Holiday Australia:  The All Australian Hollday Company

 

Holiday Australia: Holiday Information for Australia from Holiday Australia: Visitors Travel Guide

EXTENSIVE INFORMATION ON  OUR AUSTRALIA It’s a big country - heck - make that a BIG Country - no - make that a HUGE country!!
(* All headings below are linked to extensive information on the subject matter)

Australia: Location

* COOL! Google Maps - Visitor Photos, Videos, Webcams

Australia: Topology

Sydney - New Years Eve - Harbour Fireworks

History of Australia

Tipping in Australia

The Beginning

Water Quality in Australia

The First & Second Fleet: a British colony

Pets to Australia?

Fast Forward: The Colonies: 1860’s

Australian Newspapers/Magazines

Federation - Preparations

Australian Banks: Business Hours

The First Referendum for Federation

Australian Shopping Hours

Federation: The Commonwealth of Australia

Embassies: British High Commission

The Nations Capital: Canberra

Emergencies in Australia: Fire/Ambulance/Police

Australia’s National Anthem

Australian Liquor Laws

Australian Flag

Australia: Driving & Air Distances

Australian Climate

Airconditioning/Heating in Cars

Australian People

Petrol in Australia

Australian States and Capital Cities Population

Taxis in Australia

Australian Population

Hitchhiking in Australia

Australian Public Holidays 2013

Toilet Stops - Driving

Australian School Holidays

Australian Postage

Australian Time Zones

Australian Telephones/Telecommunications

Australia to UK Pound Exchange Rate

Mobile Phones in Australia

Australian Visas

Telephone Area Codes in Australia

Australian Customs

Toll toll-free numbers in Australia

Duty Free

Local Calls in Australia

Cash

Phone Cards in Australia

Medicines

Operator Assisted Calls in Australia

Luggage Inspection

Directory Assistance in Australia

Quarantine

Online Telephone Directory in Australia

Vaccinations

Email, Internet, Wireless Networks in Australia

Australian Tourist Taxes

Mobile Phones /Using your UK mobile in Australia

Australian Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) (‘Duty’ Free)

Cheap Calls to Australia from the UK

 Australian clothing: What to pack/wear

Australian Currency

Australian Clothing Sizes

Australian Currency History

Australian Electricity/Voltage

Australian Banknotes

Australian Food

Australian Coins

Australia: Disabled Facilities

Your money in Australia: Credit Cards

Australian Health System – Medical

Debit/Switch Cards, Travellers Cheques

Doctors & Hospitals

Smoking in Australia

Dangerous Insects

Factory Shopping Outlets

Dangerous Sea Stingers

Travel Insurance

Crocodiles

Personal Safety in Australia

Sunburn

The Global Recession, the 2011-12 Euro Crisis & Australia

Drugs

Chemists

Australia: Our Location
Australia (sometimes referred to as the ‘Land Downunder’ - as it is on the bottom of the globe relative to the UK and Europe) is located south-east of Asia in the southern hemisphere. It is the world's largest island (and smallest continent) covering an area of 7,713,360 square kilometres (2,978,145 square miles). It has a land mass of about 7.7 million square kilometres and a coastline of 36,735km. It is one of the world's most urbanised countries, with over 70 percent of the population living in the 10 largest cities. Mainland Australia together with the nearby island state of Tasmania forms the Commonwealth of Australia. It is the only nation in the world to occupy an entire continent and, as an island nation; Australia shares no borders with other nations.

Australia is divided up into six states and three territories. The six states are: Victoria (VIC), New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), Tasmania (TAS), South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA). The three Territories are the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the Northern Territory (NT) and *Jervis Bay Territory. (*Jervis Bay Territory (JBT) is only 7,400 hectares with 90% of the Territory granted to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community.) Australia is also responsible for a number of dependencies such as Norfolk Island (where the descendants of the Bounty mutineers live, Lord Howe Island Group (in the Pacific Ocean near New Caledonia) and the small Christmas and Cocos Island Group in the Indian Ocean.

Australia: Our Topology
Australia is an incredibly old continent, one of the oldest in the world. It does not have high mountains and consists mostly of large plains, with its largest mountain chain the ‘Great Dividing Range’ extending along the eastern coast of Australia. Its low lying coastal plains in the east, southeast and southwest are the most densely settled areas of Australia with the inland arid areas relatively unsettled as the lack of water and arid conditions make them unsuitable for settlement. More than two thirds of Australia is covered by desert. The interior of Australia is relatively flat except for the remnants of some eroded mountain chains. Along the top of Australia (the north eastern coast) is the Great Barrier Reef, the largest known coral formation in the world and easily seen from outer space. This chain of reefs extends for 2,012 kilometres (1,250 miles) along the coast forming a natural breakwater for ships along the coast.

Australia: Our History
The Beginning:
Between 1606 and 1770, an estimated 54 European ships from a range of nations made contact. Many of these were merchant ships from the Dutch East Indies Company and included the ships of Abel Tasman. Tasman charted parts of the north, west and south coasts of Australia, which was then known as New Holland. In 1770, Englishman Captain James Cook charted the Australian east coast in his ship ‘HM Bark Endeavour’. Cook claimed the east coast under instruction from King George III of England on 22 August 1770 at Possession Island, naming eastern Australia 'New South Wales'. The coast of Australia, featuring Tasmania as a separate island, was mapped in detail by the English mariners and navigators Bass and Flinders, and the French mariner, Baudin.

This period of European exploration is reflected in the names of landmarks such as the Torres Strait, Arnhem Land, Dampier Sound, Tasmania, the Furneaux Islands, Cape Frecinyet and La Perouse. French expeditions between 1790 and the 1830s, led by D'Entrecasteaux, Baudin, and Furneaux, were recorded by the naturalists Labillardi?re and Pιron.

The First & Second Fleet: a British colony:
Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet, comprising 11 ships and around 1,350 people, arrived at Botany Bay (Sydney) between 18 and 20 January 1788. However, this area was deemed to be unsuitable for settlement and they moved north to Port Jackson (Sydney Cove) on 26 January 1788, landing at Camp Cove, known as 'cadi' to the Cadigal Aboriginal people.

Governor Phillip carried instructions to establish the first British Colony in Australia. The First Fleet was under prepared for the task, and the soil around Sydney Cove was poor. The young colony relied upon both the development of farms around Parramatta, 25 kilometres upstream to the west, and also trading food with local Aboriginal clans. The Second Fleet's arrival in 1790 provided badly needed food and supplies; however the newly arrived convicts were too ill, with many near to death, to be useful to the colony. The Second Fleet became known as the 'Death Fleet' - 278 of the convicts and crew died on the voyage to Australia, compared to only 48 on the First Fleet. Over the following years, the colony experienced many other difficulties, including the fact that there were many more men than women - around four men for every woman, which caused problems in the settlement for many years.

Fast Forward: The Colonies: 1860’s
In 1860 there were six British colonies in Australia, with the laws of the colonies made by the British Parliament. At first the colonies had little to do with each other, but by the early 1870’s the telegraph had linked the colonies, and the idea of being 'Australian' began to be celebrated in songs and poems, and by the 1890s the idea of federation had become very popular. People began to realise that for matters like controlling immigration and the economy, defence etc that a nation would be stronger than individual colonies.

The Premier of New South Wales, Henry Parkes, convinced the other premiers to discuss federation and in 1890 the Australasian Federation Convention , including representatives from New Zealand, was held in Melbourne, followed by the National Australasian Convention held in Sydney in 1891. Each colony sent seven representatives. Work began on an Australian constitution. A draft was drawn up by a committee: Edmund Barton (New South Wales), Andrew Inglis Clark (Tasmania), Samuel Griffith (Queensland), and Charles Kingston (South Australia). The committee carefully studied the constitutions of Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Switzerland to formulate Australia’s Constitution.

A brutal recession however in the following years drew people's attention away from federation until 1893 when there was a conference of pro-federation groups. They agreed that a national meeting would redraft the constitution and that all Australians should have a chance to agree with the constitution by vote.

Federation Preparations:
The National Australasian Convention met in 1897 and in 1898. Each colony elected representatives to attend, except Queensland, which did not support federation. Committees debated each paragraph of the draft constitution, changes were made, and a new constitution was drafted by Edmund Barton, John Downer and Richard O'Connor. The smaller colonies were afraid that the larger ones would have more say in a federal parliament, so the conference adopted the practice of the United States: in the House of Representatives each state is represented according to the number of residents; in the Senate each state has an equal number of representatives.

The First Referendum for Federation:
A special election ( a referendum) was held so that people in the colonies could vote on the constitution. Queensland and Western Australia did not take part, and in New South Wales it did not get approved. The premiers met in 1899 to find ways of meeting the concerns of those three colonies. The amended constitution went to referendum once again in all colonies except Western Australia, and the Bill was passed. The Western Australians did not believe federation was the best thing for the colony. The major laws affecting Australia were still made by British Parliament, which would have to make a new law to allow federation. In 1900 a delegation of 5 men, plus an observer from Western Australia, took the draft constitution to London. In May, the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 was passed by the British Parliament, and was signed by Queen Victoria on 9th July 1900, and so became law. The Act declared that on 1st January 1901, the colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania would be united and known as the 'Commonwealth of Australia'. About this time, there was a gold rush in Western Australia. Many people went there to seek their fortune. This contact with people from the other colonies began to change ideas about federation in Western Australia and in August 1900 a referendum was held, with the results that the people of Western Australia voted to join the Commonwealth.

Federation: The Commonwealth of Australia
The colonies became States, and a Federal Parliament was formed according to the Constitution. On 1st January 1901 the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed in Centennial Park when Australia's first Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun gave the oath of allegiance to Australia’s first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton before a crowd of 150,000 in Centennial Park in Sydney in sweltering heat. Federal Parliament was officially opened by the Duke of Cornwall and York, (later King George V) on 9th May 1901 followed by the first sitting of the Senate in the Legislative Council chamber of the Victorian Parliament House at 1.10 p.m. At 2.30 p.m. the House of Representatives met in the Legislative Assembly chamber. Over 14,000 invited guests attended the opening in Melbourne's Exhibition Building, amongst growing public disquiet in regard to the sky-rocketing costs of the celebrations. (Hmmm...sound familiar!?)
 
The Nations Capital: Canberra
Among the changes that were made at the drafting of the Constitution was the decision that a new capital city be established between Sydney and Melbourne, (today known as Canberra) – which was to be the nation's capital. The establishing of this national capital and surrounding Australian Capital Territory (ACT) was one of the major cornerstones of the constitution. The site was selected in 1908 - the location being a rather large sheep paddock and co-agreed by geographical arch-rivals Sydney and Melbourne. It was named Canberra in 1913 from Aboriginal word(s) believed to mean 'meeting place'. (pre sheep..) An international competition to design the city was won by the American architect Walter Burley Griffin in 1912. Development was slow however and although parliament was first convened in the capital in 1927 in the then new (now art deco) parliament house, it was not until post WWII that Canberra really got cracking with building and growth. On 10 May 1988 Commonwealth Parliament sat in the new Parliament House in Canberra. The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 was presented to Australia in 1988, and is on display in Parliament House, Canberra.

In 1957 Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies (The most Royalist Prime Minster in Australia’s History – (also known as ‘Pig Iron Bob’ by post WW2 diggers for his controversial decision to sell iron scrap to arch WW2 enemy Japan after WW2) created the National Capital Development Commission, to establish Canberra as the seat of government and vitalise the fledgling city. In the next two decades massive development followed, lakes, roads, bridges, gardens, memorials, the Mint, the National Library and the Carillon along with large new housing and commercial areas, shops, hotels, offices and theatre and entertainment complexes. By the 1960s the public service was easily Canberra's major industry, with people flocking to the city from all over Australia thus driving even more growth.

Interestingly enough, since Federation the ACT had been under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, with no local government of its own. In a 1978 referendum Canberrans voted against self-government, but despite this in 1988 the Federal Government passed four bills to make the Territory self-governing and in 1989 the first Legislative Assembly was elected.

Australian National Anthem
The Australian National Anthem is ‘Advance Australia Fair’, which is a revised version of the late 19th century patriotic Australian song. It was declared the national anthem in April 1984, replacing God Save the Queen, which is still however used as Australia's Royal Anthem. (Most Aussies don’t have a clue as to the words of  ‘Advance Australia Fair’, – with a recent survey revealing most Australians would prefer the National Anthem to be ‘Waltzing Matilda’ - Australia’s famous patriotic folk song, as is Elgars ‘Jeruselum’ - Britain’s unofficial National Anthem.)

Australian Flag
The flag of Australia is the only flag to fly over a whole continent. It has a dark blue background with the British Union Jack in the upper LH quadrant next to the flagpole, a large seven-point star is positioned under the Union Jack, and to the side are five smaller stars. The Union Jack represents Australia's historical link with Britain, the large seven point star, the Commonwealth star, represents the six states and the territories, and the small stars form the Southern Cross, a prominent star system in the southern hemisphere night sky.

Australian Climate
The climate in Australia varies greatly because of its sheer size but is not generally subject to extremes of weather due to both a lack of large physical features and the remote location in proportion to other world land masses. Being in the Southern hemisphere it is the OPPOSITE to  Britain, with winter in Australia from June-August/September and summer from December-March. The climate region however ranges from tropical (monsoonal) in the tropical north (same latitude as tropical Tahiti) to temperate in the south. Melbourne in the south can be the same temperature as a London winter in the Australian winter. About 40 percent of Australia is in the tropical region and essentially has only two seasons, a very hot & humid wet season (Dec-April) and a warm(ish) dry season (May-November).

Australian People
Australia’s projected population is 22,771,906 (est.) million people as at November 2011 with about 85% of Australians living in urban areas. The small population in proportion to the size of the country results in a population density of 2.1 persons per square kilometre (5.4 persons per square mile). Australia's largest city is Sydney with a population of approximately 4.284 million people, but it still has one of the lowest population densities of any major world city. Australians as a whole have a very high rate of home ownership and generally enjoy a high standard of living, on par with that of most major cities of Europe and the U.S. Housing prices like the rest of the world however have soared, (particularly in the major cities – especially Sydney) and have made it nearly impossible for young people and first home buyers being able to get on the property ladder. Australians in general are decisively intelligent, pretty laid back, fun loving and outdoor/sport orientated -  but -  worryingly - are now right up there as being one of the world’s most obese countries. The Australian enthusiasm, informality and pioneering/entrepreneurial spirit strikes some people as being somewhat like the Americans, while our social and economic pre-occupations and attitude seem more like the British. Like it or not, we have our own distinctive Aussie style and culture!

Australian Recession & GFC (Global Recession & Financial Crisis 2008-2010) ...and current 2012 Euro Crisis,
Australia is not called the lucky country for nothing, however in relation to the recent global recession of 2008-2010 Australia emerged relatively unscathed, unlike the UK which has been absolutely crippled and will be for many years. In a nutshell, the Australian banking system is much more conservative and regulated than the UK and US banking systems and was NEVER allowed to run riot as the UK and US banking systems were. This has resulted in Australia easily weathering the global financial crisis and not dipping into recession unlike most of the rest of the world. A booming export market for Australian minerals and primary products has also helped an already strong economy to become a global economic powerhouse.

The current Euro crisis of 2011-12 is also affecting Australia (moderately) as it is such a serious issue, and banking is a global business with huge amounts of money flying around the globe instantly, however for the same reasons as the 2010 GFC - Australia is still a country that is the envy of the world with its ongoing growth, financial stability and a booming export market.

Interest Rates, Inflation Rate, Unemployment
At the time of writing (Dec 2011) interest rates are around 4.5% with an inflation rate of 3.5%  Unemployment has topped out at about 5% and is improving, the A$ is stable at above 97 cents to the USD and both business and consumer confidence is at record levels.  Foreign debt is still high - but in global terms it’s incredibly low  when compared to the rest of the world (UK?).

Australian States and Capital Cities Population
(Source: 2008-2056 Australian Bureau of Census and Statistics Projection Estimate)

New South Wales
Population: 6,549,177.
Sydney population 4,119,190

Victoria
Population: 3,592,391.
Melbourne population 3,559,700

Queensland
Population: 3,904,392.
Brisbane population 1,763,131.

South Australia
Population: 1,105,839.
Adelaide population 1,119,900.

Western Australia
Population: 1,959,088.
Perth population 1,445,078.

Tasmania
Population: 476,481.
Hobart population 200,525.

Northern Territory
Population: 192,898.
Darwin population 105,991.

Australian Capital Territory
Population: 324,034

Australian Population: (Gender Percentage)
The total population of Australia at January 2010 is estimated at 22.7 million. There are slightly more men than women in all age groups up to the age of 64. Above the age of 64 there are more women than men.

Australian Public Holidays 2011-2015 (Australian Government Public Holidays Link)

New Year's Day:
  Jan 1, 2015 Australia wide
Australia Day:  Jan 26,  2015 Australia wide
Labour Day: (WA) March 5, 2015 (Western Australia only)
Eight Hours Day: (TAS) March 12, 2015 (Tasmania only) 
Canberra Day: (ACT) 12 March 2015 (Canberra - ACT only) 
Labour Day: (VIC) March 12, 2015 (Victoria only)
Adelaide Cup Day: (SA) March 12, 2015 (South Australia only)
Good Friday:  Apr 06, 2015 Australia wide
Easter Saturday:  Apr 7, 2015 Australia wide
Easter Monday:   Apr 9, 2015 Australia wide
Easter Tuesday:  Apr 10, 2015 (Tasmania only) Statewide
Anzac Day:  Apr 25, 2012 Australia wide
May Day: (NT)  May 7, 2015 (Northern Territory only) Statewide
Labour Day: (QLD) May 7, 2015 (Queensland only) Statewide
Foundation Day: (WA) June 4, 2015 (Western Australia only) Statewide
Queen's Birthday: 11 June, 2015 (All states except Western Australia)
Picnic Day: (NT) Aug 6, 2015 (Northern Territory only)
Royal Queensland Show Day: (QLD) Aug 15, 2015 (QLD (Brisbane metro only)
Family Day & Community Day: (ACT) 08 Oct, 2015 (Canberra - ACT only)
Queen's Birthday: (WA) Oct 01, 2012 (Western Australia only) Statewide
Labour Day: 01 October ,2015 (NSW/ACT/SA)
Melbourne Cup Day: (VIC) Nov 6, 2015 (VIC) (Melbourne metropolitan only)
Christmas Day: Dec 25,  2015
Boxing Day: Dec 26, 2015

2012: Australian School Term Dates

Australian Government School Terms

Australian Time Zones
Australia straddles a number of time zones, which is confusing especially with business hours between the eastern and western seaboards of Australia, and also back to the UK. The eastern seaboard (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane) is 9 hours ahead (NON Australian Summer time) to UK GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In the Australian Summer (when daylight saving time applies), the Eastern Seaboard is 11 hours ahead to UK GMT.  Note: Queensland does NOT practice Daylight Saving Summer time so the time difference in Queensland in the Australian Summer is 10 hours and in the Australian winter the same as rest of the eastern seaboard - 11 hours. However the Western seaboard (Perth) is 8 hours ahead of GMT or 9 hours ahead in Australian Summer Time. Confused? - The best way to check the time is to use this world clock.

Australia to UK Pound Exchange Rate:
The UK (British) Pound is worth approximately A$1.60 Australian dollars as at 01 December 2011. A good currency converter can be found here.

Australian Visas
A valid passport is required by anyone wishing to travel to and enter Australia. Everyone - including UK citizens (but excepting holders of Australian and New Zealand passports) requires a valid visa to enter Australia, which MUST be obtained prior to travel. You can obtain a visa electronically for Australia by using this online Electronic Travel Authority, which will give you a visa for up to 3 months stay in Australia. If you require more information on visas please go to our separate VISA page.

Australian Customs (Australian Customs Link)
On entering Australia there are extremely strict laws prohibiting the entry of drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms, protected wildlife and other associated products. The best policy is if you are not sure of anything to declare it to customs on arrival.
 
Duty Free (*Updated 8th May 2012 )
( *Up until 1 September 2012- Tobacco)
Each person over 18 years of age is allowed to bring into Australia tax free:
• 250 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco or cigars.
• 2.25l of any alcoholic liquor.
• Articles for personal hygiene and clothing, not including perfume or fur apparel.
• Other goods to a value of A$900 (A$450 if under 18). Any other goods, including goods intended as gifts, a duty/tax-free allowance of $A900 per person over 18 years of age or $A450 per person under 18 applies.

( *After 1 September 2012- Tobacco)
From 1 September 2012, the inbound duty-free tobacco allowance for international travellers (including Australian travellers returning from overseas trips) will decrease to just one fifth of the current allowance. Travellers will be allowed to buy just 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of tobacco duty free. Existing rules let inbound travellers aged over 18 bring into Australia 250 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco products tax-free

Note: Restrictions on Liquids, Aerosols and Gels. (LAGs) All Australian international inbound and outbound flights are subject to security screening restrictions for liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs). As a traveller you are not able to carry onboard more than one litre in total of LAGs goods. LAGs must be in containers no larger than 100ml each and fit comfortably within a one litre transparent re-sealable plastic bag. LAGs restrictions apply to the following types of liquids, aerosols and gels, but are not limited to: • water and other drinks, soups, syrups, jams, stews,
sauces and pastes • foods in sauces or containing a high liquid content • creams, lotions, cosmetics and oils • perfumes • gels including hair and shower gels • contents of pressurised containers, including shaving foam, other foam and deodorants • pastes including toothpaste • mascara
• l ip gloss or lip balm and • any item of similar consistency at room temperature. Exceptions apply for medicines/medical products and baby
products. If you have larger amounts they should be packed in your checked-in luggage. Check with your airline before travelling. These articles must however accompany you through Customs as hand luggage and cannot be used for commercial purposes.
More LAGS info here: (pdf file - PDF reader required)

Cash
If you bring in or take out of Australia more than $A10,000 cash or the equivalent in foreign currency (travellers cheques excluded), you must declare it to Customs. Failure to do is a criminal  offence.

Medicines
Any medicinal products brought into Australia are subject to strict controls and it is strongly suggested that you declare them on arrival just to be sure. It is also strongly recommended that you have a letter or prescription from your doctor or hospital describing your medical condition and your medication.

Luggage inspection
Your luggage and hand baggage (especially hand baggage - which is always x-rayed and checked) may be inspected/xrayed before you board domestic and or international flights. Also upon arrival into Australia all luggage may be inspected. You MUST declare ANY items that may not pass quarantine laws, otherwise there is a good chance that will be fined or prosecuted.

Quarantine (Australian Quarantine & Customs Service- What you CANNOT bring in)
Australia’s flora and fauna is unique and being an island it is intended that it is kept that way for posterity. Any food, plant and animal products from overseas could introduce destructive pests and diseases to the country with devastating consequences. You must declare quarantine items on arrival. Such items can include fresh or packaged food, fruit, eggs, meat, vegetables, seeds, skins, feathers, wood and plants. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) screens and/or X-rays all luggage and uses highly trained sniffer dogs to find any high risk quarantine items. Failure to declare possible quarantine items such as food, plant and animal material could result in serious fines, and ignorance of these regulations is not accepted as an excuse to avoid prosecution. Don’t risk it.

Vaccinations
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by travellers over one year of age arriving within six days of having stayed overnight or longer in an infected country. (This would only apply if you travelled via such an infected country en-route to Australia). No special immunisations or medications are required for most trips to Australia.

Australian Tourist Taxes
On leaving Australia an airport departure tax is payable however this is included with your international airline ticket. * Departure tax will rise 17 per cent from $47 AU  to $55 AU from July 1 2012. Children under 12 years and 24 hour transit passengers are exempted from this tax. Landing taxes at Australian airports are also included in the price of your air ticket. Other taxes are also included in the cost of your accommodation, tours or services in Australia such as accommodation tax of 10% in New South Wales, (5% in the Northern Territory) a  "reef tax" or Environmental Management Charge of AU $4 for every person over the age of 4 to enter the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. (The Standard Tourist Program Charge to visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with a commerical operator will fall from AU6 to AU3.50 a day from July 1 2012 and the cost of a part-day pass will drop from AU $3 to AU $1.75. There is also a  tax of approx 1-2% on rental cars (varies from state to state).

Australian Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) (‘Duty’ Free)
Australia applies a Goods and Service Tax (GST) nationally which is very much along the same lines as UK VAT.
However as a tourist or bona fide visitor to Australia you can claim a refund (refund to your credit or switch card) on departure of this tax. The TRS has effectively replaced DUTY FREE and is in effect now the new DUTY FREE regulations. The TRS enables you to claim a refund, subject to certain conditions, of the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET) that you pay on goods you buy in Australia.
To claim a refund you must:

* Spend $300 (GST inclusive) or more in the one store and get a single tax invoice.
* Buy goods no more than 30 days before departure.
* Wear or carry the goods on board the aircraft or ship and present them along with your original tax invoice, passport and international boarding pass to a Customs Officer at a TRS facility.
* Claims at airports are only available up to 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of your flight. Claims at seaports  should be made no earlier than 4 hours and no later than 1 hour prior to the scheduled departure time of the vessel.

The refund only applies to goods you take with you as hand luggage or wear onto the aircraft or ship when you leave Australia It does not apply to services or goods consumed or partly consumed in Australia, such as wine, chocolate or perfume. However, unlike other tourist shopping schemes, most of the goods, such as clothing and cameras, can be used in Australia before departure. The TRS is open to all overseas visitors and Australian residents, except operating air and sea crew.

The GST refund is calculated by dividing the total amount of the purchase by 11. The WET refund is 14.5 percent of the price paid for wine. For example, if you buy goods for a GST-inclusive price of $A660 you will receive a refund of $A60. If the $A660 is made up of a camera ($A460) and wine ($A200), you will receive a total refund of $A89 (total GST refund of $A60 plus $A29 WET refund on the wine).  More information is available from the Australian Tourist Refund Scheme web site.
 
Australian clothing: What to pack/wear
In a word..layering! Take an assortment of mix n’ match clothing. Because of the breathtaking diversity and size of Australia your visit could cover the temperate climate of Hobart in Tasmania or Melbourne in Victoria, the heat of day temperatures in the desert outback at Ayers Rock, the freezing cold of the desert nights, the snow-fields of the Great Dividing range, the semi-tropical climate of Sydney and NSW, or the tropical climate of northern Australia. What to pack/wear depends very much on the time of year you are visiting Australia and of course your itinerary. Smart casual clothes are a good choice for dining out, casual shorts, chinos, jeans and a light top for day time wear backed up with a pullover or warm top, and you may need a jacket (tie optional) or suit and for women a more formal dress if you intend going to a theatre or show during your visit.

Australian Clothing Sizes
Australian clothing sizes are based on the metric system whilst UK clothing is loosely based on the old imperial system. Australian men’s sizes are different to the UK however Australian women’s sizes are ‘usually’ the same where an Australian size 10 dress is a UK size 10 dress. However, as in the UK, there are often differences between brand label sizing so all garments should be tried for size before buying. Also both women’s and men’s shoe sizes are about 1 size difference between the UK and Australian shoe sizes Below is an indication indication of the difference in men’s clothing size between UK and Australian sizes:

Men’s Shirts:

UK

14.5

15

15.6

16

16.5

17

17.5

18

Australia

37

38

39

41

42

43

44

45



CLICK HERE for a more comprehensive list of UK and European Men and Woman’s sizes to compare with Australian clothing/footwear sizes.

Australian Electricity/Voltage
Whilst Australian power/voltage is the same as Britain (240V/50hz AC) the power points and plugs are different, in that Australian plugs have a ‘y’ shaped 3 pin and power point, which will not accommodate the British 3 pin flat plug. As in Britain the third pin (and longest pin) is the earth pin. We suggest that you do not change all the UK pins on your hairdryers, mobile phone charges, ipods etc to Australian pins, but instead purchase a couple of UK-Australia adaptors at our online travel goods store. It is also worth noting that the VCR format in Australia is PAL the same as the UK and DVD compatibility is also the same as the UK system.

Australian Food
Australian cuisine today is world famous, with a blend of cuisine from all parts of the world combined with true indigenous cuisine. The superb local seafood, lamb roast, kangaroo meat and other staple Aboriginal foods along with Irish stew, meat and four vegs, bangers and mash of the early British and Irish settlers is now complemented with lasagna, kebabs, mousaka, sweet and sour pork, dim sums, hot curries, bouillabaisse, venison, Creole carri poule, ghoulash, lahksa, and many more world dishes. Australia’s multi cultural population has also created a whole new range of modern day foods skillfully prepared with the abundant supply of local and imported ingredients. World-class Australian wines have also added to the enjoyment of this rich Australian cuisine, enjoyed by all Australians and visitors to the country.

The Aborigines have been using Australia's natural food resources for the last 50,000 years with Aboriginal bush foods including deliciously tangy fruits from the rainforests, aromatic herbs from our woodlands, zingy pepper leaf and delicate snowberries from the southern highlands, spicy bush tomatoes from the desert, and lean rich game meats such as kangaroo and Emu. All Australian major cities and most towns feature a large number.

Australia: Disabled Facilities (A good disabled travellers web-site for Australia)
Whilst not as advanced as the UK, Australia has reasonably good disabled facilities in relation to wheelchair access to buildings and most modern hotels and renovated older accommodation have special accommodation rooms for the disabled. Public transport also is relatively disabled friendly however usually only in the larger cities. Special disabled taxis are also available for tourists in wheelchairs. Rental cars or vans with left foot accelerator or hand controls are also available for rental by disabled drivers. Tourist attractions such as Museums, Art Galleries Zoos etc are all have excellent disabled visitor facilities. If you are planning a visit to Australia however and you are disabled or taking a disabled person with you, we suggest that we plan your trip as far ahead as possible as only a limited amount of disabled accommodation is available at any time, especially over peak periods such as Xmas, Easter etc. We would be delighted to research this for you at no extra cost for your itinerary.

Australian Health System – Medical: Doctors & Hospital treatment
Australian medical services and standards are like the UK - classed as the best in the world. Like the UK NHS, Australia has a FREE National Health System called ‘Medicare’. As part of the reciprocal Commonwealth health/medical agreement between the UK and Australia all *bonafide UK citizens (*UK passport holders) are eligible to FREE emergency medical treatment at any Australian hospital. However for non-emergency medical treatment (usually from a doctors surgery) you will pay standard consultation charges (still considerably lower than the UK.) For full details check with the Australian department of Health and Ageing

Dangerous Insects
Australia is ‘bug capital’ of the world in some parts (especially ‘mozzies’..mosquitos) and flies can be of plague proportion in the outback during the day. (Our world famous ‘great Aussie salute’ – swatting away the flies!) Northern Australia and Tropical North Queensland are also prone to Ross River fever, dengue fever and encephalitis which are all spread by mosquitoes, so it is IMPERATIVE you take/use an effective all round insect repellant that works.

Dangerous Sea Stingers
If you fancy a swim in the sea along any of our great Aussie beaches be very aware of the risk of jellyfish stings especially in summer. Although usually not fatal, ‘blue bottle’ jellyfish in southern waters (Sydney beaches) give an incredibly painful sting (talking from experience) so it is best to take the lifesavers advice on the day to avoid these nasty critters.

Up in tropical north Australia (and northern Australia) we have two types of dangerous jellyfish. The very small (but very dangerous) irukandji jellyfish that should be avoided at all costs as they can deliver a fatal sting. Instances of stings however from these jellyfish are rare as beach lifesavers know the timing of these jellyfish as to when they are prevalent and beach bathing if allowed is only inside proofed stinger enclosures. The big, extremely nasty and incredibly deadly box jellyfish (Chironex Fleckeri) is the main danger however and you will find that everyone is extremely careful to avoid sea bathing during the wet season (usually November - March) when these creatures are prevalent off far northern Australia beaches. The GOOD news however is that both of these jellyfish DO NOT LIVE out on the Great Barrier Reef and only usually are to be found off the land beaches and mangrove estuaries where they breed.

Crocodiles
A hazard in northern Australia if swimming off the beaten tourist track but any crocodile inhabited area is always extremely well signposted and well..you would have to be extremely brave (and incredibly stupid!) to ignore any danger sign regarding these toothy reptiles.

Sunburn
Especially in the Australian summer is a real risk as well - especially to pale English skin and great care must always be taken whilst outside in direct sunlight. A factor 30+ sunscreen is a minimum - even for people who tan relatively ‘normally’.

Drugs (Recreational)
Don’t even THINK about thinking about bringing illegal or recreational drugs into Australia. Besides the certainty of a huge jail sentence, Australia has a drug interception and ‘clean up’ rate on entry to Australia that is the envy of the rest of the world. Even if your bag was/has inadvertently been placed next to another bag that was used to carry recreational drugs - the amazing Aussie Customs sniffer dogs will go berserk as happened to one hapless traveller I saw get picked up a few years ago coming into Australia. NO. NO. NO! 

Chemists in Australia
Are called the same as in the UK – chemists. They are plentiful and offer a good supply of ‘across the counter’ drugs and remedies as Boots and other high street chemists do in the UK. Be aware however that they are only permitted to fill prescription medicines that are issued by Australian doctors.

Sydney - New Year Eve - Sydney Harbour Fireworks
It has to be said - and its not just an Aussie myth - Sydney has THE BEST New Years Eve fireworks display in the world. Period! So much so, that New Years Eve in Sydney’s summer is now the number 1 destination in the world to celebrate New Years Eve, especially for sun starved Brits. However - be prepared to book at LEAST a year in advance (and pay a surcharge) to get prime accommodation on - or near the harbour or within the Sydney CBD, and at least 6-8 months in advance to get any accommodation in Sydney over the  Xmas/New Year period as you will be competing with thousands of other UK holiday makers with the same idea, as well as a global influx of other visitors - plus an awful lot of Aussies holidaying in Sydney over the same time! So - NOT a good idea to leave your booking until the last minute.  check out: NYE Sydney Harbour

Personal Safety in Australia
Basically the same as the rest of the western world, be careful and vigilant although violent crime is NOT common. Automatic and semi automatic weapons are totally banned and handguns are also illegal. Robbery is however a small risk especially in the tourist hotspots in the big cities where petty criminals do lurk, so be careful with your wallet and handbag and don’t flash expensive cameras, phones and jewellery around. Pickpockets also ply their trade - especially in crowded areas. Keep your wallets and handbags close to you.

Tipping in Australia
Before tourism really took off tipping was unheard of in Australia. However today it is well and truly entrenched - especially in big cities and always in restaurants everywhere. It is customary to tip 10% for a meal in a good restaurant but not for a snack or a cup of coffee. For cabs – depending on how you feel. Most Aussie’s will round the fare up to the nearest dollar but if you have had a particularly good cabbie you can tip him 5-10%. At hotels it is customary to tip a minimum of $A1 per bag or article to porters, bellboys, etc and if you really want to get to see a ‘hard to get into show’ or need something unusual in a hurry, make sure you REALLY look after the hotel concierge…! You can also leave change for tips for bar staff, hairdressers etc but it is not really expected even if you are a tourist or visitor.

Water Quality in Australia
Water quality is excellent in all capital cities (usually chlorinated and also fluoridated) but in tropical Queensland be careful - especially in the ‘wet season’ as water often carries sediment and sometimes parasites – unfortunately very true in the Cairns - Port Douglas - Mossman area in Tropical North Queensland. Do NOT drink the local tap water (stick to bottled water) as although it is natural rainforest water it tends to pick up a high level of cryptospiridium and guiardia. In rural or outback Australia shower and laundry water is often bore water, which is often slightly to medium salty or mineralised. Drinking water is usually water collected in rainwater tanks and is very pure. 

Taking your Pet to Australia
Don’t even think about it. Australia has THE toughest quarantine laws in the world. But - if you are emigrating Australia now supports the Pet Passport Program - but be prepared for a long quarantine and a host of other requirements for your pet to become an ‘aussiepet’..

Australian Newspapers/Magazines
Major National newspapers are The Australian (Monday through Friday), The Weekend Australian (Saturday), and the Australian Financial Review (Monday through Saturday). Top city papers are the Sydney Morning Herald  Monday through Saturday, Brisbane Courier Mail Monday through Saturday. The Bulletin is Australia's own weekly news magazine.

Australian Banks: Business Hours
Business Hours-Banks (the big 4 are Westpac, ANZ, National Bank and the Commonwealth Bank ) They are open Monday to Thursday 9:30am to 4pm, and stay open until 5pm on Friday.

Australian Shopping Hours
General business hours are Monday through Friday 8:30/9am to 5:30pm. Shopping hours are quite liberated with shops usually open from 9am to 5pm or 10am until 6pm, Monday to Thursday with most city and suburban shopping centres staying open on Friday night until 9pm. Many duty-free and tourist stores are open 7 days a week. On Saturday shopping hours are generally 9am until 5pm.

Embassies: British High Commission
Located in Canberra the national capital. British High Commission, Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra, ACT 2600 (tel. 02 6270 6666)

Emergencies in Australia: Fire/Ambulance/Police
Free call from anywhere in Australia: Dial 000 for police, ambulance, or the fire department.

Australian Liquor Laws
Hotel (Pub) drinking hours vary from hotel to hotel but generally most are open 6 days a week Monday through Saturday from about 10am to 10pm or midnight. The minimum drinking age is 18. Random breath tests and drunk-driving laws to catch drunk drivers are ferociously enforced. The maximum permitted blood alcohol level is 0.05. Alcohol is usually only sold in liquor stores, or "bottle shops" attached to a hotel pub, and unlike the UK is rarely sold in supermarkets.

Australia: Driving
Driving in Australia is on the same side of the road as the UK - the opposite to Europe and America. Roads are generally quite good but as detailed elsewhere be very aware of the stringent drink driving laws where you don’t just get a slap on the wrist – even as a visitor, as over imbibing and driving could find you quite easily with a jail term as well as an extremely hefty fine. Ditto for speeding as the sneaky camouflaged radar speed cameras are EVERYWHERE and unlike the polite UK police you don’t get nice signs warning you that there are cameras ahead (what a luxury UK drivers have in this one – how polite!) you just cop a MASSIVE fine!

We don’t recommend driving in Sydney unless you have patience and a good sense of direction, as traffic can be quite horrendous especially in peak hour. Melbourne ditto but not as bad. However, the freeway (motorways) around the capital cities are superb and well sign-posted. Motorways between capital cities are generally very good but not up to UK capacity with usually only two lanes in either direction. Speed limits are also strictly observed being 100 kph or 120 kph – a far cry from the 80 MPH that you whiz along at on the M1. The Pacific highway between Brisbane and Sydney although vastly improved is still a national disgrace and extremely dangerous - being one lane in either direction in many places along with slippery roads, blind corners and poor road surfaces. Fly instead or take the back roads, and potter along and take your time.
 
Obviously driver fatigue is a major factor of road accidents in Australia with long distances and endless miles of driving at a relatively slow 100kph and at dusk, also be aware with country driving with ‘wooly jumpers’ (sheep) and other livestock that might have wandered onto the road side as well as the worst hazard being kangaroos, which can weigh up to 500lbs or so and which make a huge mess of a car - as well as the occupants!

Australia: Air Distances
Perth - Adelaide 2,118 kms flight time 2 hours 40 min
Adelaide - Melbourne 640 kms flight time 1 hour 10 min
Melbourne - Sydney 706 kms flight time 1 hour 20 min
Sydney - Brisbane 752 kms flight time 1 hour 25 min
Sydney - Perth 3,274 kms flight time 4 hours 10 min
Sydney - Darwin  3,151 kms flight time 4 hours 40 min
Sydney - Broome 3,382 kms flight time 5 hours 15 min
Sydney - Cairns 1,970 kms flight time 3 hours 10 min
 Cairns - Darwin 1,674 kms flight time 2 hours 30 min
 Brisbane - Cairns 1,391 kms flight time 2 hours 15 min
 Darwin - Broome (via Kununurra)1,172 kms flight time 2 hours 25 min
 Darwin - Alice Springs 1,305 kms flight time 1 hour 55 min
 Darwin - Perth 2,653 kms flight time 4 hours
 Alice Springs - Ayers Rock 332 kms flight time 45 min

Air Conditioning
ALL modern rental cars are air-conditioned to cope with the summer heat and also have effective heating for what are suprisingly quite cold winters especially down south (Victoria, Tasmania)

Petrol
Is not as expensive as per current UK standards and currently (01 December 2011) is around (A$1.48 cents per litre = UK £92p per litre with diesel around A$1.55 per litre. A lot cheaper than the UK (currently around £1.38 per litre) but the cost of petrol (and diesel) has doubled in price in Australia in the last 3 years! Petrol stations are plentiful on the main highways, roads and most towns. Most stay open 7 days a week from 8am-8pm with highway stations also open 24 hours a day.

Taxis
Are cheap by London and UK standards - but obviously the current strength of the A$ is affecting the prices - upwards! A  trip from a CBD hotel in Melbourne to Tullamarine International Airport (approx 15 miles) currently is approx $A85-90 dollars (£55.00) Sydney taxis are a little dearer than Melbourne and Brisbane, but Adelaide and Perth taxi costs are cheaper again. One of the major advantages of using taxis in Australia is that all city taxis take credit cards for payment as they have onboard credit card machines. A great idea that London taxis should have followed years ago!

Hitchhiking
Don’t. Whilst it is not illegal, it is strongly discouraged by the police, especially for women. It’s potentially very dangerous as it is in any country. An excellent and relatively cheap bus and rail network operates between all cities and town in Australia, and there is simply no need to hitchhike.

 Public Toilets
Public toilets in Australia are extremely clean and well sign-posted and are in every  town and city. For drivers every roadhouse (a petrol station with a restaurant attached) and every petrol station also has clean and well kept toilets which are free to use. Most roadside rest areas, parks and national parks also have good clean public toilets.

Australian Postage
Australia has a monopoly single postal service like the Royal Mail in the UK. Each suburb and most large towns in Australia have a Post Office. Every capital city in every state has a large Post Office building called a GPO. Most newsagents also sell stamps. A postcard costs approx. A$2.00 (letter up to 50grams weight) and takes approx 5 working days to reach the UK from Australia by airmail. Also if you have an American Express card you can have mail sent and held at any American Express office in Australia for collection.

Australia follows international standards for the addressing of letters in the following format:
Addressee -Name of person the letter is addressed to
Company or organisation (if applicable)
Street address or post office box
City, State or Territory
Australia (if addressed from overseas)

Finally, the post (zip) code is placed towards the bottom right of the envelope. Like the UK, (although not as incredibly accurate as the UK) , Australia has an effective postcode system to identify the region where the mail is to go. Each state has a different code range:
(** Use this onsite Post Code calculator to find your Australian Postcode)
 
Victoria: (VIC) 3000-3999
New South Wales: (NSW) 2000-2999
Queensland: (QLD) 4000-4999
South Australia: (SA) 5000-5999
Western Australia: (WA) 6009-6999
Tasmania: (TAS) 7000-7499
Northern Territory: (NT) 0800-0899
Australian Capital Territory: (ACT) 2000-2999

Australian Telephones/Telecommunications
Australian telephone and fax numbers are listed with a city code followed by a telephone number - a Sydney phone number would read (02) 12345678. However to access this number from outside Australia you need to drop the zero in the city code. For example, when dialing this number from the UK you would dial 00 (BT International access) then 61 (Australian Country Code) then 2 (Sydney area code minus the 0) then the actual telephone number:

Example: 00-61-2-12345678
To dial a mobile (cell phone) in Australia from the UK you would do the same but NO area code applies: i.e.: if the mobile number was 0123456789 you would dial 00 (BT International access) then 61 (Australian Country Code) then drop the 0 in front of the mobile number then dial the actual mobile number itself:
Example: 00-61-123456789

Telephone Area Codes
Australia's telephone area codes are: New South Wales and the ACT, 02; Victoria and Tasmania, 03; Queensland, 07; and South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory, 08. Long-distance calls within Australia on Telstra and Optus network are half-price from 7pm to 7am Monday through Friday and anytime on weekends.

Toll toll-free numbers
Australian toll free phone numbers with the prefix number 1800 are toll-free; numbers starting with 13 or 1300 are charged at the local fee of 28’ for the call in its entirety from anywhere in Australia. These numbers only can be used within Australia. Numbers beginning with 1900 (or 1901, 1902, etc.) are pay-for-service lines (like 900 numbers in the UK) and you can be charged up to A$5 a minute. DON’T use them!

Local Calls
Local calls in Australia are not timed and costs start from 40’ from a public telephone, or A30’ from a private phone in a home or office.(1 December 2011) More Information on Australian Phone Plan costs here:

Pay Phones
The best place to find a public phone in Australia is outside a post office or at a bar or a service station. Public pay-phones are color-coded – red ones are for local calls while green, gold and blue ones can also be used for international calls.  Public phones accept coins or phone-cards, which are available at most stores and newsagents.  Credit-phones, which are located at most hotels and airports, accept most major credit cards.  Local calls from a public phone cost around $.50 and are untimed and Country Direct calling cards (available for purchase through hotels and travel agents) allow you to make international calls for the price of a local call.

Phone Cards
Newsagents and tourist information centres usually sell Phone Cards (which are swipe cards that you use in payphones) or ‘Phone Away’ cards (which you use by dialing access codes printed on the card) containing a prepaid allotment of call time, however not all public telephones are set up to accept these cards yet.

Operator Assisted Calls
To reach the operator for help making a call, dial tel. 1234. To make a "reverse charges" telephone call dial the operator on 12550.

Directory Assistance
Directory Assistance telephone number is 1223 for numbers within Australia, or 1225 for overseas numbers.

Online Telephone Directory
You can easily search for your Australian phone number using Telstra's internet listing of Australian Telephone Directories at The Australian Yellow Pages (business listings) and the The Australian White Pages (residential and commercial listings).

Email, Internet, Wireless Networks
For email and Internet access while travelling around Australia there are plentiful Internet cafes in every city and town. If you are carrying a laptop, most hotels and accommodation houses now also have dedicated Internet access plugs in the rooms, and a lot of hotels and cafes (in the big cities especially) have now set up wireless zones (“wifi”) that you can just log in to the wireless network on arrival and away you go...


Mobile phones (Rental) Are very popular in Australia and are available for daily rental in major cities.

Mobile Phones (General) (Using your UK mobile in Australia)
All carriers offer service in major cities, large towns, and major highways on the East Coast. There is none - or very little service in unpopulated areas away from major cities, roads  and built up areas - ie outback NSW, Qld, WA etc. Telstra's 850mhz 3G network provides wider coverage in smaller towns and lightly populated areas.

Mobile phone companies in UK (Orange, Vodaphone etc) have reciprocal plans with Australian telecommunication companies (Telstra or Optus) so that on arrival your UK phone will automatically switch over to the Australian mobile telephone system and you will pay the local Australian rate plus a small surcharge. Note! Although a huge temptation :-) be careful of large texts and texting your mobile phone pictures back home to the UK - no matter how much you want to brag (naturally!) as the costs for data transmission can be quite expensive! And - make sure to turn OFF your DATA ROAMING (!) otherwise you will have a stomach churning bill to pay when you get back home! Same for email  - pick it up from an internet cafe!

For full rates and to check that your mobile has global roaming effected for your Australian visit call your local UK mobile phone company to confirm eligibility and costs prior to departure from the UK. Note that your UK phone message answering system (i.e.: Orange answering system) does not usually allow access to your phone messages from outside of the UK. Again check with your mobile phone company to find out full details.

Australia has three nationwide cellular (mobile) phone networks based on the GSM standard (900 and 1800mhz) operated by Telstra [75], Optus [76] and Vodafone [77]. There are also four UMTS networks, two of which are nationwide. One is operated by Telstra (UMTS 850mhz, also marketed by Telstra as Next G) and the other by Optus (a combination of UMTS 2100mhz and 900mhz). The other two networks are limited to capital cities, are on the 2100mhz band and are operated by Vodafone and Three [78]. Vodafone have announced a nationwide 3G (UMTS) rollout on the 900mhz band.

Cheap Calls to Australia from the UK
In today’s fast moving telecommunications age we suggest you should not just pick up the phone and pay BT ‘full whack’ prices – they are well enough off already. If you wish to call Australia we suggest you use a competitive discount telecommunication company such as Alpha telecom, One.Tel etc (current costs 12p a minute UK-Australia) or even Skype, (our choice for our families back home!) the FREE Internet telephone system which is remarkably effective as long as the person you are calling also has Skype connected to their computer and you know their Skype address.

Australian Currency
Australian Banknotes:
The Australian dollar is currently the sixth-most-traded currency in the world (behind the US Dollar, yen, euro, British Pound and Canadian Dollar accounting for approximately 4–5% of worldwide foreign exchange transactions.

Currency History
In 1913, the first Commonwealth of Australia Ten Shilling notes were printed in Melbourne. A further three denominations were issued in that year - one pound, five pound and ten pound notes. The large denomination notes ranging from 20, 50, 100 and 1000 pounds were all in circulation by 1914 and continued until 1938 when the 20-pound note was withdrawn, followed by the 50 and 100 pound notes in 1945. (The 1000 pound note was withdrawn from general circulation on June 30th. 1915 - all known (?) stocks were destroyed in 1969.)

The remaining Imperial denominations were continued until the introduction of the decimal system to Australia in 1966, when pounds, shillings and pence along with miles, yards and feet and pounds (lbs) and ounces (oz) went out the window… This saw the introduction of the decimal currency system (100 cents to a dollar) with coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and the introduction of notes in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. The $1 and $2 notes have now been replaced with coins and now the 1 and 2 cent coins have also been removed from circulation with amounts rounded up or rounded down to the nearest 5 cents.

Notes:
 Notes are $5, (dark pink(ish) $10, (blue) $ 20, (red)  $50, (yellow)  and $100 (grey). The paper currency uses cutting edge world leader technology for its polymer notes to deter forging and also give the notes a much longer circulation life.

Coins:
(Denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and $1 and $2 coins)
Coins are minted at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra, the national capital. The head of all coins carries the year of issue and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, also Queen of Australia. The current portrait design, in use since 1985, is by Raphael Maklouf. This design replaced the portrait of the Queen by Arnold Machin which was standard on all coins between 1966 and '84. The standard reverse (or tail) designs are reproductions of Australian fauna and these have been designed by Stuart Devlin, except for the $2 coin which depicts the bust of an Aboriginal Elder sculpted by Horst Hahne.

The five-cent coin depicts an echidna, or spiny ant-eater, one of only two egg-laying mammals. It grows to about 45 cm (17.7 inches) long and depends on its spines for protection. Echidnas live in most Australian habitats. The 10-cent coin shows a male lyrebird dancing, its magnificent tail expanded and thrown forward over its head. A clever mimic, the lyrebird inhabits the dense, damp forests of Australia's eastern coast.

The reverse of the 20-cent piece presents the world's only other egg-laying mammal (or monotreme), the platypus. The Platypus is found on the banks of waterways on the east of the continent. It has webbed feet, rich, brown fur and uses its duck-like bill to hunt for food along the bottom of streams and rivers. The standard 50-cent piece carries a representation of the Australian Coat of Arms, which is the six state badges on a central shield supported by a kangaroo and an emu, with a background of Mitchell grass. The 50-cent piece is often minted with special designs for commemorative purposes. The 1994 coin, for example, carries a design, which commemorates the International year of the Family. Other commemorative designs appeared on the 50-cent coin in 1970, '81, '82, '88 and '91.

The one-dollar coin is also used to carry commemorative designs. Introduced in 1984, the standard coin depicts five kangaroos, one of Australia's most recognisable animals. Commemorative designs include the International Year of Peace in 1986, Australia's bicentenary in 1988, the 1992 Barcelona Games and, in 1993, Landcare Australia which raised awareness of water quality issues in Australia. The two-dollar coin shows an Aboriginal tribal elder set against a background of the Southern Cross and native grass trees. The design restores to Australian currency a recognition of Australia's Aboriginal heritage, a recognition that was temporarily absent when the one-dollar coin replaced the one-dollar note in 1984. The one and two dollar coins are made of 92 per cent copper, six per cent aluminium and two per cent nickel. They feature interrupted milling along the edge as an aid for visually impaired people.

Smoking
In a move that is much the same as the current anti smoking legislation in the UK,  Australia has also put in place a ban on smoking for all states. All states have now banned smoking in pubs, bars, restaurants and inside public places. But - in the rugged outback Northern Territory - a total ban on smoking only became effective in 2010! In Tasmania it is also illegal to smoke in your car.  More information on current smoking regulations in Australia.

Credit Cards, Switch Cards, Travellers Cheques
What to take. Personally we recommend a mix of all, however travellers cheques can be a costly investment in that you usually lose money though reverse exchange rate when you convert back any unused Australian travellers cheques to UK Pounds. We generally recommend that you try to pay for as much as possible before you leave the UK  i.e. accommodation, most full day tours such as the Great Barrier Reef, any extended tours, car rental etc and of course any air/rail/bus fares in Australia. This allows you to budget much better whilst away and of course give you a much better idea as you progress through your holiday of your spending on other things.

We then recommend that you take about $A500 in cash for each family member travelling and that you use your UK DEBIT card to withdraw further cash (in small amounts!) from your UK bank saving account whilst away. ALL Australian banks have extensive ATM networks (Automatic Teller Machines) and accept UK DEBIT/SWITCH card cash withdrawals. Make sure however that your UK bank allows overseas cash withdrawals on your card and that you know what the charge is also – if any.  Credit cards should be used sparingly (and for a back up) and for larger purchases such as duty free, accommodation costs etc, and also paid promptly on arrival back home to avoid costly interest charges being applied. MAKE SURE that you keep a copy of ALL details for your credit cards, debit cards, credit cards, travellers cheques, passports, air tickets and travel vouchers – a full set with you at all times in your hand luggage/hotel safe whilst travelling as well as a full back home with friends so you have 2 backups at all times.

Factory Shopping Outlets in Australia
To stretch the buying power of your UK pound to the Aussie dollar even further, Australia has an extensive network of Factory Outlet Shops where you can obtain designer labels at up to 50% per cent off the price in the shops. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane Surfers Paradise, Adelaide and Perth all have a great selection of factory outlets featuring all the big brand European brand names. We would totally recommend a trip to these outlets as it is incredible value buying with Australian dollars let alone UK pounds. If  you are interested in Factory Outlet Shopping in Australia we recommend you use this site: Australian Factory Outlets

Travel Insurance
Of course, TRAVEL INSURANCE is COMPULSORY for your trip to Australia, and should cover the maximum amount you can afford for all contingencies, especially including medical cover. We recommend you contact us to discuss the best options for your insurance
2012: Australian School Term Dates

State

Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Term 4

Australian Capital Territory
ACT

Friday 3 February
to Friday 13 April

Monday 30 April to
Friday 6 July

Monday 23July to
Friday 28 September

Monday 15 October to
Friday 21 December

New South Wales
NSW

27 January - 5 April

23 April - 29 June

16 July - 21 September

8 October - 21 December

Northern Territory
NT

Monday 30 January to
 Thursday 5 April

Monday 16 April to
 Friday 22 June

Monday 23 July to
 Friday 28 September

Monday 8 October to
 Friday 14 December

Queensland
QLD

23 January - 30 March

10 April - 22 June

9 July - 21 September

8 October - 14 December

South Australia
SA

30 Jan - 5 Apr 

23 Apr - 29 Jun

16 Jul - 21 Sep

8 Oct - 14 Dec

Tasmania
TAS

14 February - 1 June

18 June - 7 September

24 September 20 December

Victoria
VIC

1 February to 30 March

16 April to 29 June

16 July to 21 September

8 October to 21 December

Western Australia
WA

Wednesday 1 February to  Thursday 5 April

Monday 23 April to
 Friday 6 July

Monday 23 July  to
 Friday 28 September

Monday 15 October to
Tuesday 18 December


 

© Copyright:  2013 - 2015 Travel4Me Ltd

TERMS & CONDITIONS

PRIVACY

OUR COOKIE POLICY

Your Financial Protection: All holiday packages and flights booked from this website are financially protected. All air holiday packages and airfares shown on this website are arranged through Spirit of Remembrance Ltd: Company UK Number 779518 who act as our legally contracted travel booking partner. Spirit of Remembrance Ltd provides financial protection for our clients through UK Travel Trust Association Licence number Q1234. All client booking monies for all bookings done through Holidays 4 Me Ltd  are held by Spirit of Remembrance Ltd in their Travel Trust Association Account. For further information visit the Travel Trust Association. Note that our financial protection only covers air travel and holidays that originate in the UK. Please see our Terms & Conditions for more information.

Our Corporate Website:  Holidays 4 Me  Our Battlefields & Remembrance Division: Spirit of Remembrance: Battlefield Tours Australia: Battlefield Tours New Zealand: Battlefield Tours UK: Battlefield Tours Canada: Battlefield Tours USA Holidays & Travel: Spirit of Maldives: Spirit of Sri Lanka: Spirit of Bali: Spirit of Malaysia: Renewal of Vows:  Our UK Visitor Website: UK Travel Bureau