Australia Travel Guide

By Admin | Last Updated August 26, 2019

Australia, including the island of Tasmania, is part of Oceania. With an area of 7,692,024 square kilometers, it is the world’s 6th largest country. Big cities, Melbourne and Sydney, the incredible Great Barrier Reef, wilderness of the outback, the Gold Coast, aboriginal culture, kangaroos… there are many reasons to visit this continent or country. Sydney with a population of 5.07 million (2017) is the largest city. From Australia, you can also go on a beautiful cruise to New Caledonia, Vanatau, the Solomon Islands, and beyond. New Zealand is just next door.

20.46 million people live in Australia, but the population density is as low as 3.1 per square kilometer. 85% is concentrated in the cities. Go out a few miles, and you will have more serenity and seclusion than most areas in the world. A popular tourist destination, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) ranked Australia the 7th most popular country in 2017. 8.12 million tourists visited in 2017, giving the country revenue of 41.7 billion US dollars in 2017.

Tourists visit Australia throughout the year. Australia has something to offer for everyone.

Australia is both a continent and a country. It is the driest continent next to Antarctica.

Canberra is the capital. Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are the other major cities. Australia is connected to the rest of the world by air and sea. You will find beaches, some rugged, on all sides, deserts, forests and mountains. You will always have a lot to see and do here – a fulfilling trip in every way.

Visiting Australia is a vacation of a lifetime, but there are so many reasons for coming here that you will probably want to return like so many others.

Australia – Quick Facts

  1. Official Language – English. Mandarin, Punjabi, Filipino, Arabic are also spoken.
  2. Capital – Canberra
  3. Currency – Australian Dollar
  4. ISD Code – +61
  5. Major Religions: Christianity. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism.
  6. Regions – Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania.
  7. Government: Constitutional Monarchy, reigning sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II of England.
  8. Sydney is the largest city by size, followed by Melbourne, Brisbane.
  9. Australia includes Tasmania (island). It is off the south coast of the mainland.
  10. Highest Peak – Mawson Peak on the Heard Island. 2,745 meters.
  11. The first European who landed in Australia Willem Jansoonz in 1606 (Dutch).
  12. Biggest Airport – Sydney.
  13. The northern part has tropical climate with hot, wet summers and mild dry winters. Mild summer and cool rainy winter in the south.
  14. Traditional Aussie foods – Chicken parmigiana, lamingtons, vegemite on toast and barramundi.

Top Reasons For Visiting Australia

Coral Reefs Great Barrier Reef – the largest living structure on Earth that can even be seen from the moon. Snorkeling and scuba diving to see thousands of types of corals and marine life. Experience of a lifetime. Cruise. There are other coral reefs too, but Great Barrier is the biggest, and most famous.
Road Trips The best way to experience Australia’s vast and varied landscape is by road. Go off-the-grid. Reach remote places to be one with nature.
Wildlife Highlight of a trip to Australia. You will find more creatures here than anywhere else on Earth, many of them endemic. Experience the thrill of seeing kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, emus, crocodiles in their natural habitats.
Natural Beauty Natural beauty of a continent largely untouched by civilization. The Aboriginals worked with nature rather than against it. Most of Australia has retained its natural beauty for thousands of years. Flora, fauna, rock formations, beaches, waterfalls, deserts and mountain range… there is everything.
Beaches Australia has 25,760 kilometers of coastline. Hamilton Island, Lizard Island, Bondi Beach, Whitehaven Beach, Cable Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Cottesloe Beach, Hangover Bay… there are so many options that its difficult to choose.
Aussie Hospitality Australians are known to be a friendly and genial people. They love their food and revel in feeding guests and visitors well. You will be greeted with a smile. Most will want to help you. There is a big immigrant population in all major cities, which makes the country a melting pot of cultures.
Big, Beautiful Cities Sydney and Melbourne are both beautiful modern metropolitans you don’t want to miss. Food, nightlife, nature, you have it all.

Tourist Visa

Citizens of all countries barring New Zealand need a tourist visa to enter Australia. An Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is the most commonly used visa to Australia. It is open to citizens of 30 countries including Belgium, France Germany, Canada, USA, UK and others. Ensure to get the ETA:

  • Not having a jail term of over 1 year, 
  • No tuberculosis, 
  • No debt to the Australian government
  • Agree not to work in Australia
  • Visit Australia within 12 months of the ETA application

You can apply online. The visa application will be processes within 24 hours.

Applicants from other countries (not included in the ETA eligible list) are required to submit the following documents to the Australian Visa application center in their country.

  • Proof of inbound and outbound travel from Australia
  • Proof of reason of visit with supporting documentation.
  • Sufficient funds to support self and dependants for the duration of stay
  • Proof that the individual/group will leave Australia after visit
  • Passport must be valid for the entire duration of stay.

Customs

Australia prohibits visitors from bringing certain types of products. These include: drugs, firearms, protected wildlife, steroids and weapons. There is strict checking on goods like skins, feathers, seeds, fruits, eggs, meat, plants and food items of any kind. If the bio-security officer finds the goods you are carrying harmless then they will be returned to you or else you will have to dispose them.

You are allowed:

  • Up to 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of cigars, tobacco per person
  • Not more than 2.25 liters of wine, spirits, champagne
  • Allowance for other goods worth up to 900 AUD only

Airport Tax

There is a departure tax of 60 AUD on all passengers by air. This goes directly to the Australian government. Australian airports also charge two separate fees known as ‘Australia Passenger Services Charge’ and ‘Australia Safety and Security Charge’. The amount varies based on the airport. These charges are included in the air ticket.

Vaccines and Immunizations

Routine vaccines including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine, varicella vaccine, chickenpox vaccine, polio vaccine etc.

Australia – Attractions by Region

  • Western Australia
  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • Victoria
  • South Australia
  • Northern Territory
  • Tasmania

Top 5 Places To Visit In Western Australia

  1. Perth – Big city, beaches, parks, botanical gardens, shopping, ballet, opera.
  2. Margaret River – Holiday resort, surfing, scenic beauty, beaches, limestone caves with stalactites/stalagmite formations.
  3. Ningaloo Reef Marine Park – World’s largest fringing reef, rich marine life, snorkeling and diving, fishing.
  4. Bungle Bungle National Park – Rock formations, Aboriginal tribes, cultural remains, walking trails.
  5. Monkey Mia – Dolphin feeding, swimming in the bay, fishing, kayaking, driving through the scenic coastline, camel tours.

Top 5 Places To Visit In New South Wales

  1. Sydney – Darling Harbor and Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, Paddington Markets, Port Jackson, Taronga Zoo
  2. Snowy Mountains – Tallest mountains on the Australian mainland, winter sports like skiing, hiking, cave exploring, local flora and fauna.
  3. Mungo National Park – Oldest place to be populated (after Africa), sand dunes, dried riverbeds, Outback experience.
  4. Jervis Bay – World’s whitest sand beach, nature-lover’s paradise, honeymoon destination, surfing, not very touristy.
  5. Newcastle and Hunter Valley – Wineries, gourmet cheese, gorgeous beaches, sailing and kayaking.

Top 6 Places To Visit In Queensland

  1. Great Barrier Reef – Largest living structure, over 3000 coral reefs, diving and snorkeling, eco-resorts.
  2. Cairns – Beach town, Atherton hills, island trips, saltwater lagoon for swimming, Flecker Botanical Gardens.
  3. Daintree National Park – World’s oldest rainforest, Mossman Gorge, Cape Tribulation, wildlife, guided safaris, ziplining.
  4. Fraser Island – Largest sand island in the world, lakes and streams, forests, beaches, bubbling rock pools, Maheno shipwreck.
  5. Kuranda – Rainforest village, cableway, markets and shops, nature parks, animal sanctuaries, native dance performances.
  6. Gold Coast – Surfing, Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Lamington National Park.

Top 4 Places To Visit In Victoria

  1. Melbourne – Best coffee, street art, Flinders Street Station, Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Cricket Grounds, shopping at Chapel Street.
  2. Grampian National Park – Natural beauty, home to many species of marsupials and birds, walking trails, ancient art by native tribes.
  3. Philip Island – Penguins, beaches, swimming, surfing, chocolate factory.
  4. Mornington Peninsula – Berries, cherries, walking trails, beach.

Top 5 Places To Visit In South Australia

  1. Adelaide – Museums, art galleries, Central Market, Zoo, Botanic Gardens, festivals.
  2. Kangaroo Island – Nature reserves, sea lions, koalas, many species of birds, penguin colonies, rock formations.
  3. Barossa Valley – Wine country, wine tastings, toy factory tours, Lutheran churches.
  4. Port Lincoln – Fishing, fresh seafood, Maritime Museum, National Park, sailing.
  5. Mount Gambier – Blue lake and volcano, Umpherston sink hole, cave gardens, natural beauty, hiking trails.

Top 4 Places To Visit In Tasmania

  1. Hobart – Colonial charm, beautiful harbor, museums, Mount Wellington.
  2. Cradle Mountain – Dove Lake Circuit walk, hiking, driving across the mountain, Saint Clair National Park.
  3. Launceston – Riverside city, Cataract Gorge, walking trails, sculpted gardens, Queen Victoria Museum.
  4. Freycinet National Park – Hazard Mountains, gorgeous beaches, Wineglass Bay, natural beauty, beach activities.

Top 4 Places To Visit In The Northern Territory

  1. Uluru – Protected area, nature reserve, sandstone monolith, flora and fauna, Australian outback.
  2. Arnhem Land – Barramundi fishing, hiking, trekking, Kakadu National Park, aboriginal culture, mines.
  3. Nitmiluk – Aboriginal rock art, Katherine River, wildlife, Edith Falls.
  4. Darwin – Mindil Beach, Crocosaurus Cove, casinos, museums and art galleries.

Australia Climate

Australia is a large country – the climate varies from region to region. There are many different climatic zones. The country is surrounded by ocean on all sides, and so ocean currents will impact the climate.

  • Tropical conditions prevail in the northern part. This is characterized by hot summers, monsoons and mild winters.
  • The climate of the south western region is mainly Mediterranean.
  • The south east however, has oceanic to humid subtropical climate.
  • The interior is arid.

City/Town Average Max Temp in ºC Average Min Temp in ºC Average annual rainfall in mm
Sydney 22.5 14.5 1222.7
Perth 24.7 12.8 733.2
Brisbane 26.5 16.3 1021.6
Melbourne 20.4 11.4 602.6
Darwin 32 23.2 1773.2

 

Best Time To Visit Australia

There is no bad time to visit. The country-continent has mild winters and warm summers. Do remember that Australia is a huge country – the sixth largest in the world.

There is a lot to do in the summer but winter can be exciting in its own way. Remember, Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, so the summer months are actually winter months for tourists from the US and Europe.

Summer (December to February): Cities like Sydney and Melbourne are great for a summer visit. Festival season is on in full swing. The New Year’s Eve fireworks display on Sydney Harbor Bridge is a must-see. If you love tennis, head to Melbourne for the Australian Open in January. Enjoy beach time at the Gold Coast and Queensland. The outback has scorching days but mild nights.

Fall (March to May): The peak summer tourist crowds are gone, which means you will get discount deals. The eastern coast and cities like Perth have summer-like weather. Get some beach time. The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are also great this time of the year. The outback is best explored in this season. The sun is not as hot. You can see the red gold fall colors. Adelaide in South Australia has festivals and events throughout March. Whale shark diving in the Ningaloo Reef area.

Winter (June to August): Head to the Snowy Mountains to enjoy winter sports. Winters are full of festivities in the big cities. Melbourne hosts art exhibitions and theater performances, while Sydney goes for the light installation festival called Vivid. Winters are the best time to drive out to the finest wineries in Barossa Valley or Hunter Valley. The desert regions have freezing temperatures.

Spring (September to November): Spring is sports season. From football to horse racing, the big cities are busy now. Whale watching is a rare attraction best done in these months. Go for boat trips. Visit the national parks to see the famous Australian animals nurturing their young in spring.