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Additional Information about Australia

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On this page, we collect further information for a holiday in Australia, from the arrival to the customes regulations up to the road traffic and public means of transport in the country; We will go deeply into the greyhound-busses, travel stretchs and bus passports.

Arrival

The arrival to Australia mainly takes place by plane. The flight time to the Australian east coast of Europe is, depending on the route, of 21 up to 25 hours, thereby there is at least one stop. Due to the geographical location, the trip to Australia can be also combined with a flight all around the world. Most of the visitors travel via Asia, as travelling via USA takes more time, but due to the stops during this trip it could make more sense.

Many travel agents offer stop-over packages for cities as for example Singapur, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila etc. On the route via USA there are interesting offers as Los Angeles, Vancouver, Honolulu, Auckland or the Fidschis. But there are also routes via Chile, the Easter Islands and Tahiti. The prices vary a lot, specially during the main travel season of Australia but also the one of Europe.

Customs

Tourists who are over 18 years are allowed to take 1 litre alcohol as also 250 cigarettes or 250g tobacco valued 400 A$. For younger travellers, half of this amount applies. Alcohol and tobacco cannot be imported by people under 18 years.

Generally, the import of weapons, drugs and animals in danger of extinction or products of these forbidden. Those who do not obey to this regulation are highly punished. In Australia, there are very dainty import regulations for food or vegetable and animal products. One is checked at the airport by specially trained dogs.

Road Traffic

In the fifth continent, left-hand is driven, a thing central Europeans need to get used to. If not regulated differently by traffic signs, then right has right of way next to left. The maximum velocity in built areas is of 60 km/h, if nothing else is signposted. Outside the locality, one is allowed, depending on the state, to drive at maximum 100 or 110 km/h; Except in the Northern Territory, as there are no explicit limits of velocity.

Country road in Katoomba Blue Mountains

There are quite many radar controls, also from vehicles coming from the opposite direction. The drink-drive-limit is of 0,5, this is also oftenly controlled, also in the outback, where one normally does not meet anybody for several days, thus CAUTION. One should always keep the motto"Don't drink and drive" in mind.

For drives into one of the tribal areas of the aborigins one needs some special permits, if one wants to drift from the through roads. It often appears in Northern Territory, as there, often the isolated coastal villages as for example Oenpelli are visited; A travel permission for the north part of the state is given by the Northern Land Council. Further information concerning the permits is given by the local tourist offices of all federal states.

What is very important is that for the trips to the outback, at least 20l litres gasoline must be in the Kanister and 10l potable water per person/day are to be taken. If one has a break-down, in any case it is to stay in the car and make special use of all the shade the vehicle provides. Specially in free stretches, it is to pay increase attention to animals in the morning and evening dawn. Special caution is needed in the overhauling of roadtrains that can be of a length of up to 50 m.

Public Means of Transport

The long distance trains of Rail Australia and the railways of the states are very popular among the tourists, additionally, there are regional railway nets. There are different passports for the railways that offer reduced prices for travelling throughout the year. The Austrailpass allows unlimited railway trips for 14 or 30 days, the Austrail Flexipass allows intermediate stops that are not discounted from the respective validation period of the passport. More information in this concern can be available already in the travel centres of the home country.

The cheapest travel possibilities in Australia offer bus lines that cover the whole country. The national bus lines Greyhound/Pioneer and McCafferty's also have cheaper passports in their offers. The Aussi Kilometre Pass provides unlimited travelling within the Greyhound/Pioneer-net for 7-21 travel days up to a certain limit of kilometres. The Aussi Explorer Pass provides many and long stop-overs within a previously choohsen route.

Road traffic in the big city Sydney

Here are some examples of the time schedule for interurban tours of the bus lines:

  • Alice Springs - Darwin: 19 hours
  • Adelaide - Alice Springs: 19 hours
  • Perth - Darwin: 56 hours
  • Adelaide - Perth: 33 hours
  • Melbourne - Adelaide: 10 hours
  • Sydney - Brisbane: 15 hours
  • Sydney - Melbourne: 15 hours

Different bus conpanies offer guided tours to sightseeings. The offers can be also found in some german travel catalogues that also offer youth rates and/or combined rates with accommodation or camping equipment for the safaris in the outback.

Due to the large distances in te continent, there is also a dense flight net. But the flights are very expensive. Those who arrived with the Australian airline Quantas can benefit from cheap passports with domestic flights, but these passports have to be purchased abroad. The bookings can be made in any travel agency. The cheap airline Virginblue is a strong competitor of Quantas Airline that communicates the most important cities of Australia and some resorts at the east coast.

The Greyhound Australia Bus

The Greyhound is a popular mean of transport of the backpackers in Australia. The company offers many different tours at real cheap prices. For example, my tour from Cairns to Sydney, the ticket cost at that time approximately 150 € for a distance of approximately 2634 km. Thus, it is a very cheap mean of tranport. On the way, one can have as many stops as wanted and the time one stays at a place can be decided individually.

The bus passports are valid from 30 to 365 days, depending on the tour and the bus passport. But during the main travel season, thus from October to March, one should always reserve one's seat 1-2 days in advance. This can be done by phone or also per internet, as everyone has a booking code with which everybody can arrange his travel plan by himself on the internet, also modifications are possible. The controls during the check-in at the bus stops are very hard and only work by showing a valid bus passport. If one did not fulfil a booked travel continuation because one still wanted to stay but did not cancel, it can happen that the travel continuation will be forbidden then and the whole ticket becomes invalid. Thus, one should always consider this.

Personally, I think it is an excellent opportunity for travelling. There are also rumors that it is a party-drinking bus for young people. I cannot confirm this, as I have been on a long trip and from families up to older people, every kind of people were there, and it was always quiet in the bus. During the long bus trips that, depending on the tour, took up to 12 hours, but everybody can decide about it, movies were shown. Moreover, enough stops are made at resting places in order to go to the toilet or to get something to eat.

But one should not get too underdressed to the bus, as the air conditioning is extremely cool and I felt like being in a freezer, so that once we sat during a trip in the bus in our sleeping bags. In nearly any known bigger but also smaller city of Australia there is a Greyhound Bus Terminal. I would purchase the bus passports on the spot, it is cheaper as if purchasing them from Germany and not complicated. Because the whole country is equipped with many travel centres for backpackers. In Australia, the following bus passports are available:

Day Pass - Greyhound Australia

It is a several-days passport, with the ticket one can travel throughout the whole Greyhound bus net . But only within the required travel time from 3 to 10 days. Depending on the tariff, with this ticket a stretch from 1000 to 3000 km can be covered. For a period of three days, the ticket is already available for AUD 119 (approximately. 70 €).

Aussie Explorer Pass - Greyhound Australia

With this bus passport, the travelers can choose between 30 different routes and have unlimited stops within this travel stretch. This ticket has a validity from 30 to 365 days, depending on the travelling route . The reduced price for a ticket for the whole travel net and the whole year is of approximately AUD 2.545 (approximately 1.500 €).

Aussie Kilometre Passport – Greyhound Australia

>If one prefers to have flexibility, then the Aussie Kilometer Pass is exactly the right thing. This bus passport is exclusively based on the number of the driven kilometres. With more than 900 destinations, one can travel through whole Australia with the bus passport. One can determine by oneself the route and the number of the desired stop-overs. The passport is available from 2.000 up to 20.000 km and is valid from the first day of the trip for one year. The costs are, depending on the kilometres, from 126 € - 1.213 €.

Exakmples of Travel Routes:

  • Travellers Sydney
    Route: Sydney – Cairns or into the opposite direction
    Validity: either 45 days or 6 months
  • Western Explorer
    Route: from Perth via Broome to Darwin (also possible in the opposite direction)
    Validity: 6 months, a minimum travelling time of 13 days is required
  • Aussie Higlights
    Route: Sydney - Adelaide - Alice Springs - Darwin - Cairns and back to Sydney
    Validity: 365 days with a minimum travelling time of 32 days
  • Reef & Rock from Sydney
    Route: from Sydney alongside the eastern coast up to Ayers Rock and up to Darwin
    Validity: 183 days with a required minimum traveling time of 16 days
  • All Australian
    Route: the whole route system of Australia
    Validity: 365 days with a minimum travel time of 48 days

The current prices are on the internet in the different homepages. The best way to investigate about Greyhound is by entering the word Greyhound Australia in Google or by getting informed in a traveling centre on the spot.

Currency

The national currency of Australia is the Australian Dollar A$ that is subdivided in 100 cents. There are coins valued 5, 10, 20 and 50 Cents as also one and two dollars. The bank notes are valued 5, 10, 20, 50 or 100 Dollar. All bank notes are step by step changed from paper to plastic, but the paper notes are still valid.

A good alternative to cash money are the traveler cheques that are issued in Australian Dollars. The usual credit cards are accepted in almost everywhere in the country. With the EC-/Maestro card, one can get cash money at numerous cash dispensers. Euros and Swiss Francs are changed at banks and exchange offices in all touristic places, but most of the times only by showing one's passport. Cash amounts exceeding 5000 A$ have to be declared in the arrival/departure´.

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