10 Do's For Travelling to Australia & 10 Don'ts

10 Do's For Travelling to Australia & 10 Don'ts

If there’s one place every travel junkie is looking to explore, it’s Australia! With its distinct wildlife, bustling cities, and unparalleled natural beauty, it’s no surprise that so many people are clamoring for their chance to see the land down under. However — like with any country — there are some things you ought to bear in mind if you want to ensure the best trip possible, so here are 10 do’s and don’ts for your next trip to Australia.

1. Respect the Wildlife

Home to some of the world’s most unique and breathtaking wildlife, many people flock to Australia to get a firsthand look at these incredible creatures. Unfortunately, tourists often lose sight of the fact that these are wild (and oftentimes dangerous) animals that must be respected. Always be sure to follow local guidelines while hiking or swimming to protect yourself as well as the natural environment. 

KangthumbPhoto by Ewa Gillen

2. Pack for Diverse Weather

Despite any preconceived notions you may have about Australia’s weather, it’s important to note that Australia is a large and geographically diverse landmass home to various climates. From the scorching heat of Queensland to the chillier climes of Melbourne, it’s important to consider where you’re going on your trip and pack accordingly. 

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3. Learn Some Local Slang

It goes without saying that Australians speak English and you probably do as well (since you’re reading this). So naturally there won’t be any kind of language barrier, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some slang you likely won’t understand. It pays to get ahead of this and familiarize yourself with certain phrases that might come in handy like “docket” (receipt or bill), “boot” (trunk of a car) and “arvo” (afternoon). 

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4. Get Your Visa Sorted

Ensuring that you have the proper visa and travel requirements before travelling is always a must, particularly when it comes to Australia. In order to travel to Australia you must obtain an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) well in advance of your trip if you want to save yourself any last-minute stress or headaches. Check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website to see which visa you need and how to get it.

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5. Explore Beyond the Cities

It’s natural for you to be drawn to the bustling cultural hubs of cities like Melbourne and Sydney, but be sure not to overlook the rest of the country! Whether it’s Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef or Fraser Island, Australia has so much more to offer than just its cities — besides, it’s the rural areas that will give you a glimpse at the real Aussie experience. 

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6. Stay Sun-Safe

Like with any destination south of the equator, Australia’s sun can prove to be too much for some. You must take preventive steps to avoid sunburns and heat stroke by applying broad-spectrum sunscreen, wearing a hat and sunglasses, and staying out of the sun on particularly hot days. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water and electrolytes especially when spending extended periods outdoors. 

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7. Use Public Transport

Driving is a great way to experience Australia, particularly if you want to see the outback and other facets of Australia’s extensive natural beauty. But for everything else it might be easier to use public transport for most of your transportation needs — especially if you want to avoid the hassle of refuelling and finding parking, Luckily, Australia’s network of reliable public transport (including trams, trains and busses) is there to get you wherever you need to go. 

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8. Try the Local Cuisine

One of the best parts of travelling to any destination is experiencing a new and unique cuisine, and Australia is no exception. Luckily for you, Australia boasts a vibrant culinary scene that takes inspiration from its diverse population. Whether it’s vegemite, barramundi fish or even grilled kangaroo, there are loads of unique Aussie foods to satiate your hunger. 

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9. Drive on the Left

Much like the United Kingdom, Australians also drive on the left-hand side of the road. If you’re planning to drive around the country and are not used to left-hand traffic, it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the concept by taking your time and being extra cautious. Be sure to look into local road rules to ensure you have all your bases covered before heading out on the open road. 

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10. Be Mindful of Time Zones

As the sixth largest country in the world, it comes as no surprise that Australia spans several time zones (3 main ones to be exact). On top of that, some of these time zones don’t adhere to daylight savings time, while others do! All in all, Australia’s time zones can get quite tricky if you’re not paying attention, so always do your due diligence if you plan to travel from one end of the country to the other. 

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1. Don’t Rush Your Trip

Always try to take a quality over quantity approach when it comes to travel. Australia has plenty to see, and to some, this may be an invitation to try and rush through their trip to try and see as much as they can in one go.  But if you want to get the most out of the breathtaking natural beauty and rich culture that Australia has to offer, it's best that you take the time to thoroughly explore the country rather than rush past everything. 

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2. Don’t Overlook Beach Safety

As a country with diverse aquatic wildlife and varied weather conditions, Australia tends to take beach safety quite seriously. It’s important to be mindful of your surroundings especially when going to the beach; so always be sure to take heed of any beach flags that may be present as well as follow lifeguard instructions and stay within the designated swimming zones.  

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3. Don’t Rely Solely on Credit Cards

Even though credit cards are widely accepted throughout Australia, it’s always smart to have all your bases covered. Many smaller shops and restaurants, especially in more remote or rural areas, may not accept credit cards (or your particular card) —- so it’s always best to have some cash on you just in case.   

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4. Don’t Feed the Wildlife

Australia is brimming with fascinating wildlife for you to explore and learn about, but you must take every precaution not to disrupt their natural habits — which includes not feeding them! Not only is it illegal in some cases, but feeding wildlife can impact their natural diet and overall health and wellbeing. 

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5. Don’t Trespass on Private Property

Locals, for the most part, are more than happy to show respect and hospitality towards visitors, but that doesn’t mean they’ll want you wandering on their land without permission. Australia’s rural areas are breathtaking and warrant exploring — but just be mindful of staying on public paths and adhering to private property signs to avoid any unwanted consequences. 

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6. Don’t Forget to Check the Weather

Just because it looks like a nice day at first glance, doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. Many parts of Australia are prone to experiencing rapidly changing weather, particularly the coastal and mountainous regions. So always be sure to thoroughly look at the daily weather forecast and dress accordingly before you head out. 

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7. Don’t Skip Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a must no matter where you go, but it’s particularly essential when travelling to a place as varied as Australia. Most people who visit the land down under do so with outdoor activities in mind (including adventure sports) so it’s important to not risk hefty medical bills by ensuring that you’re covered for whatever may come your way. 

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8. Don’t Overpack

Going on a long voyage across the world may tempt some people to bring everything with them to have “their bases covered” so to speak, but this isn’t the right move. Packing light is a far better approach, especially since you can simply buy anything that you forget. And it’s always better to have some extra room in case you do decide to buy any souvenirs or clothing you might like. 

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9. Don’t Forget to Book Accommodations in Advance

While tempting, it’s almost always a bad idea to book things last minute. Oftentimes, booking last minute means that you’re far more limited in terms of where you can stay and what you can do; it also means you may have to dish out more money for a place to stay than you otherwise would have liked. Do your due diligence and ensure that you have an awesome place to stay well in advance of your trip. 

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10. Don’t Disregard Aboriginal Culture

Australia is home to a rich and storied aboriginal culture that bears learning about, especially if you’re travelling there. But it’s also crucial that you respect these cultures, customs, and sites. Australia’s significant indigenous community is a cornerstone of the country’s rich cultural heritage and you should take the time to explore it if you really want to see all that Australia has to offer.

1024Px-Australia Aboriginal Culture 011Steve Evans on Wikimedia Commons