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Australia

Visa Requirements:

Visa Required

Languages Spoken:

English

Currency Used:

Australian Dollar (AUD)

General Information

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest urban area is Sydney.

Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, it includes a diverse range of habitats from alpine heaths to tropical rainforests, and is recognized as a megadiverse country.

Australia has six states—New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), South Australia (SA), Tasmania (TAS), Victoria (VIC) and Western Australia (WA)—and two major mainland territories—the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory (NT). In most respects these two territories function as states, except that the Commonwealth Parliament has the power to modify or repeal any legislation passed by the territory parliaments.

Australia is a wealthy country; it generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking and manufacturing. It has a market economy, a relatively high GDP per capita, and a relatively low rate of poverty. In terms of average wealth, Australia ranked second in the world after Switzerland in 2013.

Ranked fifth in the Index of Economic Freedom, Australia is the world's twelfth largest economy and has the sixth highest per capita GDP (nominal) at US$56,291. The country was ranked second in the United Nations 2016 Human Development Index. All of Australia's major cities fare well in global comparative livability surveys; Melbourne reached top spot for the fourth year in a row on The Economist's 2014 list of the world's most livable cities, followed by Adelaide, Sydney, and Perth in the fifth, seventh, and ninth places respectively. Australia has among the highest house prices in the world.

Australia

Places To Go

Australia is the 6th largest country in the world, and its combination of natural wonder and developed cities has attracted tourists for a long time.

In 2015, over 7.5 million people visited the country. From snorkeling trips on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, whale watching at Hervey Bay, visiting the Sydney Opera or skiing on Mount Hotham, there are as many places to explores and activities to do as one can imagine.

Sydney

Sydney, capital of New South Wales and one of Australia's largest cities, is best known for its harbor front Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port are hubs of waterside life, with the arched Harbour Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Garden nearby. Sydney Tower’s outdoor platform, the Skywalk, offers 360-degree views of the city and suburbs.

Melbourne

State capital of Victoria in south-eastern Australia. It is known for being the cultural capital of Australia, featuring unique arts, sports and music.

Brisbane

Capital of Queensland, is a large city on the Brisbane River. Clustered in its South Bank cultural precinct are the Queensland Museum and Science center, with noted interactive exhibitions. Another South Bank cultural institution is Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, among Australia's major contemporary art museums. Looming over the city is Mt. Coot-tha, site of Brisbane Botanic Gardens.

Cairns

Considered the gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, is a city in tropical Far North Queensland. Its Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park tells the stories of indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with music and dance. Cairns Esplanade, lined in bars and restaurants, has a swimming lagoon. Northwest of the city, Daintree National Park spans mountainous rainforest, gorges and beaches.

Perth

Capital of Western Australia, sits where the Swan River meets the southwest coast. Sandy beaches line its suburbs, and the huge, riverside Kings Park and Botanic Garden on Mt. Eliza offer sweeping views of the city. The Perth Cultural Centre houses the state ballet and opera companies, and occupies its own central precinct, including a theatre, art galleries and the Western Australian Museum.

The Gold Coast

A metropolitan region south of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. It's famed for its long sandy beaches, surfing spots and elaborate system of inland canals and waterways. It’s also home to theme parks such as Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild. Inland, hiking trails crisscross Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest.

The Blue Mountains

A rugged region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales. Known for dramatic scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and villages dotted with guesthouses, galleries and gardens. Katoomba, a major town in the area, borders Blue Mountains National Park and its bushwalking trails. Echo Point affords views of the storied Three Sisters sandstone rock formation.

Adelaide

South Australia’s cosmopolitan coastal capital. Its ring of parkland on the River Torrens is home to renowned museums such as the Art Gallery of South Australia, displaying expansive collections including noted Indigenous art, and the South Australian Museum, devoted to natural history. The city's Adelaide Festival is an annual international arts gathering with spin-offs including fringe and film events.

Darwin

The capital of Australia's Northern Territory and a former frontier outpost. It's also a gateway to massive Kakadu National Park. Its popular waterfront area has several beaches and green areas like Bicentennial Park. Also near the water is the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, displaying Southeast Asian and Pacific art, plus a pearling luger and other seafaring vessels.

Byron Bay

A coastal town in the southeastern Australian state of New South Wales. It’s a popular holiday destination, known for its beaches, surfing and scuba diving sites. Cape Byron State Conservation Park is on a headland with a lighthouse. Between June and November, humpback whales can be spotted from headland viewpoints such as the Captain Cook Lookout.

Fraser Island

Off Australia’s eastern Queensland coast, is the world's largest sand island, stretching over 120km. Panoramic viewpoints include Indian Head, a rocky outcrop on the island's easternmost tip, and the Cathedrals, a cliff famous for sculpted ribbons of colored sand. It's a camping and ecotourism destination, with beaches and swimming sites at Lake McKenzie, Lake Wabby and other freshwater pools.

Whitsunday Islands

Seventy- four islands which lie between the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef, a massive stretch of coral teeming with marine life. Most of the islands are uninhabited. They're characterized by dense rainforest, hiking trails and white sand beaches. The town of Airlie Beach on the mainland is the region's central hub.

Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park

A national park located in Northern Territory, Australia. The park is home to both Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

Kakadu National Park

Biodiverse national park with a monsoon climate and dotted by coastal plains, rivers and marshes.

Hobart

Capital of Australia's island state of Tasmania, sits on the River Derwent. At its fashionable Salamanca Place, old sandstone warehouses host galleries and cafes. Nearby is Battery Point, a historic district with narrow lanes and colonial-era cottages. The city's backdrop is 1,270m-high Mount Wellington, with sweeping views, plus hiking and cycling trails.

Kangaroo Island

Off the mainland of South Australia, southwest of Adelaide. Over a third of the island is protected in nature reserves, home to native wildlife like sea lions, koalas and diverse bird species. In the west, Flinders Chase National Park is known for penguin colonies and striking coastal rock formations, like the sculpted Remarkable Rocks and the stalactite-covered Admirals Arch.

Surfers Paradise

A seaside resort on Queensland's Gold Coast in eastern Australia. It's known for its high-rise skyline and Surfers Paradise Beach, which hosts a popular market several evenings a week. Along Cavill Avenue are shops, cafes and lively nightclubs. The towering Q1 building, with its Sky Point observation deck, offers panoramic ocean and city views.

Canberra

Australia’s capital, inland from the country's southeast coast. Surrounded by forest, farmland and nature reserves, it earns its nickname, the "Bush Capital.” The city's focal point is Lake Burley Griffin, filled with sailboats and kayaks. On the lakeshore is the massive, strikingly modern Parliament House, as well as museums including the National Gallery, known for its indigenous art collections.

Port Douglas

A town on the Coral Sea in the tropical far north of Queensland, Australia. It's known for its beach resorts and as a base for visits to both the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest reef system, and Daintree National Park, home to biodiverse rainforest. In town, Macrossan Street is lined with boutique shops and restaurants. Curving south is popular Four Mile Beach.

Grampians National Park

A national park in Victoria, famous for Large national park featuring prominent mountain ridges, well noted for their popularity with climbers.

The Sunshine Coast

Located in Queensland it encompasses beach resorts, surf spots and rural hinterland in southern Queensland, Australia. It stretches from the coastal city of Caloundra, near Brisbane, north to the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park, home to multicolored sand dunes, mangrove forests, and shallow lakes. Upscale Noosa Heads has boutique shops, waterways, and walking trails through Noosa National Park.

Broome

A beach resort town in western Australia’s Kimberley region. Along its Indian Ocean coastline, the white sands of 22km-long Cable Beach offer a dramatic backdrop for sunset camel rides. At Gantheaume Point nearby, dinosaur tracks are revealed in the beach’s red rocks during low tide. Broome’s historic Chinatown overlooks Roebuck Bay, a jumping off point for cruises to local pearl farms.

Phillip Island

A popular day trip from Melbourne, lies just off Australia’s southern coast. At Summerland Beach, spectators gather daily at sunset to watch the Penguin Parade, when Little penguins come ashore in groups. The Nobbies outcrop is the viewing site for Seal Rocks, home to a large colony of Australian fur seals. The Phillip Island Circuit is a well-known track for motorcycle and car racing.

Kuranda

A mountain village near Cairns, in Queensland, on Australia's northeast coast. It's known for the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which winds along forested hillside tracks carved out by early settlers. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway offers ocean-view gondola rides above a tropical rainforest. In the rugged Barron Gorge National Park, the imposing Barron Falls tumble over craggy rocks into the Barron River.

Noosa

Located in the Sunshine Coast Region, Queensland, the Shire of Noosa is a local government area about 130 kilometers north of Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast district of South East Queensland, Australia. The shire covers an area of 868.7 square kilometers, and existed as a local government entity from 1910 until 2008, when it amalgamated with the Shire of Maroochy and City of Caloundra to form the Sunshine Coast Region.

Freycinet National Park

A national park in Tasmania, and a protected peninsula of mountains and white sandy beaches with campsites and a visitors' center.

Coffs Harbour

A city on the north coast of New South Wales, Australia. It’s known for its beaches and the Big Banana monument and amusement park. In the waters off Coffs Harbour Marina is the Solitary Islands Marine Park, home to abundant wildlife, seasonal whales and coral reefs. Just east is the Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve, with its large population of wedge-tailed shearwater birds and learning center.

Royal National Park

Expansive national park in New South Wales, with an oceanfront cliff walk, plus other trails through grassland & forest. Well known for great hiking, with stunning natural backdrops.

Cape Tribulation

A remote headland and ecotourism destination in northeast Queensland, Australia. A coastal area within Daintree National Park, it offers a combination of rainforest and beaches. Boat tours are available to the Great Barrier Reef, lying to the east. Walking routes include boardwalks and a ridge trail on Mount Sorrow. Bird-watching and jungle zip-lining are popular activities.

Margaret River

A small town south of Perth in western Australia, known for its craft breweries, boutiques and surrounding wineries. Beaches and surf breaks line the nearby coast, whose waters host migratory whales (Jun–Nov). Stretching between 2 lighthouses north and south of the town, the long-distance walk, the Cape to Cape Track, fringes the limestone caves and sea cliffs of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.

Hervey Bay

A coastal city in southern Queensland, is widely known as a site for observing humpback whales. Whale-watching boats operate during the July to November migration season. It's also a hub for tours to nearby Fraser Island, which has beaches and features a rainforest habitat for dingoes and other wildlife. A waterfront esplanade links the city's marina with beaches offering calm waters for swimming.

Townsville

A coastal city in northeastern Queensland, Australia. The Strand esplanade, with its pier and water park, is popular. The Reef HQ Aquarium has marine life and coral from the Great Barrier Reef, plus a sea turtle hospital. Southeast of the city, the Billabong Sanctuary wildlife park is home to koalas, wombats and crocodiles. Offshore, Magnetic Island has coral reefs and a national park full of wildlife.

Rottnest Island

Sitting just offshore from the city of Perth, in Western Australia. A protected nature reserve, it's home to the quokka, a small wallaby-like marsupial. White-sand beaches and secluded coves include the Basin, with its shallow waters, and Thomson Bay, the main hub and ferry port. Strickland Bay is known for its surf breaks, while reef breaks occur at Radar Reef, off the island's far western tip.

Hamilton Island

One of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia, close to the Great Barrier Reef. Most of the car-free island is covered in bush land, and the coast is fringed by coral reefs. Tours offer up-close sightings of koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and kookaburras. Trails lead up to Passage Peak in the east, with views of the surrounding islands.

Great Otway National Park

Located in Victoria, this national park offers a 57-mile hiking trail, forest, waterfalls & an extensive Aboriginal history.

Litchfield National Park

Lush national park with waterfalls & abundant wildlife popular with campers & walkers.

Springbrook National Park

Huge national park in Queensland, with walking tracks & campsites featuring rainforest, a natural bridge & waterfalls.

Launceston

A riverside city in northern Tasmania, Australia. It's famed for the Cataract Gorge, with panoramic views, walking trails, sculpted gardens and a chairlift. The Queen Victoria Museum, in a 19th-century railway workshop, has exhibitions on Tasmanian history. Its sister Art Gallery lies across the river, by sprawling Royal Park. The vineyards of the Tamar Valley stretch northwest along the Tamar River.

Lord Howe Island

A tiny Australian island in the Tasman Sea east of Port Macquarie. It's characterized by sandy beaches, subtropical forests and clear waters. In the south, a trail winds up soaring Mount Gower, with sweeping views. Ned's Beach in the north has calm fish- and coral-rich waters. The island is home to seabird colonies, including masked boobies. Dive sites surround the nearby Admiralty Islands.

Karijini National Park

A vast wilderness area in the Hamersley Range of Western Australia. In the park’s north, Oxer Lookout has views of the Weano, Red, Hancock and Joffre gorges. At the edge of Weano Gorge, a trail leads to Handrail Pool. To the east are the red rocks of Dales Gorge and the cascades of Fortescue Falls. Indigenous wildlife includes Australian goshawks, ring-tailed dragons and desert tree frogs.

Katherine

A town in Northern Territory, Australia. It is situated on the Katherine River below the "Top End", 320 kilometers southeast of Darwin. It is the fourth largest settlement in the Territory and is known as the place where "The outback meets the tropics".

Newcastle

A harbor city in the Australian state of New South Wales. Its plentiful beaches are linked by the Bathers Way, a coastal walk stretching between Nobbys Beach and Merewether Beach. The walk provides access to Bogey Hole, a convict-built ocean bath from the colonial period. Also on the path is the 1880s Fort Scratchley, a historic site and a viewpoint for spotting migrating whales.

Magnetic Island

An island 8 kilometers offshore from the city of Townsville, Queensland, Australia. This 52 km² mountainous island in Cleveland Bay has effectively become a suburb of Townsville, with 2,107 permanent residents. The island is accessible from Townsville Breakwater to Nelly Bay Harbour by ferry. There is a large 27 km² National Park and bird sanctuary and walking tracks can be taken between the populated bays and to a number of tourist destinations such as the World War II forts. The island has long become established as a holiday destination with many hotels and several resorts in operation to cater for all levels of service.

Lamington National Park

National park in Queensland, with untouched rainforests crisscrossed with walking trails and home to rare animals and birds.

Exmouth

A small resort town on Western Australia’s North West Cape. It’s a gateway to nearby Ningaloo Marine Park with its coral reefs, colorful fish and migratory whale sharks. Nearly surrounding Exmouth, Cape Range National Park has kangaroos, sheer cliffs and red, rocky gorges. On the Cape's northwest coast, Jurabi Coastal Reserve's tidal rock pools, beaches and seasonal nesting grounds for marine turtles.

 

Australia

Climate

The climate of Australia is significantly influenced by ocean currents, including the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, which is correlated with periodic drought, and the seasonal tropical low-pressure system that produces cyclones in northern Australia. These factors cause rainfall to vary markedly from year to year. Much of the northern part of the country has a tropical, predominantly summer-rainfall (monsoon). The south-west corner of the country has a Mediterranean climate. The south-east ranges from oceanic (Tasmania and coastal Victoria) to humid subtropical (upper half of New South Wales). The interior is arid to semi-arid.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology's 2011 Australian Climate Statement, Australia had lower than average temperatures in 2011 as a consequence of a La Niña weather pattern; however, "the country's 10-year average continues to demonstrate the rising trend in temperatures, with 2002–2011 likely to rank in the top two warmest 10-year periods on record for Australia, at 0.52 °C (0.94 °F) above the long-term average".

Australia

Safety Tips

Australia is a very safe country, with crime levels as low as those of Northern European countries. The major threats in Australia come from the inhospitable nature: dangerous flora and fauna, riptides and natural disasters kill people every year and are to be taken very seriously. Australia is ranked 10th out of 162 on the safest and most dangerous countries ranking.

Crime

Crimes rates are very low, and although very few travelers will be victims of crime there might be some risk petty theft (mostly pickpocketing) and areas to avoid in Sydney and Melbourne. In big cities, take the usual precautions (eg: not walking in parks alone at night, not leaving your bike or phone and camera unattended and not keeping your wallet in your back pocket) and you will most likely not encounter any crime at all.

Natural hazards

The most commons dangers in Australia are natural hazards and dangerous animals. Firstly, there is a very high UV-exposure index throughout Australia, which has been linked to a hole in the ozone layer above Australia. Travelers cover themselves with sunscreen (SPF+30 at least) at all times : it can take about 15minutes to get a sunburn with no protection.

Beaches

Beaches and Swimming Beaches in Australia are both beautiful and dangerous : every year, over 55 tourists and locals drown on one of Australia’s beaches (source), because of huge waves or strong riptides carrying people away from the beach. Always look at the flag before going for a swim.

Animals

There can be some rare shark and crocodile attacks when swimming near estuaries, tidal rivers, mangroves or deep pools; and the extremely dangerous Box Jellyfish and Irukanji are present in tropical waters from November to April. Other than the dangerous sea animals, they are many amphibians, reptiles and insects that are among the most dangerous in the world. Six of the world’s most deadliest snakes in the world can be found in Australia; and many spiders such as the Sydney Funnel Spider or the Red Black Spider are extremely dangerous.

Fauna

Even fauna can be dangerous in Australia: the Gympie bush is a stinging tree mostly found in Queensland which causes severe pain up to several week when touched. The Bush travelling through Australia’s remote country can be dangerous for inexperienced travelers.

Seclusion

Some parts of the country also called “the Outback” have very limited water supply, no cellular network or gas stations. It is vital to keep plan your journey carefully.

Bushfires

The Summer period is unfortunately famous for being the bushfires season. Inform yourself before going out for a hike or a camping trip.

Risk Ratings

OVERALL RISK: LOW
Australia is a very safe country. It is ranked 10th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There is nearly no pickpocket risk in Australia, except for rare cases in Sydney and Melbourne. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed.

MUGGING RISK: LOW
Australia is a safe country regarding mugging and kidnapping risks, although some urban areas are best be avoided at night.

SCAMS RISK: LOW
There are virtually no scammers in Australia. But beware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you while withdrawing money, and people offering help with your luggage.

TRANSPORT RISK: MEDIUM
Public transports and taxis are generally very safe in Australia, but driving can be dangerous because of wild road animals and drunk drivers.

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: HIGH
There are many natural hazards in Australia, from dangerous animals/insects to bush fires, UV exposures and riptides. Don’t go swimming alone, and follow the flags and guidelines at your beach.

TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Australia has not recently been targeted by terrorist attacks.

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Australia is generally very safe for women travelers, and open towards LGBT travelers.