Planning a trip to Australia? We've got you covered with our list of practical travel information on visas, customs, climate and more.
Flights to and around Australia
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 with flight search websites, the major airlines or your local Aussie specialist travel agent. Australia's international airports include Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Cairns, Adelaide and Brisbane.
Once here, flying is the quickest way to cover Australia's vast distances. Australia's domestic airlines – including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Tiger Airways and Rex – serve all state capital cities and many regional centres. Find out more about getting around Australia.
All Australia's international airports have transport options linking the airport with the city centre. These range from public transport such as bus and train, to taxis and shuttle buses that provide transfers to accommodation. Quality rental car providers, including Hertz, Avis and Europcar, can also be found at international and domestic airports. Some hotels offer a free pick-up/drop-off service when you book your accommodation.
Cruises to Australia
Cruises to Australia visit some of the most scenic parts of the country, including Sydney, Cairns (in far north Queensland), Broome (at the top of Western Australia) and the Great Barrier Reef. Many international cruise ships visit Australia's cities. You can take tours and rejoin the ship for the journey home, or stay longer and fly back home. Most cruise ships visit Australian shores between December and April.
Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a valid Australian visa to enter the country. New Zealand passport holders can apply for a visa on arrival. 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 Embassy or Consulate. You can also apply for certain types of visas on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
Customs and Quarantine
Australia's customs laws prohibit 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 AUD$10,000. For more information visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
Medicine brought into Australia for personal use is subject to controls and must be declared on 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 Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
You don't need vaccinations unless you have come from, or have visited, a yellow fever infected country within six days of your arrival. However, regulations and medical advice can change at short notice, so check with your doctor and the Australian Department of Health before you leave home.
Taking out a travel insurance policy that covers theft, loss, accidents and medical problems is highly recommended. If you plan to do any adventure sports, such as scuba diving, bungee jumping, motorcycling, skiing or even bushwalking, check you are fully covered under your policy. The Australian Government has reciprocal health care agreements with some countries through Australia's public-funded health service, Medicare. Visit the Department of Human Services for more information.
Duty free shopping
You can begin 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. Find out more at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
Useful travel tips
Currency, communications and health and safety should all be considered when you're planning for your trip to Australia. See our useful travel tips page for more information. If you have a disability or will be travelling with someone who has special needs, you will need to know about the facilities on offer. For more information visit the Australia For All, Can Go Everywhere and Nican websites.
Australia's climate varies widely across the continent. There are four seasons in most of the country, and a wet and dry season in the tropical north. 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 brings snow to 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 visit the Bureau of Meteorology.
Australia is divided into three time zones: Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), and Australian Western Standard Time (AWST). AEST is equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 10 hours (UTC +10). ACST is equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 9½ hours (UTC +9½). AWST is equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 8 hours (UTC +8).
In the Australian summer the states of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory turn their clocks forward one hour to Daylight Saving Time (DST). DST begins at 2am (AEST) on the first Sunday in October and ends at 3am (Australian Eastern Daylight Time) on the first Sunday in April.
During Daylight Saving, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory move from AEST to Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT), UTC +11. South Australia and the New South Wales town of Broken Hill move from ACST to Australian Central Daylight Time (ACDT), UTC +10½.
Daylight saving is not observed in Queensland, the Northern Territory or Western Australia.
More information to plan your trip
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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.Add to your dream trip