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Overview

Australia

Be inspired by Oz's iconic landscapes and sun-kissed cities

There really is no place like home, especially when your home is an eclectic mix of fiery red deserts, world-renowned coral reefs, towering mountain ranges and golden beaches. See your own backyard and embrace the work hard and play harder mentality resonating throughout cosmopolitan capital cities and laid-back rural towns.

Basics

Electricity
Electrical current is 240/250 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin flat blade plugs are used but are different to those in most other countries, so an adapter is normally required.

Language
English is the official language of Australia.

Health
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by travellers over one year of age arriving within six days of having stayed overnight or longer in an infected country. No other special immunizations or medications are required for most trips to Australia, however insect repellents are strongly advised because of the risk of Murray Valley encephalitis, Ross River virus infections, dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Another health risk is sunburn, and visitors are advised to take precautions. Medical services are excellent, but can be expensive so travellers should ensure that they have adequate insurance. Australia has a reciprocal health agreement with the United Kingdom providing for free hospital emergency medical treatment; proof of UK residence is required.

Tipping
There are no mandatory gratuities in restaurant service charges of any kind in Australia, and tips are not expected anywhere, although it is becoming more common in expensive restaurants in the bigger cities to leave some money for good service.

Safety
The crime rate in Australia is low, however travellers should be aware that tourists could be targeted by petty criminals. Be vigilant about personal possessions and travel documents, particularly in popular tourist destinations such as along the Gold Coast. There has been an increase in incidents of spiked drinks and women in particular should be cautious in nightspots; many victims were also sexually assaulted. Tropical cyclones normally occur between November and April in some parts of Australia, usually in Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory. There is a serious risk of bush fires in summer, especially in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and ACT. During the summer months, usually between October and May, the shallow coastal waters of northern Australia and Queensland become infested with marine stingers, commonly known as box jellyfish, whose sting is highly dangerous and can be deadly. Visitors should pay attention to signs on beaches and follow the instructions of local lifeguards.

Customs
Generally an informal attitude, in dress and behaviour, prevails in most social and business situations. Sport, particularly rugby and cricket, is almost a religion.

Business
Those doing business in Australia are sure to find that the friendly, yet professional corporate atmosphere of the country will provide them with an exciting opportunity to develop their careers. The business culture of Australia is a bit of a hybrid breed, incorporating the trappings of British formality and conservatism, the egalitarian ethos of Scandinavian countries, and the dynamic, innovative approach to business that is generally thought of as American in origin - rounded out, of course, with characteristic Antipodean warmth and friendliness. The approach to management in Australia is consultative, pragmatic, and strictly non-hierarchical. Those in positions of relative power are accorded respect in virtue of their human and interpersonal qualities, not simply because they happen to be your boss. Business etiquette in Australia further reflects this egalitarian ethos. Use titles initially, though you will almost certainly be told to dispense with them - at which point, you should refer to your colleagues by their first names. Maintain eye contact when speaking to your associates, as this is regarded as a sign of forthrightness and trustworthiness - qualities which Australian businesspeople tend to favour over showiness, self-aggrandisement or empty promises. Business meetings in Australia should be scheduled a week in advance, and then confirmed a few days before they are due to take place. Be punctual, as lateness can be seen as a symptom of flakiness or indifference. Business meetings in Australia do not generally proceed from a set agenda - rather, they are viewed as open forums, in which ideas are to be debated and discussed. In fact, over-preparing for a meeting can make you seem pushy and maverick - as though you wish to bully others into adopting your opinions on the issue at hand. The dress code for business in Australia remains surprisingly traditional: dark suits and ties are the norm for men; for women, business suits, worn either with pants or a skirt. Avoid loud jewellery and accessories - as to Australian eyes, they might make you seem arrogant and unprofessional. The official language of business in Australia is English, and business hours are generally from 8.30am (or 9am) to 5pm (or 5.30pm), Monday to Friday.

Communications
The international access code for Australia is +61. The outgoing code is 0011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001144 for the United Kingdom). The area code for both Canberra and Sydney is (0)2. Local calls from public payphones are unlimited and cost a standard rate, while international and long distance calls are charged according to the time spent on the phone. Mobile phone operators use GSM and CDMA networks (area code (0)4); mobile phones are available for rent. Internet cafes are widely available.

Duty Free
Travellers to Australia over 18 years do not have to pay customs duty on 2.25 litres of alcohol; and 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco products (note that all tobacco products in your baggage are included in this category, regardless of where they were purchased). Gifts are included in the A$900 duty-free allowance. Fresh produce and animal/plant products are prohibited.

Currency

The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

A$ 1 = US$ 1.03£ 0.67C$ 1.05A$ 1.00R 8.71EUR 0.81NZ$ 1.30

Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Health

Health Overview
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by travellers over one year of age arriving within six days of having stayed overnight or longer in an infected country. No other special immunizations or medications are required for most trips to Australia, however insect repellents are strongly advised because of the risk of Murray Valley encephalitis, Ross River virus infections, dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Another health risk is sunburn, and visitors are advised to take precautions. Medical services are excellent, but can be expensive so travellers should ensure that they have adequate insurance. Australia has a reciprocal health agreement with the United Kingdom providing for free hospital emergency medical treatment; proof of UK residence is required.

Visa

Americans
US nationals must have a valid passport for intended period of stay. Visa required, except for those with Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).

UK nationals
UK nationals must have a passport valid for intended period of stay. Visa required, except for those with Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).

Canadians
Canadian nationals require a passport valid for intended period of stay. Visa required, except for those with Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).

Australians


South Africans
South African nationals must have a passport valid for the duration of the stay. A visa is required.

Irish nationals
Irish nationals must have a passport valid for the intended period of stay. Visa required, except for those with Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).

New Zealanders
New Zealanders require a valid passport on entry to Australia. A Special Category Visa (SCV) is issued on arrival after completing a passenger card.

Passport/Visa Note
A valid passport and a visa or ETA is required for travel to Australia. An ETA is an electronically issued and verified visa, not visible in a passport. ETAs are issued to passengers travelling for tourist or business purposes. Tourist ETAs are valid for three months. ETAs are obtainable online at: www.eta.immi.gov.au or through most travel agents. It is highly recommended that visas are valid six months after departure from a holiday destination.

Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.

Contacts

Australia Tourism
Australian Tourist Commission, Sydney: +61 (0)2 9360 1111 or www.australia.com

Foreign Embassies in Australia
Embassy of the United States, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6214 5600.
British High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6270 6666.
Canadian High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6270 4000.

South African High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6272 7300.
Embassy of Ireland, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6273 3022.
New Zealand High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6270 4211.

Australia Embassies
Embassy of Australia, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 797 3000.
Australian High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7379 4334.
Australian High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 0841.

Australian High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 423 6000.
Australian Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 664 5300.
Australian High Commission, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 473 6411.

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