Australian Travel Guide

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June Highlights

Top 100 Activities in Australia

Top 100 Activities in Australia

Exploring Australia may seem daunting, so we've picked out the top 100 activities for you...

Australian Travel Information

Visas & Travel

There are a number of visas available for people wanting to visit Australia as a tourist. A temporary visa is generally granted for a stay of 3 months or 6 months, (In certain circumstances a stay of 12 months may be granted). For people seeking to visit family in Australia, formal sponsorship by an Australian citizen or permanent resident is required. An electronically stored authority for short-term visits to Australia of up to 3 months is also available to passport holders from 32 countries and regions. Applications must be made from outside Australia. Visit the Department of Immigration & Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. We also advise you to check with your embassy before traveling.

Australia's capital: Australian Capital Territory

Phone Codes & Handy Numbers

Australia Country Code
+61
State Telephone Codes
QLD (07), NSW & the ACT (02), VIC & TAS (03), SA, WA & NT (08)
International Access Code from Australia
0011
Directory Assistance
12455
Emergency
000 (for Police, Fire Brigade & Ambulance)

Australian Currency

Currency
Australian Dollar ($) - AUD
Exchange Rate
For current exchange rates: www.xe.com
Tax
A tax of 10% is applied to most goods and services (GST) in Australia. It is included in all advertised prices.

Specifications

Electricity
240 volts AC
Measurements
Metric (Liquid - litres, Length - metres)

Driving in Australia

If you hold a valid driver's licence (in English) from your own country, you are permitted to drive throughout all of Australia. If your driver's licence is not in English, a translation may be necessary and you may also require an international licence. See our time & distances table for help while driving around Australia.

Australian Time Zones & Daylight Saving

There are three time zones in Australia: Eastern Standard Time (EST), includes New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory; Central Standard Time (CST), which includes South Australia and the Northern Territory; and Western Standard Time (WST) - Western Australia. CST is one half hour behind EST, while WST is two hours behind EST. Daylight savings runs from the last Sunday in October (Tasmania on the first Sunday) to the last Sunday in March in all states except Northern Territory & Queensland.

History of Australia

50,000 years before the arrival of European settlers, groups of Southeast Asians immigrated to the continent. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived and thrived in Australia's unique and challenging natural environment. Their complex social systems and highly developed traditions reflect a deep connection with the land and environment. Today it is believed the Aboriginals are the world's oldest civilisation.

The first recorded European contact with Australia was in March 1606, when Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon (c.1570 - 1630) charted the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, (Queensland). Later that year, the Spanish explorer Luis Vaez de Torres sailed through the strait separating Australia and Papua New Guinea. However It wasn't until Englishman Captain James Cook arrived in Botany Bay in 1770 that Australia was officially claimed for the British Crown.

In 1779 Britain decided to use its new outpost as a penal colony; the First Fleet of 11 ships carried about 1500 people—half of them convicts. The fleet arrived in Sydney Harbour on 26 January 1788, and it is on this day every year that Australia Day is celebrated. In all, about 160 000 men and women were brought to Australia as convicts from 1788 to 1868. The convicts were joined by free immigrants from the early 1790s.

Australia became a federated nation on 1 January 1901. Bound by one parliament, one constitution and one flag, Australia celebrated its Centenary of Federation in 2001. Today Australia is home to people from more than 200 countries.

Australia's defence force has a long and proud tradition dating back to the original ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). Australian soldiers fought in both World Wars and numerous allied conflicts. All Australian troops are remembered each year on Anzac Day, 25 April, the anniversary of the first landing of Australian 'Diggers' at Gallipoli Turkey, in 1915, during the First World War.

The First World War had a devastating impact on Australia. In 1914 the male population of Australia was less than 3 million. As many as 60,000 died and tens of thousands more were wounded. The period between the two world wars was marked by instability. Social and economic divisions widened during the Depression years when many Australian financial institutions failed. During the Second World War Australian forces made a significant contribution to the Allied victory in Europe and in Asia and the Pacific.

After the war Australia entered a boom period. Millions of refugees and migrants arrived in Australia. The economy developed strongly in the 1950s. ">Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games of 1956, shining the international spotlight on Australia.

Today Australia is one of the most cosmopolitan and dynamic societies in the world. The nation has thriving ethnic media, an international business reputation, an innovative artistic community, diverse religious and cultural activities and variety in foods, restaurants, fashion and architecture.

Events

Australia Day
26 January
Anzac Day
25 April
Australia’s National Anthem
Advanced Australia Fair

The Australian People & Culture

Language
English
Government
Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy (since 26 Jan 1901), bound by one Federal Parliament, one constitution and one flag.
National Anthem
Advance Australia Fair

Australians enjoy a high standard of living on par with that of most major cities of Europe and the U.S. An informal and pioneering spirit strikes some people as being somewhat like the Americans while our social and economic preoccupations and attitude seem more like the British.

  • New South Wales Travel Guide

    New South Wales

    New South Wales lays claims to being Australia's most diverse...

  • Victoria Travel Guide

    Victoria

    Hugging the tip of the east coast is Australia's second-smallest sta...

  • Queensland Travel Guide

    Queensland

    Widely known as Australia's 'Sunshine State', Queensland p...

  • South Australia Travel Guide

    South Australia

    South Australia is referred to as the Festival State, offering a ...

  • Western Australia Travel Guide

    Western Australia

    Referred to as 'The Golden West' Western Australia is A...

  • Northern Territory Travel Guide

    Northern Territory

    An uncompromising grandeur quite unlike any other region on ea...

  • Australian Capital Territory Travel Guide

    Australian Capital Territory

    Surrounded by New South Wales, 281km from Sydney and...

  • Tasmania Travel Guide

    Tasmania

    By far the smallest of the Australian States, separated from mainland Au...

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