Summary: Australia has the distinction of being the world’s smallest continent and also the world’s sixth largest country and lies between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with a terrain that is mostly deserts with low plateaus and fertile plains in the southeastern corner of the country. Australia settled around 40,000 years ago and virtually untouched until Captain James Cook claimed it in 1770 for Great Britain and new colonies arrived through the late 18th and 19th centuries, and the country now has a world-class economy based on international trade, balancing technological, manufacturing and agriculture sectors with strong tourism while protecting the Great Barrier Reef.
Time Zone: UTC + 10
Languages: English, Native languages
Power: 230 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Australian Dollar
- Currently 1 AUD = 0.9808 USD $
Climate: Australia is generally arid or semi-arid, with a more temperate climate in the south and east, and more tropical conditions in the northern areas. The Doctor is a tropical sea breeze that comes regularly on the western coast during the summer.
- Currently 59º, var t
Warne - Australia 'favorites' for Ashes win - CNN - Jul 07 9:32 AM
Australia Considers Ban on People Climbing Uluru, or Ayers Rock - Bloomberg - 18 minutes ago
Australia & England set for Ashes - BBC News - 27 minutes ago
Australia presses China to explain Rio detentions - Reuters via Yahoo! News - 1 hour, 58 minutes ago
Australia May Keep Key Rate at 3% for Third Month (Update1) - Bloomberg - 2 hours, 19 minutes ago
| Canberra: Canberra, born in 1908, is the planned capital of the country and sits about halfway between the country’s largest cities of Melbourne and Sydney and has all the features of a great capital city. The parliament buildings, the Mint and the National Gallery of Australia are all worth a walk-through for a day, as are the natural highlights which include the manmade Lake Burley Griffin, the New South Wales mountains, and the nearby Namadgi National Park.|
| Sydney: Sydney is perhaps best known for the profile of its famous Opera House, and the oldest and most powerful city in the country, while still holding the galleries and shopping needed for a good destination. Spend a day walking through the Taronga Zoo and the Botanic Gardens to see some of the flora and fauna that make Australia unique, an evening in the Rocks district near Sydney Harbor with cobblestone streets, clubs and shops to enjoy the nightlife, and the next day spent at the beaches of Bondi make the experience special.|
| The Great Barrier Reef: One of the world’s seven natural wonders lies off the northeastern coast of the continent and is known for both the great water activities off the nearby shores, the splendid display of life under the water, and the efforts to which the government goes to preserve the coral reef – the world’s largest living structure. There is no end to boating or diving trips, both scuba and snorkeling, that will be available from Cairns, the main base of operations for water exploration in Queensland.|
| Melbourne: Melbourne may play second fiddle to Sydney for size and reputation, but it is home to Victorian architecture and some of the country’s best music scene and nightlife. Although the wineries in the Dandagong Hills on the outskirts of the city have made this region the wine center of the country, the Victorian Arts Centre will take at least half a day wandering through the complex of art galleries and theatres, the Royal Melbourne Zoo and Captain Cook’s cottage, the home of the famous explorer, are also both good places to stop by, and afterwards, the cafes and pubs, which often have some of the wine and live music which helped make Australia famous.|
| Perth: On the opposite side of the country, about 2750 miles from the capital Canberra and other major cities, Perth offers the unique spirit of the outback for the visitor. Among the places to see are Fremantle, the nearby port called Freo by the locals and home to colorful colonial architecture, the Fremantle Market and the very nice Kings Park, and Cottesloe, the home of beaches and the Indiana Tea House. Many visitors take a two week train trek from Sydney, through the outback to Ayer’s Rock, properly known as Uluru by locals and best visited in either the early morning or evening for its sun-colored reddish hue, and continuing to Perth over a nearly two week journey.|
Local Customs: Casual is the normal mode of operation in Australia. Local Aboriginals should be respected, especially sites and lands considered sacred or off-limits, but enjoy your beer or wine, as conversations and meetings don’t need to stop in the evening, and casual dress is expected in most places except for formal business meetings and fancy restaurants.
Security: Australia is considered a safe place to visit, and requires only normal awareness when in crowded places to avoid pickpockets.
High Heat: Seasons are reversed from countries in the northern hemisphere, so late November to late February is the high summer. Trekking through the outback is popular, but keep the temperature in mind and drink extra fluids to avoid dehydration, which is common among newly landed tourists that run and quickly start exploring.
Darwin: Kangaroos, koalas, dingos and platypuses share time with the kookaburra and the wallaby as some of the indigenous and exotic animals that evolved on this continent, which has been isolated long enough to have these animals uniquely develop, so see them at a zoo to believe them.
When To Visit: Summer is the best time to visit for the beaches and the dry trekking through the outback, although it gets rainier and humid during that same period in the north. Skiing in winter, from June to August, is great, especially since many ranges are close to the major cities of Perth, Sydney and Canberra. January is the best time to visit Sydney, for the fireworks, street theater and open-air concerts at the Festival of Sydney
Food: Many Australian dishes have European or British roots, including roast beef, vegetable and meat pies, and variations on themes like kebabs with kangaroo meat or crocodile steak. Other international styles are available in cities and towns for other tastes, but although you may not want to try the vegemite, a salty spread for bread or toast, the light meringue cakes called pavlovas are fantastic. Note that Australia is the world’s largest producer of beef.
Phrases: Called Oz by friends and foes alike, Australians have a slang that may take your attention to catch, from being true blue, or really Australian, to having a blue, or an argument, through to the differences between an ocker, an uncultured Aussie that likes women, sports and beer, and the outback, the remote central parts of the country.
Tipping: Although tipping isn’t as standard in the smaller towns, follow standard tipping rules in the cities for an extra 10% on your bill, and round your taxi fare up to the next dollar up.
|Copyright © 2009 World Travel Tips|