Australia – the Land Down Under. The world’s largest island, the size of continental Europe and covering three time zones, is hard to describe in just a few short lines. You can experience cosmopolitan, historic and emerging cities, such as Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Cairns. And not forgetting Sydney, home of the iconic Harbour Bridge and the emblematic Opera House. Though not the official capital, for most visitors, you have not been to Australia until you have your picture there! You can visit areas of outstanding natural beauty, such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains, rainforests and deserts alike. You can see Ayer’s Rock, one of the most sacred aboriginal sites in Australia for its spectacular sunsets across awe-inspiring vistas of the desert. You can discover a history that dates back millennia, told through aboriginal cave paintings, to discovery by Dutch and British explorers and subsequent colonial rule, to mass settlement in the 20th century through to the modern, multi-cultural nation Australia is today. There’s amazing flora and fauna all around that exist only in Australia – from the famous kangaroos and kookaburras, to deadly sharks and poisonous spiders. And a language and culture that looks both east and west. Australia is a fascinating mix of history and modernity, of vast emptiness and modern construction, of other cultures and its own. It is not to be missed!
Your passport should be valid for the expected period of stay and should have at least 1 blank page. Please be sure to fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport
U.S., Canadian, Australian and European citizens may enter Australia for up to 90 days for tourist purposes but require a visa. The visas must be applied for prior to travel.
US & Canadian citizens will require an ETA. It permits visitors multiple entries into the country for a maximum of 3 months per trip. It is valid for a year from the day it is issued. It must be applied for prior to travel, costs $20 AUD and takes around 72hrs to process, it can be applied for here: https://www.eta.homeaffairs.gov.au/ETAS3/etas
British and a number of citizens can obtain an Evisitor visa. It is free to apply for and permits visitors multiple entries into the country for a maximum of 3 months per trip. It is valid for a year from the day it is issued and takes around 48hrs to process. It can be applied for here: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/evisitor-651
All other nationalities must check the visa entry requirements before your departure. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
Please note - Australia has very strict bio-security regulations and heavy penalties are handed out to those breaking these rules. It is illegal to bring most foodstuffs into Australia (meat and meat products, honey, fruit, dairy produce). Restrictions also imply on importing wood products, golf clubs, footwear, tents, fishing equipment and items made from animal skin. Details of the restrictions can be found via online and on the immigration arrivals card. If in doubt, declare items to a Ministry of Agriculture official or dump them in one of the bins available at your arrival airport. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a heavy fine or imprisonment.
• Consular Information
There are a number of major international embassies located in Canberra, including those for the US, Canada, UK and New Zealand. There are a number of consulates located in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. However, embassies for some other countries are located in other Asian cities, offering coverage to Australia. Please check with your relevant government for the relevant contact details.
N.B. Please note, visa and entry requirements, regulations and restrictions can vary on a regular basis. Please ensure you check in good time prior to travel the current requirements applicable to you.
HEALTH, INSURANCE AND SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
• Travel Insurance
It is company policy that all passengers must have valid travel insurance prior to travelling, to include but not limited to health insurance and cancellation insurance. It is vital that ALL members of the travelling party are fully insured for the dates of travel. All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken in regard to the specific type of holiday you are taking.
The details of your insurance must be advised to The Big Journey Company at least 6 weeks before your departure date. Please make sure to write down important information from your insurance policy, such as the company’s 24hr emergency telephone number (including dial code from abroad) and your policy number and take these with you on tour.
• General Health
Please talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel, where a health professional can provide you with the necessary health information for your personal needs.
Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating and avoiding insect bites should keep you healthy on tour.
We recommend you carry a simple travellers’ first-aid kit containing any basic items that you feel may be required, including remedies for minor stomach complaints.
If you do need to see a doctor during the tour, please speak to your Big Journey Company tour escort.
Temperatures in Australia can get very high and it is advised to stay hydrated at all times. Sun hats and sunscreen are advisable. Additionally, due to its unique biodiversity, Australia has a large number of dangerous and exotic wildlife – caution should be taken around animals and when in more remote areas.
• Passengers with Disabilities or Reduced Mobility
The Australia Tour is an Activity Level 2 tour and will require moderate physical activity and include various forms of transport. Please check our Activity Levels description page to see if this level is suitable to you or contact us if you require further information on the activities involved in the tour.
If you or any member of your party has any medical problem or disability which may affect your holiday, please provide us with full details before we confirm your booking, or as soon as possible at the time they occur, so that we can try to advise on the suitability of your chosen arrangements. Please note, we may require you to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that you are fit to participate in the tour.
• Medical Conditions and Personal Medication
Please advise us prior to travel if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it is wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you.
- Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor.
- Please note, some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container, with the label clearly visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.
There are currently no vaccination requirements for international travellers, but please consult your doctor before travelling for the latest immunisation information as well as advice according to your unique medical needs.
Yellow Fever Certificate. Depending on the area you are visiting, or areas you have previously travelled to, you may need a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate to show you have received said vaccination prior to travel. Check whether you need a Yellow Fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
• Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Please inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible, and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or smaller cruise ships. Also,
- Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
- Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
- Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
- Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
- Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel, so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.
• Special Dietary Requirements
Please let us know in good time prior to travel if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.). We will make every effort to accommodate your request with the resources available to us.
• What to Pack and Wear
We would recommend comfortable clothes and shoes for this tour. Feel free to include a smart-casual outfit for dinner if you wish, however there is no pressure to follow a dress code.
The weather should largely be warm and sunny throughout the journey, however it is always good to be prepared for every eventuality, so make sure you pack a light jacket in case of rain and the fact that it may be cooler in the evening. Insect repellent, sunglasses, a sun hat and sun cream are also essential items. Don't forget your camera, with charger/spare batteries and memory cards and why not pack your swimming costume too.
• Luggage Allowances
International airlines are often strict about the size and weight of checked in baggage and carry-on luggage. Prior to your departure, please contact your airline or visit their website for specific luggage requirements, as size and weight limitations may vary according to the airline and destination.
N.B. The Australia tours include a number of internal flights in Australia, on varying sizes of aircraft. Please check with The Big Journey Company regarding specific luggage allowances for this flight.
Hand/carry-on baggage restrictions – Please note, carry-on luggage is to be a soft bag not exceeding 30 x 28 x 14cm (12” x 11” x 6”) in order to fit either under the seat or in the small overhead compartment. Bags with wheels or telescopic handles will not fit in the overhead compartments and will therefore not be accepted as carry-on for safety reasons.
Luggage handling is not included in our Australia tour. It may be available at the hotel for a local charge.
Laundry services are available in some hotels on the tour.
The main language of Australia is English, though many other European languages are spoken widely across the country by older generation immigrants, as well as some Asian languages by younger immigrants.
Due to its immense size, Australia has three time zones. The western coast is GMT+8, 2 hours ahead of London GMT, central Australia is GMT+9.5 and the eastern coast is GMT+10. Observance of Daylight-Saving Time varies from state to state.
Australia is in the southern hemisphere, so it is summer there when it is winter in Europe and North America, from November to February.
Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year, but the climate can vary due to the size of the continent. In Cairns in the north, it is generally hot and humid with some rain. Temperatures here vary between 23-31°C / 73-87°F. Sydney enjoys a sunny, Mediterranean-style climate all year round, where it is warm to hot with little rainfall and average maximum temperatures around 26°C/78°F. Sydney can also be quite humid given its coastal location. Temperatures drop at night due to the vast open skies. The weather is more changeable by the coast, and famously arid in the interior.
In Australia, the standard voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50Hz. You will need a Type I plug adapter, used in Oceania and Argentina and/or converter depending on which electrical appliances you bring with you.
MOBILES & INTERNET COMMUNICATION
Australia has a well-developed communications infrastructure. A number of cellphone/mobile phone providers offer national coverage and there are well-established landline phone networks. In populated urban areas, there should be good mobile signal but as we head into rural areas, signal may fluctuate and is limited to non-existent. Internet and Wi-Fi are easily accessible in most urban areas and most hotels and restaurants provide free WIFI. Please check data roaming charges for Australia with your service provider before leaving home as these can quickly become very expensive.
The currency of Australia is the Australian Dollar $ (AUD). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it is advisable to carry money in cash with you as well. ATMs are widely available in cities, but not so in smaller villages.
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards, however many places do not accept cards such as Diners Club or American Express. If you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards whilst away, please make sure that you contact your bank before you leave to inform them that you will be travelling in order not to cause any problems using your cards or whilst on the trip.
Important Note - Australia use chip-and-pin credit cards, so cards with magnetic strips on the back (commonly used in North America) may not work with certain automated machines. You might want to carry some extra cash in your wallet to use in these situations just in case. You may be asked to provide ID if you cannot pay by chip and PIN.
Australia can be quite expensive, with prices for day to day items comparably higher than European or North American countries. Please make sure you budget for higher spending.
• Bank Opening
Bank opening hours in Australia are short, especially in summer. Banks are usually open 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday.
After feedback from previous guests, we offer a group tipping package for this tour. Look out for more information in your pre-tour emails.
Australian cuisine is greatly varied, owing to the nature of the differing landscapes and the many cultures of the numerous immigrants that have shaped the country to what it is today. You will find excellent fish dishes and seafood, many with European influence. The food scene has been also impacted in recent years by the influx of immigrants from other South East Asian cuisines, as well as revival of using basic local ingredients.
Some meals are included as part of your tour – please check your individual departure for the relevant meal inclusions.
The tap water in Australian cities is generally of excellent quality and unless otherwise advised, you can drink the local tap water. The quality varies as you travel to more remote areas and it is best to check with the local suppliers. Bottled water can be bought at supermarkets, kiosks and many shops.
Australia offers lots for visitors to buy. You will be able to pick up many aboriginal carvings and prints, some good leatherware as well as woollen products and of course, wine.
• Opening Hours
In the cities and towns, most retail shops are open from 9am – 5pm Monday–Saturday, though may vary locally. Many shops are open on Sundays, but on reduced hours.
• VAT/Tax Refund:
Numerous shops in Australia offer a VAT refund when leaving the country. Please ask the salesperson whether tax-free shopping applies to the shop in question.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Crime levels in Australia are generally low. However, there’s a risk of petty theft, particularly in airports, in popular tourist attractions and on public transport. Please take sensible precautions to protect your belongings, particularly your passport, money and credit cards.
Australia has sadly been the target of a number of terrorist attacks in recent years. When in large crowds or major tourist destinations, you should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.
Care should be taken when out in the sun, as temperatures can soar, and the strength of the sun’s rays is greater than in Europe or north America. You should stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and cover exposed skin. When swimming, watch out for rip tides which are common, as well as taking notice of any beach warnings for sharks or other marine dangers. When in the bush, be alert to the local wildlife, as there are a number of poisonous snakes and spiders. Do not walk off the beaten tracks and check your shoes before putting them on. Bush fires are often common, fast moving and unpredictable. In the unlikely event, please follow instructions from local authorities
Smoking is banned in most indoor public places, but there are usually designated outdoor areas where people can smoke.
Australia has no official state religion, however around 50% of the population belong to the Christian Church, and 30% say they have no religion.
Australia offers photo opportunities one after another. You will return with many photos that can never be repeated. Remember to pack your camera, along with the charger, spare batteries and a spare memory card!
ARRIVAL IN AUSTRALIA
Please note, standard hotel check-in is around 3pm, so should you arrive earlier than this, your room may not be available upon arrival. For those arriving early morning, we will do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check-in subject to availability.
TOUR HOTEL INFORMATION
Please check your tour paperwork for hotel information attaining to your tour departure.
OTHER COUNTRIES ON TOUR ITINERARY
For those continuing their stay in New Zealand or other countries, please check the relevant Travel Tip pages for information on these countries.
FLYING & TRAVEL HINTS
• Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and take a copy with you, but pack it separately from the passport itself.
• It is advisable to carry all your travel documentation as well as valuables and essential items in your hand luggage, such as camera, toiletries, reading material etc.
• Duty-Free shopping is always tempting, but please check the current Duty-Free limits applicable in the country of your destination.
• Longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing and good, comfortable shoes. Walking in the aisles regularly, eating sensibly and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol) is also advised.
• Where possible, try to get some sleep during the flight and upon arrival at your destination, most people adjust better to the local time if they wait until the evening before sleeping – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.
If you have any other questions that we have not covered here; then please send us an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, the above information is provided as a guideline only. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, The Big Journey Company makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content on this website. The Big Journey Company assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained in the website.
Updated December 2019