On this Destination Guide you will find information for :
♦Currency: Australian Dollar $ (AUD)
♦Zone: +8 to +10.5 GMT
♦Phone Code: +61
♦Best time to visit: Mar-Jun/Sept-Nov
♦Must eat: Kangaroo meat.
♦Must drink: Australian Beer
♦Don't miss: The Iconic Opera House!
♦Number of times visited: 2
Getting there and transportation: Its precisely the location and distance from any other country which makes Australia accessible only by air. The island is 3.500 km in length so even travelling domestically is better by air. The country offers 3 major gateways, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. These cities are connected internationally by major airlines. However Qantas, the national airline, has the biggest presence on the island. Other airlines which offer good connections to Australia are Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, British Airways or Malaysian Airlines.
The length of time travelling to Australia must be one the longest flights you can take. Making a stopover at an Asian destination is a typical routing if travelling from Europe. Expect a travel time of at least 24h hours. However with modern planes inoperation, there is the route London-Perth operated by Qantas which takes 17 hours and is the only direct route (and first one ever) to link Australia with Europe.
Travelling around the island is fairly simple. The main and best option is to travel by air, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia offer the best connections.
You can also go to certain destinations by train, but trips are often extremely long and pricey.
Driving is safe, and usually in straight lanes thanks to excellent roads around the country. Travelling around the coast line is a good recommendation. However internally, the high temperatures of the Australian dessert and the lack of services for many miles can cause a big problem if you encounter a breakdown not to mention the vast distance needed to drive.Last to mention is the alternative to travel by bus,Greyhound Australia, provides comfortable busses connecting the major cities with smaller towns.Prices are reasonable but make sure you check the distances and the times. Sometimes even flights can be cheaper if you buy well in advance.
Customs/Immigration: Once arriving to Australia, you need to clear Customs. It's a very sensitive area and you are advised to take extra caution on what you take into the country. Anything which is food related, drink, or naturally produced will be confiscated by the customs department. (for example animal skins, wood, plants, food, or anything organic). You will need to declare any of these products or face a fine.
If you are connecting to a domestic destination by air be sure to collect your luggage at the first point of entry into the country even if the luggage has been tagged all the way to final destination. This is to clear customs.Attention!: Another thing to take in to account when travelling to Australia is obtaining a visa, all travellers require an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) before arriving. It's easy to apply for it online via the following website: "Eta Visa application"
Weather and temperature: Australia's climate varies greatly throughout the eight states and territories; there are four seasons across most of the country and a wet and dry season in the tropical north. Australia's seasons are at opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring. Temperatures can be as hot as 40C in central Australia whilst a close to 0 can be recorded in the south.For travelling to Australia it´s best recommended to go September to November for tourism. Avoiding the high season is best (December and January) as prices are more expensive and the heat can make it hard doing certain activities. Plan ahead, depending where you will be go, as you can encounter really hot and dry climates towards the north of the country (Darwin, Cairns,Alley Rock) or cold/humid weather conditions towards the south (Melbourne, Tasmania, Adelaide).
What to eat and drink? Australia is perhaps not as famous for it´s food than it´s landmarks. However there is an increase of popularity of big-name chefs who are helping to give Australian cuisine a reputation for bright, creative gastronomy, and regional markets and food festivals are commonplace. Look out for things like farmhouse cheese, speciality sausages and local fruits. Elsewhere, the country’s multitude of good wines has earned international acclaim.
Australians love their meat, in particular beef and national kangaroo meat is growing in popularity with visitors. The humble barbecue remains a quintessential Australian food experience. Steak, prawns and beer tend to feature prominently on all tables and restaurants. Portions are quite large so be sure to be hungry when eating in Australia!
Specialities include: Sydney rock oysters, small and soft with a distinctive taste. Barramundi, a fish particularly prevalent in the Northern Territory. Macadamia nuts, native to New South Wales and Queensland. Kangaroo, just like a steak you can order Kangaroo at your wish, raw, medium or well done. Meat pie, a staple on-the-go snack. Fruit, apples, mangoes and pumpkins are among those grown in large quantities.
Dagwood dog, a deep-fried battered hot dog on a stick, popular at fairgrounds and outdoor events.
As for drinks, Wine is locally produced and is becoming quite popular even for exports. Regions like the Barossa Valley in South Australia, and Margaret River in Western Australia, are world class. Craft beer: Away from the likes of VB, you’ll find some excellent small-batch brewers. Sparkling wine, the bubbly from Tasmania is superb.
Transportation: Arriving to Sydney centre or the CBD as it´s called is easy by puplic transport. From the airport the cheapest option is to take bus 400 (towards Bondi Junction) which stops at International and Domestic arrivals level. Once you are at Bondi Junction you can take Train T4 to the centre. The trip takes about 45min and busses pass every 20 minutes.
Once in the CBD, busses and trains run often. There is an electronic card called "OPAL Card" which is used for both locals and visitors and this will save you time in looking for change. You need to touch in with the card as you board a bus and also as you leave to calculate the correct fare.
You can buy the cards at main stations, at the airport and offical shops. For more info check Transport Sydney.
Public transport is modern, fuly air conditioned and has electronic displays for easy orientation and direction of routes. It´s also possible to use multiple online and apps to track the status of the trains or busses. Below you will find the train and central Sydney route map:
Weather and temperature: Sydney enjoys a temperate climate, with a mild winter. It has about 105 sunny, cloud-free days a year. During the Summer (December to March) temperatures can reach an easy 30C and through the rest of the year it´s mild at a comfortable 20C. Average minimum temperature in the winter months of June through to August are around 9C.
The best time to come to visit Sydney is March to June and September to November. (their Autumn and Spring).
What to see and do?: Probably most people will relate Sydney with it´s best known landmark, the harbourfront Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Of course there is much more than meets the eye. Like the massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port which are hubs of waterside life. Also the arched Harbour Bridge and Royal Botanic Garden nearby. In the city´s skyline you can observe the Sydney Tower. it´s a city full of life, after visiting all these attractions it also offers great venues for eating and relaxing. And if that was not enough , the city hosts many cultural events such as music concerts, sport competitions and the famous Mardi Gras.
The main highlights of the city are:
Tip: Join a Free walking tour organised by lcoals or students living in Sydney. These walking tours are completely free and give you good in depth knowledge from the city, history facts and curiosities about Sydney. At the end you can leave a tip if you liked the tour. The tours meet at Town Hall Square and are about 2hours long. For more info check Free Walking Tour
Suggestion: Additionally there are several day trips that you can take from Sydney to explore the surroundings and the scenery of the state. Generally you can take tours which include the following places mentioned below or you can do it yourself. Greyhound is one recommend tour company.
The Blue Mountains are highly recommended to visit within a day trip. Comprising several highlights, the area is famous for it´s bluish mountains. They are so named because, from Sydney, they look blue. The reason comes from the vegetation which grows in the region, the vast forests of eucalyptus (commonly called gum trees), which in the hot sun discharge a fine mist of eucalyptus oil from their leaves. The mist refracts light, which makes the haze look blue at a distance.
Near by is the Scenic World in Katoomba where to enjoy panoramas of the wilderness, waterfalls, valleys and rugged sandstone tablelands by cablecar or the famous scenic railway. You can explore the ancient caverns of Jenolan Caves and discover limestone crystal and underground rivers deep within the mountains.
A trip to Leura is also recommended by it´s proximity to the Blue Mountains (sometimes included in the package of the organised tours). It´s a very pretty enchanting village. With its Edwardian storefronts and 19th century cottages, Leura sits framed upon a background of stunning natural wonders, sandstone escarpment, dense eucalyptus forests and rugged terrain. It´s a step back in time which will surprise visitors to find quaint little shops, boutiques, cake shops, cafes and a famous Tea Pot house, very interesting to visit. To get there you can get a train taking just under two hours from the central station in Sydney.
Finally but not least, what's a trip to Australia without seeing the natural wildlife? Plan a trip to one of the many wildlife Parks nearby Sydney. (You can always go to the Sydney Zoo if you want to see many animals). But the best idea is to visit one of National Wildlife Parks which specialise in Australian animals like the Kangaroo, Koala, Wombat, Crocodiles, birds, etc. One Park recommended is Featherdale Wildlife Park, With over 1,700 mammals, birds and reptiles. You can take pictures with the animals and be around some of them (Kangaroos).Yo get there from the City, take the North Shore and Western line to Blacktown Station. Bus stand E is located just outside the station. Take the number 729 bus for a 10 minute ride which will drop you right outside Featherdale’s gates.
Town of Leura
Wild Life Parks
Accommodation: Sydney is expensive in regards to Hotels, specially if you want to stay in the CBD. The best recommendation is to stay away from the city with access to train or bus lines which can get you in to the city centre. One area which is definitely worth checking is Kings Cross. Here there is everything you might need for a tourist, convenient restaurants, shops, cafes, bars and better value Hotels. It´s also an area popular for Hostels. Hotels are about €70 per night whilst other options might include self catering apartments and Airbnb.
Recommended Duration: Sydney is truly an impressive city and no matter how long you stay, there is always so much to see and do. Will it be tours around the state, shopping and dinning, relaxing, swimming and water sports, you probably need a good week to take it all in. However under a tourist point of view the city´s main attractions and a couple of tours are worth it for staying at least 4 nights. If you´re only coming to Sydney from a long haul destination and planning to relax,then one week to 10 days would be good as well.
Nevertheless, a lot of travellers will come to Sydney as a stopover whilst seeing other cities and exploring the whole country in a trip which can last several weeks or months even!
Transportation: From the airport you can take the SkyBus, which is an express bus leaving every 10 minutes to the centre of Melbourne. It arrives to the coach station Terminal/Spencer St. It costs AU $19 one way and takes 40min. Melbourne's grid layout makes it an easy city to navigate, with most attractions within walking distance. Transport options include train, tram or bus. The Night Network also operates on weekends with after hours transport to many locations.Myki is Melbourne's ticket to travel on the city's trains, trams and buses. It's a plastic smartcard with stored value which can be topped up and re-used again. Purchase the card, at main train stations and retail outlets displaying the myki sign (including 7-Elevens).
Tip: Trams are perhaps the best way of moving around the city, you can see where you are going and they have the added benefit of being free in the city centre, though you will need a myki card if you plan to start or finish your journey outside of this central area. Tram 35 (City Circle) is also a circular line which covers most places of interest. These trams are also old fashioned and are a tourist attraction within themselves. Be aware that they can be very busy and there is limited seating. For more information on the area covered by the Free Tram Zone check the map links below.
Weather and Temperature: Melbourne is known for its changeable weather, the city has been described as having four seasons in one day! Generally good temperatures can still be enjoyed all year round. The best advice is to plan a little ahead and look at the forecasts ahead before you go to have an idea what to except. Taking un umbrella with you is a good tip! Melbourne warms up in summer (December toa March) with temperatures between 14 - 25.3°C. In the Winter (June to September) the weather is frequently cold and cloudy, and nights can be accompanied by frosts. Rain is not uncommon to fall with frequent showers. Best time to visit Melbourne therefore is in Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to June).
What to see and do?: Melbourne might not seem to have a lot to see but in fact there is a lot when you begin to investigate. At the city's centre is the modern Federation Square development, with plazas, bars, and restaurants by the Yarra River. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of Arts Centre Melbourne, a performing arts complex, and the National Gallery of Victoria, with Australian and indigenous art.
The following highlights are recommended to see in the city:
Tip: Join a Free walking tour organised by lcoals or students living in Melbourne. These walking tours are completely free and give you good in depth knowledge from the city, history facts and curiosities about Melbourne. At the end you can leave a tip if you liked the tour. The tours starts from the statue of Sir Redmond Barry in front of the State Library of Victoria.The walk is about 2hours long. For more info check Free Walking Tour
Suggestion: Visit The Great Ocean Road, which winds alongside the wild and windswept Southern Ocean. It´s home to the world-class surf at Bells Beach and the limestone spires of the 12 Apostles, this diverse and dramatic region is best explored over the course of a few days due to it´s length. The Great Ocean Road begins a 90 minute drive from Melbourne's city centre. It spans 400 kilometres (249 miles) from the town of Torquay to Nelson on the South Australian border. It´s best to hire a car and drive along the road comfortably yourself for the best experience. But it´s also possible to do it by tour from Melbourne costing about AU $100 per person.
During the drive, the weather will change constantly, often it can be wet, cloudy in some areas and completely clear in others.Take raincoats, umbrellas and in the summer sun cream and protective glasses.
Accommodation: Compared to Sydney, you will notice that in Melbourne accommodation is much more affordable and cheaper to stay closer to the city. However the quality and standards might not be as high due to a very relaxed way of life in Melbourne, (somewhat hippie some people might say). This however is good news for those more money conscious so you can stay closer to the city and within walking distance to public transport. Also its easy to find hostels, Airbnb and private accommodation. Rooms start at €45 for Hotels.
Recommended duration: Visiting Melbourne is quite more relaxing as the city moves at a slower pace and everything is more chilled. There is plenty to see and do, however a lot can be made from within the city centre and taking free trams helps a lot in moving along. A 3 night stay in Melbourne is good time to enjoy all the city has to offer and with the addition to any tours you can increase this to 5 nights easily.
Transportation: Arriving to Perth is straight forward, from the airport you can catch the 380 bus which leaves you in the city centre. The city is not big and can reach many places by foot when you arrive.
Perth doesn't have a metro system. It's not really needed in a city which public transport is free within the city centre and services are not congested.
For a tourist, it's a great benefit to have free access to transport within the city centre. However lots of attractions are within walking distance anyway.
Below you can access the map which displays the routes and the free public transport zone. Designated by bus line colours.
If you plan to access other areas in the Perth region there is a Train network. All lines converge at Perth Station where you can change and connect to the busses as well. There is a card which enables you to use the trains and busses. The smart Rider Card can be bought for AU $10 at the 4 Trans Perth Information Centres or at many outlets. You need to tap in/out when you board busses and trains. (except within the Free transit zone)
Weather and temperature: Perth enjoys a moderate climate year round thanks to its location. Hot summer's (December to March) and mild winter's (June to September). Winters are relatively cool and wet with temperatures ranging from 8 -19C.
The best time to visit Perth is during the spring, (September to November) days are warm and sunny with average temperatures ranging from 11to 23C. There is little rainfall at this time of year and there is a lot of flora in the spring, you can discover more than 12,000 species of wildflowers, which blossom in Perth’s nature reserves and national parks.
What to see and do: There is plenty of amusement in Perth, many parks to walk along and sample the views of the city, interesting buildings and shopping. Additionally there are lots of activities you can join either by tour or individual to enjoy your days in the city and the outskirts. Here are some of the highlights:
Suggestion: Visit Swan Valley, essentially vineyards, it's the oldest wine region in western Australia, where you can sample their fruits, feast on award-winning local produce, discover local heritage and relax in the natural bushland of the Darling Range.
Just 20 minutes east of Perth, the Swan Valley and Darling Range is a world away from city life. You can reach it by road, or take the scenic route aboard a Swan River cruise from Perth's Barrack Street Jetty.
Accommodation: Hotels can be expensive in Perth, therefore staying not directly in the city centre is the best idea in order to save money and then use public transport which is more convenient and even free on some routes. Comparing hotel sites and making bookings directly with the hotel is a other way to save some money. Alternatively Airbnb is popular in Australia and naturally hostels and guesthouses houses as well. For Hotels you might have to spend up to €60 per night.
A recommended place would be "Hay Street Traveller's Inn", a backpackers Hostel, located 10 min walking to downtown Perth. It offers reasonable rooms, individual or shared.
Recommended duration: Perth is not a huge city and seeing the main interests won't take long. A comfortable stay of up to 3 nights would be enough. However if you planning to visit around the city, rent a car and do some adventure tourism then a few more days will come in handy.
Transportation: When arriving to Sunshine coast airport, the terminal is very small and there are only basic services. Note that there is no public transport services to take you into the town or the resorts. To go to Maroochydore,the town centre, and the Sunshine Coast's major bus interchange for TransLink services, (operated by Sunbus), you will need to organise a pick up from the airport to either the centre or you accommodation. The best company to organise this is with Sun Air or alternatively go by taxi.
What to see and do?: The reasons to come to Sunshine might be to relax, enjoy great weather year round, practice water-sports and see the beautiful nature and landscapes which surrounds the area, however the only thing more refreshing than the water is the lifestyle, it's all about having fun and smiling. With its endless beaches, lush rainforests it’s a place where you will feel like a local from the moment you arrive. The activities you can do are vast, if you want to be active and visit the area here are few ideas to keep you busy:
Fraser Island: It's the World’s Largest Sand Island, and it's listed as World Heritage. Fraser Island, stretches over 123 kilometres in length and 22 kilometres at its widest point. The island’s highest dune is 244 metres, but most rise to between 100 and 200 metres above sea level. Drilling shows the sand extends to 100 metres below sea level in places. Most of the sand is made up of grains of quartz (silica).
Accommodation: The Sunshine coast is a popular resort for Australians and foreigners alike during most of the year, thanks to the warm weather and splendid sun shinning on it's beautiful coasts. The area is at a premium if staying close to the resorts and the beaches. The town of Maroochydore is cheaper with rooms starting from €60 per night. However if you are going with family/friends it's best to rent an apartment and split the cost.
Recommended duration: It's a fun place to stay to relax, enjoy the beaches and unwind in the tranquil atmosphere of the area so it's all about your daily budget and how much you need to get away from the hassle and bustle of the big cities. To see the natural wonders of the area and take advantage of your stay, specially including Fraser Island, then a recommended 2 to 4 nights would be enough.