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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN TRAVELLING TO AUSTRALIA
In tropical Australia, the dry season from May to October has clear blue skies and sunny days. It’s the time to experience Darwin’s vibrant outdoor markets, movies and festivals.
December to March is the wet season, which is hot and humid with daily rainstorms. See waterfalls thunder through Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks or fly over Katherine Gorge when its water levels are highest.
WHAT TO PACK
During summer take cooler clothes, sunscreen and hats for the day time. Evenings at specific resorts will have a smart/casual attire policy.
During winter months, take along warmer clothes.
Australia has 3 time zones:
Eastern Standard Time (EST) on the east coast; Western Standard Time (WST) on the west coast; and Central Standard Time (CST) in the middle (South Australia & the Northern Territory. CST is 30 minutes behind EST, & WST is 2 hours behind EST.
The Australian dollars and cents (A$). Notes are available in $100, $50, $20, $10, $5 denominations. Coins are $2, $1, 50 cents, 20 cents, 10 cents and 5 cents.
Most banks are open between 09h30 and 16h00, Monday to Thursday, and 09h30 to 17h00 on Friday. Visitors may come across banking services available on Saturdays in certain states. Post offices are open 09h00 to 17h00 Monday to Friday. Stamps are often available at front desks of hotels and at selected retail outlets. Travelers’ cheques are a good way to bring your funds into Australia. Mastercard, Access, Visa, Diners Club and American Express are all widely accepted.
It is recommended to buy bottled water.
TIPPING / PORTERAGE
Unlike Europe or America, tipping is not obligatory in Australia and there are no service charges at hotels and restaurants. For good service, a tip of 10% is acceptable for waiters. Taxi drivers don’t expect to be tipped, but won’t say no to a small gratuity.
Learn a few words of the local language so you know what’s considered polite in terms of eating, greeting and local values.
Appropriate behaviours by travellers helps ensure local communities continue to be hospital and friendly.
Respect other people’s cultures and avoid imposing your beliefs.
Adhere to the hotel’s water or energy conservation policies.
Buy locally made crafts and support local skills. Buy them preferably from the craftsman himself to ensure your money goes to the artist and not the middle man.
Lock valuables away while travelling and always be vigilant of your belongings. Never leave them unattended.
English is the official language.
South African passport holders do require a visa.
Smoking is allowed in designated outdoor areas; however, it is prohibited in indoor public areas.
The plugs in Australia have two flat metal pins, forming an inverted ‘V’ shape, and occasionally a third pin in the centre. The electrical current in Australia is 220 – 240 volts, AC 50
Beware of pick pockets in markets.
Don’t trust beach hawkers selling excursions; these are not safe. Rather arrange sightseeing through your hotel or from Thompsons.
The emergency number for police, ambulance and fire brigade is 000