Travel to Australia with Rough Guides
Despite the cost of the ticket, which is often very high, the land of kangaroos is becoming an increasingly popular destination for many who choose to spend their holidays in Australia.
Are you planning a trip to Australia? These Australia travel tips will help you make the most of your visit to this fantastic country.
Given the variety of the landscape and the distance of Australia, this country rose to the top of the rankings of the most popular honeymoon destinations, just as there are many young people who choose this destination for a backpacking holiday.
Traveling in Australia can be one of the most beautiful experiences of your life, which will give you a wealth of natural and cultural beauties that you will not easily forget.
Our travel tips:
1) Inverted seasons: the first consideration to make for a trip to Australia is obviously related to the seasons. Since the southern hemisphere has the reversed seasons compared to the northern one, if you choose to travel during the European summer, know that in Australia it will be winter.
That said, the winter months are perfect for exploring the center and north of the country, so if Ayers Rock and the reef are among the goals of your trip, the period between May and September is the best!
If instead you bet on the cities of the south coast, the months between November and March are to be preferred, even if they are those of high season.
2) You drive on the left: yes, as in England, even in Australia you drive on the left. If you are going to rent a car, keep in mind that you will have to get used to the opposite direction, but in a couple of days you will have taken our hand!
To make your life easier, book a car with an automatic transmission: you will have one less thought to driving! Also note that the direction of travel on the left also applies to bicycles and pedestrians on sidewalks and cycle paths, as well as on escalators!
3) Internal time zones: Australia is a huge country and this means that there are time zones between one area and another in the country.
And so far there are no major problems, but keep in mind that in Australia there are also half-hourly spindles and states that do not change the time when the transition from solar to legal is made and vice versa. Which complicates things somewhat.
For example, between Perth and Sydney there are 3 hours of difference, while between Adelaide and Sydney there is only half an hour. But between Sydney and Brisbane (same longitude) there is an hour of difference because Queensland does not adopt summer time. In short, it is easy to get confused, so always make sure to specify the local time when you organize your travels.
4) Distances: I already said that Australia is a big country, right? Here, I repeat it just to make sure you understand: Australia is huge! But really huge. If you are planning to organize a road trip and you think it is feasible to drive from A to B in one day because they look close on the map, think again!
To say, Brisbane and Sydney seem close enough on the map, right? Here, between the two cities there are more than 900 kilometers and it will take at least 10 hours of uninterrupted driving to go from one to the other. Australian highways are very monotonous, often with only one lane, and driving for long periods is not a smart move. If you want to travel by car (and please, do it!), Calculate the distances and the time it will take to do it, but be abundant!
5) Climate: because of the size of Australia, if you travel through various areas, you will find yourself having to face very different climatic conditions. To say, on the same day we reached 40 degrees in Sydney, it snowed in Tasmania!
If you spend time in the desert, prepare yourself for a strong night time excursion. If you want to explore the north, make sure it’s not the rainy season (or bring your raincoat and umbrella). If you visit Melbourne or Sydney, expect 4 seasons in a day, and so on.
Do your homework, find out about the usual weather when you would like to travel, in all parts of the country you will be traveling through.
6) Pass the customs: if you have seen any episode of Border Security you will know that Australia is very careful about what you bring to the country.
At airports your luggage will be scrupulously inspected and you will be asked to declare an impressive number of items, which go beyond simple food. But be careful, because there are limitations also on what you can also import between state and state, and also by land.
If you pass the “border” between South Australia and Victoria, say, you will have to throw all the fruit and vegetables in special bins, to avoid contamination from one state to another.
The motto is “eat it or bin it”, or eat what you have instantly and on the spot, or throw it away. If you were found in possession of forbidden goods beyond the tolerance zone, you risk high fines!
7) Dangerous animals: the fact that Australia is full of dangerous animals is perhaps one of the greatest stereotypes about this country.
And it is also 100% true. Australia is a dangerous country from this point of view: among spiders, snakes, jellyfish, sharks and crocodiles, the ways to suffer certainly are not lacking.
Follow the general rule of not putting your hands where you can’t see, make noise when you walk and never take a bath if there are signs informing you of any dangerous animals. You’re in Australia for a vacation, don’t spoil it by being stupid!
8) The sun is no joke: the sun in Australia is very strong, you’ll find it on your skin. The only way to protect yourself is to always wear a t-shirt, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with a protection factor of no less than 30.
If you spend the whole day outdoors, you will have to reapply the sunscreen regularly, as well as after each bath . I know this seems obvious and perhaps even exaggerated, but believe me: the sun here is much stronger than in Italy because we are right under the ozone hole.
If you are in the sun without sunscreen you will burn yourself, and even ugly! And there’s really no worse way to ruin your holidays!
9) They eat early: as a general rule, in Australia dinner is early. The peak time is around 7am and the restaurants’ kitchens close early, usually by 9am. After this time you will find very little open, perhaps a few pubs and little else.
Our advice is to eat early, like the locals, and then continue your explorations after dinner, to avoid the risk of staying on an empty stomach after a whole day of sightseeing.
Even shops and public places such as banks, museums, etc. will close quite early, usually between 5 and 6, while supermarkets usually stay open until 10/11 at night. Calculate your schedules well!
10) Swim safely: the popular Australian beaches hide insidious dangers as strong currents called “rips”. Avoid swimming between the red and yellow flags, which indicate the safest area to bathe and those guarded by lifeguards with their yellow and red uniforms.
Never swim alone, at night, under the influence of alcohol or after a meal. Always check the depth of the water before diving and do not run to throw yourself into the water from the beach. The beaches of Sydney, for example, however beautiful, are very treacherous, with strong currents and high waves: if you are not expert swimmers, it is better to enjoy the water from the shore or in one of the many rock pools along the coast.
What is the Australian currency?
The currency is the Australian dollar, we advise you to inform yourself well about the local currency so as not to have unpleasant surprises.
Credit cards are accepted everywhere, we advise you to bring prepaid cards with you, perhaps managed through a smartphone application, so that you can control exactly how much you spend.
What is the travel budget to consider?
In general Australia is a tremendously expensive country, but there are regions where it is possible to save something by adopting some tricks to travel low cost and others that are a real economic drain. So taking into account the budget you will have to choose when to visit a specific area.
If you are traveling with a vehicle in Tasmania, in Western Australia or in the Northern Territories, then you will find many rest areas between a town and the other where you can sleep for free for one night (the famous rest areas) or even various cheap campsites ( it is essential to download the WikiCamps application to find them). In addition, most tourist attractions can be reached without the need to participate in expensive guided tours.
On the East Coast, however, it’s a whole other story! Most tourist attractions are accessible only through guided tours, such as the Great Barrier Reef or the various islands where to snorkel, and the free parking areas are very far from inhabited centers and therefore useless in most cases.
You should also consider that, if you are partygoers, you will need a good extra budget to participate in the millions of parties that the area offers (and drinking here is really expensive !!)
How to find good accommodation in Australia?
In Australia you can really find any kind of accommodation. From hotels to pensions and bed & breakfasts managed by families ranging from restored villas, to old barns and sheds converted into barns, farms to bungalows on the beach and city residences.
Prices are very high during the summer and high season, ie during school holidays and holidays. So if you intend to travel during this time, I recommend that you book well in advance if you want to find cheap accommodation. Otherwise, if it is possible to travel during the low season, then it is much easier to find good deals with much lower rates.
Our advice is to find a hotel through
book hotels in Australia where you can choose which hotel is right for you.
We hope our tips are useful and we wish you a good journey!