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Australia - Country Information
 
Australia - General Information

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world - more or less the same size as mainland USA. This vast land however also has the lowest population density in the world, with only two people per square kilometre.
 
Australia offers the drama of the remote 'Outback', the colourful spectacle of the Great Barrier Reef and its coral islands, the excitement of the cosmopolitan cities, the sun and surf at some of the best beaches in the world, and the tropical rainforests of Western Australia. The list is endless in this diverse land of adventure, which boasts 2,000 national parks and 14 World Heritage-listed areas, along with more than 7,000 beaches.
 
Australia is a land of character too, with its melting pot of cultures. For more than 50,000 years the Aboriginal people lived and thrived in the continent’s unique environment. It is believed the Aboriginals are the world’s oldest civilisation, and in recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in keeping the Aboriginal culture alive and flourishing.
 
The vast continent at the bottom of the world was the last landmass to be discovered by European explorers. Captain James Cook arrived in Botany Bay in 1770 and sparked off generations of emigration to Australia, which for some time served as a penal colony. It was not until 1860 that two explorers - Robert Burke and William Wills - became the first Europeans to cross Australia from south to north. The country remains a magnet for modern explorers and adventurers and has a great deal to offer tourists and holidaymakers.



THE BASICS

Time: Australia is divided into three time zones. Eastern is GMT +10, Central is GMT +9.5, and Western is GMT +8. Other than the Northern Territory and Western Australia, all states observe daylight saving time in summer.

Electricity: Electrical current is 240/250 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are used but are different to those in most other countries, so an adapter is normally required.

Language: English is the official language.

Health: 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. No other special immunizations or medications are required for most trips to Australia, however insect repellants are strongly advised for the Northern Territory, north Queensland and Western Australia, because of the risk of Murray Valley encephalitis, Ross River virus infections, dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses.

Beach-goers are warned to beware of jelly-fish in the coastal waters; stings have proved fatal on occasion. Another health risk is sunburn, and visitors are advised to take precautions. Medical services are excellent, but can be expensive so travellers should ensure that they have adequate insurance. Australia has a reciprocal health agreement with the United Kingdom providing for free hospital emergency medical treatment; proof of UK residence is required.

Tipping: A gratuity of between 5 to 15% is usually expected in cafes and restaurants in the larger cities. Taxi drivers are happy to be left with the change.

Safety: The crime rate in Australia is low, however travellers should be aware that tourists can be targeted by petty criminals. Be vigilant about personal possessions and travel documents, particularly in popular tourist destinations such as along the Gold Coast.

Customs: Generally an informal attitude, in dress and behaviour, prevails in most social and business situations. Sport, particularly rugby and cricket, is almost a religion.

Communications: The international access code for Australia is +61. The outgoing code is 0011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001144 for the United Kingdom). Local calls from public payphones are untimed and cost a standard rate, while international and long distance calls are charged according to the time spent on the phone. Mobile phone operators use GSM and CDMA networks; mobile phones are available for rent. Internet cafes are widely available.

Weather:  Australia is temperate, most of the country receiving more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. In summer (December to March) the average temperature is 84°F (29°C). The hottest region is the northern two-thirds of the continent, which experiences humid and wet conditions in summer. Further south summer is warm with occasional hot spells and mild nights. Winter (June to August) averages 56°F (13°C) for the country as a whole, with warm days and mild nights in the northern areas, becoming cool and showery in the south (although there are still plenty of sunny days).



INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS INFORMATION:
 
Sydney Airport : 
Kingsford Smith (Sydney) Airport

Location:
The airport is situated 6 miles (9km) south of Sydney.

Time:
GMT +10 (GMT +11 from the last Sunday in October to the first Saturday in March).

Contacts:
Tel: +61 (0)2 9667 9111.

Transfer between terminals
: The Airport Rail Link connects the international and domestic terminals (AU$4), and buses also provide frequent services between them (AU$3). Some passengers may qualify for the Qantas Seamless Transfer service, which is the easiest way to transfer between the Domestic and International terminals.

Transfer to the city:
The Airport Rail Link is the fastest and most convenient way to reach the city centre and the suburbs. Trains run every 10 minutes and the journey to the centre takes 13 minutes from where connections can be made for all suburban services. The International rail station is located directly below T1 International Terminal and is reached from inside the terminal on the arrivals level; the Domestic rail station is directly below T3 Qantas Domestic Terminal. A taxi rank is located outside the Arrivals hall in both International and Domestic Terminals; a taxi will cost around AU$25 to the city centre, and AU$50 to Manly.

The main coach area is located outside the International Terminal. There are bus stops at the Domestic Terminal for coaches and city express buses. Green and Gold Airport Express buses operate a service between the airport terminals and the city between 5am to 11pm. Route 300 goes to central Sydney and Central Station and Route 350 goes to Central Station, Kings Cross, Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay. Tickets are available from the driver. Shuttle bus companies provide direct transport to and from the airport and must be pre-booked; hotel buses are also available.

Car rental:
All the main car hire companies are represented at the airport.

Facilities:
There are a wide variety of shops, bars and restaurants throughout the International Terminal, as well as shower facilities, Internet kiosks, cellphone rental, medical facilities and a visitor centre. Duty-free shopping is available throughout. T2 also has a wide range of shopping opportunities. There is foreign exchange in the International terminal (T1) and ATMs are available throughout the airport. The airport is non-smoking but there are some designated smoking areas. Business services in Terminals 1 and 2 offer meeting rooms, fax and Internet facilities. Disabled facilities and access are good.

Parking:
There are both short-term, long-term and Quickpark car parks, and Pronto! Valet parking is also available for an additional AU$10 (for details call: + 61 (0)2 9667 6010).

Departure tax:
None.

Website:
www.syd.com.au



Brisbane Airport :
 
Brisbane International Airport

Location:
The airport is situated 8 miles (13km) northeast of Brisbane, and within easy driving distance of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Time:
GMT +10.

Contacts:
Tel: +61 (0)7 3406 3000.

Transfer between terminals:
The Domestic and International terminals are located one mile (2km) apart; an Airtrain service (AU$3) and taxis (AU$9) link the two terminals.

Transfer to the city:
The Airtrain Rail Link departs every 15 minutes to and from the Brisbane Central Business District, taking around 22 minutes (AU$10). There is also a direct link to the Gold Coast that takes 90 minutes. Coach services connect to Brisbane, as well as to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Taxis, limousines and airport buses are also available from both terminals.

Car rental
: The main car hire companies represented at the airport include Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and Thrifty.

Facilities:
There are cafes, bars, and restaurants; bureau de change and ATMs; duty-free shopping facilities, and a variety of other shopping opportunities. Hotel reservation and visitor information services are also available in the International terminal.

Parking:
Short- and long-term parking is available at both terminals.

Departure tax:
None.

Website:
www.brisbaneairport.com.au
 

 
Cairns International Airport :


Location: The airport is situated 5 miles (8km) north of Cairns.

Time:
GMT +10.

Contacts:
Tel: +61 (0)7 4052 3888.

Transfer between terminals:
A covered walkway connects the Domestic and International terminals.

Transfer to the city:
There is an airport shuttle bus service to hotels and the city centre (AU$7) and taxi ranks are located directly outside the arrival halls. Most major hotels operate courtesy bus services to and from the airport.

Car rental:
Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty are represented at the airport and can be found in the international arrivals hall or in the central concourse of the domestic terminal.

Facilities:
Shops, restaurants, bars, currency exchange and ATMs, and baby-changing facilities are available in domestic and international terminals. Duty-free shops are available in the International terminal. Facilities for the disabled are good.

Parking:
Long-term and short-term car parking is located adjacent to the International and Domestic terminals.

Departure tax:
None.

Website:
www.cairnairport.com



Melbourne Airport (MEL)


Full name: Melbourne Airport

Location:
The airport is located 15 miles (25km) from Melbourne to the north of the city

Time:
GMT +10 (GMT +11 from third Sunday in October to third Saturday in March).

Contacts:
Tel: +61 (0)3 9297 1600.

Transfer to the city:
The SkyBus offers a frequent 24-hour shuttle bus service between the airport, the city centre and city hotels (AU$13). Several public bus services also link the airport to different parts of the city and surrounds. Taxis are available from the ground floor level of the terminal; the trip into the centre of Melbourne is about 30 minutes (AU$35 to AU$40).

Car rental:
Car hire companies include Avis, Budget, Hertz, National and Thrifty; information desks are located in the domestic terminal areas and offices are on the ground floor of the short-term car park.

Facilities:
The airport has excellent facilities, with ATMs, currency exchange, and a variety of bars and restaurants available throughout. The wide variety of airport shopping opportunities includes duty-free. Showers and Internet connection are available in Departures. Facilities for the disabled are good.

Parking:
The airport has both long-term and short-term car parks, as well as a business car park abutting the South Terminal. Short-term parking is opposite the international terminal, and a round the clock courtesy bus service operates between the long-term parking and the terminal buildings.

Departure tax:
None.

Website:
www.melbourneairport.com.au
 


Perth International Airport (PER) :


Full name:
Perth International Airport

Location:
The airport is located seven miles (12km) from Perth's city centre.

Time:
GMT +8.

Contacts:
Tel: +61 (0)8 9478 8888.

Transfer between terminals:
A bus service links the domestic and international terminals between 5am and 5pm daily, with additional services at 9.30pm and 11.30pm (AU$9).

Transfer to the city:
An Airport-City Shuttle meets domestic and international arrivals and services the city and many hotels. There is also a regular shuttle service to Fremantle and Scarborough. Taxis are available outside both the Domestic and International terminals.

Car rental:
Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Hertz and Europcar are all represented at the airport.

Facilities:
Facilities include a selection of bars and restaurants, various retail stores and a duty-free shop. ATMs and bureaux de change are also available. There is also an information centre, Internet access, mobile phone rental, showers and a post office. Access to all terminal facilities is provided for disabled visitors.

Parking:
There is plenty of parking at both the Domestic and International terminals; both short and long term parking is available.

Departure tax
: None.

Website:
www.perthairport.net.au
 


Tasmania :

Hobart International Airport

Location:
The airport is situated 11 miles (17km) east of Hobart.

Time:
GMT +10 (GMT +11 from first Sunday in October to last Saturday in March).

Contacts:
Tel: +61 (0)3 6216 1600.

Transfer to the city:
The Airporter shuttle bus service meets flights for transport to the city centre, a journey of 30 minutes at a fare of AU$9.70. Taxis are also available.

Car rental:
Avis, Budget, Hertz, Delta and Thrifty are represented at the airport.

Facilities:
The airport has a Domestic and an International Terminal. Facilities include a bar, ATM, restaurant, newsagent and gift shop.

Parking:
Parking is available at the airport.

Departure tax:
None.

Website: www.hobartairpt.com.au
 


Darwin International Airport (DRW)

Location: The airport is situated 8 miles (13km) northeast of Darwin.

Time:
GMT +9.5.

Contacts:
Tel: +61 (0)8 8920 1811.

Transfer to the city:
Taxis take around 20 minutes to the city centre; expect a fare of about AU$12. There is also an airport-city shuttle bus.

Car rental:
Avis, Budget, Hertz, Delta and Thrifty are represented at the airport.

Facilities:
The airport terminal has an ATM, bar, restaurant, duty-free shopping as well as a variety of general shops, a newsagent, and bureau de change (open one hour before all international flights).

Parking:
Short and long term parking are available adjacent to the airport.

Departure tax:
None.

Website:
www.ntairports.com.au

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