From just about anywhere in the world, Australia feels like a million miles away but with a bit of preplanning, even this isolated continent becomes accessible and will quickly become a favourite for returning tourists.
With its beautiful bio-diversity, history and metropolitan cities, there is something here for just about every traveller.
So if you are willing to make the trip, here are some handy tips to make your trip to Australia a breeze!
The first thing most people think of about Australia is the flora and fauna. There’s no denying a lot of the wildlife here is dangerous but what people don’t realise is how little you’ll see them. More often than not the critters will avoid anything to do with humans and if you are only visiting cities, will be almost none existent.
When travelling to more rural spots, just be aware of your surroundings and don’t go poking underneath rocks or trees, remain vigilant of any swimming warnings and you’ll remain safe. Common sense is key!
2) Best Travel Times
The cheapest time to travel is during Autumn to Spring (Spring to Autumn for the northern hemisphere!). Though the weather can get rainy during those months, there are still enough pleasant days to make the trip worthwhile, and there are always plenty of indoor activities to do should you get one of the rarer bad weather days.
If you are from a colder climate (Like myself from the UK) you may find March-April or Sept-Nov the best times to travel as the prices are cheaper if you avoid both home and Australian school holidays and the weather is lovely.
The summers can get incredibly hot with some days hitting 40 degrees, but there is a lot to be said for coming over for an Aussie Christmas! There’s nothing like spending a sunny day at the beach with a beer and a BBQ over a hot chocolate and woolly jumpers!
Just remember if you are coming from somewhere like the UK to factor jet lag into your trip, going forward in time is much harder on the body than going back and you may find yourself doing very little on your first day!
3) Visas and customs laws
All tourists to Australia require a visa to enter and this must be applied for before you travel.
Bear in mind, if you get on a visa valid for 3 months, your trip must fall inside that so don’t get one too early. For many citizens in Europe including British citizens, the visa is free and can be granted in only one day on the eVisitor system.
For people outside of Europe, there may be a charge and a longer wait involved so be sure to check the visiting guidelines of the Department of Home Affairs for all up to date information regarding your visa. The process is simple and all done online.
Be aware of the strict customs laws on food and drink being brought into and out of the country if you are visiting friends here or considering taking items back home, you’ll find all the info you need here.
There are also strict duty laws when coming into the country, especially on cigarettes so keep yourself up to date on all the duty laws so you don’t end up being charged more money or having your items confiscated, and remember to declare everything on the forms provided to ensure a swift and painless arrival.
4) Things to do
No matter which coast you visit there is so much to see and do, remember that Australia is the same size as the entire mainland USA! I recommend a minimum two week stay if not longer if possible, to really see what this country has to offer and trust me the time will fly by!
Australia also offers a fantastic opportunity to do great road trips. If you are planning to do this, you can either rent or buy (depending on how long you will be travelling) great motorhomes here.
For all the wine lovers, visiting the Barossa Valley is a perfect way to enjoy Australian wine. See this complete guide to Barossa Valley wineries.
Rottnest Island is an absolute must for any visitor. You can spend just a day there or stay a few nights in a cabin or in the hotel to really enjoy all of its amenities and history.
Most travellers will go east coast and visit Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and everywhere welcomes tourists with open arms.
Australia is a multicultural country with immigrants and visitors from the world over and many different tours and activities to partake in. Telling you all of them would be another blog post in of itself so be sure to check the tourism sites of the cities you wish to visit for an idea of itineraries and costs.
5) Life in Australia
Cost of living in Australia is high compared to most other places in the world, so you may easily burn through your spending money if you plan on eating out a lot or visiting bars.
A good tip is to check great discounts and voucher sites when you are here. They often have offers for theme parks or days out as well as dinner and meal vouchers too.
These sites are also useful if you are stuck for something to do for a day as they can inspire you or encourage you to try something you may never have before, such as indoor skydiving or finding a cuisine you’ve never tried.
Australia people are all very laid back with carefree attitudes, just remember they have a sense of humour similar to the British culture (a LOT of sarcasm!) and you’ll find yourselves making friends quickly.
Looking for things to do in Australia?
In conclusion, don’t let the long travel times put you off or the wildlife.
Australia is so diverse and full of life and character with a fascinating history. Some places here almost seem alien to Europeans because their flora and fauna are like nothing you’ll have ever seen before, and nothing beats the first time you hear a Kookaburra laughing in a tree! With a little careful planning with flights and visas, your trip here will be hassle-free.