Surrounded by the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, the country of Australia is located in the continent of Oceania and is the sixth largest country in the world. Being an island, Australia does not share its land borders with any country. It is separated from Asia by Arafura and Timor Seas, Queensland by the Coral Sea and the Tasman Sea separates it from New Zealand. Despite the diversity of their homelands – from outback deserts to tropical rainforest and snow-capped mountains – all Aboriginal people share the belief in the Dreaming, or ‘Tjukurrpa’. According to Aboriginal myth, the ancestor spirits forged all aspects of life and continue to link the past, present, the people and the land. Dreaming stories describe the journeys of spiritual ancestors and are told through song, dance, painting and storytelling. There are many opportunities to explore Australia’s Indigenous culture, significantly in northern Australia. Take a tour through the world-famous Kakadu National Park, which is home to more than 5,000 sites of rock art dating back 20,000 years. Or join a Dreamtime walk, guided by the Kuku Yalanji people, through the lush rainforests of Mossman Gorge, 80 kilometres north of Cairns.

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DISCOVER AUSTRALIA

States & Territories

 Australian Capital Territory

  • The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) bounds the national capital of Canberra and is the centre of government. The Australian Capital Territory is located approximately 290 kilometres (180 miles) south of Sydney and is home to a number of important national institutions, including Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and the National Gallery of Australia.

 New South Wales

  • New South Wales (NSW) is Australia’s oldest and most populous state. New South Wales was originally settled as a penal colony on the shores of Port Jackson where the bustling capital city of Sydney now stands. Sydney is the nation’s largest city and is renowned for its idyllic beaches, great walks and world-class dining. New South Wales is also home to popular attractions including the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley wine region.

⇒ Northern Territory

  • At the top end of Australia lies the Northern Territory (NT). Darwin, on the northern coast, is the capital, and Alice Springs is the principal inland town. Alice Springs is the physical heart of Australia, almost exactly at the nation's geographical centre. The Northern Territory is home to the famous Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and Kakadu National Park. 

⇒ Queensland

  • Queensland (QLD) is Australia’s second-largest state (in size) and is home to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, the world’s most extensive subtropical rainforest and the beautiful Queensland Islands – including the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. Brisbane is the state’s capital; it enjoys more winter sunshine and warmth than most Australian cities and is perfect for outdoor activities and water sports.

 South Australia

  • South Australia (SA) sits in the southern central part of the country and covers some of the most arid parts of the continent. The state’s capital is Adelaide and is a great base for exploring the Barossa wineries, the Flinders Ranges and Kangaroo Island. South Australia has a thriving arts scene and is known as the ‘Festival State’, with more than 500 events and festivals taking place there each year.

 Tasmania

  • Tasmania (TAS) is separated from mainland Australia by the Bass Strait and is the smallest state in Australia. The capital, Hobart, was founded in 1804 as a penal colony and is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney. One-fifth of Tasmania is covered by national parks and wilderness – abundant in driving routes and walking trails – and it is one of the world’s most mountainous islands.

 Victoria

  • Victoria (VIC) is the smallest of the mainland states in size but is home to the country’s second most populated city, Melbourne. Often referred to as the nation’s cultural capital, Melbourne is famed for its graffiti laneways, fashion-forward boutiques and booming café scene. Victorians' enthusiasm for the sport is also legendary and this is where Australian Rules football began. The only thing more sacred than the footy is Melbournians love of coffee, and here you’ll find some of Australia’s best flat whites, cappuccinos and piccolo lattes.

⇒ Western Australia

  • Western Australia (WA) is Australia’s largest state and is a place of true contrasts: from the desert in the east to 13,000 kilometres of pristine coastline on the west. The state’s capital is Perth; the fourth most populous city in Australia and famed for its uncrowded beaches, parklands and fresh seafood. Off the coast of Esperance, in the state’s south, is Middle Island, which is home to the extraordinary pink-coloured Lake Hillier.

  • Australia also administers Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, the Cocos (or Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, Heard and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island and the Australian Antarctic Territory (covering 42 per cent of the Antarctic continent) as external territories.


Australian States & Territories Highlights

 New South Wales

  • Sydney
  • Blue Mountains
  • Hunter Valley
  • South Coast New South Wales
  • Jervis Bay
  • Outback New South Wales
  • Lord Howe Island
  • Byron Bay

 Queensland

  • Gold Coast
  • Brisbane
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Noosa
  • Fraser Coast
  • Australia's Nature Coast
  • Southern Great Barrier Reef
  • The Whitsundays
  • Mackay
  • Tropical North Queensland
  • Port Douglas & Daintree
  • Southern Queensland Country
  • Townsville North Queensland
  • Outback Queensland

 Victoria

  • Melbourne
  • Great Ocean Road
  • Gippsland
  • Mornington Peninsula
  • Phillip Island
  • Yarra Valley
  • Daylesford
  • Grampians
  • High Country

 South Australia

  • Adelaide
  • Kangaroo Island
  • Barossa Valley
  • Flinders valley
  • Outback

⇒ Northern Territory

  • Darwin
  • Kakadu
  • Uluru
  • Alice spring

⇒ Western Australia

  • Perth
  • Australia's Golden Outback
  • Ningaloo Reef
  • Kimberley
  • Margret River
  • Rottnest Island

 Tasmania

  • Hobart
  • Cradle Mountain
  • The Freycinet Peninsula.
  • Strahan

⇒ Australian Capital Territory

  • Canberra
  • Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Things To Do

  • Nature and wildlife
  • Aquatic and Coastal Experiences
  • Food and wine
  • Aboriginal and culture
  • Sports and events

Seasons In Australia

  • Summer in Australia, from December to February, is a great time to get outdoors. Swim Sydney’s beaches or hike Tasmania’s Overland Track. 
  • March to May heralds Australia’s autumn, a season of fiery foliage in Canberra and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne. 
  • Australia’s winter, from June to August, offers snow skiing in the Australian Alps. Alternatively, take a winter sun holiday. Snorkel in the temperate Great Barrier Reef or 4WD through South Australia’s Simpson Desert.
  • Spring in Australia, from September to November is the time to watch for whales and wildflowers as you explore the wineries of Western Australia’s Margaret River region.  
  • In tropical Australia, the dry season from May to October has clear blue skies and sunny days. It’s the time to experience Darwin’s vibrant outdoor markets, movies and festivals.  December to March is the wet season, which is hot and humid with daily rainstorms. See waterfalls thunder through Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks or fly over Katherine Gorge when its water levels are highest.

Travel Facts

Prepare for your trip to Australia with these practical tips, including currency, taxes, cultural practices and travelling with a disability.

⇒ What is the language of Australia?

  • Australia’s official language is English. However, Australia is a multicultural nation with a significant migrant population, so it's common to hear a diverse range of languages in Australia's cities and towns.

⇒ What is the currency in Australia?

  • Australia’s national currency is Australian dollars (AUD), which comes in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Coins come in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and one and two dollar denominations.

⇒ What is the Goods and Services Tax?

  • Australia has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent. You may be able to claim a refund for the GST paid on goods if you have spent AUD$300 or more with a single business, no more than 60 days before departing Australia. Tourist Refund Scheme facilities are located in the departure area of international terminals. 

⇒ Is tipping customary in Australia?

  • Hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill, and tipping is always your choice. In upmarket restaurants, it is common to tip waiters 10 per cent of the bill for good service.

⇒ What is the legal drinking age in Australia?

  • The legal drinking age in all states and territories of Australia is 18 years old. You will need to provide proof of age, either with a driver's licence or passport. 

⇒ Can I bargain or haggle prices in Australia?

  • It is not customary to bargain in Australia.

⇒ What is the emergency number in Australia?

  • The emergency number for police, ambulance and fire brigade is 000.

⇒ Is it safe to swim in Australia’s waters?

  • Australia’s popular beaches are usually patrolled by volunteer lifesavers from October to April and red and yellow flags mark the safest area for swimming. For information about marine stingers and crocodile safety in Far North Queensland, visit the Queensland Government website.

⇒ What kind of electrical plugs are used in Australia?

  • You may need an adapter in order to plug your appliances into the power sockets: the adapter required for Australia is Type 1 Australia plug. The plugs in Australia have two flat metal pins, forming an inverted ‘V’ shape, and occasionally a third pin in the centre. The electrical current in Australia is 220 – 240 volts, AC 50Hz.

⇒ What is the international dialling code for Australia?

  • The international dialling code for Australia is 61. Each region also has an area code, including Central East (New South Wales, Australia Capital Territory) with area code 02; South East (Victoria, Tasmania) with area code 03; Mobile telephones (Australia-wide) with area code 04; North East (Queensland) with area code 07; and Central and West (Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory) with area code 08. When calling from outside Australia, leave out the leading ‘0’ from the area code or mobile phone number.
  • The outgoing IDD (international direct dialling) code from within Australia is 0011.
  • Mobile phone network coverage is available across Australia, however, coverage may be limited in some remote areas.
  • Internet access and free WiFi is widely available at internet cafes, accommodation and libraries.

⇒ How can I send mail from Australia?

  • Post offices are usually open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, with some city post offices open on Saturday morning. Travellers can arrange to collect mail at post offices throughout Australia.

⇒ What services are there in Australia for travelling with a disability?

  • If you have a disability and are planning to travel throughout Australia, there are many services and special deals to meet your needs. Thorough preparation is essential for a successful trip, so you should speak to your travel agent about your specific requirements. More information on accessible tourism in Australia is available at NICAN or the AustraliaForAll websites.

⇒ Where can I buy Australian currency?

  • Currency exchange is available at banks, hotels and international airports. Australian banks offer the same range of services typical in other western nations, and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are widespread, although facilities may be limited in remote towns and the Outback. EFTPOS is also widely available in most Australian shops allowing you to pay for purchases with your credit or debit card. Fees may be charged on transactions, particularly if withdrawing from an international account.

⇒ What are Australia’s largest banks?

  • Australia’s four largest banks are NAB(National Australia Bank), ANZ (Australia New Zealand Bank), Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corporation. There are many smaller banks too, including ING Direct, AMP Banking and HSBC Australia. Banking hours are usually 9.30am-4pm Monday to Thursday and until 5 pm on Friday. Some branches open on Saturday mornings until 1 pm.

⇒ Can I send or receive money overseas from Australia?

  • You can send or receive money overseas from Australia by international money transfer (telegraphic transfer), online or through a bank. It is best to organise a variety of ways to access your money from overseas, such as credit cards, cash, debit cards or cash cards before you leave home.

⇒ Can I use credit cards and traveller’s cheques in Australia?

  • Credit cards such as American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa, UnionPay and JCB are accepted in Australia. VISA or MasterCard can be used everywhere credit cards are accepted. American Express and Diners Club are accepted at major supermarket and department store chains and many tourist destinations. A good tip is to carry multiple credit cards and a little cash. Merchants may impose credit card surcharges in some places.
  • Traveller's cheques are not widely accepted in Australia. If you do purchase traveller’s cheques, it is best to buy them in Australian dollars as smaller shops, restaurants and other businesses are unlikely to know what the exchange rate is if you present a cheque in a different currency such as US dollars or British pounds

⇒ How much money can I bring into Australia? 

  • There is no limit to the amount of currency you can bring in or out of Australia, however, if you plan to arrive in Australia with more than AUD$10,000 in cash (Australian dollars or foreign equivalent), you must declare it to Australian Customs at the airport when you land. Find out more and obtain a reporting form on the AUSTRAC website at www.austrac.gov.au/travellers.
  • You may also be required to fill in a Bearer Negotiable Instruments (BNI) form if you're carrying promissory notes, traveller's cheques, personal cheques, money orders or bearer bonds. For further information, visit the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

⇒ How can I convert my currency into Australian Dollars (AUD)? 

  • XE Currency Converter will help you convert your own currency at the current exchange rates. 

Visa Customs and Quarantine Regulations

⇒ Do I need a visa to enter Australia?

  • Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a valid Australian visa to enter the country. New Zealand passport holders can apply for a visa upon arrival in the country. All other passport holders must apply for a visa before leaving home. You can apply for a range of visas, including tourist visas and working holiday visas, at your nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate. 

⇒ What type of tourist visa should I apply for?

  • There are a variety of visas available to travellers to Australia. The type of visa you should apply for depends on the length of your stay, your passport and the purpose of your visit.

⇒ Visitor visa (subclass 600)

  • The Visitor visa is designed for people who are not eligible for the eVisitor or Electronic Travel Authority visa. This visa allows you to visit Australia, either for tourism or business purposes, for up to three, six or 12 months. The base application fee for this visa ranges from $135 to $340.

⇒ Can I extend my stay on a tourist visa?

  • If you are already in Australia and hold a valid Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601) you can extend your stay by applying for another visa, such as a Visitor visa (subclass 600). An eVisitor (subclass 651) cannot be extended.

⇒ What items am I prohibited from bringing into Australia?

  • Australia's customs laws prevent you from bringing drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms and protected wildlife into Australia. Some common items such as fresh or packaged food, fruit, eggs, meat, plants, seeds, skins and feathers are also prohibited.

⇒ How much money can I bring into the country?

  • There is no limit on the amount of currency that you can bring into Australia, but you will need to declare amounts over $10,000. 

⇒ What happens to goods you declare? 

  • Goods that you declare will be inspected by a biosecurity officer, who will assess the level of risk associated with the goods. In most cases, goods are low risk and will be returned to you after the inspection. However, if a biosecurity officer deems the goods to have some risk you can pay for the goods to be treated, pay to export the goods, or voluntarily dispose of the goods.

⇒ What is the duty-free concession limits for people entering Australia?

  • General goods: $AUD 900 worth of goods per adult (18 years or over); $AUD 450 worth of goods per child.
  • Alcohol: Up to 2.25 litres (0.5 imperial gallons or 0.59 US gallons) of alcoholic beverages (liquor, wine and Champagne) per adult.
  • Tobacco: 50 cigarettes or 50 grams (1.76 ounces) of cigars or tobacco products per adult.