ATMs/Banks -- The easiest and best way to get cash away from home is from an ATM (automated teller machine), sometimes referred to as a “cash machine” or a “cashpoint.” The Cirrus (www.mastercard.com) and PLUS (www.visa.com) networks span the globe. Go to your bank card’s website to find ATM locations at your destination. Be sure you know your daily withdrawal limit before you depart. Australian ATMs use a four-digit code, so check with your bank and make sure you change yours before you leave. Note: Many banks impose a fee every time you use a card at another bank’s ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions (A$5 or more) than for domestic ones (usually A$2 or A$2.50). In addition, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. For international withdrawal fees, ask your bank.
Customs -- The duty-free allowance in Australia is A$900 or, for those under 18, A$450. Anyone over 18 can bring in up to 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of cigars or other tobacco products, 2.25 liters (41 fluid oz.) of alcohol, and “dutiable goods” to the value of A$900 or A$450 if you are under 18. “Dutiable goods” are luxury items such as perfume, watches, jewelry, furs, plus gifts of any kind. Keep this in mind if you intend to bring presents for family and friends in Australia; gifts given to you also count toward the dutiable limit. Personal goods that you’re taking with you are usually exempt from duty, but if you are returning with valuable goods that you already own, file form B263. Customs officers do not collect duty—less than A$50—as long as you declared the goods in the first place.
A helpful brochure, available from Australian consulates or Customs offices, as well as online, is Know Before You Go. For more information, contact the Customs Information and Support Centre (tel. 1300/363 263 in Australia, or 02/9313 3010), or check out www.customs.gov.au.
You need not declare cash in any currency, and other currency instruments, such as traveler’s checks, under a value of A$10,000.
Australia is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which restricts or bans the import of products made from protected wildlife. Banned items include ivory, tortoise (marine turtle) shell, rhinoceros or tiger products, and sturgeon caviar. Bear this in mind if you stop in other countries en route to Australia, where souvenirs made from items like these may be sold. Australian authorities may seize these items.
Because Australia is an island, it is free of many agricultural and livestock diseases. To keep it that way, strict quarantine applies to importing plants, animals, and their products, including food. “Sniffer” dogs at airports detect these products (as well as drugs). Some items may be confiscated, and others may be held over for you to take with you when you leave the country. Heavy fines apply to breaches of the laws. Amnesty trash bins are available before you reach the immigration counters in airport arrivals halls for items such as fruit. Don’t be alarmed if, just before landing, the flight attendants spray the aircraft cabin (with products approved by the World Health Organization) to kill potentially disease-bearing insects. For more information on what is and is not allowed, contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate, or Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (tel. 02/6272 3933; www.daff.gov.au/biosecurity), which is in charge of biosecurity in Australia.
For information on what you’re allowed to bring home, contact one of the following agencies:
U.S. Citizens: U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20229 (tel. 877/CBP 5111; www.cbp.gov).
Canadian Citizens: Canada Border Services Agency, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0L8 (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca).
U.K. Citizens: Border Force, Lunar House, 11th floor Long Corridor, 40 Wellesley Rd, Croydon, CR9 2BY (www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk).
New Zealand Citizens: Auckland City Customhouse, 50 Anzac Ave., Auckland, (tel. 09/927-8036 or 0800/428-786 in New Zealand; www.customs.govt.nz).
Disabled Travelers -- Most disabilities shouldn’t stop anyone from traveling to Australia. There are more options and resources than ever before. Most hotels, major stores, attractions, and public restrooms in Australia have wheelchair access. Many smaller lodges and even B&Bs are starting to cater to guests with disabilities, and some diving companies cater to scuba divers with disabilities. National parks make an effort to include wheelchair-friendly pathways. Taxi companies in bigger cities can usually supply a cab equipped for wheelchairs.
TTY facilities are still limited largely to government services. For information on all kinds of facilities and services (not just travel-related organizations) for people with disabilities, contact National Information Communication Awareness Network, Unit 5, 48 Brookes St., Mitchell ACT 2911 (tel. 1800/806 769 voice and TTY in Australia, or 02/6241 1220; www.nican.com.au). This free service can put you in touch with accessible accommodations and attractions throughout Australia, as well as with travel agents and tour operators who understand your needs.
Doctors & Hospitals -- Doctors are listed under “M,” for “Medical Practitioners,” in the Yellow Pages, and most large towns and cities have 24-hour clinics. Your hotel may be able to help you find a local doctor. Failing that, go to the local emergency room.
Drinking Laws -- Hours vary from pub to pub, but most are open daily from around 10am or noon to 10pm or midnight. The minimum drinking age is 18. Random breath tests to catch drunk drivers are common, and drunk-driving laws are strictly enforced. Getting caught drunk behind the wheel will mean a court appearance, not just a fine. The maximum permitted blood-alcohol level is .05%. Alcohol is sold in liquor stores, in the “bottle shops” attached to every pub, and in some states in supermarkets.
Electricity -- The current is 240 volts AC, 50 hertz. Sockets take two or three flat, not rounded, prongs. Bring a connection kit of the right power and phone adapters, a spare phone cord, and a spare Ethernet network cable—or find out whether your hotel supplies them to guests. North Americans and Europeans will need to buy a converter before they leave home. (Don’t wait until you get to Australia, because Australian stores are likely to stock only converters for Aussie appliances to fit American and European outlets.) Some large hotels have 110V outlets for electric shavers (or dual voltage), and some will lend converters, but don’t count on it in smaller, less expensive hotels, motels, or B&Bs. Power does not start automatically when you plug in an appliance; you need to flick the switch beside the socket to the “on” position.
Embassies & Consulates -- Most diplomatic posts are in Canberra. Canada: High Commission of Canada, Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla, ACT 2600 (tel. 02/6270 4000); Ireland: Consulate General of Ireland, Level 26, 1 Market St., Sydney, NSW 2000 (tel. 02/9264 9635); New Zealand: New Zealand High Commission, Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra, ACT 2601 (tel. 02/6270 4211); United Kingdom: British High Commission, Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra, ACT 2601 (tel. 02/6270 6666); United States: United States Embassy, 21 Moonah Place, Yarralumla, ACT 2600 (tel. 02/6214 5600).
Emergencies -- Dial tel. 000 anywhere in Australia for police, ambulance, or the fire department. This is a free call from public and private telephones and needs no coins. The TTY emergency number is tel. 106.
Family Travel -- Australians travel widely with their own kids, so facilities for families, including family passes to attractions, are common.
A great accommodations option for families is Australia’s huge stock of serviced or unserviced apartments (with or without daily maid service). Often less expensive than a hotel room, they offer a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom or two, and the privacy of a separate bedroom for adults. Most Australian hotels will arrange babysitting when given a day’s notice.
International airlines and domestic airlines in Australia charge 75% of the adult fare for kids under 12. Most charge 10% for infants under 2 not occupying a seat. Australian transport companies, attractions, and tour operators typically charge half-price for kids under 12 or 14 years.
Many Australian resorts have “kids’ clubs” with extensive programs designed for children under 12 and, in some cases, teenagers. Others resorts have “kids stay, eat, and play free” offers, particularly during holiday periods. Many hotels will offer connecting units or “family rooms.” Ask when booking.
Don’t forget that children entering Australia on their parent’s passport still need their own visa.
Resources for Family Travel: Rascals in Paradise (tel. 415/273-2224; www.rascalsinparadise.com) is a San Francisco–based company specializing in family vacation packages to Australia. The Australian travel magazine Holidays with Kids has a comprehensive website listing great options for family travel in Australia (www.holidayswithkids.com.au). Family Travel Forum is also a good resource.
Health -- No vaccinations are needed to enter Australia unless you have been in a yellow fever danger zone—that is, South America or Africa—in the 6 days prior to entering.
Australian pharmacists may only fill prescriptions written by Australian doctors, so carry enough medication with you for your trip. Doctors are listed under “M,” for “Medical Practitioners,” in the yellow pages, and most large towns and cities have 24-hour clinics. Failing that, go to the local hospital emergency room.
Generally, you don’t have to worry much about health issues on a trip to Australia. Hygiene standards are high, hospitals are modern, and doctors and dentists are well qualified. Because of the continent’s size, however, you can sometimes be a long way from a hospital or a doctor. Remote areas are served by the Royal Flying Doctor Service. But it may be advisable to purchase standard medical travel insurance.
* Tropical Illnesses -- Some parts of tropical far-north Queensland have sporadic outbreaks of the mosquito-borne dengue fever. The areas affected include Cairns, Port Douglas, and Townsville. But as dengue-fever mosquitoes breed in urban environments, tourist activities in north Queensland such as reef and rainforest trips carry a low risk. The risk can be further minimized by staying in screened or air-conditioned accommodations, using insect repellent at all times, and wearing long, loose, light-colored clothing that covers arms and legs.
* Bugs, Bites & Other Wildlife Concerns -- Snake and spider bites may not be as common as the hair-raising stories you will hear would suggest, but it pays to be wary. Your other concerns should be marine life, including jellyfish, and saltwater crocodiles. For more information and background on the fauna of Australia, and how to avoid dangerous encounters with them.
* Sun/Elements -- Australians have the world’s highest death rate from skin cancer because of the country’s intense sunlight. Limit your exposure to the sun, especially during the first few days of your trip, and from 11am to 3pm in summer and 10am to 2pm in winter. Remember that UV rays reflected off walls, water, and the ground can burn you even when you’re not in direct sunlight. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high protection factor (SPF 30 or higher). Wear a broad-brimmed hat that covers the back of your neck, ears, and face (a baseball cap won’t do it), and a long-sleeved shirt. Remember that children need more protection than adults do. Don’t even think about traveling without sunglasses, or you’ll spend your entire vacation squinting against Australia’s “diamond light.”
* Extreme Weather Exposure -- Cyclones sometimes affect tropical areas, such as Queensland’s coastal regions, from about Gladstone north, during January and February. Serious damage is normally rare.
Insurance -- Standard medical and travel insurance is advisable for travel to Australia. Divers should also ensure they have the appropriate insurance. For information on traveler’s insurance, trip cancelation insurance, and medical insurance while traveling, please visit www.frommers.com/tips.
Internet Access -- Most hotels throughout Australia offer dataports for laptop modems, high-speed Internet access, and Wi-Fi. Check the list of hotel amenities in each hotel listing to see what kind of Internet service your hotel offers.
Aside from cybercafes, most youth hostels and public libraries have Internet access. Avoid hotel business centers unless you’re willing to pay exorbitant rates. Cybercafes (called Internet cafes in Australia) can be found almost everywhere. In major tourist cities there are entire streets full of them. Most major airports have Internet kiosks that provide basic Web access for a per-minute fee that’s usually higher than cybercafe prices. To find cybercafes in your destination, check www.cybercafe.com.
Legal Aid -- If you find yourself in trouble with the long arm of the law while visiting Australia, the first thing you should do is contact your country’s embassy or nearest consulate in Australia. See contact details for Canberra diplomatic posts under “Embassies & Consulates” listed previously. Embassies or consulates with posts in state capitals are listed in “Fast Facts,” in the relevant state chapters of this book. The U.S. Embassy considers an “emergency” to be either your arrest or the loss of your passport. If arrested in Australia, you will have to go through the Australian legal process for being charged, prosecuted, possibly convicted and sentenced, and for any appeals process. However, U.S. consular officers (and those of other countries) provide a wide variety of services to their citizens arrested abroad and their families. These may include providing a list of local attorneys to help you get legal representation, providing information about judicial procedures, and notifying your family and/or friends, if you wish. However, they cannot demand your release, represent you at your trial, give you legal advice, or pay your fees or fines.
LGBT Travelers -- Sydney is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, and across most of Australia, the gay community has a high profile and lots of support services. There are plenty of gay and lesbian bars, and most Saturday nights see a privately operated gay dance party taking place in an inner-city warehouse somewhere. The cafes and pubs of Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, a short cab ride or long stroll from Sydney’s downtown area, are the liveliest gay spots. The annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, culminating in a huge street parade and party in late February or early March, is a high point on the city’s calendar.
In rural areas of Australia, you may still encounter a little conservative resistance to gays and lesbians, but Australians everywhere are generally open-minded. Noosa, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, is a favored destination for revelers after Mardi Gras, and a couple of resorts in north Queensland cater to gay and lesbian travelers. One of the best known is Turtle Cove Beach Resort (tel. 1300/727 979 in Australia, or 07/4059 1800; www.turtlecove.com), on a private beach between Cairns and Port Douglas.
LGBT Resources: Some services you may find useful are the Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW (tel. 02/8594 9596), which runs a national hotline (tel. 1800/184 527 in Australia) from 5:30 to 9:30pm daily. Its website, www.glcsnsw.org.au, has lots of useful information. In Sydney, the Albion Street Centre (tel. 02/9332 9600 for administration or 02/9332 9700 for the information line) is a HIV clinic and information service. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA; tel. 954/630-1637 in the U.S.; www.iglta.org) is the trade association for the gay and lesbian travel industry and offers an online directory of gay- and lesbian-friendly travel businesses and tour operators. Gay & Lesbian Tourism Australia (www.galta.com.au) has listings of businesses in each state.
Mail & Postage -- A postcard costs A$1.70 to send anywhere in the world. A letter (up to 50 g in weight) will cost A$1.75 to send to New Zealand, or A$2.60 to the United States, Canada, or United Kingdom. A card or letter will take 4 to 6 working days to reach North America or Europe. A parcel of up to 20 kg will cost A$13.70 to send to the United States by airmail.
Mobile Phones -- The three letters that define much of the world’s wireless capabilities are GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), a big, seamless network that makes for easy cross-border cellphone use throughout Europe and dozens of other countries worldwide. In the United States, T-Mobile and AT&T Wireless use this quasi-universal system; in Canada, Microcell and some Rogers customers are GSM; and all Europeans and most Australians use GSM. GSM phones function with a removable plastic SIM card, encoded with your phone number and account information. If your cellphone is on a GSM system, and you have a world-capable multiband phone, you can make and receive calls around much of the globe. Just call your wireless operator and ask for “international roaming” to be activated on your account. But be sure to check the cost of “data roaming’’ on smart phones, because the cost can be astronomical, and you do not want a nasty (and I mean really nasty!) surprise on your return home when you get the bill. Unless you turn off your data roaming, it will activate automatically.
For many, renting a phone is a good idea. While you can rent a phone from any number of overseas sites, including kiosks at airports and at car-rental agencies, we suggest renting the phone before you leave home. North Americans can rent one before leaving home from InTouch U.S.A. (tel. 800/872-7626; www.intouchglobal.com) or RoadPost (tel. 888/290-1616 or 905/272-5665; www.roadpost.com). InTouch will also, for free, advise you on whether your existing phone will work overseas; simply call tel. 703/222-7161 between 9am and 4pm EST, or go to http://intouchglobal.com/travel.htm.
In Australia—reputed to have one of the world’s highest per-capita rates of ownership of “mobile” telephones, as they are known here—the cell network is digital, not analog. Calls to or from a mobile telephone are generally more expensive than calls to or from a fixed telephone. The price varies depending on the telephone company, the time of day, the distance between caller and recipient, and the telephone’s pricing plan.
Buying a prepaid phone can be economically attractive. Once you arrive in Australia, stop by a local cellphone shop and get the cheapest package; you’ll probably pay less than A$100 for a phone and a starter calling card with a significant amount of free credit.
In Australia, the mobile phone company Vodafone (tel. 1300/300 404 in Australia; www.vodafone.com.au) has outlets at Brisbane international airport and at both international and domestic terminals in Sydney selling SIMs, handsets, and mobile broadband. Optus (tel. 1300/768 453 in Australia; www.optus.com.au) has stores at Sydney and Melbourne airports. Charges vary depending on the kind of phone and coverage you want, but some of the benefits include one low call rate throughout Australia, free incoming calls, international direct-dialing access, text messaging, and voicemail. Alternatively, you are able to rent a mobile phone or SIM card for your existing mobile phone to stay in touch while you’re traveling.
Money & Costs -- The Australian dollar is divided into A100[ce]. Coins are A5[ce], A10[ce], A20[ce], and A50[ce] pieces (silver) and A$1 and A$2 pieces (gold). Prices often end in a variant of A1[ce] and A2[ce] (for example, A78[ce] or A$2.71), a relic from the days before 1-cent and 2-cent pieces were phased out. Prices are rounded to the nearest A5[ce]—so A77[ce] rounds down to A75[ce], and A78[ce] rounds up to A80[ce]. Bank notes come in denominations of A$5, A$10, A$20, A$50, and A$100.
Frommer’s lists exact prices in the local currency. However, rates fluctuate, so before departing consult a currency exchange website such as www.oanda.com/currency/converter to check up-to-the-minute rates.
You should consider changing a small amount of money into Australian currency before you leave (though don’t expect the exchange rate to be ideal), so you can avoid lines at airport ATMs or exchange desks. You can exchange money at your local American Express or Thomas Cook office or your bank.
If you’re using a credit card, note that Visa and MasterCard are universally accepted in Australia; American Express and Diners Club are less common; and Discover is not used. Always carry a little cash, because many merchants will not take cards for purchases under A$10 or so.
Beware of hidden credit-card fees while traveling. Check with your credit or debit card issuer to see what fees, if any, will be charged for overseas transactions. Fees can amount to 3% or more of the purchase price. Check with your bank before departing to avoid any surprise charges on your statement.
For help with currency conversions, tip calculations, and more, download Frommer’s convenient Travel Tools app for your mobile device. Go to www.frommers.com/go/mobile and click on the Travel Tools icon.
Newspapers & Magazines -- The national daily newspaper is The Australian, which publishes an expanded edition with a color magazine on Saturday. All capital cities have their own daily papers. Newspapers and magazines can be bought at a wide range of places including newsagents, supermarkets, gas stations, and convenience stores.
Packing Tips -- Dressing in layers (and packing layers) is the best way of kitting yourself out for Australia. Depending on where you are going in Australia—and the season—you will need different gear. For example, if you are visiting Queensland or central Australia in the summer, pack only light clothing (but always throw in a little something warm just in case!). But if you’re heading for Victoria in winter you’ll need full cold-weather outfits. Wherever and whenever you go, take a light rain jacket: Summer in the tropics can often be quite wet! Most restaurants in Australia accept “smart casual” dress; in the cities you will need proper shoes (no thongs/flip-flops) and often (for men) a shirt with a collar to dine in most places. For more helpful information on packing for your trip, download our convenient Travel Tools app for your mobile device. Go to www.frommers.com/go/mobile and click on the Travel Tools icon.
Police -- Dial tel. 000 anywhere in Australia. This is a free call from public and private telephones and requires no coins.
Safety -- Travelers to Australia should follow the same precautions against petty theft and potential identity theft as they would at home or in any other country. Violent crime is, of course, not uncommon, but you are not likely to become a target in the normal course of your travels.
Driving probably poses one of the greatest risks to visitors to Australia. Australians drive on the left, something that North American and European visitors often have difficulty remembering. Drivers and passengers, including taxi passengers, must wear a seatbelt at all times, by law. Avoid driving between dusk and dawn in country areas, because this is when kangaroos and other wildlife are most active, and a collision with a [‘]roo is something to be avoided at all costs, for both party’s sakes. Road trains—as many as three big truck carriages linked together, which can be up to 54 m (177 ft.) long—are another danger to look out for, particularly when you are in the Outback.
Warning: If you break down or get lost, never leave your vehicle. Most people who get lost do so in Outback spots, and those who wander off to look for help or water usually die in the attempt. If it happens to you, stay with your car.
Senior Travel -- Seniors—often called “pensioners” in Australia—from other countries don’t always qualify for the discounted entry prices to tours, attractions, and events that Australian seniors enjoy, but it is always worth asking. Inquire about discounts when booking hotels, flights, and train or bus tickets. The best ID to bring is something that shows your date of birth or that marks you as an “official” senior, such as a membership card from AARP.
Senior Resources: Many reliable agencies and organizations target the 50-plus market. Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel; tel. 800/454-5768 in the U.S.; www.roadscholar.org) arranges worldwide study programs—including to Australia—for those ages 55 and over. In Australia, pick up a copy of Get Up & Go (www.getupandgo.com.au), the only national travel magazine for the over-50 crowd and the official Seniors Card travel magazine. It’s a glossy quarterly, available at most newsstands, with an extensive section called “Destination Australia,” which covers a region in each state/territory in every issue.
Smoking -- Smoking is banned in most indoor public places throughout the country, including government buildings, museums, cinemas, theaters, restaurants, and airports (and on all aircraft). In Queensland you are not allowed to smoke on a patrolled beach or near children’s playgrounds; in Victoria you may find that some pubs have outdoor (or rooftop) smoking areas. Laws vary from state to state, so the safest thing is to ask before you light up.
Student Travel -- Australia has agreements with many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, that give students between 18 and 30 years old the right to apply for a “working holiday” visa to stay in Australia for up to 12 months. You must apply for your visa outside of Australia, show evidence of your student or recent graduate status, and hold a return ticket as well as sufficient funds for the first part of your stay. For more information, check the website www.immi.gov.au/visitors.
Check out the ISIC Association (www.isic.org) website for comprehensive travel-services information and details on how to get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which qualifies students for substantial savings on rail passes, plane tickets, entrance fees, and more. It also provides students with basic health and life insurance and a 24-hour helpline. The card is valid for a maximum of 16 months. You can apply for the card online or in person at STA Travel, the biggest student travel agency in the world; check out the website (www.statravel.com) to locate STA Travel offices worldwide. If you’re no longer a student but are still under 26, you can get an International Youth Travel Card (IYTC), which entitles you to some discounts. Travel CUTS (tel. 800/667-2887; www.travelcuts.com) offers similar services for Canadians and U.S. residents. Irish students may prefer to turn to USIT (tel. 01/602-1906; www.usit.ie), an Ireland-based specialist in student, youth, and independent travel.
Taxes -- Australia applies a 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on most products and services. Your international airline tickets to Australia are not taxed, nor are domestic airline tickets for travel within Australia if you bought them outside Australia. If you buy Australian airline tickets once you arrive in Australia, you will pay GST on them. Items bought in duty-free stores will not be charged GST. Nor will items you export—such as an Aboriginal painting that you buy in a gallery in Alice Springs and have shipped straight to your home outside Australia. Basic groceries are not GST-taxed, but restaurant meals are.
Through the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS), Australians and international visitors can claim a refund of the GST (and of a 14 1/2% wine tax called the Wine Equalisation Tax, or WET) paid on a purchase of more than A$300 from a single outlet, within the last 60 days before you leave. More than one item may be included in that A$300. For example, you can claim the GST you paid on 10 T-shirts, each worth A$30, as long as they were bought from a single store. Do this as you leave by presenting your receipt or “tax invoice” to the Australian Customs Service’s TRS booths, in the International Terminal departure areas at most airports. Items must be taken as carry-on baggage, because you must show them to Customs. You can use the goods before you leave Australia and still claim the refund, but you cannot claim a refund on things you have consumed (film you use, say, or food). You cannot claim a refund on alcohol other than wine. Claims at airports are available up to 30 minutes before your flight’s scheduled departure.
You can also claim a refund if you leave Australia as a cruise passenger from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Hobart, or Fremantle (Perth). Claims at seaports should be made no later than 1 hour before the scheduled departure time of the ship. If your cruise departs from elsewhere in Australia, or if you are flying out from an airport other than Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns, Perth, Darwin, or the Gold Coast, telephone the Australian Customs Service (tel. 1300/363 263 in Australia, or 02/9313 3010) to see if you can still claim the refund.
Other taxes include a “reef tax,” officially dubbed the Environmental Management Charge, of A$3.50 per day for every person over the age of 4 every time he or she enters the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on a commercial tour. This charge goes toward park upkeep, and is sometimes (but not always) included in the ticket price.
Most airlines and an increasing number of tour operators, such as cruise companies and long-distance trains, also impose a “fuel surcharge” to help them combat rising fuel costs. This is usually added to the price of your ticket.
Tipping -- Tipping is not expected in Australia, but it is always appreciated. It is usual to tip around 10% or round up to the nearest A$10 for a substantial meal in a family restaurant. Some passengers round up to the nearest dollar in a cab, but it’s okay to insist on every bit of change back. Tipping bellboys and porters is sometimes done, but no one tips bar staff, barbers, or hairdressers.
Toilets -- Public toilets are easy to find—and free—in most Australian cities and towns. If you are driving, most towns have “restrooms” on the main street (although the cleanliness may vary wildly). In some remote areas, public toilets are “composting,” meaning there is no flush, just a drop into a pit beneath you. If you really want to plan ahead, consult the National Public Toilet Map (www.toiletmap.gov.au) (there’s an App for it as well!).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.