Australia

So – you’re thinking of seeing Australia?

Good on ya’! Since its founding in 1788 as a colony of convicts from Britain, Australians have maintained a reputation for their independent, adventurous and somewhat scallywag spirit. With the arrival of almost 6,000,000 immigrants in the 20th century, Australia is now a multicultural continent. The native Aborigines number around one half million and are now in the process of settling land rights with the government.

People aside, Australia is known for its unique wildlife with many species found only on this continent. Geographically, Australia covers a vast area of nearly 3 million square miles (7,700,000 sq. kilometers) and contains a variety of landscapes including rainforests to the north, mountains along the east coast, a huge arid to semi arid plain west of the mountain range, and desert in the Outback.

Most of Australia’s inhabitants are found in cities on the east coast. Nu nomads can expect to find a high standard of living in these modern cities with all manner of conveniences and activities. Note that while Syndey ranks 20th in the world for cost of living (Mercer report), the next most expensive city in Australia is Melbourne at number 74.

Nomadic ratings

A

: Very Good / B

: Good / C

: Just Okay / D

: Poor / E

: Very Poor

 

  • Internet Access for the Nomad (ease in accessing it): C
  • Internet Cost (from public to private service): C
  • Country’s Overall Affordability for the Nomad: B (Sydney: C)
  • Transportation Access: C
  • Transportation Cost: C

Basic Facts about Australia

  • Language:

    English, plus Native Aboriginal languages.

  • Government:

    Independent Member of the Commonwealth of Nations

  • Population:

    21 million.

  • Climate:

    Varies by region.

  • Geography:

    7,686,850 square kilometres (2,967,909sq. mi)

  • Neighboring Countries:

    New Zealand, New Guinea and Indonesia (but, remember, Australia is an island). See map.

  • Money:

    The Australian Dollar (click here to convert your currency).

  • Mobile Phone Frequencies:

    GSM 900/1800 | 3G 2100 | 3G 850.

  • Electricity:

    240v (50 cycles) See plug type here.

  • Daylight Savings:

    begin last Sunday in October, end last Sunday March.

  • Time Zone:

    GMT/UTC +10, GMT/UTC +9.5, GMT/UTC+8 (Current time.)

  • Country Code:

    61

    City Codes:

    Adelaide 08; Albury 02; Alice Springs 08; Armidale 02; Ballarat 03; Brisbane 07; Cairns 07 Canberra 02; Darwin 08; Geelong 03; Gold Coast 07; Hamilton 03; Hobart 03; Launceston 03; Melbourne 03; Mildura 03; Newcastle 02; Perth 08; Sydney 02; Toowoomba 07; Townsville 07; Wollongong 02.

General Travel Information on Australia

Australia Visas and Visitation Limits:

Tourist Visa:

A temporary visa generally granted for a stay of 3 months or 6 months. In certain circumstances a stay of 12 months may be granted. You can apply for a Tourist visa from outside or within Australia (but better to do it in your home country).

For complete information on Australian visas, visit Visa and Immigration Australia.

Note: New Zealanders do not need a tourist visa.

Getting Around:

Trains

: CountryLink offers transport to 334 destinations Australia. India Pacific covers the continent from ocean to ocean. Numerous other rail companies offer travel between and within major cities.

Buses

: Numerous bus companies are available to travel between and within major cities.

Planes

: STA Travel has some good bargains. Remember, Australia is a huge country. It may make the most sense to travel by air at times. Ferry: Look for ferry services to islands and in cities with harbors such as Sydney.

Where to Stay:

For NuNomad Guidelines on how to choose your nest, visit the NuNomadBlog.

Travel Insurance:

Don’t let your Aussie adventure be spoiled by not taking out travel insurance. Auspost travel insurance cover can help protect you from the unexpected. See our article Coverage Comparison of Travel Insurance.

Mailing in Australia:

Stamps may be purchased at newsstands. Postal rates can be found atAustralia Post.

Internet and Telephone Communication

International Cell Phones:

While in Australia the most economical way to place a call is to do so with your unlocked international cell phone, using an Australian SIM card. While SIM cards can be purchased at newstands, grocery stores or pharmacies, we recommend buying one before you go. Telestial is a great source to get your prepaid SIM card delivered to your door before your departure. One of the more common SIM cards is the JUST. Expect to pay in the vicinity of $49.00 US for this card. It comes with $15 US airtime credit and free incoming calls as well as voice mail. Currently JUST cards do not support GPRS capability.

Internet cafés can be found in every major city as well as some of the smaller towns. Be aware that should you venture into the more rural areas of Australia, your ability to be connected by internet or phone will be severely diminished.

  • For more information on International Cell Phone basics, read our article on Cell Phone Basics.
  • For more information on the various methods of connecting to the Internet, visit our Connecting to WWW page.

International Calling Cards:

If you don’t have a Skype account yet, get one. You can use “telephony” service with any hi-speed Internet connection, which most Internet Cafés will have. Otherwise, you’ll have to use land-line systems. If you’re staying at a location where you want to use a land line, it may be most economical to purchase an international calling card. These can be purchased at many common locations throughout Austraklia such as news stands, groceries and pharmacies. Two of the most common cards are the Telstra and the Smart phone cards.