Tourism in Australia is booming – and it is a gap-year hot spot for many Brits, especially those who have a taste for adventure! If you are thinking of heading to Oz, the number one rule is to make sure that you have your journey planned – especially if you are thinking of heading to the outback, going bushwalking or hope to make the most of the country’s beautiful seas.
We have gathered essential information about visas, passports, health, safety and the law to give you an idea of what you should take care of BEFORE planning your itinerary.
Entry in Australia
As well as packing your passport, which must be valid for the duration of your stay – you will also need a visa for entry into Australia. There are lots of different types which you can apply for online from a simple visitor visa, to student visa, working holiday visa, sponsored workers visa and specific professional visas. It should be noted that if you are planning to continue travelling when leaving Australia, or will be passing through another country on your return, you passport may need to have at least six months left before it expires.
Visit your GP to make sure that you are up to date with the usual vaccinations such as TB and Tetanus and if you are travelling to Australia from another country that is known for being a Yellow Fever risk, you will have to have a certificate declaring that you have been immunised. Apart from that pack plenty of sun cream and prepared with plenty of insect repellent.
Whilst in Australia, UK citizens are entitled to limited subsidised health services for urgent medical treatment as long as it is not from a pre-existing condition. However, it is strongly recommended that visitors take out adequate health travel insurance as services such as ambulances and medical evacuations are not covered. Some cases have been reported where bills in excess of £100,000 needed to be paid.
The Forces of Nature
In Australia, summer runs from November to February, and brings with it an increased risk of bushfires. Bushfires break out unexpectedly, and can do so at any time of year if the temperatures are high and the winds are strong. Cyclones also occur in Australia in summer, notably in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia. Recently, heavy rain has been the cause of flooding throughout the country, so keep a close eye on weather reports and remember that Australia is a big country, and weather conditions can get out of control.
Australia is well known for its fair share of dangerous animals from crocodiles, jellyfish and sharks, to venomous spiders, snakes and insects. Also, despite having some of the best beaches in the world, the rip tides off the Australian coast can be very dangerous indeed – so pay attention to the safety signs, never swim in unsupervised locations and don’t go chasing animals that might cause you harm!
On a final note, it goes without saying that if you try and take illegal substances into Australia, you will find yourself in a lot of trouble indeed. However, there are other things that the authorities would like to keep out of the country too – such as pests and diseases. As such expect to be given a special card on the plane where you declare any goods that you may have with you of plant or animal origin, and also sports and camping equipment that you are bringing into the country (they can hold spores and seeds from other locations). You will also have to declare if you have spent any time in a rural area within the last month outside Australia, as such UK travellers can expect some delays upon arrival.