Spirited cities and laidback locals mismatch with arid deserts embodying solitude. Endless beauty from sunburnt-red rocky landscapes to sparkling sapphire-blue seascapes, every inch of the Land Down Under yearns to be explored.
Australia's urban centers cluster along its coast leaving the harsh central desert scarcely populated. Along the east coast lies the world's largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef, stretching over 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles).
Australia's favorite theme parks can be enjoyed on the Gold Coast, while Sydney is home to the iconic Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach. Melbourne is the place to uncover artisan coffee, Mediterranean-inspired food, designer shopping, and performing arts.
Australia's west coast centers around Perth, home to beloved surf beaches and nostalgic port town, Fremantle. The spiritual center of Australia is Uluru, a gigantic rock formation sacred to Aboriginals.
Away from the cities, Australia's many small towns cry out for road trippers with wide desert plains, fair dinkum farming communities, bubbling rivers and world-class wine regions like the Barossa Valley and Margaret River. Don't be surprised by their unusual fondness for oversized roadside attractions.
Australia's weird and wonderful wildlife are not as harmless as they seem. Just ask Crocodile Dundee. Grouchy koalas hide in the treetops while wild kangaroos and emus should be admired from a distance.
If there's one thing Australia's alluring outback promises, it's an adventure waiting around every bend.
You'll Like Australia if you Like...
- Into the Wild (2007)
- Bill Bryson
- Ease Of Travel
- Food & Drink
- How Long
- Best Places To Stay
- Getting Around
- Travel Guide
- Best Time of Year
- Best Photo Spots
- Internet, Mobile & Tech
- Getting In
- Health & Safety
- The World
- Events & Festivals
- Myth Busting
- Tourism Insights
- Go Further
Top Sights & Attractions In Australia
Sydney Opera House
Price: From $42 (guided access tour) (USD$29.35) Time spent: 1 hour
Hours: 9am-8:30pm, Monday-Friday
A 20th-century architectural masterpiece, built on the Sydney Harbor and near the Royal Botanic Garden. The structure resembles a sailing ship and is one of the better-known icons of Australia. An essential piece of Australian culture, hosting more than 1000 performances every year.
Parking: $16/hr (USD$11.18 / hr)
Tip: If you have time, attend one of the various performances to get the full acoustic experience.Watch video
Great Barrier Reef
Price: Choose from many tours. Various prices. Time spent: 1-3 days
The world's largest coral reef system located in the in the Pacific Ocean, off Queensland. More than 900 islands and 2,900 coral reefs form this magnificent living ecosystem, making it a paradise for nature lovers and underwater explorers.
Tip: Book a glass bottom boat cruise, scuba diving tour for the best views.Watch video
Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Price: $25 (for Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park) (USD$17.47) Time spent: 3 hours
Hours: 5am-9pm, 7 days
A spectacular sandstone solid rock that rises suddenly and majestically 300 meters from the flat desert plain. Located inside the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, it is one of the world's largest solid rock monoliths. For Australia's indigenous population it is a sacred place and the country's spiritual center.
Tip: The best time to visit Is sunset and/or sunrise when the rock reflects the waning or rising sun, changing shades of red, blue and violet.Watch video
Fraser Island (Kgari)
Price: $230 per day on average (USD$160.74) Time spent: 3-5 days
The world's largest sand island located off Queensland. Featuring sand dunes, cliffs, rainforests, freshwater lakes, and Australia's purest pack of dingoes. The island's Indigenous name, Kgari, means "paradise".
Tip: Fastest route is a ferry from Hervey Bay.Watch video
Great Ocean Road
Price: Free Time spent: 1-19.33 days
The most scenic road in Australia passing along Victoria's south-western coast on the edge of the wild Southern Ocean. The road is known for its stunning scenery and beautiful landmarks, such as the Twelve Apostles, 45-meter-high limestone pillars that rise out of the ocean. Much of the road winds through the Port Campbell National Park offering the opportunity to see waterfalls, kangaroos, emus, and other unique wildlife.
Tip: Make frequent stops to avoid driver fatigue. Local councils can charge hefty fines for illegal parking on the side of the road. Obey signage.Watch video
Ease Of Travel
Driving side of road: Left
Food & Drink In Australia
Australian cuisine represents its multicultural heriatage with strong influences from international cuisines like Italian, Greek, and British. The most traditional form of Austrlian food is called "bush tucker" by Aboriginal Australians and refers to edible plants or animals found in the "bush". Common forms of bush tucker include kangaroo, goanna, and crocodile meat, witchetty grubs, and a simple bread called "damper".
Kangaroo meat is not commonly consumed by Australians and is not as popular as traditional meats like lamb, beef, and chicken.
Chicken Parmigiana (Chicken Parmy)
A pub dish with Italian-American roots is a typical Australian meal. It originally had eggplant instead of chicken (which can still be ordered), but the modern version consists of chicken schnitzel topped with melted cheese, tomato sauce and optionally prosciutto ham. The dish is usually served with chips and vegetables/salad.
A staple dish of Australian grandmothers and a typical Christmas dessert. Crispy meringue base is topped with whipped cream and a variety of fruit, mostly strawberries. There is a friendly dispute between Australia and New Zealand about the origin of this dessert, both countries claiming it as their own.
A traditional Australian pie made for hand-held eating on the run and offered in a variety of flavors. It is usually filled with minced beef, gravy and sold with tomato sauce (for an extra fee).
A sponge cake slab cut into squares, dipped in chocolate and covered in desiccated coconut, widely recognized as the national cake. There are variations with cream and jam filling. The cake was named after Lord Lamington, a governor of Queensland at the end of the 19th century.
Vegemite on toast
A vegetarian spread made from leftover brewers' yeast extract, famous all over the continent. It is typically paired with generous amounts of butter spread on crunchy toast. A go-to option for breakfast, lunch or any time.
One of the healthiest cuts of red meat with high levels of protein, iron and omega 3 fatty acids. It also has low levels of fats and calories. Kangaroo meat is not commonly available in restaurants however can be found in supermarket refrigerators.
"Chuck a shrimp on the barbie" is a classic Australian way to cook shellfish as a main dish. 'Shrimp', a type of prawn, is in this sense a euphemism for any shellfish, popular for outdoor dining and special occasions. However, BBQ cooking is common for a range of food types from sausages and steaks to vegan kebabs. Almost every Aussie will have a BBQ grill in their backyard.
Dairy-free Vegetarian Vegan
Mostly locally made and popularly sold in ice-cold 375ml bottles called 'stubbies' or similarly sized cans called 'tinnies'. Competition between state beer drinkers for the best beer is friendly but fierce. Having a 'pie' (see above) with a 'stubbie' or 'tinnie' at the 'footy' (football) is very traditional. The most popular beers are VB (Victorian Bitter), EB (Emu Bitter), and Carlton Draught.
Areas of Australia
- Cultural capitalsSydney Melbourne Canberra Memorable landmarks, modern and traditional architecture and a large number of cultural institutions are shared by these three major cities, separated only by a few hundred kilometers. They have the country’s best museums, theaters, art galleries, shopping malls, restaurants and cafes. Canberra, the national capital, is centered around Parliament House, the focal point of the federal government.
- Tropical northeastBrisbane Gold Coast Cairns Tropical beaches and rainforests, party destinations, theme parks and island-hopping adventures are popular in this region which houses more resorts than any other part of Australia. Its world-famous coral reef system, The Great Barrier Reef, and stunning Fraser Island are its most visited attractions.
- Outback desertDarwin Alice Springs Remote Aboriginal settlements and endless valleys, rocks and cliffs wrapped in desert panoramas. 52 national parks are located in this area, of which the most famous is Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park but also includes the Olgas and largest national park – Kakadu.
- TasmaniaHobart Mountains, beaches, untouched wilderness and coastal landscapes in combination with Victorian-style architecture and a rich history as the first European settlement in Australia. The west coast of Tasmania is famous for its raw and protected wilderness. It is also home to hiking destinations Mt Wellington and Cradle Mountain. The Derwent River is the world’s second deepest natural port.
- Southeast coast Adelaide Picturesque beaches ideal for surfing with stunning national parks further inland. This is the home of the Great Ocean Road. The Yarra (Victoria) and Barossa Valleys (South Australia) are famous wine growing regions, and the Yorke Peninsula is a popular back-to-nature destination, especially for bird watching.
- Western road-trippers’ getawayPerth Among the most isolated regions in the world. Known for the laid-back lifestyle and dispersed population. Every few hundred kilometers has unique natural beauties to explore. From the tall Karri trees and fertile soils of the southwest, to natural wonders like the Pinnacles and Monkey Mia dolphins further north. Margaret River is home to world-famous surfing beaches and Broome offers the world’s purest pearls.
How Long To Stay & Where To Go
- 3 weeks: Spend 3 days in Sydney, 2 days in Gold Coast, 3 days in Whitsunday Islands. Stay 2 days at Uluru, then 5 days in Melbourne, taking the Great Ocean Road drive. End the trip with 3 days in Perth and 3-day road trip around the southwest and Margaret River.
- 2 weeks: Spend 4 days in Sydney, 4 in Melbourne, and 3 in Cairns. Explore Uluru in the red center for the remaining 3 days.
- 10 days: Stay 4 days in Melbourne, 3 in Sydney with the remaining 3 in Gold Coast.
- 1 week: focus on New South Wales and dedicate 3 days to Sydney and the rest to exploring the coast by road, heading north to Port Macquarie.
- 4 days: Focus on Sydney or Melbourne.
Australia Travel Ideas For...
Visit fabulous restaurants in Sydney; try kangaroo meat, crayfish and other specialties that are typical for Aussie cuisine. Melbourne should be your next stop if you want to taste multiculturalism with abundant Greek and Italian influences. Wine lovers must explore the Margaret River region (Western Australia) or Barossa Valley (South Australia) for world-class wines.
Expand your mind in the largest museum in the southern hemisphere, Melbourne Museum, to learn about Australia's Indigenous history and modern culture. Art galleries throughout the country guard priceless art collections. For the outdoor types - check out Tasmania's snow-capped mountains or see the Northern Territory's Uluru.
Relax at the biggest concentration of mineral springs on the continent at Victoria's Daylesford or take a full-day spa experience at Queensland's Palm Cove seaside village. Alternatively, park your beach towel and one of thousands of sandy beaches and soak up the rays.
Sprawl on sandy, white beaches, and revel in the gorgeous scenery of Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef. Tasmania's Cradle Mountain and the Northern Territory's Uluru are a must-see for nature lovers. Victoria's Great Ocean Road with its Twelve Apostles offers spectacular coastal sights. Australia's natural icons are too numerous and will probably take several trips to appreciate.
Prepare the hiking boots and go on an epic hiking adventure. Bring your camping gear and settle somewhere alongside the Australian Alps, National Pass, Tasmania's wilderness or other stunning remote spots like WA's Bibbulmun track, a 1003-kilometer hiking trail linking Perth and Albany.
Seawalk at Green Island, snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, explore one of the hundreds of national parks and of course, surf the famous beaches of Bondi, Torquay or Margaret River.
Immerse in wellness and health spas dotted throughout Australia, far away from busy cities and hectic routines. Often found in remote forest retreats or secluded islands. One popular retreat in Byron Bay was founded by singer/actress Olivia Newton John.
Get the best of Australia's beaches from the comfort of luxury seaside resorts and explore the Outback while staying in glamorous lodges built to fulfill your every need. Among the more popular is the El Questro Homestead in the far north Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Fill up your bags in Melbourne and Sydney's street markets and mega malls, where you'll find all the top designer brands. Canberra has the largest shopping complex in the country, perfect for shopaholic travelers. Save some space in your luggage for ancient Aboriginal artwork and Australian pearls, for a dash of Australiana tradition.
Catch a classic musical in Melbourne's East End Theatre District or get absorbed in local productions in the Arts Centre and Malthouse. Of course, there are many worthy places, but the iconic Sydney Opera House shows simply can't be missed. Australians also love pop-up outdoor movie theatres in summer.
Sydney's famous Kings Cross may have its roots in a squalid past but today has cleaned up its act and is an iconic nightlife destination. All capital cities have a range of nightlife options to cater for every taste and budget.
Capture the unspeakable beauty of the Great Ocean Road, unique island formations, and savor the desert colors of Uluru on camera. Don't forget the animal and plant species that exist nowhere else on the planet.
Drive between Cairns and Brisbane and enjoy the country's most impressive natural wonders like Fraser Island, the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef's islands. The Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide is a must-see route. Western Australia's road trips can take from 1 day up to several months to complete from south to north.
Aboriginal groups run tours that offer a very different type of experience, from the food source of native Australian flora, to terrain secrets passed down through centuries and only now being shared with "whitefellas".
Rock climbing, mountaineering, hiking through the world's most remote deserts like the Olgas, 4-wheel drive expeditions along the remote Canning Stock route, cave and deep-sea diving off shipwrecks are just some of the more thrilling adventures offered. Thrill seekers can also ride bikes from north to south and east to west - but need careful preparation.
Bring your friends and family to the theme park capital of Australia, the Gold Coast. Meet your favorite superhero at Warner Bros. Movie World, see native sharks up close at Sea World, or dare to ride one of the tallest and fastest thrill rides at Dreamworld.
Where To Stay In Australia
Australia offers accommodation suitable for every taste and budget, from luxurious beach resorts and grand hotels to affordable Airbnb apartments and camping grounds.
The sandy islands of Whitsundays, such as Hamilton Island, Daydream Island Resort and InterContinental Hayman Island are known for their high-quality service where you'll have everything you could want at your fingertips.
Road trip adventures call for roadside motels with basic comforts at barely-affordable prices (they have a captured market!). Curb your expectations for luxury when traveling off the beaten path.
New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia offer farm stays with different levels of luxury, from basic living on the land to all-inclusive service. This is a great option if you enjoy horse riding, fishing, swimming, hiking, and working on an 'Australian sized' farm.
Camping is a much-loved Australian pastime. Lovers of the outdoors will appreciate Tasmania's intact wilderness and Victoria's hiking trails. There are many official camping grounds, and even tents for hire to save you carting one around. Always make inquiries ahead of time to ensure availability and arrange a meeting time with your host. 24-hour front desks are few and far between.
Getting Around Australia
The best way to quickly reach distant Australian cities, and an affordable option if you book in advance and don't have a lot of baggage. Domestic carriers cover flights between all of the regional capitals and connect other, smaller cities as well.
The best transport option for epic road trips stretching across the continent. Traveling by car provides maximum flexibility when it comes choosing what you want to see and how long to stay. Don't underestimate the long distances between cities and top up the tank whenever you get the opportunity as there may not be another fuel station for many miles.
The interstate bus network is extensive and a secure option to travel the continent. Most buses have air conditioning, decent toilets, comfortable seats and pre-book dining options. It is possible to buy flexible passes for long-distance travel, based on the kilometers you intend to go. The only disadvantage of long-distance bus trips is the sheer size of the country, meaning some routes take over 10 hours to cover.
An affordable way to travel through the country and see the stunning scenery whooshing past the window. Trains connect bigger cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin as well as other regional hubs.
Multiple popular apps vie for customers' loyalty. Ridesharing is best used within cities and not recommended for long-distances or between cities.
Best Time of Year to Visit Australia
Due to its vast size, Australia has multiple climates. Northern Australia has a tropical monsoon climate with 3 months of heavy rain. The central part of the country has a hot desert climate with low levels of rainfall throughout the year. The southeastern part has an oceanic climate with a longer cool season, while the south and southwest offer a warmer Mediterranean climate.
Central Australia - Hot desert
All year round
Hot, sunny and dry. Between 30°C and 35°C. Little rainfall.
Southeastern Australia - Oceanic
Summer. Between 15°C and 25°C. Occasional heatwaves.
Winter. Between 0°C and 10°C. High rainfall.
Southwestern Australia - Mediterranean
Summer. Between 15°C and 40°C. Hot and dry peaking in February.
Winter. Between 5°C and 20°C. Mild and wet.
Best Photo Spots in Australia
Price: Free Time spent: 1 hour
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days
Home to 2 globally recognized symbols - the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Habour Bridge. These landmarks can be seen from many parts of the city, so hunt down your favorite angles.
Tip: Shoot from the Botanical Gardens, The Rocks, the Harbor Bridge, or onboard the Sydney Harbor Ferry for a few different perspectives.
The Twelve Apostles
Price: Free Time spent: 1 hour
Hours: 24 hours
A series of limestone pillar stacks created by Southern Ocean waves among the wildest and most unpredictable in the world.
Tip: Bring a tripod for long exposure shots that smooth out the ocean. It also helps to keep the camera steady as the area is subject to strong wind gusts. Drive 1 minute southeast to Gibson Steps to get down to the beach level for a unique angle of 2 stacks.
Binalong Bay (Bay of Fires)
Price: Free Time spent: 4 hours
The contrasting colors of sandy beaches, turquoise water and unusual vegetation of this small city in Tasmania makes for some interesting drone shots.
Tip: Sunsets enhance the beauty of colors, so make sure you get there before it gets dark.
Price: $12 per vehicle (USD$8.39) Time spent: 1-2 hours
Hours: 9am-4:30pm, 7 days
These unique rock formations are a striking subject for close up shots as well as wide panoramic landscapes.
Tip: Try combining a tele photo zoom with a small aperture to create a compression effect in order to capture the vast scale.Full attraction details...
The official currency is the Australian dollar (AUD). One Australian dollar has 100 cents. The symbol is $ or A$.
Frequently used notes are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100, while coins come in in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and $1 and $2 denominations.
Live exchange rates (to Australian Dollar):
USD$1 = $1.43 CAD$1 = $1.07 GBP£1 = $1.82 EUR€1 = $1.62 JPY¥1 = $0.01
Credit cards accepted: Everywhere
Visa and MasterCard are accepted in 99% of places, while American Express and Diners are less common or attract a higher fee.
Contactless payments accepted: Everywhere
Apple Pay: Available
Google Pay: Available
Samsung Pay: Available
ATM Access: Very very easy to find
ATMs charge a fee of around AU$2 per transaction. Try to avoid private, non-bank ATMs since they charge higher fees.
Currency exchangers: Somewhat easy to find
Currency exchange offices are found in major urban centers but may be difficult to find in smaller towns. Most locals exchange currency at major bank outlets and shopping malls, however the exchange rate in banks is typically poor.
Budget$100-$200 (USD$69.89 - $139.78)
Comfortable$200-$800 (USD$139.78 - $559.10)
Luxury$800-$2,000 (USD$559.10 - $1,397.75)
Budget$25-$100 (USD$17.47 - $69.89)hostel or 1 star hotel
Comfortable$120-$195 (USD$83.87 - $136.28)3 star
Luxury$200-$700 (USD$139.78 - $489.21)4-5 star
Street Food$10-$20 (USD$6.99 - $13.98)
Mid-Range Restaurant$30-$60 (USD$20.97 - $41.93)
Fine Dining Restaurant$100-$200 (USD$69.89 - $139.78)
Bus$3-$10 (USD$2.10 - $6.99)One-way ticket (zone-based)
Train$20-$400 (USD$13.98 - $279.55)Intercity ticket
Train$3-$10 (USD$2.10 - $6.99)One-way local ticket
Rideshare$10-$50 (USD$6.99 - $34.94)Short ride
Taxi$20-$60 (USD$13.98 - $41.93)Short ride
Plane$120-$400 (USD$83.87 - $279.55)Intercity ticket
Island hopping tour$160 (USD$111.82)1-day tour/person
Cross-continent train ride$2,000-$6,000 (USD$1,397.75 - $4,193.25)5-day trip
Helicopter ride$400-$800 (USD$279.55 - $559.10)1-day tour
Surfing$50-$100 (USD$34.94 - $69.89)Surfing lesson
Camping$20-$60 (USD$13.98 - $41.93)Daily campsite
Internet, Mobile & Tech
Average Internet speed in Australia: 37.40 Mbps
Public wifi access: Readily available
Internet speed varies from location to location and can be very slow in rural areas, often surprising tourists who consider Australia a developed country. Both internet and phone reception is patchy at best in remote outback regions.
There are three major mobile network providers - Telstra, Vodafone and Optus, with information available in English on their websites. You can buy their SIM cards at airports, kiosks, post offices, and malls. Telstra has the widest network footprint with better reception in outback and rural regions.
- Telstra - Pre-paid Sim Starter Kit for $30 (USD$20.97). 20GB internet, 10GB bonus data on first three recharges. Unlimited calls and SMS to Australian numbers and calls to selected international destinations. $5 (USD$3.49) extra credit for international calls and SMS.
- Vodafone - Combo Plus Starter Package for $30 (USD$20.97). 25GB Internet provided, plus unlimited calls and SMS to Australian numbers.
- Optus - Optus Prepaid Traveler SIM for $30 (USD$20.97). 60GB data, Unlimited calls and SMS to Australian numbers and unlimited international calls.
Phone country code: +61
Power outlets in Australia:
Voltage: 230 V, 50 Hz
Drone regulations: Some red tape
Drone regulatory body: Civil Aviation Safety Authority Register online
- Drones must only be flown during the day and kept within your line-of-sight at all times.
- You cannot fly the drone higher than 120m above the ground.
- You must keep the drone 30m from other people. Flying above people is forbidden.
- You can fly only one drone at a time.
- If your drone is heavier than 100g, you must keep at least 5.5km away from the airports.
Tech gadgets are easy to find in many stores, and the repair service is generally fast but not same-day.
Getting Into Australia
The most common way to reach Australia is by plane to one of its regional capitals.
Cruise ships sail into Australia from November to February. Most start from nearby Pacific islands or Southeast Asia. Most cruises do not stop at every Australian capital city so planning ahead is crucial.
US, Canadian and UK citizens must have a passport with at least 6 months of validity and an approved electronic travel authorization (ETA) to enter Australia. The usual time of stay for ETA is up to 90 days.
Health & Safety
Australia is a very safe country with low rates of crime. There is a risk of pickpocketing in some areas of big cities, but more serious crimes are not common.
and Quality Index
Is it safe to drink tap water? Yes
Cities tend to have better quality water than in rural areas. Bottled water is sold everywhere.
Important Phone Numbers:
There are no 'tourist police' in Australia. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is responsible for any illegal international incidents that may happen in Australia by or to non-Australian citizens. While the Department of Foreign Affairs (customs) is responsible for visa breaches and may work with the AFP if needed. Non-Australian citizens needing protection from criminal activities should contact their embassies. All visitors to Australia must have paid health insurance. After you call the emergency phone number, the call operator will redirect you to the police, fire department or ambulance, depending on your need.
Doctors have extensive education and are highly qualified. Since their native language is English, you won't have problems communicating. If traveling in remote areas, you may need to go to the nearest city or large town to find a doctor.
Australia has high healthcare standards. both in public and private sectors. The faster option for tourists is private hospital care. Private healthcare can be quite expensive so check your hospital and/or medical costs will be covered by your health or travel insurance provider.
- Australia is not known for scams in general, but scams can happen everywhere so travelers should always be on their guard. Be careful with exposing your credit and bank cards in case of skimmers.
- Beggers. It is not uncommon for homeless people to ask for money and may become aggressive. Try to be respectful but give them a wide berth.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol. Heavy penalties apply for driving with a blood alcohol level over 0.05. Police routinely operate "booze buses" to check for non-compliance. Most Australians appoint a non-drinking friend as a designated driver if they know they will be drinking.
- Use your mobile phone while driving. On-the-spot fines can be in the thousands of dollars depending on location. "I did not know," is not accepted as an excuse.
- Swim on unknown beaches. Do research first if you are headed to lesser-known beaches. Popular beaches have well-trained lifeguards and all swimmers should swim between the red and yellow flags.
- Pat wild kangaroos. Even though they look cute, kangaroos can be aggressive and attack you.
- Drive on the left side of the road.
- Wear high-SPF sunscreen. The sun can be very harsh all year round, particularly during warmer months. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology releases a UV index several times each day to advise when to apply maximum sunscreen and how often to re-apply.
Modern Australia was settled by Britain in 1788 and consequently the Australian cultural status quo reflects this British influence. Even the Australian fixation on sport as the solution to all evils has its roots in Britain.
Over the years, migrants from all over the world have modified and contributed their own unique ways to Australian culture. For example, World War II shocked Australians out of their British focus and many have now adopted American influences. As Australia's neighbors have modernized and become more democratic, Australia has embraced the cultures of Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
Today the contribution of Indigenous Australians to mainstream culture covers many fields. Indigenous music and art have become symbols of modern Australia receiving international acclaim. The opportunity to experience an Aboriginal 'welcome to country' ceremony is a privilege not to be missed.
- Australians are laid back and will greet you with a kind smile, a handshake, and "G'day". Visitors may be called "mate" even on first meetings.
- Direct communication and getting straight to the point is appreciated. It's rare for Australians to insult anyone on first meeting but their use of slang can be confusing to visitors. Always assume an innocent intent.
- Australians are very helpful, and requests for directions are usually received positively followed by a thumbs up and "She'll be right, mate" regardless of gender, person or object.
- Tipping is not practiced in Australia, although a small reward for a service over and above expectation is always appreciated. Some cafes and hotels may have a 'tip jar'. This is typically for small change (coins or small notes) and is shared amongst all staff equally.
- Table manners in Australia are continental, which means that the fork goes to the left of the table setting, and knife and spoon to the right.
- Punctuality is appreciated, so try not to be late for any appointments.
- Left-hand side rule is applied in driving, as well as to the escalators, elevators and walking on the streets.
- Personal space is valued so try to say at least an arm-length away from other people if possible, this includes touching.
Christianity is the main religion and has played an important role in the development of social services in Australia. However, nowadays the impact of Christianity is not as obvious, although Christmas and Easter are Australia-wide public holidays.
- Secular/Nonreligious: 29.60%
- Catholic: 22.60%
- Anglican: 13.30%
- Other Christian: 16.30%
- Islam: 2.60%
- Buddhism: 2.40%
- Hinduism: 1.90%
The traditional nuclear family structure is no longer a standard for modern Australia, although family remains fundamentally important. Individualism is a more widely-spread concept, and children are encouraged by their parents to pursue personal dreams and become independent adults. Each person is considered responsible for his/her own life success. Self-reliance and determination are highly desirable characteristics.
Australian couples meet in social circles, workplaces or through sport or hobbies. Parents are rarely consulted or involved in serious relationships until the couple decides to marry. Online dating services are thriving. It is common to date multiple people until an interest in one of them increases. Many couples live together before marriage, and premarital sex and children out of wedlock are socially acceptable. Same-sex partners and marriage in Australia is protected by law since 2017.
Friendship groups are multicultural, cultivating tolerance to sensitive topics, such as religion, politics, and money.
Arts & Style:
Aboriginal art styles have existed in Australia since prehistoric times. One well-known technique is dot painting through which Indigenous artists communicate Dreamtime stories; keeping them alive for future generations.
Cross hatching is another Aboriginal artform for ceremonial paintings. Reeds and human hair are used as transforming costumes, to depict anatomic figures and sea creatures during dance ceremonies.
There are many ancient paintings on rarely-seen outback rocks and caves throughout Australia, representing humans, animals and the Dreamtime. These sites are sacred to Aboriginals and permission is needed to visit them.
In the 19th century, European-Australian art developed under the impact of modernist and postmodernist movements in Europe and America. Themes such as globalization, mass media and decolonization became popular in Australia and placed its art on international markets. What is distinctive in Australian art, is that even though the contemporary art became a part of the international scene, the focus hasn't moved away from its unique geographic place and national identity.
Government & Law:
Form of government: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
The supreme head of Australia is HRH Elizabeth II, Queen of England who is represented in Australia by the Governor General.
The country is ruled from a two-house legislature elected by compulsory voting (a fine is issued if citizens don't vote). The Prime Minister (head of state) sits in the lower House of Representatives which introduces laws. After debate these laws are passed into the upper House (Senate) for further debate and approval. Power is divided between the Commonwealth (Federal) and 5 states and 2 territories each with their own defined responsibilities.
Timezones: UTC +8 (Western Australia), +9:30 (South Australia/Northern Territory), +10 (East Coast)
Daylight Saving: UTC +8 +10.30 +11
1st Sunday in October, 2AM to 1st Sunday in April, 3AM Western Australia does not support daylight savings.
English is the official language of Australia. There is a noticeable accent difference between British, Irish, American, New Zealand, South African, Indian and other countries.
Australians have unique slang, and there are some essential phrases you should learn.
- Hello: G'Day, How ya going/doing
- Goodbye: Hooroo, See ya.
- Thank you: Cheers, mate. 'Tsall good.
- Excellent!: Ace!
- Well done!: Good on ya!
- Open a can of beer: Crack open a tinny
- A funny person: Dag
- Breakfast: Brekky
- Cigarette: Ciggie
- Barbecue: Barbie
- Be casual and relaxed.
- A 'bring a plate' invitation means bring food to share on a plate. Ask the host what to bring.
- Always bring your own drinks when visiting Australians.
- Make your communication direct. Don't be shy.
- Make jokes. Australians are known for irreverent humor in their everyday lives. No-one is immune to becoming the object of a joke, although no harm is intended.
- All car passengers must wear seatbelts. It is against the law to not do so.
- Be late. Punctuality is appreciated here.
- Eat, drink on public transport.
- Smoke unless in a designated smoking area.
- Visit people without an appointment unless they are close friends or family.
Australia & The World
Movies & TV Shows Filmed In Australia
Famous People From Australia
Other Stuff From Australia
Events & Festivals In Australia
- Australia Day. Celebrated on the 26th of January, this public holiday recounts Australia's settlement by Europeans. It is commonly celebrated with friends and families around a BBQ and each major city holds a fireworks display.
- Tamworth Country Music Festival. Australia's premier country and western music festival where top singers, instrumentalists, poets, dancers, bands, and songwriters receive a Golden Guitars Award from the Country Music Awards of Australia. Music lovers from all over Australia and the world attend this 10-day festival held in the otherwise sleepy country town of Tamworth.
- Sydney Mardi Gras. Australia's LGBT pride parade and the festival is one of the largest of its kind in the world, attended by thousands.
- Adelaide Festival. The biggest celebration of art in the country, bringing attendees from all over the world. It consists of events related to visual arts, dances, opera, literature, and other forms of media.
- Moomba Festival. The largest community festival on the continent has been held in Melbourne since 1995, with several million people visiting to join each year. This 4-day celebration extends over the Labor Day long weekend and includes parades, carnivals, fireworks, live music, and watersport activities.
- Castlemaine State Festival. One of the leading art events in Victoria is held every other year. During the 10 days of the festival, more than 70 performances, visual arts, talks, and music programs are on offer.
- Melbourne Comedy Festival. A month-long event full of laughter from different forms of comedy. The performances range from hilarious stand-ups to magical stage art. There is also an open mic stage, for people who want to try their comedy skills.
- Byron Bay Bluesfest. The most famous blues music festival on the continent attracts famous artists from around the world every year. Robert Plant and Lionel Ritchie are frequent performers. Thousands of visitors enjoy amazing music, great food and taste delicious beers served at the festival venue.
- ANZAC Day. Celebrated on April 25th in rememberence of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, known as ANZACs, who faught and died in WWI, the nation's first military activity. ANZAC Day is celebrated across the country, with dawn commemerative services followed by a parades in which former servicement march.
- NAIDOC Week. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigine and Islanders Day Observance Committee. The annual celebrations cover the culture, history and achievements of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders across Australia. Ceremonies are held in most states and capital cities.
- Darwin Festival. The only tropical arts festival in Australia started as a celebration of Darwin's rebuilding and turned into a big event that combines outdoor activities with cabaret, theatre, dance, outdoor concerts, and fun family events.
- Spring Racing Carnival. Annual horse racing event held in Melbourne during October and November. A must-see series of events for all horse and horse racing lovers, with the finest races, entertainment, fashion, culture, and food. This carnival includes the Melbourne Cup - the most famous in Australia known as "the race that stops the nation".
- Woodford Folk Festival. The annual music festival held in the rural city of Woodford, QLD is the largest gathering of folk musicians and artists in Australia. It starts on the 27th of December and after six days full of performances, finishes with a spectacular firework on New Year's Day.
- Deadly animals are everywhere. Yes, some unusual species live in Australia and some are dangerous. However, the likelihood of being harmed by a venomous snake or a deadly spider is exaggerated. These creatures are terrified of humans and usually avoid them. If you're worried make a lot of noise to scare them away.
- Australia is just a big desert. The center of Australia is desert but brims full of life and has its own beauty. Australia is the world's smallest continent and largest island. It has been separated from the rest of the world's land mass since the ice age and offers a variety of destinations with little human interference. Lush green tropical rainforests, sandy beaches, tall forests, farms the size of the United Kingdom, cities and more.
- Every Australian is a sandy-haired surfer. Even though Australia has more than 10,000 beaches and perfect surfing locations, only 10% of the population engage in this sport.
- It's always hot in Australia. Even though the temperatures are relatively high in summer, there are regular snowfalls in some elevated regions of Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania. Australia has 5 ski resorts.
- You can't swim in Australia because of all the sharks. Sharks frequent Australia no more or less than other countries but because Australia is totally surrounded by ocean and most Australians love the beach it's inevitable that habitats will clash. Because of this many popular beaches have shark net barriers, or sonic sound barriers to deter curious sharks. All popular beaches have lifeguards who set up 'safe' swimming zones using flags. Most shark attacks happen when people swim outside of these zones. The chances of a shark attack are 1 in 3,750,000. Far more people die in car accidents.
Tourism Insights & Useful Stuff
8.50 million interntational tourist arrivals per year.
Population of Australia: 24.60 million
Tourism as a share of GDP: 3.00%
Top international tourists by country:
- New Zealand
- United States
- United Kingdom
Know Before You Go
After Australia, Go Further
...and earn 5 points