The sixth-largest country in the world, Australia boasts one of the most diverse landscapes on Earth, with deserts, tropical rainforests, mountains, plains, and breathtaking beaches all in one place. Whether you're planning to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, take in Sydney's history and nightlife or road trip across the Outback, the Land Down Under has something for everyone to explore.
- Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
- Must-See Landmark: The Sydney Operahouse
- Must-Try Food: Vegemite
- Most Common Language: English
- Emergency Services Telephone Number: 000
Travel Insurance for Australia
With a wide range of plans on the market, it may be difficult to select a plan. To find the plan that's best for you, first assess the condition of your health then take a look at your travel plans. From there, you can compare plans side by side with our compare tool. For travelers with pre-existing conditions, senior travelers and those looking for more complete coverage, a comprehensive plan is the best option. If you are looking for basic coverage at an affordable price, a limited plan may be the way to go.
Visas and Documentation
All visitors, except for Australian and New Zealand citizens, must acquire an Australian visa prior to their visit. There are several different visa options for different purposes and lengths of stay, including the eVisitor, Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), Working Holiday and Visitor visas.
The ETA is the most common visitor visa for tourists. Citizens of Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States can apply for this visa online prior to their trip. Others must apply for a visa through an airline, travel agent or visa office. The eVisitor visa is also available online to European Union citizens and citizens of Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City. All visitors must have a valid passport to enter the country.
Do some research on which visa is right for your visit before you book your trip.
Weather and What to Pack
As it's in the southern hemisphere, Australian summer is from December to March and winter is from June to August. Summer weather can get extremely hot and the Australian sun is notoriously relentless. With no sun protection, 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure can result in a painful sunburn. Pack shorts, skirts, tank tops, flip flops and don't forget a hat!
Though temperatures in winter very rarely dip below freezing in Australia, the weather can still be chilly and rainy. Be sure to pack layers, an umbrella, a warm jacket and a beanie or scarf.
The shoulder seasons in October/November and April/May are ideal times to visit as the weather is more predictable and temperate.
Etiquette and Cultural Norms
Australians, also known as Aussies (pronounced Oz-ees) are known for their laid back and friendly nature. Greetings and conversation are generally informal in social settings. When meeting someone, a simple hello and handshake is perfectly acceptable. Aussies place a lot of value on humor and commonly poke fun at friends in social settings. You will be well-liked if you can take a joke and admired if you can joke back in return.
If you visit any cultural sites sacred to the indigenous people of Australia, be extremely respectful of any customs, rituals or traditions. It's always a good idea to stop by a visitor or cultural center at the location to learn more and ask any questions you may have.
General politeness and manners are expected in Australia, as they are in many parts of the world. Don't litter or cut in line, be sure to hold the door for the person behind you and be on time to formal engagements, etc. Australians value their personal space, so avoid standing too close or brushing up against anyone unless unavoidable (like on a crowded train).
Be sure to research Australian slang before arrival to avoid using words that may be commonly used in your home country, but mean something completely different to Aussies.
- Sydney, New South Wales: The largest city in Australia, Sydney is home to more than five million people and offers historical, cultural and natural wonders. Don't miss the iconic Sydney Opera House, Harbor Bridge and many nearby National Parks.
- Melbourne, Victoria: Largely considered to be the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne has a thriving art and music scene and a diverse population. Be sure to visit the National Gallery of Victoria and catch a game of cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
- Brisbane, Queensland: Located on the Brisbane River, this city of more than 2 million people is a nature lovers paradise. Take in the gorgeous beaches of Gold Coast, visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary or go for a hike in a nearby rainforest.
- Perth, Western Australia: Known for its spectacular sunny weather and stunning beaches, Perth also has a popular shopping district and many bars and restaurants. While in Perth, take a tour of the Whipper Snapper whisky distillery or take a boat cruise down the Swan River.
- Cairnes, Queensland: A smaller city of 150,000 people, Cairnes is known for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Be sure to go snorkeling or scuba diving at this natural world wonder, then take in the picturesque downtown.
Health & Safety Tips
Australia is generally very safe for residents and visitors and has a low national crime rate. However, it is always a good idea to be cautious and aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in large cities. If you are taking public transportation, be sure to keep your purse, backpack or bag closed and in your hands at all times. If you are wearing a backpack, take it off and hold it in front of you to avoid bumping other passengers and not being aware if someone attempts to open your bag. Phones, wallets and cameras are particularly at risk of being stolen.
Because the sun in Australia is so strong, it's advisable to always wear sunscreen whenever you are planning to go outside, even if it is cloudy. Also take extra precaution when swimming in the ocean, hiking or participating in other outdoor activities, as sharks, crocodiles, snakes and spiders are common in Australia and can be a danger to humans.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for Australia: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.