Australia has three time zones: Western Standard Time is GMT +8, Central Standard Time is GMT + 9.5 (covering the Northern Territory and South Australia) and the Eastern Standard Time is GMT + 10 (covering Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania). Daylight saving is observed in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and Norfolk Island, where on the 2nd October, the clocks go forward one hour. When the clocks go back in the UK at the end of October, there will be an additional +2 hours difference on top the time differences listed above. Daylight saving is not observed in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Christmas Island or the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
The national currency is the Australian dollar (100 cents). Notes are available in denominations of five, ten, 20, 50 and 100 dollars, and once cent, two cent, five cent, ten cent, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 coins are used. Major international credit cards are accepted everywhere and ATMs are widely available.
Electricity and Plugs
The standard electricity supply is 230 volts, and the standard plug is type I, so you will need to use an adapter.
Shops and Amenities
In general, shops open from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday, on Saturdays some may close at 12:00. Depending on the region some shops may open on Sundays, particularly in larger cities. Banks usually open from 09:30 to 16:00 from Monday to Thursday and until 17:00 on Friday.
The media scene in Australia is technologically and economically advanced, with a vast number of newspapers, magazines and tabloids available – popular ones being The Australian (a national daily), The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) and The West Australian (a Perth daily paper). Radio is a popular medium for listening to music, and stations like Classic FM are available alongside stations such as ABC NewsRadio for news updates. Television is dominated by three main networks, with sports, news, game shows, imported and home-made dramas topping the TV ratings. Imparja, an aboriginal channel, broadcasts in the centre and east of the country.
Australia Post runs a reliable service, and their offices are open from 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday and 09:00 to 12:30 on Saturdays.
To call Australia from the UK dial 00 61 plus the area code (for example New South Wales, 2) plus the number of your correspondent. To call the UK from Australia dial 0011 44 plus the nine digit number of your correspondent minus the first zero. To call an Australian mobile number from a UK mobile while in Australia dial 0061 followed by the nine digit number of your correspondent (without the first 0).
Internet and Mobile Coverage
There are surprising number of black spots without mobile phone or internet coverage in Australia – particularly in rural or outback areas. Cities and town will have better coverage, with many cafes, museums and restaurants offering free Wifi. Roaming charges may be costly, so it might be worth picking up a local SIM card on arrival. Check with you provider before travelling for more information.