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Here’s everything you need to know before visiting and travelling around Australia.
After travelling through so many European countries recently, I’ve been comparing my adventures to travelling around Australia. From entering the country to transport and climate, I think travel in Australia is a totally different, but totally awesome experience. If you’re travelling to my beloved home country for the first time, here’s everything you should know before you go. This ensures you have the best time possible.
Tips for travelling around Australia
1. Organise your visa
First things first. Unlike many European countries, most international visitors need a visa to enter Australia. Visit the Department of Home Affairs official website for visa options and for more information about entering Australia in general.
2. A local sim card is the way to go
Australia is a big place and it’s (unfortunately) easy to go a while between WiFi hotspots when travelling. Once you arrive in Australia, I recommend picking up an amaysim sim card. My phone contract is due to expire at the end of the year, so I was recently looking at options when I came across amaysim.
Firstly, they have great reviews and they use the Optus 4G Plus Network. This is one of the biggest and best mobile networks in Australia. Secondly, amaysim’s mobile phone plans are so affordable. $30 for 30GB of data is insane! These mobile phone plans also have unlimited talk and text within Australia and some even include unlimited international calls to certain countries. The best part for travellers to Australia is that there’s no lock-in contract. You can pick up an amaysim sim card at thousands of retail outlets across Australia, like Woolworths and Coles. Then you just hop online to activate – how easy is that? I think they’ll be getting my money once I return home.
3. Don’t forget an adaptor
Australia uses plug type I. This is also used in countries such as NZ, China and Argentina (randomly). Don’t forget to bring an adaptor so you can charge all of your electronics.
4. Tipping isn’t expected
The minimum wage in Australia is actually one of the highest in the world. This is why tipping isn’t expected in the service and hospitality industries. However, if you receive exceptional service and want to show your appreciation, I’m sure your tip won’t be turned down.
5. Don’t withdraw too much cash…
As card is accepted at the majority of Australian businesses.
6. Swim between the flags when visiting Australia
If you visit a beach in Australia and there are red and yellow flags erected in the sand, please swim between them. The flags designate the area that is patrolled by surf lifesavers. They are there for your safety, as Australian beaches have lots of invisible dangers like rips (also called undertows). You should also be cautious when swimming at unpatrolled beaches. It always pays to seek out some local knowledge when it comes to swimming conditions and other potential hazards before entering the water – whether it’s a beach, a river or a lake.
7. Slip, slop, slap
Back in my school days, there was an advertisement about slip, slop, slapping. I’m singing along to the jingle in my head right now! But basically, it’s about slipping on a shirt, slopping on sunscreen and slapping on a hat when in the sun. Australia’s sun is no joke (take it from the palest Aussie around). Look after yourself in the sun and slop on that SPF50+. You get bonus points if the sunscreen is reef safe.
8. Choose your transport for travelling around Australia
There are multiple ways to get around Australia. If you’re only visiting for a limited time, your best option might be flying. Budget airlines like Tigerair and Jetstar regularly have sales and cheap fares available, so keep your eyes peeled 👀. This is the main way I travel in Australia and get to destinations like the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Adelaide.
If you’re not visiting Australia alone and have time, another popular option is hiring a car or campervan. You can rent a campervan through renowned businesses like Ratpack Travel, Travellers Autobarn and JUCY Rentals. For an extended trip, look at Travellers Autobarn and Gumtree (Australia’s version of Craigslist) to buy a campervan.
9. Check the weather when travelling around Australia
Like I’ve said, Australia is big and it has several different climates. July in Townsville is about 15 degrees warmer than July in Melbourne. Generally speaking, the hottest months in northern Australia are from January to March. So it’s best to avoid this part of the world if you don’t like heat and glorious humidity. Similarly, if you want to avoid the cold, give the southern states (namely Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia) a wide berth during June, July and August. Once you’ve locked in your itinerary, do yourself a favour and do a quick Google search to find out the average temperatures for your specific destinations. Because just between you and me, you will never want or need your bulky winter coat in Cairns!
10. There’s not a bad time to visit Australia
Following on from my above point, I know people ask (and Google) to learn when is the best time to go travelling around Australia. However, I think the answer differs from state to state. For example, winter is the best time to visit North Queensland, but I’d head to southern Queensland in either autumn or spring. Meanwhile, summer in Melbourne equals long, sunny days – my favourite!
11. Drink the tap water while travelling around Australia
Australian tap water is safe to drink – I’ve been drinking it my entire life! Non-potable (undrinkable) water taps that may supply recycled water for other purposes like irrigation are usually labelled. Don’t forget to pack a reusable water bottle (or pick one up at Kmart when you arrive). I know everyone is different, but regularly consuming water is so important in Australia, particularly in the hotter months. No one wants to get stuck with sunstroke and dehydration on holiday!
12. Purchase travel insurance for peace of mind
Speaking of bad things that can happen when travelling around Australia! It’s always important to purchase travel insurance before your trip (I personally use and recommend World Nomads). You just never know if you’ll need it and being admitted to an Australian public hospital without it can be extremely costly. This website has more information about healthcare provided to overseas visitors, as Australia does have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with certain countries. Who knew? (Not me).
There you have it – 12 things to know before you go travelling around Australia.
If you have any more Australian travel questions, let me know in the comments or send me a DM on Instagram.
This post is in partnership with amaysim.