As destinations go, Australia is as warm and welcoming as they come. Although they may be famous for their rigorous customs and borders policies, once you’ve hit Aussie ground you’ll find yourself easily sinking into the happy-go-lucky life Down Under. Friendly, easy to navigate and culturally similar to the UK in many ways, here you can focus on simply enjoying yourself, whether you’re in the depths of The Outback, cruising the coast, or at the beating heart of its major cities.
Australia domestic flights
It’s no secret that this country is big, but it’s difficult to appreciate its vast size until you arrive. To experience the different facets of Australia you need to travel across huge spaces and will most likely need to fly. Travelling from Melbourne to Sydney to Brisbane requires easy and short domestic flights, as does exploring the East Coast with island hopping on the Whitsundays then continuing all the way up to Cairns to experience the Great Barrier Reef. If you’d prefer not to fly, you might want to rent a car to see the quaint coastal towns and villages as you drive, but you’re in for a lengthy journey. Although travelling using public transport within Australian cities is easy, trains between destinations aren’t great as the distances are just too huge, but you do have options such as The Ghan which travels north to south, or the Indian Pacific which travels east to west across the length and breadth of the country.
Credit and debit card are accepted in almost all places, from supermarkets and newsagents (called milk bars in Aussie lingo) to bars and restaurants. However, some smaller markets or cafes - especially if you’re in The Outback or a small village shop - may be cash-only. In general you won’t be expected to tip, but some high-end restaurants will put a service charge on to the bill, and for excellent food and service a 10% tip is appreciated.
Food in Australia
There’s a big foodie culture in Australia, in cities, towns and countryside alike. Melbourne is known as being the foodie capital of the country, but as a general rule you’ll find excellent food and wine wherever you go. From Michelin-star gourmet cuisine to cheap and cheerful dumplings and pub grub, Australian’s always expect high quality food so you’ll find it easy to find something delicious whether it’s brunch (a highlight of any foodie day in Australia) lunch or dinner.
Australian wine is also great, and excellent wine can be found at a cheap price at bottle shops, and you’ll have your pick of local, regional and national wines that can suit every palette. Serious wine connoisseurs should definitely take advantage of the numerous wineries across the country and enjoy wine tasting tours, whether it’s a day trip from a city - Adelaide and the Barossa Valley, Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula, Sydney and the Hunter Valley just to name a few - and while you’re out in the countryside, sample some locally-grown produce in delicious farm-to-fork dishes.
- Most of the time you’ll be asked to give a credit card to your hotel upon check in as a deposit and to cover any additional costs
- Each city has its own public transport service and you’ll have to have a separate travel card for each destination. Melbourne’s Myki Card and Sydney’s Oyster Card are easy to use but public transport tends to be expensive so be sure to have the relevant day/week pass or enough credit on it to avoid fines.
- There are quite a few public holidays in Australia but they differ from state to state, so be sure to check what’s going on in your destination to know whether your transport etc will be impacted.