Millions of tourists from around the world travel every year to the land down under in the look out for their own adventures. Australia is on the bucket list of most people’s travel destinations and is a once in a lifetime experience. Australia is massive not just in size but also in the kind of experiences it offers, whether it’s the food, wildlife or its larger-than-life cities. Australia is also full of surprises for first-time travellers and the climate, topography, and character varies from one end of the country to another.
If you’re planning a visit to the world’s smallest continent, you will be hard-pressed for time as there’s so much to see and explore, you won’t be able to cram up everything in just one trip. This makes it imperative that you get everything right from planning the trip to exploring the vast riches on offer. Make sure you make use of international holiday packages to ensure your trip goes smoothly so that you wouldn’t repent later for bad planning. We’ve listed some important tips we think are vital, for the first time visitor to enjoy the beauty, down under.
- First and foremost, this country/continent is absolutely huge. The fact that this country has three separate time zones highlights the sheer magnitude of the landmass you’re about to encounter. Don’t make the cardinal sin of trying to fit too much in as you are not going to see it all. It makes more sense to pick two or three cities instead and explore them fully otherwise you will end up spending most of your visit in transit.
- While approaching Australia, the crew will ask you to fill up a form for Immigration and customs purpose. Australian immigration is extremely strict about bringing any outside flora or fauna in the country so make sure to declare if you’re carrying something which you might be unsure of. Additionally, many food items such as honey, milk, fruits, butter etc. are banned so make sure to dispose of any such items on arrival in the provided bins. If you don’t declare and something is found by the authorities, you will be liable to pay a fine that can run into thousands of dollars.
- One of the best things about travelling to Australia is that you don’t need to worry about anything except a valid Visa. English is spoken throughout the country so language won’t be an issue either. Moreover, with excellent infrastructure and tourist friendly attractions, the chances of you needing to seek help would be minimal.
- The majority of the Australian population lives along the coast; on the east coast lies Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and on the west coast lies Perth. However, once you’re out of the city limits, be prepared to witness virtual nothingness in-between.
- If you opt to rent a car, it pays to remember that most petrol stations in Australia operate mostly on a self-service basis. This basically means that you need to get out of the car, fill up fuel by yourself and pay at the counter inside the station. It also should be noted that when travelling long distances, ensure you keep your tank full as petrol stations can be far and few between.
- Australia is a relatively safe place to travel on your own but it pays to be vigilant in any case. Never leave your belonging unattended. Additionally, make sure to keep the contact details of your country’s embassy handy just in case of untoward incidents or the off chance you lose your passport.
- As with most western countries, smoking cigarettes is prohibited in most places in Australia and attracts a hefty fine if you get caught. Be it beaches, public transport, government buildings, clubs, pubs, restaurants and shopping malls, smoking is strictly prohibited. However, there are designated smoking zones which you can avail of.
- Unlike most other countries, tipping in Australia is not mandatory and you are not expected to tip. The minimum wage in Australia is far higher than most countries around the world and hence the service provider doesn’t really expect any tips; be it in restaurants, bars, or taxis. As a matter of fact, if you leave a tip, people will unknowingly think that you’ve forgotten your change behind.
- In case you ever get lost, Australians are a friendly lot and are more than willing to help with directions or suggestions. If there’s no one to ask around or if you’re feeling particularly shy to ask around, detailed map of streets can be found in most bookshops, petrol stations and convenience stores.
- Get acquainted with the local language as the Australians tend to use quite a few slangs in their conversations and love to shorten all their words. So it makes sense to brush up on some commonly used slangs lest you get offended or puzzled at what they’re saying. For instance, bushwalking means going hiking/trekking, thongs are literally flip flops while brekkie means breakfast. When in doubt, try adding an o at the end of every word and mate at the end of every sentence and you should be sorted.
- Transportation and accommodation certainly don’t come cheap in Australia and can drain your money pretty quickly especially if you’re on a budget. Make sure to book your flights ticket in advance before you land in Australia as they tend to work out cheaper as compared to travelling by road or taking a train. Thankfully, the public transport is pretty reasonable and you can avail of trams, metro, buses, taxis, and shuttle service. You can avail bicycles on rent and opt to roam around and explore the city. Do get hold of a myki/Opal/Translink card or any other local transportation card once you land to make your transportation within the country easier.
- Australia can be visited round the year but be prepared to experience Christmas in summer. Being located in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are slightly different than what you’re generally used to. For instance, summer is from December to February, Autumn is between March to May, Winter between June to August and spring between September to November. Awkward? certainly, but you will get used to it.
- Australians tend to use their own plug sockets which are entirely different. They are neither American nor like the European ones. Despite being a former British colony, they don’t even use the typical British/Indian plugs. History must have had a role to play in this though.
- Australia has an abundance of National Parks which are absolutely gorgeous and mandates a visit. Special shout out to The Grampians and the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park as they are just spectacular in every which way. Do try and keep a look out for some well-known residents such as kangaroos, wombats, koalas, echidnas, dingos, platypus and wallabies which will surely keep you entertained and enthralled in equal measure.
- The Southern Hemisphere doesn’t have much of an ozone layer over it which loosely translates to avoiding overexposure in the sun. Seriously, the sun is raging hot here so try to stay out of the sun and if it’s not possible, then do load up on good old sunscreen to avoid getting burnt to a crisp.