Here you will find practical information before leaving for Australia: the best travel time with regards to the climate, the time difference, safety, cheap payment, and several more important tips for a trip to the sunny land of kangaroos!
When thinking of Australia, one thinks of the sun, vast plains, road trips, and cheerfully hopping kangaroos. It is then no surprise that many tourists are willing to take the (often long) flight times for granted for a chance to visit this beautiful island. But did you know that Australia is also ideal for wintersport? Due to its staggering size of no less than 7,7 million square kilometers, Australia is the largest island in the world, and the fifth largest country in the world. It has a lot more to offer than most tourists expect. Be prepared for your trip and read up on this page about the land of Steve Irwin, the aboriginals and the boomerang.
Facts and Numbers
|Currency||Australian Dollar (AUD)|
|Time difference||11 hours|
|Travel time||Between 16 and 20 hours|
|Electricity||230 Volt, 50 Hz|
|Plug||Type I (travel plug required)|
|Tap water||Safe to drink|
|Visa||Visa is mandatory|
Map of Australia
It is not hard to find Australia on a map. The island lies between the Indian Ocean and the Tasman Sea. A large part of the country consists of desert, but Australia also has rainforests, mountain chains, steppes and savanna. By far the most inhabitants of Australia live by the east coast. The southwest, near Perth, is also densely populated. The largest part of the inland, however, is virtually uninhabited. The centrally positioned Alice Springs is the only exception to this rule.
Australia had already been inhabited for tens of thousands of years by the native Aboriginals before it was ‘discovered’ in 1606 by a Dutch skipper, Willem Janszoon. Due to the hostility of the Aboriginals, Janszoon quickly decided to turn back.
In 1783 England lost its North American colonies, the United States. Because England could not longer deport its prisoners to America, it decided to establish a penal colony in Australia. Several dozens of years later, individual free citizens decided to migrate from England to Australia. The ground there was virtually free; the Aboriginals were chased away with ease. Until, several decades later, they rose up in rebellion because most of their land and food sources had been destroyed or taken from them. Armed conflict was the result. Tens of thousands of Aboriginals died during these violent years.
The Sydney Opera House, the most well known building in Australia
Climate and optimal travel time
The climate in Australia has different zones. The inland areas have a warm climate; centrally there is a hot desert climate surrounded by a more temperate steppe climate. The north of Australia has a tropical savanna climate and the south has a salty oceanic climate. Due to its position in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia’s seasons are much different than those of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter in Australia falls in June and lasts until August, while summer starts in December and lasts until the end of February. The best travel period to visit Australia depends, due to its wide variety of temperature and rainfall in differents parts of the country, largely on the areas that will be visited.
Climate in Central Australia
The desert climate in central Australia is very dry. Especially in the period between April and November there is extremely little rainfall. But even in the other months of the year the average rainfall per month rarely exceeds 40 millimeters. The temperature here varies from 19 degrees Celsius in the winter (July to August) to up to 36 degrees in the summer (December to February).
Climate in the northeast
The climate in the northeast of Australia is a lot more constant when it comes to temperature. In the coldest months the average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius and in the warmest months it’s 30 degrees Celsius. The rainfall, however, fluctuates wildly. The rainy season in this area of Australia runs from December to May. Especially in January, February and May the rainfall can be extreme. The best travel time to this part of Australia is thus the dry season; from July to November.
Climate in the southeast
The southeast of Australia is often visited for holidays from September to December. From January to April there is a lot of rainfall, and the climate from March to August can be relatively chilly compared to the rest of the country (16 to 18 degrees Celsius).
Climate in the southwest
The climate in the southwest of Australia can be interesting to visit for holidays from October to April. In this period there is barely any rainfall and the temperatures of 22 to 32 degrees Celsius provide a lovely opportunity to explore the country throughout the summer.
Due to its historic ties with England, Australia utilized the British pound for a long period. Approximately a hundred years ago they introduced their own currency: the Australian pound. However, in 1966 the Australian pound was also replaced, this time by the Australian dollar (AUD), which they use to this day. The notes of this currency are made of plastic, not paper.
Payment in Australia
Like most countries it is cheapest for travelers in Australia to use their own debit card to withdraw cash money from local terminals. Usage of a credit card is more expensive, as on top of the price per transaction it also charges a percentage of the initial cost as a transaction fee. By not paying with a card each time but occasionally switching to cash, the amount of transactions is limited.
The time difference between Australia and other countries depends on the region; the country is so vast that it has three different time zones. To further complicate matters, Australia also utilizes summer and winter time. Not only do these not fall on the same period as most other countries in the world, they even differ within its own border. For instance, in Tasmania (the smaller island south of the ‘mainland’ of Australia) summer time starts in October and lasts until March, while in southern Australia it starts a month earlier. The northern and western parts of the country don’t even use summer time at all! The easiest way to find out which time differences apply where is to to type ‘time difference’ in Google, followed by the region being visited.
Applying for an Australia visa
The immigration service of Australia is known for its secureness. There are many countries in the world that don’t require a visa, or where a visa can easily be acquired upon arrival. The Australian government, however, has implemented strict visa requirements. The application for the visa is required to have been filed as well as received before departure. Checking doesn’t take place on arrival, but before departure. These checks are done by all airlines flying passengers to Australia, by order of the Australian immigration service. Only passengers in the possession of a valid visa are allowed to board the plane. Fortunately, the Australia visa can be easily acquired online, and it is not necessary to make an appointment with a consulate or an embassy. Filing an application for this visa only takes a few minutes. It can be easily applied for through the digitale application procedure on this website.
Submit a visa application for Australia
The road train, a phenomenon almost exclusively seen in Australia
Safety and health in Australia
Australia is not a dangerous country for tourists that are well prepared. The country generally has good standards of hygiene and good healthcare. It is still advised to carefully read the travel advice before departure.