Australian dollar (AUD)
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is for the traveller that loves adventure. This wondrous continent is home to many small islands, exciting landscapes, and exotic animals. Australia is in fact considered a megadiverse country, which means that it harbours the majority of Earth’s species as well as a high number of endemic species.
Australia’s massive size gives it a wide variety of landscapes and climates with tropical rainforest in the north-east, and arid desert in the centre.
WHY WE LOVE
Australia is striking in that it offers an incredibly wide range of outdoor activities, weird and wonderful creatures, and is home to some of the world’s oldest geographical features. It is also where some of the most exciting cities, breath-taking skylines, and secluded rugged terrains can be found. This country features some of the most stunning colours of Mother Nature. The bright ruby grapefruit of the outback against the soft blue sky, the dense green of the eucalyptus-tree-covered coastline compared to the flamingo colour of the ‘pink lake’ creates an image that rivals that of any surrealist painter.
Australia is easy to love, apart from it being beautiful on the outside, it is also beautiful on the inside. Its culture is deeply connected to the land. Australia’s native people, the Aboriginals, feel spiritually connected to the land so much so that they believe that water is the living cultural knowledge that is passed down to future generations.
“Once people come to Australia, they join the team.” Tony Abbott
Did you know…?
- Australia has three times as many sheep as it does people living there.
- Tasmania has the world’s cleanest air.
- The World’s oldest fossil, which is 3.5 billion years old, was found in Australia.
- The average Australian will consume the equivalent of 18 cows and 90 sheep in his/her lifetime.
- Australia is the 6th largest country in the world.
- Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano.
- Voting is required. Non-voters above the age of 18 are fined $72.
- The Great Barrier Reef has its own mailbox.
- Australia was the second country in the world allowing women to vote from 1895 (first was New Zealand).
- Emus (Australian Ostrich) and kangaroos can’t walk backwards, they are the icon of Australian coat of arms, as to only go forwards.
Australia Travel Guide
When to go
Australia’s large geographical size causes it to have a varied climate. Northern Australia has a tropical climate where you will find reliably warm summers. It is best to travel to this area from May to October. The Interior is a bit different because it is an arid semi-desert with little rain. This area reached very high summer temperatures with occasionally freezing winter nights. We suggest you only visit Australia’s interior during these months if you are properly equipped. If not, it’d be best if you travel there during the transitional seasons, April to June and or October through November. The South is best during the Australian summer, which is from December to March. If you plan on visiting the entire continent we suggest you visit the southern coasts in the summer and head north for the winter.
How to get there/around
Getting there is usually a long and arduous task but well worth it once your destination is reached. Luckily there are many airports scattered around the entire country, so once you are there you will be able to move with ease. Flying is the best way to cover Australia’s large distances in a short time. Although there are other forms of transportation that are very efficient, like coach and bus travel for example. It is comfortable, efficient and reasonably priced. Normally, long-distance coaches have air conditioning, reading lights, adjustable seats and free WiFi. Buses, as well as trains, offer a wonderful opportunity to sit back and enjoy the landscape. Train travel is convenient, affordable, and usually a lot more scenic than any other form of travel. With that being said, if you enjoy driving and or road trips, renting a car might be the perfect option for you (if you are travelling in the Outback, best to rent a four-wheel drive car). Australia has a vast network of well-maintained roads. If your travels require crossing bodies of water we suggest you look into the option of getting around by ferry. Lastly, don’t forget about your feet. Australia is the perfect place to go walking and or hiking, it is after all the home of some of the longest trails in the world!
What to see & do
Australia is known for adventure, wildlife, and outdoor activities. Popular once-in-a-lifetime Australian adventures include; skydiving, snorkelling and scuba diving among The Great Barrier and Ningaloo Reef, surfing, sailing, camping, rafting and of course swimming with marine animals. There are many more activities to enjoy on this fantastic continent like hiking, or exploring National Parks since as we are sure you’ve heard, Australia is famous for more than its water activities. Australia has natural wonders, open spaces, marvellous beaches, extraordinary deserts, ‘the outback’, and of course ‘the bush’, all of which are worthy of a visit.
What to pack
Despite Australia’s climate being varied, its centre and largest part is desert or semi-arid. Some corners have more temperate climates whereas the northern is more tropical. This means you should pack: sunglasses, SPF, insect repellent, wetsuit (if you have one), rain jacket, travel adapter, personal medicine, clothing layers, hiking poles (if you have them), comfortable walking and or shoes, and flip-flops.
Some travel insights from our experts about Australia
- It is quite common for foreigners to not always understand Australian humour for it is often quite self-depreciating, dry, full of extremes, ironic, and anti-authoritarian. Australians also have a massive cult film following. Some popular cult films include; Mad Max (1979), Animal Kingdom (2010), Dogs In Space (1986), and Stone (1974).
Do: Carry photocopies of your important travel documents. This one is pretty self-explanatory, it’s always important to be able to identify yourself especially when you’re all the way across the world!
Do: Call before. Unannounced visits are not a part of the culture. Please make sure to make appointments and or call when necessary.
Do: Bring your own beer and meat. BBQs are social gatherings in Australia and it is very common for people to bring what they will need for their personal consumption.
Do: Go to the left. Australians drive on the left side of the street, which means that you should also; walk on the left side of the street, bear left while on stairs, and stand to the left whole on escalators.
Do: Put your knife and fork next to each other in the centre of your plate. This indicates that you have finished your meal and that your plate is ready to be cleared.
Don’t: Eat, drink, or smoke on public transports or in stores and public buildings.
Don’t: Swim in the ocean until you have read, re-read, and checked all the warnings and signs posted on the beaches.
Don’t: Skip the line! Australians are not kind to those who jump the queue for it is considered rude. This applies to all and any line whether it is at a bar, shop, clinic, you name it. If you are unsure as to where the line ends you can simply ask.
Don’t: Choose seats and or spaces near someone if there are other options. Australians like their space, if there are several empty seats in a movie theatre and or eating area you should never choose the spot closest to another person.
Don’t: Litter! You shouldn’t litter ever, anywhere but especially not in Australia. Aussies take their streets very seriously. Littering is illegal in Australia, if caught littering you can be fined up to hundred of dollars!
Cuisine delights (3 best dishes)
Australian cuisine is meat heavy and consists of many of the animals that reside on the continent such as emu, crocodile, kangaroo etc. The production of meat also has a historical significance, as it has been a valuable part of Australia’s agricultural economy. Therefore it should come of no surprise that we are recommending you try barbecue when you are there for its barbecues meat is considered traditional in Australia.
Fantales are also a favorite among Australians. This bite-sized treat consists of caramel coated in milk chocolate. Fantales are known for their fun yellow and blue wrapping that has movie trivia written on it.
Another favorite for the sweet tooth is Tim Tam, a chocolate coated biscuit that they eat by one bite on each opposite corner using it as a straw while drinking hot beverage, we must warn you it can get quite messy. And of course, we mustn’t forget to discuss one of the most Australian foods today, vegemite on toast. This snack is enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, and even over tea.
CHATTING CORNER – SURVIVAL GUIDE - AUSTRALIAN SLANG
- Good morning/Hello - G'day
- Afternoon - Arvo
- Friend - Mate
- Thank you - Cheers
- It will be OK - She'll be right
- BBQ - Barbie
- Mosquito - Mozzie
- Woman – Sheila
- Hell yeah - Bloody oath
- Flip-flops - Thongs
- Thank you - Ta
- A “redneck”/an uncultured person - Bogan
- Real/genuine – Fair dinkum
- Young surfer – Grommet
Australians will often put an ‘as’ at the end of adjectives in order to emphasize them. Examples include ‘lazy as’, ‘lovely as’, ‘fast as’, ‘common as’, and ‘sweet as’.