Australia is a sunny continent of antipodes with amazing animals. Diving on the Great Barrier Reef, excursions to Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne, the sights of Sydney and Aboriginal villages are all about Australia: visa, photos, tours and maps.
Do you know which globe you can buy in Australia? Inverted, with the South Pole on top. And, by the way, it is no less correct than our traditional one: after all, there is neither top nor bottom in space, and for Australians we are exactly the same antipodes walking upward as they are for us. When you will be there, we advise you to bring a couple of such globes to yourself and your best friend: installed within the line of sight, it perfectly eliminates egocentric errors.
Well, except for a flip-up globe from Australia, you can bring a complete little box of completely unique impressions. What is one monolith of Uluru, blood-red in the rays of the day sun and acquiring a completely extraterrestrial view at sunset! Then you should see with your own eyes endless BBB archipelagoes with some desperate tumult of underwater life, wide beaches with postcard waves for surfers, lively koala plush toys, and finally, platypuses are irrefutable evidence of God’s sense of humor (you will understand this when you will see these animals yourself).
Add to this recognizable silhouettes of attractions such as the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge, a bunch of interesting things that you can take with you, including aboriginal exoticism, and ease of communication with local people: basic English will be quite enough for this trevelling. “Ossi, I’m Coming!” we exclaimed and thoroughly studied the Southern Continent for you.
Regions and resorts of Australia
The capital of Australia is Canberra, the political center of the country: the Australian government sits in the masthead building of Parliament. Canberra is cozy and green: there are no factories here, but there are many parks, memorials and museums. In Sydney, tourists are attracted to famous attractions (from the opera house to the Harbor Bridge), Paddington boutiques and Bondi Beach beaches. Other major cities are also good for excursions: many-sided Melbourne, hospitable Brisbane. And in Adelaide, Cairns and Perth, it is nice to combine cultural recreation with relaxation on the seashore.
The most popular beach resorts are the Gold Coast with fashionable, party and family zones and the Great Barrier Reef – a spill of beautiful islands in the Coral Sea. The center of the country is covered in red desert, where there is a Grand Canyon – the sacred mountain of Uluru, or Ayers Rock. In the north, adjacent to the aboriginal settlements, there are numerous national parks. One of the best places to explore authentic nature and culture is Darwin with historic buildings and amazing landscapes. All the details about the cities and resorts of Australia – on the page “Subtleties of tourism.”
Australia’s climate varies greatly by region. In the north, the climate is tropical, in the south – temperate. The hottest time of the year is from November to January, when the temperature throughout the country is from +20 to +32 ° C, and in the central regions it reaches +38 … + 42 ° C. In this case, after 1.5-2 hours after sunset, it can become cold by 10-12 degrees. It is relatively cold in June-August, at this time the temperature does not rise above +15 … + 18 ° C, and in the temperate zone it sometimes drops to 0 ° C, it often rains.
The best time to visit the Gold Coast is the Australian summer (Russian winter). In June-August a big wave rises there, strong winds blow and it rains. At this time it is better to swim and sunbathe on the BBR. See also the current weather forecast for the main Australian resorts and in the cities for the coming days.
Visa and customs
To visit Australia, citizens of Russia and the CIS need to apply for a visa and insurance for the entire duration of their trip.
Cash in the amount of 10,000 AUD or more (or an equivalent amount in another currency) must be declared upon arrival and upon departure. Prohibited the importation of food, drugs, materials of animal and vegetable origin, firearms, weapons and ammunition, the inhabitants of wildlife or objects made of protected animals, some medical preparations (including substances containing sports stimulants). Prices on the page are as of October 2018.
In personal baggage you can, without paying customs duties and taxes, transport goods in the amount of 900 AUD (or 450 AUD for children under 18). Also, persons over 18 years can import to the country up to 2.25 liters of alcoholic beverages (of any strength), 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of other tobacco products, if all this is in their baggage.
The export of animals and plants, corals, shells, seeds and nuts is prohibited. Without a permit, you can not remove items of historical value, as well as products made of wood, bamboo, leather, bone, feathers of birds, shells and corals.
The Australian equivalent of Tax free is the Tourist Refund Scheme. If the value of goods purchased here exceeds 300 AUD, if you carry them in your hand luggage, you will receive a tax refund (about 12%). To do this, before flying out of the country, a special check issued for the purchase, passport and boarding pass must be presented at the TRS office at the airport. The tax is returned from goods purchased not earlier than 60 days before departure, alcoholic beverages (except wine), tobacco products and things that are fully or partially used in Australia are excluded from the list. The amount due can only be received by bank transfer, the money arrives on the card within 5-7 days.
How can you get to Australia
There are several international aviation hubs in Australia, the largest of which, Kingsford Smith Airport, is located 10 km from the center of Sydney. The road from Russia is a long one: you can get to the green continent only with transfers. The cheapest tickets from Moscow are from Hainan Airlines and China Eastern: 551 USD one way with departure from Sheremetyevo and connections in Beijing (30 hours). Qatari Airlines travels from Domodedovo via Doha, tickets start at $ 720 one way, and travel time starts at 22 hours and 40 minutes. The fastest route is offered by Singapore Airlines: 18 hours 45 minutes with a transfer in Singapore for 777 USD in one direction.
Flights with two connections are slightly cheaper: Aeroflot, Dzhetstar and Scoot have options for 450 USD one way (transfers – in Phuket and Singapore, 42 hours on the road), Air Asia and Turkish Airlines ”- for 530 USD (it takes 50 hours to get from Vnukovo via Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur).
It is also cheaper to fly from St. Petersburg to Sydney with two transfers: Aeroflot and Dzhetstar are taken from Pulkovo via Moscow and Phuket for 597 USD and 37 hours one way. Flights with one connection – from 872 USD in one direction (Hainan Airlines and China Eastern, 36 hours and 40 minutes via Beijing). You can save your time with the help of Emirates, delivering via Dubai in 22 hours (tickets – from 950 USD one way).
Canberra Airport serves only domestic flights. Aeroflot, Virginia Australia and Dzhetstar have routes from Sheremetyevo from 706 USD one way (connections – in Phuket and Sydney, 40 hours long). With Qantas and Qatar Airways, it is almost twice as fast: 24 hours via Doha and Melbourne, tickets – 860 USD in one direction.
From the Russian capital to Brisbane, it’s more convenient to travel with Thai Airlines: 34 hours via Bangkok for 680 USD each way. It is cheaper to fly from the northern capital with the same carrier in tandem with Turkish Airlines (770 USD one way with connections in Istanbul and Bangkok, 37.5 hours), faster with Belavia and Etihad (24 hours, 950 USD via Minsk and Abu Dhabi).
Traveling over long distances in Australia is most convenient by air. An extensive network of routes covers the entire country, and, besides, competing with each other, local airlines sometimes offer very attractive fares. The key carriers are Jetstar, Qantas, Virgin Australia. Tickets from Sydney to Brisbane cost from 94 AUD, to Canberra – from 138 AUD, to Melbourne – from 108 AUD.
Railway transport in Australia is relatively poorly developed, but despite this, the tickets are not cheap. In the Sydney area, only suburban transportation and tourist routes are well established. Great Southern Rail has the most impressive prices (official website in English): a trip from Adelaide to Darwin will cost from 966 AUD. With NSW TrainLink (official website in English) you can get from Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane for 81 AUD, to Canberra – for 41 AUD.
Melbourne and Tasmania have a ferry connection. The cost of the crossing is from 130 AUD one way, you can find out the schedule and tariffs on the carrier’s official website (in English).
The cheapest, but also the longest way to travel between cities – buses. The most advantageous to buy travel cards Greyhound (official website in English.), Allowing you to travel on a given route as many times as you like within 30 days. The fare from Adelaide to Alice Springs costs 230 AUD, from Sydney to Brisbane – 140 AUD.
Public transport inside cities
City buses run from 5:00 to 23:00. Travel is paid for with cards that can be bought at kiosks and at stations. Tourists are more profitable to purchase weekly cards (17.50 AUD), suitable for all types of transport and valid from 9:00. In Sydney there is an extensive metro network (from 2.50 AUD per trip), a monorail in the city center (5 AUD) and passenger ferries plying the bay (from 6 AUD).
Taxis are easy to catch on the street or book by phone even late at night; large hotels, central stores and public transport stops have their parking. When ordering a taxi by phone, as well as in the presence of bulky luggage, the fare increases. Tariffs – 3.50-3.60 AUD for landing and 2.50-4 AUD for each km. Transfer from Sydney Airport to the center – 47-57 AUD.
Rent a Car
To rent a car in Australia, you need a driver’s license (either domestic with a translation into English or an international model) and a credit card of any of the most common systems in the world. Sometimes it is possible to rent without a credit card against a cash deposit. The tenant’s driving experience must be at least one year, at least 21 years old for passenger cars and minivans (25 years for all-wheel drive cars) and no more than 75 years.
You can take a car at any airport, train station or bus station. If necessary, the car will be delivered directly to the house. In Australia there is a rental and camper vans, but only for a period of 7 days or more. Rent a standard car in Sydney will cost from 56 AUD, SUV – from 80 AUD per day. In Canberra, prices start from 58 AUD per day for a compact model and reach 122 AUD for a minivan. The cost of gasoline – 1.32 AUD for 1 l.
The movement in the country is left-sided. The use of seat belts is mandatory; special chairs are necessary for children. The roads are modern and in excellent condition. In the center of Sydney, it is better to walk on foot or by taxi: it is almost impossible to park there.
Australia is among the world leaders in the number of personal transport per inhabitant, so that congestion in large cities occur often. The distances between settlements are serious, but it is quite comfortable to move along even, well-groomed highways. Parking costs an average of 3-4 AUD per hour, payment is made through special parking meters accepting coins and bank cards.
Communication and Wi-Fi
The largest Australian mobile operators are Telstra, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile and Optus. Prepaid SIM cards priced from 20-50 AUD are sold in branded salons, almost all packages include free national calls and Internet traffic. The operator Optus has an international My Prepaid Ultimate tariff (30-40 AUD) with calls to Russia at 0.30 AUD per minute. For comparison, Telstra subscribers will pay 5 AUD for negotiations with their homeland over the same period of time.
Not all Australian rural areas are covered by a GSM network, so that in the middle of nowhere you can remain without communication.
There are many payphones on city streets that accept both Telstra’s telephone cards and Telstra phone cards of 5-50 AUD, sold in stores and newsstands. The minimum cost of a call is 0.40-0.60 AUD, international calls are more expensive.
In Australian cities, more and more points with free Wi-Fi appear: you can connect to online coffee shops and eateries, hotels and public institutions. To tell the truth, the connection speed is low, so it is more convenient to use the mobile Internet on prepaid sim cards. Alternative – Internet cafes, providing access to the network for 5-10 AUD per hour.
Hotels in Australia
Hotels in Australia are classified in accordance with international standards, but they have not “stardom”, and classes: 5 * – de luxe, 4,5 * – superior first class, 4 * – first class, 3 * and a half – superior tourist class, 3 * – tourist class. In the rooms there is always a kettle and iron, and the service and decor correspond to the level of hotels. In large cities it is recommended to book the hotel closer to the center. It is there that most of the sights are located, and from the central stations it is easier to go on long excursions.
Most hotels offer accommodation without a guesthouse, breakfasts are extra paid. The system of “all inclusive” in Australia can be found only on the “island-hotels”, where there is no place to eat anyway.
In Sydney, a hostel’s bed will cost from 47 AUD, a double room in a 3 * hotel – from 69-79 AUD, in the fashionable “five” – from 117 AUD per day. The most budget accommodation in Canberra offers hostels with private double rooms for 89-190 AUD per day, the most expensive – five-star hotels: from 240 AUD per night. Accommodation in the “threes” of Brisbane – from 100 AUD, in the “quartet” of Melbourne – from 105 AUD per day.
The voltage in the network is 220-240 V, 50 Hz. Three-pin sockets (so-called “Australian”), but adapters are sold in all stores. In addition, they can be rented at the hotel, leaving a deposit of 15-20 AUD.
Monetary unit of the country – the Australian dollar (AUD), in 1 dollar 100 cents. Actual exchange rate: 1 AUD = 45.44 RUB (1 USD = 1.42 AUD, 1 EUR = 1.59 AUD).
The most convenient way is to take American dollars with you and exchange them at banks, bank branches at the airport or the Singapore Money Exchanges (without commission), Thomas Cook and American Express exchange offices. In the exchange offices of hotels you can find a slightly less favorable exchange rate. Credit cards are accepted in central areas almost everywhere, but in small private shops, especially in the provinces, they are likely to be useless. It is unprofitable to pay with travel checks: banks charge high fees for cashing them.
The country has an extensive ATM network. Banks usually work from Monday to Thursday from 9:30 to 16:00 (until 17:00 on Fridays), Saturday and Sunday are days off. In some states, banks are open on Saturday morning.
Tipping in Australia is optional, but no one will refuse them. In restaurants, people usually leave 5-10% of the bill, in hotels – 1-2 AUD, and paying the taxi driver, you can simply round the amount in a big way.
How to avoid problems
The Australian sun is very active. In the first days of your stay in the country, it is better to avoid direct sunlight, use protective creams and dress in light white cotton clothes (this, by the way, will help you avoid hypothermia in the heavily air-conditioned rooms that are typical of Australia). Sunglasses are recommended at all times of the year. You should swim only on the calmest parts of the coast, this applies to currents and waves. These sections of the coast are marked with green or yellow-red flags. Monochromatic yellow or red flags mean an increased danger – it is better for inexperienced swimmers not to climb into the water.
You should not walk barefoot through the grass and walk in the parks at dusk – in Australia there are poisonous insects and snakes active at night. You should also be extremely careful when dealing with marine life. When traveling to the states of Queensland and the Northern Territory, it is recommended to use mosquito repellents and protective nets: mosquitoes can be the carriers of such dangerous diseases as Dengue fever and Ross fever.
Before traveling to Australia, it is better to be vaccinated against yellow fever, which is carried by insidious mosquitoes. Vaccination against tetanus, typhoid fever, diphtheria and rubella will be useful, although there are no serious threats to health in the country.
In public places, including in all restaurants and cafes, smoking is prohibited. Alcohol consumption is possible only in certain places and at certain time.
Useful phone numbers
- Embassy of Russia in Canberra: 78 Canberra Avenue, Griffith, tel .: (2) 629-590-33, website.
- Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Sydney: 7-9 Fullerton Street, Woollahra, tel .: (2) 936-353-91, 932-617-02.
- Australia’s free call center service — 013, in Sydney (Visitors’ Center) —923-524-24 or 925-517-88.
- Police, fire service, ambulance and other emergency calls – 000 (from any phone, free of charge); from mobile phones – 000 or 112.
Australian beaches are worthy of loud praise: the clear waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the purest sand, developed infrastructure – all this is the perfect combination for relaxing with pleasure. The most populous areas are concentrated on the Gold Coast near Brisbane. The most fashionable local resort – Main Beach with expensive restaurants and a whole range of marine entertainment. Surfers Paradise fully justifies its name: the best place for the conquerors of the waves simply can not be found. Broad Beach is more democratic: it is quieter, more comfortable and, which is important, cheaper.
Rental centers for umbrellas and loungers – a rarity, the average price per set – 15-25 AUD.
Bondi Beach is the center of Sydney parties: idle resort visitors and celebrities huddle in a small area. Safety is paramount: lifeguards are on duty on the shore, coastal waters are protected from sharks with a special net. One of the most beautiful beaches is Cable Beach in the vicinity of the town of Broome with snow-white sand and azure water, almost always warmed up to +25 ° C. But it is better to admire the virgin nature on the islands of the Great Barrier Reef: Lizard, Whitsunday and other beauties seem to have left idyllic postcards.
The conquerors of the waves have long considered Australia their second home: only here you can ride on the board at once through two oceans – the Pacific and the Indian. Surfers pile on the southeastern and southern coasts of the continent. Popular destinations are the Gold Coast (the Snapper-Rocks waves are the longest on the planet), Cape Bellarin in Victoria, the beaches of Cape Fleurier in South Australia, Trigg Island near Perth and the beaches of Tasmania Hobart. However, you can surf in Australian and not leaving far from civilization: beautiful waves are caught on the coast of Sydney. Numerous surf schools and a lot of specialized shops work there.
A one-day surf course costs from 70 AUD, a three-day intensive course with lectures, group and individual practical classes – from 300 AUD. Some schools offer two-week packages with accommodation in campsites and daily skating on a board under the supervision of an instructor for the 2500-3500 AUD.
Diving in Australia is a must-have item for everyone who collects vivid impressions. Here both beginners and pros dive, enjoying underwater beauty regardless of the season: if the coast of Cairns from October to May teems with poisonous jellyfish, then around the islands of the Great Barrier Reef is safe all year round. It is these scenic spots that attract divers from all over the world: turtles, stingrays, groupers, nautilus, moray eels, hermit crabs, rare species of sharks and octopuses are found here. Underwater visibility is 10-30 m, the most popular locations are Lizard Islands, Whitsunday, Hyman and Hamilton. In the west, the Ningalu Reef is famous, in the south – the Dangerous Reef. The cost of diving with an instructor in the open sea – 150-300 AUD, integrated coastal courses cost 600-700 AUD.
Australia’s business card is precious and semiprecious stones: opals, sapphires, pink diamonds (they are mined only here), pearls. In addition, of course, crafts Aboriginal: the inevitable boomerangs, little things made of wood, earthenware. We also recommend you to pay attention to products made of sheep wool and crocodile leather: sweaters, hats, scarves and other warm accessories, raincoats, hats, shoes and belts.
Gourmets should grab a package of Australian herbal tea, a jar of fruit jam (for example, from cockatoo plums) and spices: mint, anise myrtle, etc. Coffee that is grown in Byron Bay is very popular, King Island cheese is also popular among tourists. Eucalyptus oil and Varan oil will help to overcome the northern ailments, and various products of Australian manufacturers of natural cosmetics, such as soaps, creams and balms, will help preserve the health of the skin. And of course, do not forget about the real uggs – authentic sheepskin boots on a flexible sole.
Sales in Australia are traditionally held twice a year: in June and after the Catholic Christmas. Promotions are often arranged when opening or closing stores: bright signs on the shop windows signal the sale of sales people. Sydney, Melbourne and other megalopolises have outletlets with products of international brands at reduced prices. In small private shops you can also run into discounts at any time of the year.
Mode of operation of stores in different states is different. As a rule, large stores are open from 9:00 to 17:30 on weekdays and from 9:00 to 17:00 on Saturdays. One day a week (Thursday or Friday) they close at 21:00. Some outlets operate on Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00. In large cities there are markets where you can buy almost everything: from food and clothing to souvenirs.
Australian cuisine and restaurants
The main national dish of Australia – fried meat. Everything else – seafood and poultry, exotic fruits and local cheeses – serve only as a kind of complement. A selection of delicacies: shark lips, crocodile meat, opossum fillets, blue crab meat and freshwater oysters. In the country, Asian cuisine with its extremes is popular: the product is either consumed almost raw, or, on the contrary, is processed beyond recognition.
Authentic Australian dessert – “lamington”, doused with chocolate and sprinkled with coconut crumb sponge cake. Local wines are not inferior in quality to the best European varieties, and some beers are even exported to many countries. To get acquainted with the Australian cuisine in all its manifestations, true gourmets will have to travel all over the country: each state has its own signature dish.
On the plantations of Cairns, called “the cup of exotic fruits,” tropical trees from around the world grow and abundantly bear fruit. Here you can taste delicious mangoes, pineapples, bananas, lychee and po.
In Australia, there are establishments operating under the BYO system (bring your own): they do not have a license to trade in alcohol, and therefore visitors are allowed to bring a bottle or two of wine or beer with them. True, the pleasure is not entirely free: you have to pay 2-15 AUD of “cork collection” for each container, but it still comes out cheaper than buying alcohol in a restaurant. Asian eateries are open in major cities, offering generous portions of Indian, Chinese and Japanese hits. Traditional English pubs with meat and beer, as well as vegan and vegetarian places are popular. Snacking in fast food costs 10-15 AUD, lunch in a cafe – at 25-30 AUD per person, dinner at a restaurant with alcohol – 150-160 AUD for two.
Entertainment and Attractions
For most overseas tourists, Australia is an unexplored continent: imagination draws pictures of endless spaces along which kangaroos and koalas randomly move. Well, to some extent this is true: the expanses are really endless and very picturesque, and in honor of funny marsupials even an entire island is named (although there are snow-white beaches, bizarre rocks, and even mini -desert). But the sights in Australia are much more: the original urban architecture, museums and natural wonders deserve the most careful study.
The richest in tourist locations is tireless Sydney. It is easily recognizable by the wavelike arches of the opera house, resembling either a frigate under sail, or a white stone lotus. This city is also recognizable by the iron beams of the Harbor Bridge: locals jokingly nicknamed the world’s largest metal arch “coat rack”. By the edge of the 305-meter TV tower, which offers a magnificent view of the city. And here there is a giant aquarium and Paddington and Belmeyr quarters with festive Victorian architecture.
Canberra has the impressive Parliament building with a mast on its top, the Australian War Memorial with a sculpture garden, Black Mountain Hill with a television tower and the best viewing platform in the city, as well as the National Gallery with a rich collection of Australian art. Acquaintance with Melbourne should start on Federation Square, and then enjoy the dizzying view from the Eureka skyscraper, stroll through the Royal Garden, go to the zoo and tickle your nerves in the Old Prison covered with grim legends.
Darwin is an excellent place to study Aboriginal culture: the Museum of the Northern Territory exhibits vivid examples of folk art, and rock paintings of primitive people are preserved in the surrounding Ubir and Nolanji mountains.
Australia’s abundant wealth is concentrated not only in the cities, but also beyond. The Great Barrier Reef, an immense system of 900 islands and 2,900 individual reefs in the Coral Sea, is ideal for excursions, diving and relaxing on exotic beaches. The red rock of Ayers Rock once served as a place of worship for the aborigines, and today it is impressive in scope and atmosphere: for miles around there is only a ringing silence. Cape Byron, discovered by James Cook, is recognizable thanks to the snow-white lighthouse and incredible sea view. And along the Great Ocean Road, limestone columns jutting out from the sea lined up – the 12 Apostles of Victoria, guarding perhaps the most beautiful Australian coast.
9 things to do in Australia
- See the famous Opera in Sydney with your own eyes.
- Visit the Ayers Rock monolith, which at sunset looks at least Martian.
- Do traditional Australian bangui jumping and zorbing to a state of easy disorientation.
- Do not forget about mind-blowing diving at the BBB.
- Look at one or two of the national park.
- Buy a dozen or two boomerangs from the Bushmen.
- In Tasmania, go through the “convict trail” and trace the history of almost every prisoner who once served his time in the famous prison on the island.
- Well, turn to the beach for a day or two, yes. If time remains.
- Add in confidence: the first thing that every new guest from the Northern Hemisphere does in this country is checking which way the water in the sink is spinning.
Australia is called the land of contrasts, promising its guests unforgettable impressions and truly exciting adventures. It is for them that the travelers go to the national parks – full possession of nature, striking a riot of colors, a variety of landscapes and the grandeur of landscapes. Modern megacities peacefully coexist with deserts and dense forests, farms. It is in this continental state that the endemics are represented – koala, kangaroo, emu, and platypus.
The Blue Mountains is a unique natural reserve listed as a UNESCO. Covered with eucalyptus forests, the mountains here from a distance really seem blue. Daintree Reserve is one of the oldest natural parks. In this primeval forest, you can see a variety of animals, including the glowing green frog, possum and glowing mushrooms growing on tree trunks.
Kakadu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the most wilderness spots in Australia. He is in the management of the Australian Aboriginal and preserved in its original form. Even closer to get acquainted with the centuries-old Aboriginal culture can be in the national park “Namaji” – on its territory people have been living for more than 21 thousand years. Rare animals with intriguing names live here: a wide-toothed rat, a false toad and a marble gadops.
Hunter Valley, located 180 km from Sydney, is famous among lovers of good wine. Sandy slopes and a special microclimate here create excellent conditions for the best Australian vineyards. Canberra National Park, Black Mountain and Eucalyptus Grove also deserve attention.
Holidays and events in Australia
In January, the famous Festival of the city with dances, booze and other indispensable attributes of the holiday takes place in Sydney. And on the last Monday of January, the whole country celebrates Australia Day. In February, they organize a shocking festival of sexual minorities “Mardi Gras”. The second Monday of June is the Queen’s Birthday, and in August they celebrate an unusual and very funny holiday – Darwin Beer Regatta. During it passes a whole series of races of watercrafts built entirely from beer cans and barrels.