The country’s stable political system, good road connections and low crime rate make Australia one easy country to explore. However, getting to know some information about this vast land of extremes will allow you to fully enjoy your stay.
Before traveling to Australia, you need to be aware about the potential environmental hazards, such as the extreme desert heat, bushfire and the dangers of animal interaction. The heat in Australia can be extremely dangerous, especially in desert areas. Tourist, especially those not used to such weather conditions should always wear high protection sunscreen and head coverage such as hats. As a visitor, you should avoid being outside during the warmest hours of the day and make sure you drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration.
If you are planning to visit some of Australia's stunning beaches, you should always swim between the red and yellow flags that mark the safest places to swim at the beach. Beyond those flags there may be rips- very strong water currents or wild animals. Sharks and crocodiles attacks are quite rare in Australia, however, they are in most occasions fatal. There are plenty of shark nets to keep sharks away from touristic places but you can further prevent the risk of an attack by swimming between the flags and not swimming at dusk or evening. Crocodiles live in rivers and coastal estuaries across northern Australia. If you are traveling near crocodile habitats, look for explanatory panels and safety signs. Do not swim in rivers, estuaries and mangrove shores.
Regarding money, Australia's currency is Australian Dollars (AUD) and currency exchange is at most hotels, banks and international airports. The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, Master Card, Visa and JCB. Make use of this handy Australian currency converter in order to keep up to date with the latest changes. To visit the country you are required to fit the Australian travelling regulations. All visitors travelling to the country need to apply for an Australian visa through the website of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. There are five different visas for Australia, depending on your nationality and the length of your stay. For short stays, European passport holders are eligible for a free eVisitor visa that allow you to stay in the country for up to three months during a 12 month period. This type of visas must be applied for online www.immi.gov.au/e_visa/evisitor.htm with at least two weeks notice prior to the proposed date of travel. The parallel alternative for American and Canadian visitors, is the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA, 601). ETA’s must be applied for online through the Australian Department of Immigration (www.eta.immi.gov.au) and have a cost of US$20.
If you wish to extend your travel visa for Australia once you are inside the country, you are required to apply for an Australian Visitor visa (600) that has an approximate cost of US$335. Make sure you apply for this type of visa with at least three weeks notice, as the application process can be long and complex. Regarding the arrival in Australian airports, the traveller regulations are usually efficient and straightforward, with the usual custom declarations. For detailed information about the custom procedure and the different visa requirements for Australia, please contact the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. If you have any bureaucratic questions about how to get an Australian work permit, or you would like to know further information about Australian travel visas, please contact your closest embassy or consulate.