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Australia Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: Commonwealth of Australia
Capital City: Canberra
Language Spoken: English 79.1%, Chinese 2.1%, Italian 1.9%,other 11.1%, unspecified 5.8% (2001 Census)

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Geographic data

27 00 S, 133 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Lake Eyre -15 m highest point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m

Land boundaries

0 km

Natural hazards

cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires

Natural resources

bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum

Land use

arable land: 6.15% (includes about 27 million hectares of cultivated grassland) permanent crops: 0.04% other: 93.81% (2005)

Environmental current issues

soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural fresh water resources

Climate

Australia is in the southern hemisphere and the seasons are opposite to those in Europe and North America. There are two climatic zones: the tropical zone (in the north above the Tropic of Capricorn) and the temperate zone. The tropical zone (consisting of 40 per cent of Australia) has two seasons, summer (?wet?) and winter (?dry?) while the temperate zone has all four seasons.\nNovember-March\n(spring-summer): Warm or hot everywhere, tropical in the north, and warm to hot with mild nights in the south.\nApril-September\n(autumn-winter): Northern and central Australia have clear warm days, cool nights; the south has cool days with occasional rain but still plenty of sun. Snow is totally confined to mountainous regions of the southeast.\nNote\nFor further details, including climate statistics, see under individual State entries.\nRequired clothing\nLightweights during summer months with warmer clothes needed during the cooler winter period throughout most of the southern States. Lightweight cottons and linens all year in the central/northern States with warm clothes only for cooler winter evenings and early mornings. Sunglasses, sunhats and sunblock lotion are recommended year round in the north and during the summer months in the south.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+10 daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in October; ends last Sunday in March note: Australia is divided into three time zones

Population

20,264,082 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 19.6% (male 2,031,313/female 1,936,802) 15-64 years: 67.3% (male 6,881,863/female 6,764,709) 65 years and over: 13.1% (male 1,170,589/female 1,478,806) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 36.9 years male: 36 years female: 37.7 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

0.85% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

12.14 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

7.51 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

3.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.5 years male: 77.64 years female: 83.52 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.76 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Doing business in Australia is comfortable for most Western companies because the language, the cultural environment, business practices and customer expectations are very similar. Business etiquette is similar to the US and West Europe, with attention paid to advance planning, promptness, punctuality, and follow through. Australians are personally gracious, yet informal and direct in their business dealings. Very soon after meeting, Australians do business on a first name basis. Business cards are exchanged for information purposes, but without any special ceremony. Token gift exchange is not common. Luncheon meetings are common, but Australians do not usually schedule business functions during the evening or on weekends. Normal business attire is worn in the cities, with country areas being more informal.

Crime

Australia is a relatively low-risk country, with little political violence and modest, if gradually increasing, crime levels. For the most part violent crime remains rare, but visitors should be alert for potential muggers late at night in some inner-city areas and at deserted public-transport depots. There have been a number of property-damage extortion and product-contamination cases in recent years, including some victimizing multinational corporations. Police and other emergency response personnel are summoned by dialing 000. Street crime is relatively rare in Australia, but certain districts in each major city are the haunts of pickpockets, grab-and-run thieves and a few late-night muggers. Avoid walking at night in some of the busy tourist areas of Sydney, such as Kings Cross (and the nearby dockside area), downtown George Street, Darling Harbour, Bondi Beach and the Rocks areas, Hyde Park and Centennial Park. The same applies to Melbourne's Carlton and St. Kilda, Brisbane's Valley and Cairns and the Gold Coast in Queensland. Use discretion when seeking out local color in pubs, as barroom brawls are common in some districts. Snatch-and-run theft is not common, but women should secure their handbags when seated at outdoor eateries, as grab artists will steal bags slung over chair backs. Avoid carrying everything of value in one bag. Be alert when withdrawing cash from cash machines. Thefts from safe deposit facilities at cheaper hotels and hostels are common. Most Australians live in suburbia, where residential crime tends to be opportunistic and petty. Thieves steal bicycles, tools and garden furniture left unattended in yards, and burglars often gain entry to suburban houses through unlatched windows, unlocked doors or by forcing flimsy locks. Thieves almost never seek confrontation. Personnel in freestanding houses should ensure windows lock securely and equip all outer doors with stout cylinder locks rather than the older and easier-to-pick keyhole variety. Keeping garden shrubbery trimmed and installing outdoor lighting will help minimize cover for a would-be sneak thief. In the inner cities, once-shabby residential districts are gradually being gentrified, but they still have some problems with break-ins. Downtown residents are safest in access-controlled apartment buildings. Those who choose to live in row-houses or freestanding homes in centrally located districts-such as Melbourne's Toorak or Sydney's Double Bay- should make sure all outer doors have strong locks and all accessible windows are protected by grills strong enough to deter break-in artists. Auto-related crime is rising in Australia. Parked vehicles should always be locked, and nothing of value left in them-especially stereo equipment. Cars should be garaged securely whenever possible or parked on well-lighted streets. Autos should not be left in unattended parking garages at night. Drivers may wish to install steering-wheel locks to deter thieves and joy-riders who steal cars only to abandon them later. Credit-card fraud and counterfeit currency are growing problems in the Asia region and are affecting Australia. Personnel should be careful with credit cards and wary of accepting large denomination bills, especially if they are buying U.S. currency.

Hotels

Every State has a selection of hotels run by international chains such as the Hilton and Intercontinental. More authentic accommodation for the tourist can be found outside the cities. The smaller hotels are more relaxed, and offer more of the flavor of their location. The highways out of the State cities are lined with good quality motels offering self-contained family units, and often an in-house restaurant service. The principal difference between a hotel and a motel in Australia is that a hotel must, by law, provide a public bar among its facilities. For this reason there are many motels which are hotels in all but name, offering an excellent standard of comfort and service but preferring to reserve their bar exclusively for the use of their guests, rather than for the public at large.

Communications

There are full facilities for national and international telecommunications. Full IDD service is available. The country code is 61 and the international country code is 0011. Pay phones are red, green, gold or blue. Only local calls can be made from red phones. Green, gold and blue phones also have International Direct Dialing (IDD) and Subscriber Trunk Dial (STD). The Overseas Telecommunications Commission accepts documents over the counter for facsimile transmission. Free collection by courier is available in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. Fax number guides are available at post offices, and prices vary. The Overseas Telecommunications Commission and local offices run telex and telegram services. There are telex facilities at central post offices in Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Newcastle and Hobart. The OTC also operates a 24-hour public telex at Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. Cables can be sent Urgent (2-4 hours delivery), Ordinary (4-6 hours) or Letter rate (24 hours). Telegrams may be sent through the telephone operator. Hotels usually add a surcharge. There are post offices in all the main towns of every State. Opening hours are 0900-1700 Monday to Friday. Stamps are often available at hotel and motel reception areas and selected news agents. Poste Restante facilities are available throughout the country; mail should be addressed to the nearest post office.

Electricity

is 240/250 volts AC, 50Hz. 3-pin plugs are in use, however, sockets are different from those found in most countries and an adapter socket may be needed. Outlets for 110 volts for small appliances are found in most hotels. Electricity 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are in use, however sockets are different from those found in most countries and an adaptor socket may be needed. Outlets for 110 volts for small appliances are found in most hotels. Communications

Plug Types

I

Food And Dining

There are numerous specialty dishes and foods including Sydney rock oysters, barramundi (freshwater fish), tiger prawns, macadamia nuts and yabbies (small freshwater lobsters). Beef is the most popular meat and lamb is also of a high quality. There is a wide variety of excellent fruits and vegetables. Service is European-style and varies from waitress and waiter service to self-service. Bistros, cafes, family-style restaurants and ?pub? lunches at the counter offer good food at reasonable prices. Some restaurants will allow guests to bring their own alcohol and are called ?BYO? restaurants. Australia also offers an enormous variety of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Thai, Japanese, Indian, African, Lebanese and Korean. The major vineyards (wineries) are outside Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra and Adelaide. The largest single wine-growing region is in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, two hours? drive from Adelaide, where high-quality red and white wines are produced. Most restaurants and hotels are licensed to serve alcohol; private hotels and guest houses cannot be licensed by law. Australian wines are good and inexpensive. Beer is served chilled. Licensing hours in public bars are 1000-2200 Mon-Sat, however most pubs are open until 2400; Sunday hours vary. Restaurants, clubs and hotel lounges have more flexible hours. Drinking age is 18 years or over. Australian Capital Territory Restaurants and hotels serve trout from the streams and lakes of the Snowy Mountains. Beef and lamb come from the farmlands surrounding Canberra. The variety of cuisine available in Canberra is impressive, with over 300 restaurants offering food from all corners of the world, from Austria to Zanzibar.

Nightlife
Despite the daytime orderliness, nightlife is actively promoted by the large range of pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, acoustic venues and jazz, piano and wine bars. There are many film shows and a boutique casino. New South Wales Cooking in New South Wales, and Sydney in particular, reflects the State?s multicultural makeup with Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Greek, Italian and Indian cuisine all represented. Gourmet food and wine trails exist throughout the State. Fine red and white wines come from the Hunter Valley. General licensing hours for public bars are Mon-Sat 1000-2200 with varying hours on Sunday. Nightlife Sydney is known for being a city that never sleeps, and has a diverse selection of bars, pubs, nightclubs and music venues. Kings Cross in Sydney is an exciting nightlife area. There are also some night-time cruises offering dinner and dancing. For further information on Sydney?s nightlife see online (website: www.spraci.com or www.citysearch.com.au). Northern Territory Barramundi (fish) is the local specialty. Dining out has been made even more special by the addition of new restaurants at Cullen Bay Marina, offering outdoor dining with beautiful ocean views. Cuisine from many countries, including Creole, Greek, Indian, Japanese, Malaysian, Mongolian and Thai, is available in Darwin?s restaurants. Nightlife There is plenty of exciting nightlife in Darwin, which also boasts the MGM Grand Darwin, built in an extraordinary modern architectural style. This A$30-million casino complex also encompasses luxury accommodation, restaurants, discos and sporting and convention facilities and is surrounded by lush gardens perched along the shores of Mindil Beach. Alice Springs also has a casino. Queensland The food of the area relies to a large extent on the sea and the subtropical climate for specialties in cuisine. Local delicacies include mud crabs, king and tiger prawns, mackerel and fresh barramundi, as well as avocados, mangoes, pawpaws, pineapples, strawberries, bananas and the highly recommended local specialty, the macadamia nut. In Fortitude Valley, just out of Brisbane city center, there are a number of European, Asian and Chinese restaurants and trendy cafes. Brisbane is supplied with local wines from vineyards at Stanthorpe to the southwest, producing both red and white wines, and from other Australian vineyards. All beers on sale are brewed locally. Queensland is the home of Bundaberg Rum, a sweet rum brewed with local sugar cane. Nightlife Although much of the tourist activity is centered on the beaches and the Barrier Reef, Brisbane offers a wide selection of entertainment. Most of the large hotels have dinner and dancing facilities and there are several nightclubs in the city, especially in Southbank Parklands where discos and restaurants abound. The Gold Coast has many nightclubs, as well as Jupiter?s Casino. Townsville has the spectacular Sheraton Breakwater Casino on Sir Leslie Thiess Drive, offering a full range of gaming facilities and high-quality entertainment. South Australia The local delicacies are mainly German food in the Barossa region and, on the coast, crabs, whiting, crayfish and other seafood. Kangaroo steak is a specialty of the region and can be ordered in many Australian restaurants. Adelaide has a wide range of restaurants and cafes specializing in international cuisine, including US, Chinese, French, Greek, Italian, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Lebanese, Malaysian, Mexican, Mongolian and Vietnamese. Many of these offer alfresco dining. There are many excellent seafood restaurants. There are many wine and food festivals throughout the region where local wines and beers can be tasted. One of these is the Barossa Vintage Festival, reminiscent in many ways of German beer festivals in Europe. There is also a brewery in Adelaide supplying stout and lagers, although whether in Adelaide itself, the hills or the outback, the pub experience should not be missed. South Australia contains one of the most important valley regions producing wines; from the reds of Coonawarra to the Rieslings of the Eden Valley. Although specializing in table wines, the state is noted for its sparkling reds and whites. Nightlife Adelaide has an extraordinary nightlife scene. The Adelaide Casino, once a grand Victorian railway station is now a haven for baccarat and roulette players amid its magnificent Corinthian columns (Mon-Fri 1000-0400 and continuously at weekends and on public holidays). There is also a concentration of nightclubs and discos on Hindley Street in the heart of the city, opposite Rundle Mall. Large crowds also flock to the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the pubs and cafes in Rundle Street. Tasmania Some of the best seafood in the world is available in Tasmania, including Angasi oysters, crayfish, scallops, Atlantic salmon and ocean trout. Freshwater wild brown trout is caught in the Tasmanian highlands. The island?s cheese is excellent and renowned among conoisseurs. Goat, quail and venison are the area?s specialty meats, and other specialties include apples, apricots, berry fruits and liqueur honey. Tasmanian wine, favored by Sydney?s top restaurants, has won several international awards, and two popular beers are produced, Boags and Cascade. Nightlife There are casinos in Hobart and Launceston. Hobart?s waterfront area, Salamanca Place, is the home of many night-time haunts in its old stone warehouses. Small, traditional-style pubs, open all day and into the small hours of the morning, are a special feature here. Hobart boasts Australia?s oldest theater, the Royal Theater, and the city?s concert hall is the home of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, generally considered to be one of Australia?s best orchestras. Victoria There is an enormous variety of cuisine available in Melbourne and restaurants offering specific types can be found in sectionalised districts: Lygon Street for Italian, Little Bourke Street for Chinese, Lonsdale Street for Greek, Victoria Street for Vietnamese, Sydney Road for Turkish and Spanish, and Acland Street for Central European. Other cuisines that are well represented in the city?s restaurants include French, American, Mexican, Lebanese, African, Malaysian, Afghan, Swiss and Mongolian. Nightlife Melbourne is home to a vibrant and varied entertainment culture that comes alive at night. There is everything from ballet, classical concerts and opera to plays in Melbourne?s ornate theaters like the Princess and Regent, and street performers. There is an eclectic array of pubs, bars and nightclubs in and around Melbourne. Whatever your taste there is something to suit everyone, whether it?s a laid-back beer in an authentic Aussie pub, a comedy night, live bands playing jazz and blues music or upmarket dance clubs. The Crown Casino Complex, located on the bank of the Yarra River in Melbourne is a complete amusement area that includes a casino, cinemas, restaurants, bowling-alley and nightclubs. Western Australia Excellent seafood comes from the coast around Perth, including king prawns, rock lobster (locals call this crayfish, dhufish, jewfish or barramundi), and special freshwater lobster called marron. There are excellent local wines in Western Australia and vineyards at Swan Valley, Mount Barker and Margaret River. A vibrant pavement coffee culture exists in Perth, and Fremantle?s South Terrace is home to the aptly named Cappuccino Strip (and to the infamous Redback lager). There is also an abundance of international cuisine and interesting dining experiences; for example, eating fish and chips from a converted tram in Fremantle, sampling the excellent Asian food in Subiaco (Perth), enjoying a seafood barbecue in the bush or partaking of a culinary feast in a riverside restaurant along the Swan River. Tropical fruits are abundant - especially banana, mango and papaya. Nightlife There are many nightclubs in the Northbridge area of Perth, which is located within easy walking distance from the bus and train stations. Here you can find club venues to cater for all music tastes, including mainstream, hardcore, gay and alternative beats. The large Burswood Resort and Casino complex is also only minutes from Perth city center. In addition there are many cinemas in Leederville, Fremantle and Perth, as well as several theaters (see the Independent Theater Association for information; website: www.theater.asn.au).

Entry departure requirements

Note Australian visa regulations (including visa application charges) change from time to time. The information provided below is valid at the time of publication, but visitors should check that this information is still current by visiting the Department of Immigration online (website: www.immi.gov.au) or by calling the Australian Immigration and Citizenship 24-hour Information Service (tel: (09065) 508 900; calls cost ?1 per minute).

Visa immigration information

Note

Australian visa regulations (including visa application charges) change from time to time. The information provided below is valid at the time of publication, but visitors should check that this information is still current by visiting the Department of Immigration online (website: www.immi.gov.au) or by calling the Australian Immigration and Citizenship 24-hour Information Service (tel: (09065) 508 900; calls cost ?1 per minute).

Passports

Valid passport required by all.

Visas

Required by all except the following:

(a) nationals of New Zealand;

(b) nationals of the following countries do not need to obtain a transit visa before travel if they are continuing their journey to a third country within eight hours of arriving in Australia: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong (SAR or BNO passport holders), Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Korea (Rep), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Nauru, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Portugal, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (if issued by the authorities in Taiwan), Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UK (and its colonies), USA, Vanuatu, Vatican City and Zimbabwe.

All other nationals must obtain a transit visa before travel, irrespective of the period of transit in Australia. Transit visas are free of charge.

Note: Not all airports remain open all night; travellers should check with the airline.

Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visas

The ETA is an electronically stored authority for travel to Australia that allows people from certain countries (see below) to visit Australia for up to three months for tourism, short-term business or elective study purposes. An ETA is invisible and therefore will not show up in your passport.

ETAs (Visitor and Business - Short Validity ETAs only) may, for some nationals, be obtained online from the main Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA; website: www.eta.immi.gov.au) or from over 10,000 travel agents and airline offices throughout the UK.

Please note, the Australian High Commission in London does not offer an automatic ETA service.

Only nationals of the following countries are eligible for an ETA: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, British Overseas Territories*, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong (SAR), Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea (Rep), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan*, UK, USA and Vatican City.

* Holders of these passports can only be processed for an ETA by external service providers if resident in, and applying in, their passport country.

Types of ETA and cost

Tourist Visit/Business Visit (short-term): Free of charge; Business Visit (long-term): ?25.

Note: A service fee of A$20 is charged when applying for an ETA online through the DIMIA ETA website. Some travel agents and airlines issuing ETAs also charge a processing fee.

Validity of ETAs

Tourist Visit ETAs are valid for 12 months from date of issue (or until the passport expires, whichever comes first) and permit multiple entries into Australia for a stay of up to three months on each visit. Short-term Business Visit ETAs are valid for 12 months from date of issue (or until the passport expires, whichever comes first) for a single entry of up to three months. Long-term Business Visit ETAs are valid for 10 years (or the life of the passport) and permit multiple entries for a stay of up to three months for each visit.

Other types of visa and cost

Visitors not eligible for an ETA, or seeking a longer stay than an ETA offers, may apply for Tourist Visit (Non ETA) and Temporary Business Short-stay and Temporary Business Long-stay (Non ETA) visas. Tourist Visit and Business Short-stay visas cost ?25; Business Long-stay visas cost ?70.

Validity of non-ETA visas

For non-ETA visas, the validity varies according to the type of visa, the purpose of the trip and the validity of the passport. The validity will be stated on the visa label in your passport.

Application to

ETA: Authorised travel agents or airlines, by telephone or, in some cases, online through Australian Visas Ltd (see above). Non-ETA: Australian

Embassies

, High Commissions and Consulates; see General Info section. There is a new Tourist Short-Stay visa available online for passport holders of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates.

Application requirements

ETA: (a) Valid passport. (b) Fee (if applicable). (c) Completed application form giving details of passport number and expiry date, airline, names of travellers etc (if applying by post). Tourist Visitor (Non ETA): (a) Completed application form. Application forms for tourist and business visitor visas can be downloaded from the Department of Immigration (website: www.immi.gov.au). (b) An A4 stamped, self-addressed, registered envelope for return of passport. (c) Valid passport with two unused visa pages. (d) Fee (payable by credit card, cheque or postal order and made out to the Australian High Commission). (e) One or more recent passport photos as required. (f) Tourists over the age of 70 require a medical certificate. Business Visitor (Non ETA): (a)-(e) and, (f) Applicant must provide proof of sponsorship and business interest. Business visa forms are also available from Australian Outlook, 3 Buckhurst Road, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex TN40 1QF, UK.

Note: (a) Prior to lodging an application, visitors should confirm the current visa fees at www.immi.gov.au. (b) All travellers to Australia, except Australian citizens and permanent residents, must satisfy health and character requirements. (c) All travellers, including minors travelling on a parent's passport, require their own visa or ETA.

Working days required

ETA: When issued through DIMIA's ETA website (website: www.eta.immi.gov.au), or through travel agents or airline offices, ETAs are usually processed and valid immediately or within three working days. Non-ETA: 24 hours to three weeks. Processing may take even longer in busy periods.

Temporary residence

Applicants for temporary residence, working holidays and long-stay business visits to Australia should contact DIMIA online (website: www.immi.gov.au) or the High Commission online (website: www.australia.org.uk).

HIV entry requirements

All applicants (15 years of age and older) for permanent Residence. Permanent applicants under 15yrs must be tested if being adopted or have a history of blood transfusions. Temporary applicants need to declare any illness or condition at their interview. Any temporary applicant who is likely to come into contact with blood must also be tested.

Departure tax

None Embassies

British High Commission

Address: British High Commission

Commonwealth Avenue

Yarralumla

Canberra,

Telephone: (61) (2) 6270 6666

Facsimile: (61) (2) 6273 3236 General

(61) (2) 6273 4360 Economic

(61) (2) 6270 6653 Chancery

Email: [email protected]

Office Hours: GMT: 2245-0230 / 0330-0700

Local Time: 0845-1230 / 1330-1700

Website: http://www.britaus.net

Consular Section Canberra

Address:

Piccadilly House

39 Brindabella Circuit

Brindabella Business Park

Canberra Airport

CANBERRA ACT 2609

Telephone: 1902 941 555 - Consular Section (Premium rate call - domestic calls only - charged at A$1.60 per minute)

1300 367 066 - Consular Section (Premium rate call - A$7.10 flat fee, credit card only)

 

Facsimile: (61) (2) 6257 5857

Office Hours: Apr-Oct: 2300-0500 GMT

Nov-Mar: 2200-0400 GMT

Website: http://www.britaus.net

Currency

Australian Dollar (A$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of A$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of A$2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents.

Currency restrictions

Export and import of coins/notes in Australian or foreign currency above A$10,000 must be declared to customs at the port of entry or departure. Export of local currency above A$2000 must have reserve bank approval.

Banking hours

Mon-Thurs 0930-1600, Fri 0930-1700. These hours may vary slightly throughout the country.

Currency exchange

Exchange facilities are available for all incoming and outgoing flights at all international airports in Australia. International-class hotels will exchange major currencies for guests. It is recommended that visitors change money at the airport or at city banks.

Credit cards

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Use may be restricted in small towns and outback areas. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Travellers cheques

These are accepted in major currencies at banks or large hotels. However, some banks may charge a fee for cashing travelers cheques. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take travelers cheques in a major currency.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Central & West Australia(0)8+ 8 digit subscriber nr
Central East Australia(0)2+ 8 digit subscriber nr
Queensland(0)7+ 8 digit subscriber nr
South East Australia(0)3+ 8 digit subscriber nr
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

A high standard of dental care is available in Australia

Medication Availability

Medication is widely available throughout Australia

Blood supplies

Blood supplies are considered safe and obtained from volunteer donors and is screened to international standards

Medical facilities

Good medical care is available

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Prescription medicines are widely available from pharmacies or "chemists." However foreign prescriptions are not valid in Australia and will not be dispensed. Foreign health insurance programs are rarely accepted, although visitors to Australia from countries which have reciprocal government-to-government agreements regarding the provision of health care for travelers will be able to get excellent free acute care from the Australian public hospital system through Australia's national health insurance program, Medicare. Others will be expected to pay cash for treatment.

Specific concerns

Sharks may be present in coastal waters. Pay attention to local advice and do not swim at unguarded beaches. When swimming at major beaches, always swim between the flags that are erected by Australia's volunteer lifesavers (lifeguards). Drowning of inexperienced swimmers, especially foreign visitors, has become a major problem in recent years, with nearly all drownings occurring with people swimming at unpatrolled beaches. Corals and jellyfish may provide a hazard to sea-bathers. Especially in northern Australia during the period November thru March, deadly box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) may be encountered in the warm tropical seas. Protective suits are advised. Crocodiles (fresh water and salt water) of up to 16 feet (5 meters) exist in the tropical rivers and coastal estuaries of much of northern Australia. Snakes abound in many parts of Australia. However, they are generally shy of humans and will not attack unless provoked. All major hospitals carry supplies of antivenins. Heat may cause problems in the northern, western and central parts. Especially if traveling in remote areas of Australia, be sure to have a reliable four-wheel-drive vehicle, lots of water, and ensure that someone knows where you are and when you're likely to arrive at your next destination. In the event of a mechanical breakdown, stay with your vehicle and wait in the shade for assistance. The U.S. Transportation Department reports that the passenger cabins of aircraft destined for Australia are treated with a World Health Organization-approved residual pesticide before passengers board.

Immunization

These recommendations are not absolute and should not be construed to apply to all travelers. A final decision regarding immunizations will be based on the traveler's medical history, proposed itinerary, duration of stay and purpose for traveling. Japanese encephalitis: Consider vaccination if staying a month or more during the March-April transmission season on Badu Island in the Torres Strait or in the northern tip of Cape York Peninsula. Also consider if staying less than 30 days and at high risk (in case of epidemic outbreak or extensive outdoor exposure). Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Travelers, in general, will not be subject to the hazards of communicable diseases to an extent greater than that found in their own country. Insect-borne illness: Mosquito-borne epidemic polyarthritis and viral encephalitis may occur in some rural areas. After unusually heavy rains in recent years, outbreaks of Barmah Forest disease, caused by a mosquito-borne alphavirus, have occurred on the south coast of New South Wales, as well as the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Murray Valley encephalitis occurs periodically, usually in association with intercontinentally migrating birds. Other arboviruses that have been isolated from mosquitoes in New South Wales include Ross River, Edge Hill and Stratford. Dengue fever is present in parts of Northern Queensland and the Torres Strait islands, but it also occurs in and around major population centers such as Sydney. Japanese encephalitis occurs on Badu Island in the Torres Strait, and in 1998 it was isolated in a fisherman living on the mainland of Australia near the tip of Cape York Peninsula in far northern Australia. Tick-borne rickettsial spotted fevers occur in some areas on a seasonal basis. Because of the potential for vector-borne diseases such as Japanese encephalitis, malaria and dengue fever to occur in the Torres Strait (between Australia and Papua New Guinea), it is preferable for travelers planning to visit these islands to contact the Queensland Health Department's Tropical Public Health Unit in Cairns on (61) (7) 4050 3600 or by fax on (61) (7) 4031 1440 for information on current disease activity. Food-borne and water-borne illness: Amoebic meningoencephalitis has been reported. Melioidosis occurs in tropical (northern) areas. In 1998, there were major scares in many Australian cities in relation to contamination of reticulated water supplies with cryptosporidia and giardia. However in spite of high parasite levels, there was no increase in gastrointestinal symptoms or hospital admissions. Other hazards: Although Australia is free of rabies, a rabies-like virus (lyssa virus) has been found to infect some Indian fruit bats known locally as "flying foxes." Bites and/or scratches from sick animals have led to 2 confirmed deaths with rabies-like symptoms. Rabies vaccination is NOT recommended except for animal handlers and people actively involved in the care of sick or injured flying foxes. High levels of immunization coverage have reduced the incidence of diseases such as measles and diphtheria. Influenza risk extends from May to October in southern, temperate areas and throughout the year in northern, tropical areas.

Entry requirements

AIDS: According to the Department of State, testing is required for all applicants for permanent residence over age 15. All other applicants who require medical examinations are tested if it is indicated on clinical grounds. Foreign test results are accepted under certain conditions. Contact Australia's embassy for details. Yellow fever: Vaccination is required from travelers over 1 year of age arriving within 6 days of having stayed overnight or longer in an infected country as listed in the Weekly Epidemiological Record. (It should be noted that Australia is not bound by the International Health Regulations.)

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Albury-Wodonga Private Hospital1125 Pemberton Street West Albury 2640 New South Wales
Alfred HospitalCommercial Road Prahran Melbourne 3181
Andrea Ahern Private Hospital96 Beerburrum Street Caloundra 4551 Queensland
Armidale Private HospitalRusden Street Armidale 2350 New South Wales
Attadale Hospital21 Hislop Road Attadale 6156 Western Australia
Bankstown Private Hospital74 Chiswick Road Greeacre 2190 New South Wales
Baringa Private HospitalMackays Road Coffs Harbour 2450 New South Wales
Belmount Private HospitalCnr. Old Cleveland & Creek Roads Carina 4152 Queensland
Berkeley Vale Private HospitalLorraine Avenue Berkeley Vale 2077 New South Wales
Caboolture Private HospitalMcKean Street Caboolture 4510 Queensland
Castlecrag Private Hospital150 Edinburgh Road Castlecrag 2068 New South Wales
Charles Wentworth Private Hospital21-27 Lytton Street Wentworthville 2145 New South Wales
Christo Road Private Hospital210 Christo Road Waratah 2298 New South Wales
Cotham Private Hospital209 Cotham Road Kew 3101 Victoria
Delmar Private Hospital58 Quirk Street Dee Why 2099 New South Wales
Dudley Private Hospital261 March Street Orange 2800 New South Wales
Flinders Private HospitalService Road Bedford Park 5039 South Australia
Frances Private HospitalLevels 10-12 Cnr. Cardigan & Grattan Streets Carlton 3053 Victoria
Glengarry Hospital53 Arnisdale Road Duncraig 6023 Western Australia
Greenslopes Private HospitalNewdegate Street Greenslopes 4120 Queensland
Hillcrest Private HospitalTalford Street Rockhampton 4700 Queensland
Hunters Hill Private Hospital9 Mount Street Hunters Hill 2110 New South Wales
Illawarra Private Hospital1 Suttor Place Figtree 2525 New South Wales
Jamison Private Hospital364 Jamison Road Penrith 2750 New South Wales
John Fawkner Hospital275 Moreland Road Coburg 3058 Victoria
John Flynn Hospital & Medical CentreBoyd Street Tugun 4224 Queensland
Joondalup Health CampusCnr. Grand Boulevard & Shenton Avenue Joondalup 6027 Western Australia
Kareena Private Hospital86 Kareena Road Caringbah 2229 New South Wales
Lawrence Hargrave Hospital72 Phillip Street Thirroul 2515 New South Wales
Lilydale Community HospitalAnderson Street Lilydale 3140 Victoria
Linacre Private Hospital12 Linacre Road Hampton 3188 Victoria
Lingard Private Hospital23 Merewether Street Merewether 2291 New South Wales
Macarthur Private Hospital92/96 Dumaresq Street Cambelltown 2560 New South Wales
Mater Misericordiae Public HospitalRaymond Terrace Brisbane 4101
Melbourne Private HospitalRoyal Parade Parkville 3052 Victoria
Mercy Hospital Mount LawleyThirlmere Road Mount Lawley 6050 Western Australia
Mersey Community HospitalBass Highway Latrobe 7307 Tasmania
Mildura Base HospitalOntario Avenue Mildura 3500 Victoria
Mosman Private Hospital1 Ellmatta Avenue Mosman 2088 New South Wales
Mount Hospital150 Mounts Bay Road Perth 6000 Western Australia
Mt. Wilga Private Hospital2 Manor Road Hornsby 2077 New South Wales
North Gosford Private HospitalBurrabil Avenue Gosford 2250 New South Wales
North Shore Private HospitalWestbourne Avenue St. Leonards 2065 New South Wales
North West Private Hospital137 Flockton Street Everton Park 4053 Queensland
Nowra Community HospitalWeeroona Place Nowra 2541 New South Wales
Port Macquarie Base HospitalWrights Road Port Macquarie 2444 New South Wales
Port Macquarie Private HospitalLake Road Port Macquarie 2444 New South Wales
Prince of Wales Private HospitalLocked Bag No. 2 Randwick 2031 New South Wales
Prince Of Wales Public HospitalBarker Street Randwick Sydney 2031
Rosebud Surgicentre1537 Point Nepean Road West Rosebud 3940 Victoria
Royal Brisbane HospitalButterfield Street Herston Brisbane 4029
Royal Melbourne HospitalGrattan Street, Parkville Melbourne VIC 3052
Royal Perth HospitalWellington Street Perth WA 6000
Selangor Private Hospital62 Netherton Street Nambour 4560 Queensland
Shepparton Private HospitalFitzgerald Street Shepparton 3630 Victoria
Sir Charles Gairdiner HospitalHospital Ave Nedlands Perth 6009
Southern Highlands Private HospitalBowral Street Bowral 2576 New South Wales
St Vincents Public HospitalVictoria Street, Darlinghurst Sydney 2010
St. Andrew's Private HospitalCnr. Roderick & Pring Streets Ipswich 4305 Queensland
St. Andrew's War Memorial Hospital457 Wickham Terrace Brisbane 4001 Queensland
St. David's Private Hospital5-7 Rowe Street Eastwood 2122 New South Wales
St. Edmund's Private Hospital11-13 Clanalpine Street Eastwood 2122 New South Wales
St. George Private Hospital & Medical Centre1 South Street Kogarah 2217 New South Wales
St. John of God HospitalMurdoch Western Australia
St. John of God HospitalSubiaco Western Australia
St. Vincent's & Mercy Private HospitalMelbourne
Sunbury Private HospitalCnr. Riddell & Spavin Roads Sunbury 3429 Victoria
Sunnybank Private Hospital245 McCullough Street Sunnybank 4109 Queensland
Sydney Adventist Hospital185 Fox Valley Road Wahroonga Sydney 2076
Tamara Private Hospital2-6 Dean Street Tamworth 2340 New South Wales
The Geelong Private HospitalCnr. Ryrie & Bellarine Streets Geelong 3220 Victoria
The Hills Private Hospital499 Windsor Road Baulkham Hills 2153 New South Wales
The National Capital Private HospitalCnr. Gilmore Crescent & Hospital Road Garran 2605 ACT
Wangaratta Private Hospital134-150 Templeton Street Wangaratta 3677 Victoria
Warners Bay Private HospitalFairfax Road Warners Bay 2282 New South Wales
Warringal Private Hospital216 Burgundy Street Heidelberg 3084 Victoria
Waverley Private Hospital347 Blackburn Road Mount Waverley 3149 Victoria

Media

The main daily newspapers are The Australian and the Australian Financial Review. The weekly newspapers with the largest circulation are The Morning Bulletin, the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Mail. Newspapers have a generally high circulation throughout the continent. BBC World Service frequencies are MHz 15.36; 11.96; 9.740; 7.145 and Voice of America frequencies are MHz 17.73 11.87 9.525 5.985. These are subject to change.

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