50 Things You Should Know Before Travelling To Australia
With beautiful scenery, awesome wildlife encounters and endless adventures to be had, why would Australia not be at the top of your travel bucket list?! But before heading to the land Down Under – probably via a very long plane journey - here are some things you should know…
1. Australia is HUGE! Don’t let a map fool you… everything is a long way away! Perth is a 5-hour flight away from Sydney and in a completely different time zone. If you want to see it all, you’ll need a lot of time, money and be prepared to drive or fly for extended periods of time. If any of these are a problem pick one area and focus on it.
2. Aussie’s drive on the same side of the road as the UK.
3. On the plus side fuel is pretty cheap. Which is good if you’re planning on doing lots of driving around as you’ll need a lot of it!
4. Outside of the main cities you can drive for miles through the outback without seeing another soul so make sure you’re stocked up on music, snacks and fuel. You do not want to run out of fuel whilst in the middle of nowhere with no mobile reception!
5. Speaking of which, the internet in Australia is very slow. Don't expect a great internet connection.
6. Australia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. To put that into perspective the population of Australia is just under 25 million whilst the total land area is almost 3 million square miles. Meaning there’s 8 people per square mile. In comparison, the population of the UK sits just above 66 million and the total land area is just 93,000 square miles. That’s 717 people per square mile.
7. 90% of Australian’s live on the coast and with good reason - the beaches are stunning!
8. However, they have 10,685 of them! If you visited one beach each day it would take you 29 years to see them all so do your research, choose wisely and plan your travels accordingly.
9. Make sure you check the visa requirements. If you are just going to travel you will need an eVisitor visa. Make sure you get it through the official government website and depending on your country, you may need to have an onward flight booked too.
10. Australian seasons are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere – Summer is from December to February and winter is June through August.
11. Unsurprisingly, UK summer clothing is not really equipped to deal with the extreme heat of the Australian summer, but, due to favourable exchange rates, you can buy nice clothes out there fairly cheaply.
12. Be prepared for extreme heat - if you know you cannot cope in high 30 - 40+ degree heat, do not book a trip to Australia in the height of their summer!
13. And if you do decide to go at this time, make sure you wear sun cream! With a huge gaping hole in the ozone layer above Australia, the sun is incredibly intense. Never go out for the day without wearing sun cream (even if it seems overcast) unless you wish to walk around in pain resembling that of a lobster for the rest of the week.
14. As you may have guessed, a certain level of common sense is needed when in Australia and a lack of it is one of the main reason’s tourists get hurt or killed.
15. For a start, everything and anything can kill you … even the trees!
16. But not everything wants to kill you. If you leave wild animals alone and refrain from provoking them, they will afford you the same courtesy (probably). And avoid walking under gum trees, especially if you hear a crack.
17. Also, while yes, there are a lot of venomous snakes and spiders, you’re unlikely to actually see any, so don’t let that put you off taking the trip over to Australia! Additionally, take comfort in the fact that usually in Australia the bigger the spider means the less dangerous it is.
18. Kangaroos really are everywhere … except for the main cities so don’t expect one to come bounding up the freeway. It is possible that you may not even see a kangaroo outside of a zoo if you don’t leave the main cities.
19. There are also no designated lanes in the road for kangaroos … that just isn’t a thing.
20. But be careful when driving outside of the main cities around dawn or dusk as this is when kangaroos are most active and a crash with one of these bad boys can quite easily write-off a car!
21. It’s also not a great country to be in if you have a fear of birds. I woke up on my first morning in Australia thinking I’d been transported into a Jurassic Park movie. The birds are big and loud, especially the cockatoos!
22. Some are also pretty prehistoric looking such as the Ibis (known as bin chickens) which can be seen waltzing around most green spaces, and the cassowary, but it’s very rare to see those in the wild.
23. Flies are an absolute pain – they go for the face. It’s best to resist the urge to talk when there are lots around.
24. Drop bears aren’t real! Don’t let a local freak you out, it’s just something they do to scare tourists. Google it.
25. SWIM BETWEEN THE FLAGS!! Aussie lifeguards don’t mess around, they know what they’re doing and where it is safe to swim. Currents can be very strong and you can easily be pulled out to sea and under water. Also, I don't know if you've heard but there quite a few sharks (if that's not enough to put you off completely).
26. Quarantine laws are very strict in Aus. Do not bring in foreign fruits or plants or take any away when you leave the country. If you are unsure about something, look it up or ask.
27. Australian’s are by and large very friendly people. They swear … A LOT! But don’t be offended by this, it’s just part of the culture.
28. If an Aussie asks you “how-ya-goin?”, they are asking you how you are. Do not respond “going where?”.
29. Alcohol is rather expensive in Australia.
30. Also you can’t buy alcohol in supermarkets. It is sold in separate bottle shops (or bottle-os!).
31. Make sure you take ID out with you everywhere, even if you are clearly of age.
32. You do not need to tip in Australia. They are paid a higher standard living wage and tipping is just not expected.
33. There are over 60 separate wine regions in Australia with the main ones being Margaret River, Yarra Region and Hunter Valley.
34. If you find yourself in the Margaret River region make sure you swing by the chocolate factory. Its most likely going to be the only nice chocolate you taste in Australia.
35. And in the Hunter Valley region I recommend visiting Roche Estate, the venue for several concerts due to the stunning backdrop. Then head to the Hunter Distillery and try their Mystery Gin! (you'll thank me later)
36. Aussies rarely say “G’day” but they will call you mate.
37. Each of the main cities has its own flavour. Perth is much more relaxed and I found it the friendliest of all the cities I visited.
38. Melbourne has quite a European feel to it and feels much more spacious than Sydney but 5 days was enough time to see and do everything I wanted to. The Melbourne museum is the best museum I’ve ever been to and would 100% recommend setting aside an afternoon to visit!
39. Sydney is a very multicultural city and you’ll never run out of things to do and see. It’s very clear to see why people come and decide to never leave - I’m team Sydney all the way!
40. WA is known for its beautiful beaches and is the best place to see wildlife. There are the stingrays at Hamelin Bay, Quokkas on Rottnest Island (you can’t find them anywhere else in the world!) and you can get up close and personal to wild kangaroos in your back yard at the eco lodges in Yelverton Brook!
41. But the best place to see wild Koalas is at Kennet River along the Great Ocean Road (take the Koala Walk but you can totally drive as it’s a road).
42. Melbourne’s weather varies greatly and you really can get all 4 seasons in a day. The temperatures varied from a chilly 16 degrees one day to a sweltering 45 the next.
43. It was also in Melbourne that I discovered my love of Tim Tams.
44. Also be prepared to become addicted to banana bread, both plain and toasted with butter.
45. Macca’s, the Aussie slang for McDonald’s, serves $1 frozen coke and it will quickly become your new best friend.
46. The Sydney Opera House is one the most photographed buildings in the world. Did you know that if all 14 shells were combined they would make a perfect sphere? You can get some beautiful views of the Opera House whilst on a ferry over to Manly or by taking a dinner cruise.
47. The Bondi Icebergs are world famous but they aren’t called the icebergs for nothing! Even in the height of summer the ocean pool can be very cold.
48. When Aussie’s say they are putting on their thongs they mean flip flops.
49. If you are a Home and Away fan, head on over to Palm Beach in North Sydney - you may even stumble on set and get to watch them film!
50. And finally, however hard it may be (and it is really hard, trust me!), try not to fall in love with the idea of living in Australia because the Aussie visa requirements are really strict.
You can follow my Australia adventures on Instagram and keep up to date with future destinations and tips!
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