What you need to know before traveling to Australia

Renowned for its beautiful Golden Coast, Australia is one of the world's wealthiest countries, as well as one of the most developed. Known as the Commonwealth of Australia, the country is a constitutional monarchy and a federal parliamentary democracy. When compared to other countries, Australia ranks as one of the highest in areas of national performance such as: political rights, civil liberties, economic freedom, education, health and quality of life. With a population of more than 23.6 million concentrated on the coast and eastern states, Australia is highly urbanized and offers one of the world's top tourist destinations.

  • Key facts
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    Australia is located between the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and features more than 16,000 miles of coastline. With a terrain that is comprised of mostly low plateau and deserts, and a southeast terrain of low fertile plains, Australia offers some amazing safari opportunities and beautiful coastlines.
    Throughout the continent, the primary language spoken is English. In addition to this, more than 40% of the population is between the ages of 25 and 54 years old. Across the 6 states and 2 categories there are 3 time zones If you are planning to visit Australia, it is important to know that the primary currency is the Australian Dollar. Located on the southeast coast is the capital territory of Canberra, which is host to a number of attractions, such as: Namadgi National Park, the Murrumbidgee Corridor, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Aboriginal Art, Poacher's Way and Autumn at the Canberra Balloon Fiesta.
    The international country code when calling Australia is #61, and the country is known for having excellent phone service both international and domestic. Australian websites also generally have the country code .au at the end. Overall, Australia has very little unemployment and the economy has experienced exponential growth over the years.
  • Weather & when to go
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    Known for being the flattest continent and often referred to as the "island continent," Australia is home to a wide variety of landscapes that includes: rain forests, mountain ranges and dry deserts. As the driest inhabited continent, annual rainfall only averages less than 500mm. However, the terrain of the Gulf Country and Top End consists of a tropical climate that includes wetlands, grasslands, woodlands, forests, desert and rainforests. Australia's climate is largely influenced by the surrounding ocean currents, which can be correlated with the seasonal tropical low-pressure systems and periodic droughts.
    Due to its location in the southern hemisphere, Australia has the opposite seasons as countries in the northern hemisphere. This means that September to November is spring, December to February is summer, March to May is autumn and June to August is winter. Throughout the year, Australia's weather is typically temperate. However, the size of the continent also influences variations in the climate. The best time to travel to Australia largely depends on your preferences, but spring and autumn are known for being refreshingly temperate while summer is the biggest Australia tourism season for the coast.
  • Getting around
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    Since the continent of Australia is accessible only by air or water, if you are going to travel to Australia these are the only options. Once you are inside the country, limited competition makes flying very expensive, especially for coast-to-coast trips.
    For travel within Australia, cars are most commonly used since there is a well-maintained system of highways and roads. Since Australia is large yet sparsely populated, it is often possible to drive for hours between traces of civilization. Generally, a valid overseas driver's license is valid for up to three months after you travel to Australia.
    Australia tourism as many modes of transportation available that range from local city trains to Greyhound buses and camper-van rentals. In most metro areas, you can easily find local city buses and trains. If you are looking to visit more of the country, Greyhound and backpacker buses are also available. With the numerous options available for Australia travel, deciding your preferred method of travel is largely up to you.
  • Know before you go
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    If you are going to visit Australia for less than three months, it is important to know that there are three different types of visas which vary depending on your nationality. Citizens of the 31 EEA countries can obtain an eVisitor (subclass 651) pass for free. However, citizens of Brunei, Hong Kong, Canada, Japan, the U.S. and a few other countries can obtain an ETA (subclass 601) for a fee through the government or a travel agent. For others, there is the Online Visitor visa (subclass e600). Where customs are concerned, if you visit Australia, there are some strict requirements regarding the import of vegetable and animal derived products.
    Most Australian attractions are available year round, however, schedules may be reduced during off-peak seasons. Throughout the south, summer is the peak travel season. Although, in the tropics Australian tourism is up during the winter. While domestic tourism tends to be highest during January and Easter holidays.
  • Travel tips & recommendations
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    • Overall, Australia's high standards of development make it a great tourist destination and a safe locations to explore the land down under

    • One of Australia's favorite pastimes, bushwalking, is a great way to explore the outback. However, you should always be careful to make sure you're aware of the weather and walking conditions. You may also consider the use of a guide who is familiar with the area.

    • Australia is full of sparsely populated areas. If you should be traveling in these areas, you should ensure that you have an off-road worthy vehicle, emergency preparations and a reliable GPS system.

    • As the home of thousands of unique and wild animals, it is little surprise that many have poisonous properties. Whether snorkeling or bushwalking, you should make sure to wear protective clothing to prevent being bitten or stung.

    • The Golden Coast is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, however, these waters may also hold hidden dangers. When swimming, you should always stay between the yellow and red flags that mark the safest places to swim.

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