visit. The views are breathtaking; the cities are lively; and there are activities for everyone. However, before planning an Australian vacation, there are several things that every traveler needs to know.
What You Need to Do before Traveling to Australia
Before going to Australia, visitors will need a valid passport and Australian visa. Visas are available through an Australian embassy or the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The Electronic Travel Authority issues label-free visas that are valid for up to three months. The ETA is a quick and efficient way for travelers to get a visa in a matter of minutes.
If you plan to work during your stay, you will need to obtain a valid work visa. To be on the safe side, you should apply for this visa a few months before your trip. This is especially true if you are hoping to stay for an extended period.
Australia has it’s own currency the Aussie Dollar, you can exchange worldwide at airports, banks or other financial institutions.
Popular Vacation Spots
The most difficult aspect of planning a trip down under is choosing where in Australia to visit. Australia’s three largest cities are Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Each of these cities are amazing cities that are visited by millions each year.
Sydney is Australia’s largest city and offers visitors a wide selection of attractions, beautiful beaches, and several National Parks. Melbourne is famous for it’s high-end shopping and is perfect for the traveling fashionista. Brisbane is a popular tourist destination, just a short distance from Australia’s Gold Coast.
If you are hoping to spend the majority of your time on the beach, you may want to spend your vacation in Queensland. Queensland is home to the Gold Coast, as well as Airlie Beach, Cairn, Fraser Island, Magnetic Island, Mission Beach, Palm Cove, and the Whitsunday Islands. The Great Barrier Reef, which is the world’s largest living reef, is also located in Queensland.
If you are interested in hiking, camping, and back packing, you may want to spend your vacation in the Northern Territory. Popular tourist spots, like Kakadu, Alice Springs, Darwin, Litchfield National Park, and Ayers Rock, are great spots for the adventurous outdoors-man.
When to Plan Your Trip
Because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, the Australian winter begins in May and lasts until August. The summer begins in November and lasts until March.
The most popular months for visiting Northern Australia are from June to August. If you plan to travel during these months, you will need to book all accommodations several months in advance. While the weather is beautiful, expect to pay top dollar for an airline ticket and hotel.
The most popular time to visit Southern Australia is during the Australian summer. Most tourists find Northern Australia to be too hot and humid during the summer. The southern states are much milder
Where to Stay
Australia offers everything from luxury hotels to extremely affordable hostels. Visitors that are planning on staying for a number of weeks may also want to consider staying with an Australian family, swapping houses with a local family, or renting a self-catering apartment. Renting a short-term apartment or staying with a host family is a great way to save money on a long stay.
Five Quick Tips for Travelers:
- Tipping is not generally expected in restaurants and hotels. Tip for excellent service or at your discretion.
- Bring a travel adapter and converter for electronics. Outlets are usually 240/250 volts and accept three prong plugs.
- The Australian dollar is the accepted unit of currency. Restaurants and retailers will usually only accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, and Bankcard.
- The tap water is clean and safe to drink. Beer is usually served chilled. Water is served without ice unless specifically requested.
- Most hotels and banks will issue travelers checks in Australian dollars. Although, travelers may want to get their checks before they go.
There is a lot that goes into planning an Australian vacation. Travelers must choose a destination, book their accommodations, and gather various travel essentials. Fortunately, taking the time to carefully plan your vacation will ensure a successful trip down under.