We've compiled the practical travel information you need, including visas, customs, duty-free shopping, and insurance.
Many airlines fly to Australia and prices vary considerably, so it pays to shop around for a flight. Consider the length of the flight and any mandatory stopovers. Start by contacting the major airlines or your local Aussie Specialist travel agent.
All of Australia's international airports have regular public transport such as bus, train and taxi connections and private transfers with the city centres. Shuttle buses are also available and provide transfers to accommodation.
Many international cruise ships visit Australia's cities, and there are opportunities to take tours and rejoin the ship or stay longer and fly back home. Most cruise ships visit Australian shores during the summer months.
Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a visa to enter Australia. New Zealand passport holders can apply for a visa upon arrival in the country. All other passport holders must apply for a visa before leaving home. You can apply for a range of visas, including tourist visas and working holiday visas, at your nearest Australian Consulate. For more detailed information go to the Australian government Visas & Immigration website.
Customs and quarantine
Australia's customs laws prevent you from bringing drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms and protected wildlife into Australia. Some common items such as fresh or packaged food, fruit, eggs, meat, plants, seeds, skins and feathers are also prohibited. There is no limit on currency but you will need to declare amounts over $10,000. For more detailed information go to the Australian government Customs & Quarantine page.
Medicine brought into Australia for personal use is subject to controls and must be declared on your arrival. It is recommended you bring a prescription or letter from your doctor outlining your medical condition and the medicine you are carrying. For more detailed information go to the Medicare Australia website.
You don't require vaccinations unless you have come from, or have visited a yellow fever infected country within six days of your arrival. Read the Australian Government Yellow fever fact sheets.
Taking out a travel insurance policy that covers theft, loss, accidents and medical problems is highly recommended. If you plan on doing any adventure sports like scuba diving, bungee jumping, motorcycling, skiing and even bushwalking, check that your policy fully covers you. The Australian Government has reciprocal agreements covering limited subsidised health services for medical treatment with some countries through Medicare. For more detailed information go to the Medicare Australia website.
Duty Free shopping
You can go duty free shopping once you've purchased your airline ticket. There is a limit on how much you can bring into the country including the quantities of alcohol and cigarettes. You'll need to declare goods exceeding this limit at Customs. Also be aware of restrictions on the quantity of fluid you can take on board. For more detailed information go to the Australian Customs website.
Useful travel tips
Currency, communications, health and safety and shopping are all important aspects of planning your trip to Australia. If you have a disability or will be travelling with someone who has special needs, you also need to know about the facilities on offer. Find out more
Australia's climate varies across the continent, from hot and tropical in the far north to cool and even snowy in the south. Our seasons are the opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. Between December and February is summer for most of the country, and the wet season in the tropical north. The Australian winter from June to August is generally mild, but offers snow in the southern mountain regions and dry, sunny days in our northern states. It's important to protect yourself from the Australian sun with a hat, shirt and SPF30+ sunscreen. For more detailed information go to the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology.
Australia has three time zones: Eastern Standard Time (EST) for the eastern states, Central Standard Time (CST) for the Northern Territory and South Australia and Western Standard Time (WST) for Western Australia. CST is half an hour behind EST and WST is two hours behind EST.
Most Australian states wind their clocks forward an hour during the Daylight Saving period. New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia do this from the beginning of October to the beginning of April. The Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland don't have Daylight Saving.
Australian Public Holidays
Australia celebrates a number of public holidays throughout the year when banks, offices and some shops are closed. If you are planning to travel to Australia during these peak periods it's wise to book interstate flights, tours and accommodation well in advance, to avoid missing out.
Australian School Holidays 2016
In Australia, the school year runs from January to December. School holidays in Australia occur four times a year, although the dates vary slightly in each state and territory. These are the times when Australian families usually take their holidays too, so it can be a very busy time at many of our attractions and favourite holiday destinations. If you are planning to travel to Australia during these peak periods it’s wise to book flights, tours and accommodation well in advance. Many free and family events are held in our major cities during school holidays. The following is a list of Australian school holiday dates to help you plan your vacation.