Australia is one of the most popular countries in the world to visit. This has been historically the place for an epic holiday because of great advertising focusing on our so-called sunny weather, wide open spaces, the world’s most liveable cities, amazing beaches and red-dirt outback. Every year more and more people keep arriving on our shores for the holidays with more and more airlines flying to Australia every year. This year Qantas started non-stop flights from London to Perth.
The tourism numbers for Australia
- 8.8 million arrivals to Australia in 2017
- $41.3 billion total international visitors spend in Australia in 2017
- 1004 people arrive in Australia every hour
- 1.4 million travellers from New Zealand arrived in Australia in 2017
The first thing that sucks for foreigners will be having to get a visa. Unlike the European Union where you can travel visa-free, Australia still has a visa system. Everyone entering Australia must pay and apply for a visa. Online applications make the process easy. Book your Australian Visa soon as possible once you know you are heading our way.
Don’t worry Australians don’t get off scott free, we are levied some of the most expensive visa costs when we travel overseas. Did you know Australians and New Zealanders pay 150€ for a visa to Iran and the rest of the world pay 75€?
The Sin Tax
The sin tax (as I call it) is added to alcohol and tobacco 2 to 4 times a year depending on which Government is in power. The Government use it as a mechanism to raise money. This regular increase in price has made Australia one of the most expensive countries in the world to buy alcohol and cigarettes. For smokers, a packet of Marlboro will cost you upwards of $30 Australian / $21 USD / 16 GBP or 19 Euros. Yes, for 20 cigarettes that is what you will pay!
For alcohol, it’s not much better. For a 6 pack of beer expect to pay $20 Australian / $14 USD / 11 GBP or 13 Euro. This is cheap compared to what you will pay when you are at a restaurant or pub. Try around $12 Australian for a pint. A bottle of Johnny Walker, Smirnoff or Jim Beam will be around $40 Australian / $30 USD / 22 GBP or 26 euros. Yes, Australia is expensive to drink and smoke.
I often read people asking on Facebook…can I travel from Melbourne to Cairns or from Sydney to Perth in the 2 weeks I am visiting? Well yes, you can if you fly but if you intend on driving, Australia is bloody huge. Melbourne to Sydney, Brisbane then Cairns (The Great Barrier Reef) is around 3000 kilometres or 1864 miles and some of it is not an easy drive!
Now that’s a huge distance. It is the same as travelling from London, England to Sofia, Bulgaria. Don’t expect to come to Australia and see everything, we live here and we struggle to get out there and see it all. You can see lots of OZ but be prepared to fly every few days on your short vacation in Australia.
Driving on the wrong side of the road
In Australia, we drive on the right side of the road. This is means if you are coming from Europe you will be driving on the wrong side of the road. This can take some getting used for most first time drivers in our country. We also have a maximum speed limit of 110 kilometres an hour on some roads (The Northern Territory has a higher speed limit) 110 kilometres an hour may be slow for people coming from countries like Germany, but it’s all we have ever known here.
Everyone comes to Australia for the sun, sand and surf lifestyle. The one thing I will say is always swim at a beach that is patrolled by lifeguards for your own safety. Beaches in Australia have rough conditions even on calm sunny days. Tourists do die in the Australian ocean because they don’t know the conditions or how quickly they can change. They are VERY different to European beaches. You can get rips that drag you out to sea, even the odd shark. Make sure you only go out as far as your swimming abilities allow and know when to get out.
Most Australians have been bought up swimming in the ocean and know the conditions. Do not, absolutely do not underestimate the Australian oceans.
Sunburn is also a real and present danger when you are in Australia. This happens whether the sun is out or not. Sometimes it is easier to burn when the clouds are out. Apply sunscreen constantly and make sure you are covered from the harsh UV rays. If you do manage to get burnt apply plenty of Banana Boat Aloe Vera spray (keep it in the fridge to keep it cold for extra soothing) or a moisturiser cream.
Snakes, spiders and other pests
There are snakes and spiders everywhere. Will they kill you? More than likely not. Can they kill you? Yes for sure, but only if you get in their territory. You will be saying I hate Australia for spiders if you do manage to come across one and it happens to be huge and seriously hairy. The Funnel Web Spider and the Red Back Spider are the most venomous that we have. In reality, you are most likely to encounter the Daddy Long Legs Spider and the Huntsman Spider. The Huntsman can look quite menacing when you see it sitting up on a wall or roof. He can weigh a few grams and have a leg span to be as wide as your palm. In truth, all he does is catch bugs and insects and leaves humans alone.
Snakes you will never see unless you go bush and even then unless you interrupt them they will stay well away from humans. Snakes are not going to attack you, they will scare you that is for sure.
What you really should worry about is a menace from the sky. The Magpie. During spring the Magpie will ‘swoop’ you and normally attack the back of your head if you come anywhere her nest of babies. Swooping is the defence that they have to guard their young and it can be downright terrifying if you get a rather protective bird. They can start swooping you anywhere from 10-20 meters away from the tree the nest is in and expect the mother magpie to chase you a good 100 meters or until she thinks the coast is clear. Magpies have been known to break the skin on the back of your head or neck and sometimes leave nasty scratches.
We hope we have not put you off visiting one of the best countries in the world for travel, a place we are proud to call our home. We hope this information has informed and educated you. Just remember, get that Visa, try e-visums.co.uk for ease and convenience, bring plenty of money if you are a drinker and smoker, be safe by the beach and in the bush.
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More about the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, Husband and traveller. Having been to over 30 countries worldwide I think I know a thing or 2 about travelling with kids. I have been writing about travel on our website for the last 4 years and featured on numerous other websites. When I am not talking, dreaming and planning travel I can found working in disability support.