GENERAL INFO
Australia Capital: Canberra

Min.Traveling Cost/day AU$30, AU$=US$0.58 June, 00


Language
The official language of Australia is English. Although due to the large amount of immigrants entering Australia in the last fifty years, and the compulsory learning of another language in schools, Italian Greek and Japanese are spoken in certain areas.


Climate/Seasons
Due to the huge size of Australia, temperatures differ through out it. Because of its proximity to the Equator, the northern reaches of it are hotter than the southern. Meaning that the seasons rarely effect the temperature of such places as
Ayers Rock, Surfers Paradise and Cairns.
Seasons
Summer- December to March
Autumn- March to June
Winter - June to September
Spring - September to December
Temperatures in Winter/Summer
Melbourne 5-16/22-35 Alice Springs 15-30/28-45
Sydney 6-18/22-35 Cairns 17-35/25-38
Surfers Paradise 13-27/24-38



Basic Travel Costs from Martin (Olavi Tours, Bangkok)
CURRENCY Australian Dollars: $1=
Dorm Room = $13-$20 Double(Hotel)= $55 - $85
Double (Hostel) = $30 - $45
Bottled Water = $1.70 Coke = $1.40
Big Mac = $3.25
Breakfast (local) = $4.50 Breakfast (continental)= $5.50
Beer (a bottle)= $3.50 Beer(a glass) = $2.00
Postcards = .70 cents

Bank/Exchange
Westpac Bank and the Commonwealth Bank are the two biggest in Australia. Both banks will change foreign currencies for a 2% commission. Open M-F 9:00-17:00
Money changers usually offer a poorer rate, especially those at the airport. Open Daily 9:00-18:00
T/C - Travellers cheques can be changed at all the major banks. There are many.
Thomas Cook stores in the major cities. To find your closest one, try there website at
www.thomascook.com.au

Immigration/Visa
All countries need a visa except those from New Zealand.
Types of Visas -
Short stay visas
can be given to nationalities who are connected to the Electronic Travel Authority. Countries such as UK, USA and Japan fall under this criteria. You may stay up to three months.
A tourist visa can aslo be optained which also entitles you to stay in Australia for three months. The UK have a joint partnership with Australia that enables the British to a one year working holiday visa, whereby employment may be taken.for those under the age of 28.
Visit the website at
www.immi.gov.au. for more information.

Embassies
Most of the embassies are in the Australian Capital of Canberra. Look at individual cities for consulates.
E1 the United States of America: Moonah Place, Yaralumia ACT, 2600 T6214-5600
http://travel.state.gov/visa_services.html
E1 Canadian High Commission: Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra ACT 2600 T62733844
cnbra@cnbra01.x400.gc.ca
E1 British High Commission: Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumia, Canberra, ACT, 2600 T6270 6666
www.uk.emb.gov.au/
E1 French Consulate:6 Perth Avenue, Yarralumla, ACT 2600 T621 601 00 www.france.net.au/frames_fr.html
E1 Japan: 112 Empire Circuit, Yarralumia, Canberra, ACT, 2600. T62733244

Mail/Telephone

Considered to offer the best services in the world.
Mail Japan Europe USA
Postcard $0.90 $1.00 $0.95
Letter (20g) $0.95 $1.20 $1.05
Sea Mail (1kg) $14.00 $14.00 $14.00
Sea Mail (5kg) $44.00 $44.00 $44.00
Air Mail (1kg) $13.00 $24.00 $24.00
Air Mail (5kg) $56.00 $91.00 $76.00
Telephone calls are cheap if you buy pre-paid telephone cards at newsagencies.
Local Call:- 40cents
Area Code:- 08 Adelaide 07 Brisbane,06 Canberra 07 Cairns
03 Melbourne 03 Hobart,02 Sydney
Country Code: 61
Emergency :000 (fire, police, ambulance)
INTERNATIONAL CALL:- Dial 0011 - then country code - then number

Accommodation:-
The standard of accommodation can vary. Usually hostels in the northern region of Australia have their own pools and bars. Hostels in Sydney and Melbourne are often situated on top of a pubs. Despite the luxury of billiard tables, bars, internet
access and large kitchen areas the sleeping quarters are often cramped and unventilated.
YHA Hostels:- These places scatter the country and are often very centralised in major cities. Buy joining YHA at www.yha.com, members are entitled to major discounts from not only the hostels (saving on $3 a night) but backpacker
stores like Kathmandu as well.

Food/Drink
Food from all over the world can be found in Australia, however Indian, Thai and Italian cuisine are considered the best and cheapest by backpackers asked.
The most well known Australian dish is the humble meat pie. This is meat and gravy encased in a hand sized pastry shell. Tomato sauce is then usually put on top of it. It is estimated that in one AFL football match over 20,000 pies are sold.
Drinks: The classic Australian drink is beer, and the classic Australian beer is Victoria Bitter (VB). This is a tangy 4.6% alcohol beverage which can be found in every pub in Australia!
Australia’s wine growing regions such as the Yarra and Hunter Valleys have created one of the world’s best wines for the last twenty years, which has caused bottle shops around the world to have an Australian section.
All types of coffee are offered in coffee houses which are now littered throughout the major cities.

Transport

International prices to Australia from

LONDON- $1600aus Emirates

TOKYO - $1439aus Ansett

PARIS - $1650aus Qantas

N.Y. - $1850aus Qantas
Airlines:- Ansett and Qantas are the two main carriers often lowering their prices in competition with one and other.
Air Passes :- Both Qantas and Ansett offer air passes for international travellers. Passes can be bought in zones. Fow example Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne are in the same zone and cost $250 a flight. For more information look at
www.qantas.com / www.ansett.com / www.austravel.com.
Trains:- ****************
Buses:- Greyhound, the Oz experience, McCaffereys are the main bus campanies.

Local Transport
BUS
Rental Bicycle
Taxi

Customs
Toilets - Major shopping centres have toilets and these are free to use.
Tipping - Not customary. Restaurants may add a service tax. Best to check before hand.
Bargaining - This is relatively unheard of in Australia, except in weekend market stalls. Trying to bargain may offend some people.
Smoking- Smoking is prohibited in many public places, and restaurants have been slowly wiping out the smoking section.
Fines:- Urinated in public places has become a serious crime in recent years as the police try to stop people urinating after coming from nightspots.
Dress:- Very relaxed.

Health Hazards
Sun Light- The Australian sun is unbelievably hot. Australians have the highest rate of skin cancers by far. Heavy sunblock must be worn at all times, whenever the sun is out from September - April.
Tap Water:- Clean and drinkable in all major towns. Considered to be one of the safest countries in the world. Lock up valuables when leaving the hostel however, as on the East Coast theft is quite popular.


Public Holidays 2000
January 1 PH (All states) New Year’s Day
January 3 PH (All states) New Year’s Day Holiday
March 6 PH (W.A) Labour Day
March 13 PH (Melbourne) Labour Day
April 21 PH (All States) Good Friday
April 24 PH (All States) Easter Monday
April 25 PH (All States) Anzac Day
June 12 PH (All States) Queen's Birthday Celebration
Dec 25 PH (All States) Christmas Day
Dec 26 PH (All States) Boxing Day

Festivals
March 2 -5 Melbourne Moomba
Sep 15 Sydney Olympic Games commences
November 7 Melbourne Melbourne Cup Carnival

Shopping
Souvenirs:-

Miscellaneous
Media:- Most towns have five major television stations. This includes SBS which regularly shows foreign language programs. Nearly all newspapers from around the world can be bought at major newsagencies.
Electricity:- ?



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