Glossary (Australia)

 

Arriving in Australia: Bio-Security

Every person arriving in Australia must complete the arrival card handed out on the aircraft. Australia has strict rules on which products and personal effects are prohibited and must be declared before entering the country. The main areas of restrictions are, first, medicinal products, for which it is advisable to have a letter or prescription from your doctor describing your medical condition and the medication. The second area covers all food, plant material and animal products. You will be asked to declare on arrival all goods of animal or plant origin and show them to a quarantine officer. Before you travel you should find out what goods you can and cannot bring into Australia and what goods must be declared. For further information please visit the following website: www.customs.gov.au.
 

Car Accidents

In case of a car accident you should call the police (phone no.: 000) and your rental car company before you call their roadside assistance. If your vehicle breaks down in a remote location, do not leave it, as it will provide you with shade and protection from the heat. Wait for help to come to you. If you plan on driving in remote areas consider renting appropriate emergency communication equipment, such as a satellite phone, a UHR radio or an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) device.
 

Check-In Times

Generally, the hosts will expect you to arrive in the afternoon – unless a specific check-in time is stated. However, most hosts are flexible, and if you wish to arrive earlier, this should be possible by prior arrangement. If you are running late or expect to arrive after dark, please inform your hosts of your expected time of arrival.
 

Check-Out Times

Generally the check-out time is between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Please check with your hosts on arrival, as check-out times may vary.
 

Driver’s Licence

Overseas drivers with a non-English language licence must carry an accurate English translation with a photograph for identification. Some states prefer that you also have an International Driving Permit (IDP), which must be applied for with your home country’s automobile association. This will help police determine that an overseas licence is valid, verify that the driver holds the correct licence class for the vehicle, and check for any conditions that may be attached to the licence.
 

Driving Distances & Travel Times

Please note that the travel times stated in your itinerary do not allow for longer stops and are an indication only, as the duration partially depends on the driving and road conditions. In rural areas road surfaces can vary from bitumen to gravel and dirt. Be careful of potholes, soft road edges, narrow bridges and dusty roads. Moreover, there are always lots of reasons to stop: panoramic viewpoints, scenic and historic sites, cafes & restaurants and arts & crafts studios. This is why we recommend that you allow plenty of time when travelling from one location to another.
 

Driving in Australia

Before driving in Australia you should ask your rental company for a leaflet on the driving rules. The most important things to be aware of are:
a) Driving is on the left-hand side of the road.
b) The 'give way to the right' rule applies in Australia. However, if you are turning left at an intersection you do not give way to right-turning traffic.
c) Do not exceed the legal speed limits indicated on road signs. Maximum speeds on the open road vary between states.
d) If travelling to remote areas off major highways always take extra food, water, fuel, tools, and tyres.
e) Australian wildlife and livestock often graze on the roadside and can stray onto the road. Be careful when driving at sunrise, sunset and at night, when kangaroos and other animals are most active.
f) Beware of large trucks known as road trains which can be the length of 10 cars. It can take up to 2.5 kilometres to overtake a road train at 100 km/h. Also, allow plenty of room before you overtake as they may sway from side to side as you pass them. Be prepared for the 'windrush' that arises when passing, as it can pull you towards the road train.
g) Carry a valid driving licence with you at all times.
 

Electricity

Australia has 220-240 V outlets: 50Hz with plugs that have angled pins. If the country you are travelling from has the same voltage as Australia, you simply need an adapter for your electronic appliances. Otherwise, you will need a converter to convert the voltage to the appropriate level. This is especially important for visitors from the U.S. and Japan.
 

Evening Meals

Evening meals, if offered, are generally by prior arrangement unless a property has an onsite restaurant, or unless the evening meal has been booked by Umfulana, as stated in your itinerary. Most hosts require at least 24 hours notice if you intend to dine onsite.
 

Health and Safety

Australia is a healthy county for travelling, considering that much of its climate is tropical. Because of Australia's isolation and its quarantine standards, most tropical diseases and diseases caused by poor sanitation are rare, and no vaccinations are required. While Australia is considered a safe country to travel in, you should use common sense: do not leave valuables (especially your passport, cash or cameras) in parked cars or campervans, particularly at scenic spots or trail-heads for popular walks. There are several rules that should be followed in the Australian outdoors:
a) The Australian sun is extremely strong, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., so avoid excessive skin exposure during those times. Always use a combination of shade and adequate clothing that includes a shirt, hat, sunglasses and 30+ sunscreen lotion. Always take with you, and drink, plenty of water.
b) Australia has many superb beaches, and popular beaches are usually patrolled by volunteer lifesavers from October to April. Always swim or surf at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags. From late October to early May, venomous box jellyfish, also called stingers or sea wasps, occur in the coastal waters of northern Australia, in Western Australia along the Kimberley coastline, and around many of the Queensland islands. They are rarely found on the Outer Barrier Reef. Beaches usually have warning signs during this time, and visitors are advised to swim where protective enclosures (‘stinger nets’) are provided.
c) Northern Australia is also home to freshwater and saltwater crocodiles. They can be found around rivers, freshwater lagoons and coastal beaches. Crocodiles, particularly saltwater crocodiles, are potentially dangerous. Observe all warning signs, and do not swim where crocodiles live.
d) Australia has the world's most venomous snakes and spiders. The funnel-web spider is deadly, while the white-tail and the redback can deliver a painful bite. It pays to be vigilant, although spiders will probably not bother you, and snakes will usually disappear before you even realize they where there. They will generally only attack if surprised and unable to escape, or if they have been cornered and provoked. In case of a bite call emergency services (phone number: 000), as Australia has the world's most comprehensive anti-venom treatments.
 

Help

If you need help try to call your hosts first. With their local knowledge they will most likely be able to assist you better than anyone else. In urgent cases you can also call our New Zealand Office in Christchurch or on our New Zealand mobile phone. After hours and in the evening you can try to reach our European Head Office, which is open after 8:30 a.m. Central European time.
 

Immigration: Visitor Visa

All visitors to Australia must carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the date they intend to leave the country. Visas are required for every nationality except New Zealand. Tourist visas and Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visas are valid for three months. Passport holders from 33 countries are eligible for an ETA, which does not need to be applied for - just ask your travel agent or the airline when booking your flight, they can arrange your ETA for you. However, if you are not from a country covered by the ETA, you must go through the standard visa application process. For more information on visas and eligibility for an ETA, visit the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs website at www.immi.gov.au.
 

Money: Credit Cards, Cheques & Cash

The national currency is the Australian Dollar (AUD). For currency conversions visit www.xe.net. All major credit cards can be used in Australia and traveller’s cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores. ATMs (automated teller machines) are plentiful, available 24 hours a day and can be found near banks, at airports, shopping centres and even some petrol stations. Credit and ATM cards can be used in Australia as long as they have been enabled for international transactions - check with your bank before leaving home. Banks are generally open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Traveller’s cheques generally enjoy a better exchange rate than foreign cash in Australia and have the added advantage of being easily replaced if lost or stolen. There is, however, a fee for buying traveller’s cheques (usually 1% of the total amount) and there may be fees or commissions when you exchange them.
 

Smoking

Australia is a paradise for non-smokers. To protect people from the health effects of second-hand smoke, smoking is prohibited in all forms of public transport, public buildings and hospitality venues, including bars, restaurants, cafes, and casinos. If you smoke, please remember to smoke outside. If you would like to smoke at your accommodation, please ask your hosts where it is okay to do so.
 

Tax

All goods and services in Australia are subject to a 10 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the displayed price. On leaving Australia, travellers may be able to claim a refund for GST and WET (Wine Equalisation Tax) paid on goods purchased in Australia. Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) facilities are located at international airports. To claim, travellers must show their passport, international boarding pass, retailer’s tax invoice and the purchased goods.
 

Travel & Health Insurance

We strongly advise you to arrange travel and health insurance. While Umfulana is insured against the unlikely case of insolvency, travel insurance will help you to pay the cancellation fees if you have to cancel your holiday. In case of an accident, you cannot sue the other party for compensatory damages if you are injured. Under reciprocal arrangements, residents of the UK, NZ, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Malta, Ireland and Italy are entitled to free or subsidised medical treatment under medicare. Visit www.medicareaustralia.gov.au for more information. However, a travel insurance policy is still advisable to cover theft and loss as well as medical problems.
 

Weather

Australia is a large country with a range of climates. In the Australian winter you can ski in the southern states and the next day dive in the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef. The seasons in Australia are the reverse of the northern hemisphere, and generally New South Wales, the centre of Western Australia and Queensland have hot summers and mild winters, while Victoria and Tasmania can have chilly winters combined with short days. The dry interior of Australia is hot year-round during the day but at night it can become very cold. In the tropical north there are just two seasons - the dry one from May to September and the wet one from December to March. While Australia can be visited all year round, the summer (December to February) can get uncomfortably hot in the north. From May to September the north is a bit cooler, which can make this the most pleasant time to visit Queensland and the outback.
 

What to Wear

The summer months (December to February) are warm to hot. You should bring lightweight clothes, a sunhat, and sunglasses, but keep a jacket or sweater handy, as nights may be cool. For the winter months (June to August), warmer clothes plus sweaters, jumpers, a jacket or a light coat are advisable. In the tropical areas lightweight clothing (natural fibres) is suitable all year round. If you are going out for meals, smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants.