Australia. Wow. What can we say? It is one place that we would recommend and would have to be on everyone’s bucket list. It would be a life time’s opportunity to visit. But before you go, there are some things to know before going to Australia. 

In our experience, you really should research and plan any holiday. This is where we come in! We are experienced travellers to Australia, I have spent nearly one year in Australia on a working holiday visa, so there isn’t much we don’t know about the country.  

To help you plan, and research your trip, we detail everything that you need to know before going to Australia.  

When to travel 

You could easily travel to Australia any time of year. If the south is cold, then you could head to the northern and central regions of the country for warm weathers. If the north is too hot for you, then just head to the south of the island for cooler conditions. 

In the southern regions of Australia, the island can be seasonal. But, unlike the northern hemisphere, their seasons are opposite. While the northern part of the island is warm to hot all year round. 

Australia winters are between June and August, while the summer is between December and February.  

In our opinion you may find travelling between the shoulder months of September to November, and March to May the best time to travel. The weather in the south will be warming up, while the weather in the north won’t be too hot. However, the shoulder months sees the highest amount of rain fall, known as the wet season. 

Winter will be the cheapest time to travel, but if you are avoiding the cold weather, then you’ll want to head north like many of the other Australians. 

The summer months are the peak season, with the best weather in the south, but the north and the central region can get unbearably hot. 

Health 

You do not require any jabs or vaccinations before travelling to Australia. However, if you have visited a yellow fever infected country, then you will need to provide a certificate of proof that you have been vaccinated from yellow fever. 

Health care is readily available, should you require medical treatment. Standard over the counter medical supplies such as painkillers, cold and flu remedies etc., can be purchased in pharmacies.  

It’s always recommended to have valid travel insurance, this will cover you for most eventualities, especially if you need medical treatment while you are away on holiday.  

Should you get travel insurance? You can find more by checking out our post. 

Visa 

Most nationalities will require a visa to enter Australia, even if you are transiting. There are a number of different visa’s available depending on the purpose of travel. 

If you meet the correct criteria and have the time to stay in Australia for some time, we would highly recommend the working holiday visa. The working holiday visa, allows foreign nationals from certain countries, to visit Australia for at least one year. If you have been granted a working holiday visa, then you can work to fund your travels around Australia.  

The 12 Apostles
The 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, taken from a helicoptor

Back in 2006, I was granted a working holiday visa to Australia, which was a life changing decision for the best. I spent about 10 months, working and travelling around Australia. 

If you can only visit Australia for a short holiday, then a holiday visa, is the best option for you. 

You can find out more about visa’s, which one could be suited for you, and how to go about Applying, then check out our post on How to apply for a visa to Australia.  

Related post: What to pack in your Travel first aid kit.

Currency 

The currency used in Australia is the AUS$.  

We would recommend purchasing the currency before travelling to Australia and always make sure you have enough for your trip, and in the event of an emergency. Please check with your bank prior to departure about using a debit/credit card and if any charges will apply.  

If you are staying in Australia for a long period of time and working, then you will need to open a bank account. I banked with the Bank of Queensland and had no issues with them, however you should choose the most suitable bank for you. 

Packing 

Packing is essential when going on holiday, but you have to be smart about what to pack. 

Depending on the time of year and region you travel, you’ll need the right clothes. Such as summer and the northern region, you’ll want nice cool clothing, but in winter in the southern region, you’ll need warm if not thermal underlayers.  

It isn’t just the clothing you need to consider; you’ll need to pack the correct documents such as passport and visa if this is required. 

Why not head over to our post on What to Pack for Australia. In this, we provide an extensive list of all the important things to pack. You can also download, a check list to help you pack the right things and never miss an item. 

Language 

The local Australian language is English. You may notice with Australian English, that the accent is slightly different to the British English and some words may have different meanings. For example, Australians will call flip flops thongs, but in British English, thongs are ladies’ underwear.  

The language is an amalgamation of Cockney, Irish, and adaptation of Aboriginal dialect.  

You may find other dialects such as the native Aboriginal language, with many depending on the tribe. However, it will be uncommon to encounter such language, I certainly didn’t when I visited Australia.  

Related Post: Best Hikes in Australia

Budget 

Before any trip to Australia, you will need to set a budget, this is so you do not overspend, you can keep control of your finances and don’t return home with a hefty bill to pay back. 

In our experience, we found that Australia to be relatively inexpensive, especially when converting the £ to AUS$. Hostels are the best places to stay on a budget and are very reasonable in my experience. It’s also a great way to meet new friends along the way. I have so many memories of making new friends from my hostel stays in Australia.  

If hostels are not your favoured place, then staying in a mid-range place will be a little more expensive, so you must budget for this expense. 

To get a better idea on budgeting costs, we have included a table to help you to budget.

Australia Travel Costs

Staying safe in Australia 

Overall, Australia is a safe place to visit. But it would be wise to continue vigilance at all times. If you maintain these following tips on how to stay safe in Australia, you should have an amazing holiday: 

Always make sure that you keep in contact with a family member or a friend throughout your trip and provide them with your itinerary. If something happens to you whilst you are travelling and they don’t hear from you, then your family member or friend can raise the alarm with the authorities. 

Always research the safe and unsafe areas of Australia. You don’t want to be walking through a gang related area risking your life (unless you’re up for an adventure). 

Make sure you keep all your personal belongings safe, including your passport, money, important documents, etc., A bum bag is a valuable bit of equipment while travelling! You can keep your belongings in your bum bag, around your waist and beneath your clothing, which will prevent them from being stolen.  

Be careful when it comes to tourist scams and tourist traps, do research on any scams or traps that could put you out of pocket or put you in danger. 

Drink responsibly! Yes, that’s right, a holiday is a time to have fun and party on a night out. But you don’t want to get so drunk that you can’t make your way home and compromise your safety. Make sure you watch your drink being made and don’t leave your drink unattended, it is still possible to have your drink spiked.  

If you are getting a taxi, make sure you book the taxi in advance and make sure a friend or family member has the date and time, including contact details for the taxi firm.  

The list really could go on, when it comes to staying safe while travelling in Australia. Using a common-sense approach, while travelling to Australia and you will stay safe, but critically you’ll have so much fun. 

Getting around 

In our opinion the best way to get around Australia is via car on a road trip. When I was in Australia on a working holiday visa, I purchased a small vehicle, and drove. It was very easy and simple to drive. But driving isn’t for everyone! Here are some other methods of getting around Australia:  

The Northern Territory - Australia
The Northern Territory

Air 

There are a number of international and domestic airports, located at the main cities throughout the country. Making it quick and easy to navigate the different regions. 

Car 

We would highly recommend either purchasing a car while in Australia (if you’re staying for at least one year) or hiring a vehicle. Having a vehicle is more convenient and saves on trying to get around on public transport.  

In some areas of the country, a car is a necessity as public transport is either not available, or very limited. If you’re intending to drive around the large cities in Australia, then you may find parking a little more challenging.  

Australians drive on the left just as they do in the UK, for drivers who come from a country who drive on the right, will have to adjust their driving position and be careful especially if you are not familiar with driving on the left. 

You will need an international driver permit, if you intend to drive or hire a vehicle, but your driving licence is not issued in Australia. 

Train 

Travelling around Australia via train is a great method to get around. Most cities will be connected with smaller towns and cities in the suburbs, and connecting from one large city to another is relatively easy.  

Train travel however can be long, but if you enjoy sitting back, relaxing and taking in the view as you go, then make the most of some of the scenic train journeys in the country. 

Bus 

There are good bus connections with many large cities and villages around the country. It’s always a good idea to plan and research your trip, especially if you intent to travel via public transport. 

There’s also a good number of bus tours, that will take you to remote locations. I loved the bus tour I took from Alice Springs, which took me to Ayres Rock (Uluru), and up through the outback to Darwin.  

Walking 

Walking has to be our favourite way to get around. It is so much better for the environment, our health and is a great way to explore a city.  

Top places to visit 

There are so many adventurous places to visit in Australia. But here are just a few of our favourite places to visit: 

Brisbane 

The city that I lived and worked in while on a working holiday visa.  

This lovely city offers great weather all year round. Coming from the UK, where the weather is cold in the winter, this was lovely. Winter in Queensland consists of temperature not dipping much below 20 degrees Celsius.  

With the warm weathers yearly, allows for more outdoor activity, be that surfing, fishing, or just lazing back on a sunny beach soaking up the sun. 

If you’re looking for great beach destinations, then head to the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, located only a short distance away, on either side of the city. 

What more would you want from a holiday destination?  

Sydney 

The incredible Sydney, is definitely one to remember.  

There’s so much to see and do, with the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House to admire. If you’re not afraid of heights, then taking on the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb will offer great views of the city and the Opera House.  

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

Beaches are of plenty in Australia, but you really couldn’t miss the famous Bondi Beach, with the yellow and red flags marked out on the beach and bright yellow sandy beaches and cool waters, that’s just a few things to do. 

Melbourne 

Melbourne was my favourite city to visit. The city has a friendly atmosphere, ideal for travellers.  

If you are keen on a road trip, then hitting the Great Ocean Road, with views out onto the Twelve Apostol’s. If you don’t want to drive, then a tour bus, can take you the route, stopping at different locations as you go.  

Alice Springs 

Located in the outback, of the Northern Territory, and quite a small town.  

Alice Springs is the ideal outback town to stay in as you explore Ayres Rock, Kings Canyon and other such sites of interest.  

When I was travelling in Australia, I took a bus tour, picking up passengers from Alice Springs, before taking the coach journey out to Ayres Rock, Kings Canyon and many more, before heading north to Darwin.  

The highlight of the tour, was sleeping under the stars near Ayres Rock, to watch the sun set, before dawn waking early to watch the sun rise. The incredible red colours that dance across Ayres Rock was a sight you could not possibly miss.

 

Food and drink 

Australia is known for having one of the best fresh seafood, fished from their local waters, and locally sourced fruit, vegetables and meats.   

Have you heard of Vegemite? If not, it is very similar to Marmite that the British have produced, but in my opinion not so good. Vegemite, is a yeast product that’s spread on bread or toast and is a dark brown to black colour.  

If you are looking for bush tucker trial food in Australia then you might like to try a delicacy of Witchetty Grubs.  They are found in the roots of a mulga tree and are served live. Good luck, we don’t think we could eat them. 

If you like a little tipple or a large pint, then you must drink Australia’s locally produced wines, beers and spirits. I fell in love with Bundaberg Rum with a splash of coke.  

Was there a dish that brings back memories of your visit to Australia? Or maybe there’s a dish you could recommend? Leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you. 

LGBTQ+ 

LGBTQ+ is widely accepted in Australia, however you may find some very small pockets in the country that may not be so tolerant.  

In most cities, especially Sydney there’s a great LGBTQ+ community. We would recommend, heading out for a couple of nights visiting some of the bars and colourful clubs.  

In our experience, we haven’t encountered any homophobic abuse on our travels around Australia, but this does not mean it doesn’t happen. Just be mindful of the people around you, be respectful and you shouldn’t encounter any issues. 

Things to know before going to Australia 

You will now have a good idea on how to stay safe, how to get around Australia, how you can budget for your trip and more with these Things to know before you go to Australia – Travel Guide. We hope you enjoy Australia just as much as I did and it won’t be long before you’ll want to be visiting again soon. I can’t wait to go back to Australia and take Shams to some of the sights I visited. 

Have you visited Australia? What was your highlight? Where would you recommend visiting? Maybe you haven’t yet been to Australia, but have something you have always wished to do? Is there anything from this list that we haven’t included, but think we should mention?  

We would love to hear about it, so please just leave a comment below. 

Things to know before going to Australia
Things to know before going to Australia

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