EVERYTHING A TRAVELLER NEEDS TO KNOW WHEN PLANNING TO TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA FOR THE FIRST TIME!
Many of us would love to travel to Australia but to plan the trip of a lifetime, it is best to be prepared – after all, Australia is a massive country, and unless you’re moving there, you won’t have a chance to see everything it has to offer.
A well-organized itinerary is therefore essential to get the most out of your Aussie trip.
Did you know that Australia is one of the largest countries on Earth and the only country that covers an entire continent?
Therefore, you don’t want to spend a lot of time on your trip stuck driving a car because one-third of the country is just desert!
Every aspect of Australian life and culture is as a result of its scale and population.
Its 23 million people make it one of the smallest populated countries on Earth although it’s as large as the USA!
Most of this population live within 20km of the ocean and occupy the south-eastern arc that stretches from southern Queensland to Adelaide.
Australia is a land of laidback dudes and barbies, of surfers and innovators – a beautiful land which is still developing…
So, it’s vital that before you do anything, you must ask yourself, what do you expect from your trip to Oz?
Do you want to see the beaches, go snorkeling or diving?
Are you keen to see the cities and the history they have to offer?
Or perhaps you are interested in the beautiful natural world and the diverse wildlife Australia has to offer?
Maybe it’s a combination of them all…
How Australia got its nickname ‘Down Under’
Do you know why Australia is known as the land ‘Down Under’?
This is because of its position in the southern hemisphere.
When European explorers first discovered Australia, they had been looking for land under the continent of Asia.
Australia was initially known as Terra Australis Incognita which means the unknown southern land – hence the nickname ‘Down Under.’
How long is a flight to Australia?
This obviously depends on where you’re flying from but…
If you are traveling from the USA to Australia, there are a total of 6 airlines you could choose;
Let’s look at some examples;
Flying from Los Angeles to Sydney is around 14 hours, whereas New York to Sydney it’s about 22 hours, quite a haul!
One of the strange things about flying to Australia is that you will more than likely take off in the evening and arrive in Australia two days later in the morning.
This happens because you cross the international dateline and lose a day.
The cheapest time to fly to Australia is in their low season which is from mid-April until late June.
Do I need a visa to visit Australia from the USA?
You should really check with the Australian Embassy website for the most up to date visa information.
However, if you are traveling from the USA, you must have a valid passport and a visa to enter Australia.
If you are going for a trip for less than 90 days, for business or tourism, you can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) which is free except for a small administrative charge and is produced almost immediately.
Weather in Australia
Don’t forget the size of Australia, compared to say, the USA, is only slighter smaller – so in a word, Australia is huge!
This means there are also substantial temperature differences – the further north you go, the nearer to the Equator you get, the hotter it gets. This is the opposite in the USA.
It never really gets cold in Australia – places such as Canberra might go to 32F during their winter months of July or August.
There aren’t any properly snowbound cities, but you might see snow in southern regions of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania.
Spring: September – November (warm to hot)
Summer: December – February (hot – can be boiling!)
Autumn: March-May (mild to hot)
Winter: June – August (cool, but not cold)
It depends on what time of year you go to Australia and if you are a person who wants to travel regardless of the weather.
So, the best months to visit Australia
The low season which is the months of June to August are the cool wintry days down south with milder and sunny skies up north.
There are fewer tourists during these months although there are still tourist attractions available but with slightly shorter hours.
Typical tourist attractions during this period include whale-watching and visiting the desert and the tropical north.
Sydney, in New South Wales which is full of things to see and do including the Sydney Opera House, is in Australia’s temperate zone.
It typically sees 340 sunny days a year, with humidity in the summer being around 65%.
The months of March-May and then September – November are generally warm sunny days with clear skies and cool nights.
Coastal areas tend to get busy during the Easter season, particularly with families.
Autumn colors are atmospheric in Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia.
The high season is December to February which makes it summer!
There’s the wet season up north and often bush fires in the south.
This is the season for prices for shoot up and beaches to be busy!
It’s the time of festivals in the arts, food, film, and music!
The Australians have their own dollar the ‘Australian Dollar.’
The Australian dollar is also known as a buck, dough or the ‘Aussie.’
It is the fifth most traded currency in the world.
To give you an idea of exchange rates a 100 US $ is worth approximately 140 Australian dollars.
If you are planning a trip, you will need to take some Australian dollars with you.
How Safe Will I Be?
Australia is a very safe country to visit. The crime rate in Australia is one of the lowest in the world and crime against tourists is very minimal.
Perhaps the one thing to look out for is the dangerous bugs and animals that thrive in the Australian climate.
There is a myriad of snakes, spiders, insects and sea creatures to be aware of but like most places, you may never see any of these except in a zoo.
Just be careful and aware.
Australia’s Famous Cities
Australia’s premier city which serves as a gateway to Asia.
Sydney is Australia’s premier city.
This vibrant multi-cultural city acts as the gateway to Asia. It is a great city destination for travellers of all ages.
This energetic city of Sydney has a range of attractions, these include world-class dining , award-winning shows at the Opera house and a wide choice of other entertainment.
There are idyllic beaches, and a nightlife scene to cater for most.
The sights not to be missed are the extraordinary light sculptures of Vivid Sydney and the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Sydney was host to the Olympics in 2000 and it is worth a visit to the infrastructure that still stands today.
Like many cities in Australia there are enchanting national parks and attractions, with free tours of the Royal Botanic Garden, a must see for nature lovers and naturalists.
A couple of other attractions you must consider is the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a trip around the harbor, and don’t forget the famous Bondi beach.
If you are feeling energetic and adventurous the climb up the Sydney Harbour bridge is spectacular.
Over 4 million people have already climbed before you the walk up the 134 meters leads to a spectacular 360-degree view of Sydney in all its glory.
If you want to keep your feet on the firmer ground, then a harbor cruise might be more to your liking.
Sydney harbor is the worlds largest natural , and there are loads to see from the historic buildings that line the waterways to the homes of the rich and famous.
Alternatively, pack your boardies and surfboard and head off to one of Australia’s iconic beaches – Bondi.
The sweeping crescent of white sand just outside Sydney has become the surfer’s mecca.
Covering 122 hectares, Bondi has something for everyone, from coastal walks to a dip in the sea. It is surrounded by trendy bars and cafe’s to quench any thirst.
Home to just over 4 million people, Melbourne lies in the state of Victoria.
The city has been voted the most livable city in the world for the last five years.
Like many Australian cities it sits on the coast at Port Phillip Bay which gives the option of beach and watersport activities if that is what you are looking for.
Melbourne prides itself on being the cultural hub of all the Australian capitals, and it has a vibrant arts scene and many galleries, concert halls, and museums.
The climate in Melbourne is officially described as temperate.
In other words, it can be very changeable from sunhat to umbrella all in one day.
For things to do and see in Melbourne why not start with either a walk or cruise up the Yarra River that runs through Melbourne.
The two main art galleries are the Ian Potter Centre and the National Gallery of Victoria, which is well worth a visit.
For thrill seekers, there is Luna Park in St Kilda that is home for the worlds oldest ‘human operated’ big dipper.
Perth or city of the black swan lies on the western coast of Australia.
The natural and urban life exist side by side in this vibrant part of Australia.
Perth boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the world with the warm waters of the Indian ocean making water sports and swimming a real pleasure.
One of your first stops on your visit might be to the mighty Kings Park that overlooks the city skyline.
Bigger than Central Park in New York it boasts panoramic views across the city and the mighty swan river.
The beaches and sea on the Perth coastline are breathtaking to say the least.
The golden sands meet clear blue Indian ocean waters where you can see your feet no matter how deep you swim.
Probably the famous beach in Perth can be found at Cottesloe, lined by waterfront bars and restaurants and array of Norfolk pines.
The city itself although spectacular is actually quite small and you are able to cover most of the sites in the city center in half a day.
Well worth a visit is the port of Freemantle.
Freemantle lies about 20 minutes outside the city.
On offer in Freemantle is an array of colonial remnants and some brilliant seafood restaurants offer fresh seafood caught in the port bay.
Finally, finish your trip to one of the oldest wine regions in Australia in the swan valley.
There are over 40 vineyards in the valley with many famous Australian wines on offer to tempt your discerning palate.
Some Other Famous Australian Landmarks
Just 2 hours south of Perth is Margaret River famous for its fantastic surf beaches and wine regions.
Framed by the sea on one side and forests on the other Margaret River has a lot to offer.
By day it is a bustling Australian town and comes alive at night with bars and pubs with live music.
Ayers rocks are traditionally known as Uluru and is a large sandstone rock formation in the northern territory of Australia.
It lies over 200 miles south of Alice Springs and is sacred to the aboriginal people of Australia.
It is notable for appearing to change color at different times of the day and year. Notably, it glows red and dawn and sunset.
It gets incredibly hot around Ayres rock, so the best time to visit is May to September.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the worlds most extensive reef system.
The whole of the barrier reef is larger than the UK, Holland, and Switzerland combined.
The barrier reef is beautiful all year round.
If you are interested in the wonders of the world and marine life a visit to the reef has to be on your list.
Fun Facts About Australia
Australia is a massive country.
It spans over 2.9million square miles and is the 6th largest country in the world today.
The aboriginal culture in Australia is thought to be the oldest culture in the world being over 50,000 years old.
Before the Europeans arrived, there are thought to have been over 1 million aborigines living in the country.
The first to arrive were the British in 1788 where the British flag was raised in Port Jackson New South Wales, still marked today as Australia day.
Australia has been ranked as the 7th best country to live in, ahead of the United States.
Although traditionally thought of the as hot country, Australia does have snow in certain parts of New South Wales and parts of Victoria.
Don’t read this bit if you hate spiders!
Australia has over 52 species of spiders, and many have been known to have a venomous bite if you disturb them.
However, the most dangerous thing in Australia is the Saltwater Crocodile.
Australia is a fascinating country with a diverse, multicultural feel and an astounding range of diverse environments, well worth a visit.