Passport & Visa Requirements
Travellers to Australia need a valid passport.
Visas are required by all visitors travelling to Australia, except for New Zealand passport holders.
If you are planning a holiday or a short business trip to Australia, you will need to apply for either a visa or an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority). An ETA will let you spend up to three months in Australia.
As an island of immense ecological diversity, Australia employs strict customs regulations to preserve its unique habitat, and to protect all who live and travel here.
Organic items such as plants, food, furs, timber, and anything contaminated with dirt or sand will be carefully scrutinised and restricted or possibly prohibited.
Limitations also apply to other items brought into the country, such as tobacco products, alcohol and other personal possessions.
Phone: +61 (02) 6275 6666 or 1300 363 2631300 363 260
Driving in Victoria
Australia recognises international driving licences, provided the information contained on the licence clearly indicates the types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country.
For visitors from non-English speaking countries, it is probably best to obtain an International Driving Permit – that is, a translation of what is on your licence. This enables Australian police and rental companies to compare the licence with the permit, and see what types of vehicles the licensee is allowed to drive.
Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road. Routes are generally well signposted and the majority of roads are well maintained.
Speed limits and distances are expressed in kilometres (km) and a speed limit of 50km/h is enforced in residential and commercial traffic areas, unless otherwise indicated. On highways and freeways the speed limit is usually 100km/h, unless otherwise indicated.
Drink driving is considered a serious offence and is heavily policed. In some states, for example New South Wales, those with overseas licences are subject to special blood alcohol limits (0.02 in comparison with the normal limit of 0.05).
Any driver may be directed by the police to provide a breath specimen to measure intoxication. Refusal to provide a breath sample may result in arrest.
Melbourne operates on Eastern Standard Time (EST). Daylight saving is observed in Victoria during the warmer months.
GMT + 10 hours in Australian winter
GMT + 11 hours in Australian summer
A passenger movement charge of departure tax is included in the price of airline tickets. The charge is $38 per person.
Exemptions apply to children under 12 years, 24-hour transit passengers, or transit passengers who stay longer than a day if their departure is delayed by circumstances beyond their control.
Australia operates with a triple pronged 240/250 volts AC 50HZ system. Universal outlets for 110 volts (shavers only) are standard in hotels, apartments and motels.
The minimum legal ‘drinking’ age in Australia is 18.
It is recommended that you carry identification if you are going to a licensed venue, bar or nightclub.
If you cannot prove that you are 18 years or older, you may be refused entry. Liquor stores may also ask for identification prior to purchase.
Please note that it is illegal to provide liquor to any person under the age of 18 (minor).
Major hotels will also accept American Express and Diners’ Club, but these are less likely to be accepted by smaller retailers.
Please note that when booking or hailing a taxi it is advisable to discuss methods of payment as not all taxi companies accept credit cards.
Local currency is the Australian dollar, available in units of $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5 notes and $2, $1, 50 cent, 20 cent, 10 cent and 5 cent coins.
All cash transactions are rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. Non-cash transactions are usually completed without rounding.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applied at the rate of 10%. The price displayed usually includes this tax – it is not added at the register.
Tipping is rarely expected in Australia. Exceptional service may be rewarded in restaurants, by rounding up by around 5 to 10%.
It is also acceptable to round up a dollar or two for taxi service.
Telephones and Internet
Telstra payphones are common all over the country. Some accept credit cards, though these are usually only found in metropolitan areas.
All other phones will accept coins or a Telstra prepaid phone card. Phone cards are available at post offices, newsagents and convenience stores.
Mobile phones with GSM capabilities can be used in Australia. The most common GSM standard used is 900 MHz, but 1800 is also used. 1900 MHz (used in the USA) is not used in Australia.
Internet access is very common with internet cafes available in most built up areas.
Claiming Back Tax
The Federal Government of Australia has implemented a Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS). The TRS enables you to claim a
To claim a refund you must:refund, subject to certain conditions, of the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET) that you pay on goods you buy in Australia.
Spend $300 (GST inclusive) or more in the one store and get a single tax invoice
Buy goods no more than 30 days before departure
Wear or carry the goods on board the aircraft or ship and present them – along with your original tax invoice, passport and international boarding pass – to a Customs Officer at a TRS facility
Claims at airports are only available up to 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of your flight.
Claims at seaports should be made no earlier than 4 hours and no later than 1 hour prior to the scheduled departure time of the vessel.
The refund only applies to goods you take with you as hand luggage or wear onto the aircraft or ship when you leave Australia. It does not apply to services or goods consumed or partly consumed in Australia, such as wine, chocolate or perfume. However, unlike other tourist shopping schemes, most of the goods, such as clothing and cameras, can be used in Australia before departure.
The TRS is open to all overseas visitors and Australian residents, except operating air and sea crew.
To convert degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit multiply by 1.8 and add 32
To convert degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius subtract 32 and divide by 1.8
To convert kilometres to miles multiply by 0.62
To convert miles to kilometres multiply by 1.61
To convert pounds to kilograms multiply by 0.45
To convert kilograms to pounds multiply by 2.20
To convert imperial gallons to litres multiply by 4.55
To convert litres to imperial gallons multiply by 0.22
To convert US gallons to litres multiply by 3.79
To convert litres to US gallons multiply by 0.26