If you’re heading Down Under for a holiday; you’re probably wondering what to expect from a country that seems to be so far away from the rest of the world. There are plenty of reasons to pay a visit to Australia; whether you want a relaxing beach holiday, an outback adventure, to explore new cities or try new produce, you’ll find it all on the world’s largest island! Here is what you need to know when travelling Australia; with some essential tips that will help you on your holiday.
What You Need to Know When Travelling Australia
It’s Bigger Than You Might Expect
Unless you’re going on a 12-month holiday; the chances are you’re not going to be able to see all of Australia, or even half of it, on one trip. As the sixth largest country in the world, Australia is around 7 700 000 sq km in size. To put that in perspective, you can just about fit most of mainland Europe in Australia. This means that travelling between destinations might take a little longer than if you were catching the train from France to Belgium, for example.
While road tripping is a great way to explore Australia, you should keep in mind this requires driving very long distances. The drive from Sydney to Melbourne is around nine hours and if you wanted to go from Melbourne up to Darwin or Cairns in the north, it would take you between 30 to 40 hours of straight driving! For this reason, if you’re going for a short time it’s a good idea to arrange internal flights if you’re hoping to visit multiple cities.
Australia is Expensive
Australia has many positive aspects like natural beauty, friendly people, amazing nightlife and fascinating indigenous culture and history. However, one of the less-positive aspects about Australia is that it is not cheap. In fact, in 2015, Australia was ranked the most expensive country in the world. Eating out and accommodation is particularly pricey, especially in the major cities like Sydney and Melbourne. While there are definitely ways to budget and save money, such as flying budget airlines and buying food from the supermarket; you should account for the fact that Australia is a more expensive travel destination.
The Local Language May Take Some Getting Used To
While Australians speak English, it may not be English as you know it. Australians are notorious for their use of slang and for shortening their words. For a non-Australian, this can be a bit bewildering and leave you feeling as if they really are speaking another language. Some examples of slang include ‘arvo’ (afternoon), ‘barbie’ (BBQ), ‘servo’ (petrol station) and ‘biccies’ (cookies). There are also other terms you might use that might not make sense to Australians. For example, if you’re looking for the centre of the city, an Australian won’t know what you mean if you say you want to go ‘downtown’, as they use the term CBD (Central Business District) to describe the city centre.
You Have to Be Sun-Safe
Australia can get very hot. While the weather changes from city to city, especially given the size of the country, the sun in Australia is very strong. There is a hole in the ozone layer Down Under and this means that sunscreen or sunblock is essential, even on days where it looks cloudy. The sun is harsh and before you know it you could end up with some serious sunburn. If you’re very pale, make sure to use other protective measures such as long-sleeved shirts, a hat and sunglasses. It’s also wise not to sunbake or lay out in the sun for long periods of time; as you might put yourself at risk of sunstroke!
There Is Great Coffee
Australia has an amazing cafe culture and no matter where you are in the country; you’re almost guaranteed to be able to find a great cup of coffee. Australians take their coffee seriously and they would argue that theirs is the best in the world. In the major cities, you’ll find plenty of unique cafes to try; and it’s popular amongst Australians to meet up at a local cafe for weekend brunch (a meal between breakfast and lunch)!
Parking In The Cities Can Be Difficult
Australia has very strict parking regulations and this can make finding a legal parking spot difficult in the major cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne. Parking illegally could see you lumped with a hefty fine; so it’s a good idea to investigate public transport options if you’re staying in the city centre. If you do have a car or are hiring one, it can be useful to see if you can hire a more permanent parking spot that you can use during your stay. This takes the stress out of having to find a parking spot every time you want to go somewhere.
You Don’t Need To Tip
Unlike Europe and the US, tipping isn’t obligatory in Australia. Australia has a high minimum wage, much higher than the US; which is part of the reason prices in Australia are quite high. This means those in the service industry are already getting a good wage. That being said, if you experience outstanding service and want to show your appreciation, tips will always be happily accepted.