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Australia visitor information


Australian currency and banking

The currency of Australia is the Australian dollar, which comprises 100 cents.

All major credit cards are recognised and Australia has an extensive 24-hour cash machine (ATM) network. Travellers’ cheques are also widely accepted.

Trading banks are generally open Monday-Friday from 9:30am – 4:00pm.

Australian dollar exchange rate

Typically, the Australian dollar is relatively weak in comparison to major currencies such as British Sterling, the Euro, or the US dollar. This makes Australia an affordable destination for many travellers. The Australian dollar is currently (as at 30 November 2009) worth approximately USD 0.90, GBP 0.55, and Euro 0.60.

 

Australian shopping

Shopping hours in Australia can vary a great deal depending on the individual city or town but are generally 9:00am-5:30pm, Monday to Saturday. Many shops may also open for trading with limited hours on Sundays (usually around 10:00am-4:00pm). Stores catering to tourists are usually open every day with extended hours.

Australia has a goods and services tax (GST) of 10% on most goods and services and this is typically included in the displayed price. Under the Tourist Refund Scheme tourists can claim a refund on the GST charged on items purchased whilst in Australia. To claim a refund you must spend at least AUD$300 (including GST) in the one store and receive an original tax invoice, buy goods no more than 30 days prior to departure from Australia and carry the item as hand luggage or wear the item onboard the aircraft. Claims can be made at the airport up to 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure. For more information see http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=4263.

 

Australian duty-free shopping

There are duty free and tax free stores at all international airports within Australia and also within major city centres and tourist areas.  There are strict rules limiting the amount of liquids, including duty-free alcohol, skin care and perfume  that can be carried on board flights departing from or arriving into Australia, please ensure you check with your individual airline in regards to their regulations.

 

Australian public holidays

Australian public holidays for 2010 are as follows, however please note these can vary by state and there are many regional public holidays that are not listed below.

New Years Day Friday 1 January
Australia Day Tuesday 26 January
Good Friday Friday 2 April
Easter Saturday Saturday 3 April
Easter Monday Monday 5 April
ANZAC Day Monday 26 April
Queen's Birthday (except in WA) Monday 14 June
Labour Day (only in SA, NSW and ACT) Monday 4 October
Christmas Day holiday Monday 27 December
Boxing Day holiday Tuesday 28 December

 

Australian school holiday dates

School holidays vary from state to state. Please refer to the Australian government website for school holiday dates:

 

Australian daylight saving dates

The southern states of New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania all employ daylight saving during the summer months of the year. Across these states, daylight saving for begins at 2am Eastern Standard Time on the first Sunday in October when the clocks are put forward by one hour and ends at 2am Eastern Standard Time (3am summer time) on the first Sunday in April when the clocks are put back by one hour.

West Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory do not employ daylight savings.

 

Telephony services

Australia enjoys a very high standard of telephony services including extensive coverage for mobile phones within major cities (coverage can vary in quality across regional areas). Additionally, there is a network of public telephones which operate with coins, credit cards, or prepaid phone cards.

  • In an emergency dial 000

Mobile phones

If your mobile phone has roaming capability, you will be able to use this in Australia. Please check with you mobile phone company that it is activated. You can also hire mobile phones from all international airports on arrival.

Phone numbers

Australia's telephone numbers comply with the international format of country code, area code, telephone number. All phone numbers listed in this web site are displayed +61 2 1234 5678, where +61 denotes the country code, 2 the area code, and 1234 5678 the telephone number.

 

Australia telephone dialling guide

Calling Australia from overseas

Australian country code 61
International calls to Australia To make a call to Sydney from overseas you need to dial your local international access code (typically 00) followed by the Australian country code (61) followed by the area code for New South Wales (2) followed by the eight-digit telephone number. For example, 00 61 2 1234 5678.

 

Calling within Australia

National access code 0
Area codes 2 - New South Wales and ACT 3 - Victoria and Tasmania 7 - Queensland 8 - South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory
National calls within Australia To make a call to New South Wales or ACT from anywhere within Australia (but outside of NSW or ACT itself) you need to dial our national access code (0) followed by the area code for NSW or ACT (2) followed by the eight-digit telephone number. For example, 02 1234 5678.
Local calls within Australia To make a local call (to a number located in the same town or city that you are in) you just need to dial the eight-digit telephone number. For example, 1234 5678.

 

Calling overseas from Australia

International access code 0011
International calls from Australia To call home to, say, New York in the United States from anywhere in Australia you need to dial our international access code (0011) followed by the country code for the United States (1) followed by the area code for New York (212) followed by the seven-digit telephone number. For example, 0011 1 212 123 4567.

 

Safety

Australia is generally a very safe place to travel, however it is important to use common sense and take precautionary actions.

Don’t leave valuables such as passports, cash, laptops, or cameras in unattended cars or campervans.

Avoid venturing into remote, isolated, or unlit areas at night, especially by yourself.

Lock your room or campervan in the evenings and whenever you leave your accommodations.

If you require help or feel threatened do not hesitate to ask police or bystanders for help. The Australian police are happy to provide information and advice. Please ensure you report any theft or crime to the police immediately.

In an emergency dial 000 from any phone (fire, police, ambulance, search and rescue).

 

Electricity and power outlets

Electricity is supplied throughout Australia at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. An adaptor or converter will be necessary, unless the electrical item has a multi-voltage option. Power outlets accept 3 or 2-flat-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted. Most hotels have adaptors, or they can be purchased at a wide range of retail outlets.

 



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