Australia is very often on the list of top destinations for travelers looking for a change of scenery and adventure. Indeed, with its 25.7 million inhabitants and its 7,692,060 km² surface area, which covers most of the land of Oceania, Australia reveals an exceptional culture and biodiversity to its visitors. Traveling to Australia is therefore a unique experience!
Do you want to visit the land of kangaroos? Discover in this article things to know when traveling to Australia and useful information that will help you organize your trip and leave for Australia well prepared.
What season to travel to Australia?
When planning to travel to Australia, temperature and climate are important criteria. Indeed, to make the most of your stay, the choice of the season has a direct impact on the weather that will welcome you on site.
As far as the seasons are concerned, it is important to bear in mind that these are the opposite of those of the northern hemisphere and that the seasons are therefore reversed: when in France it is summer, in Australia is winter.
Australia is a very vast country and is characterized by a unique climate and climatic variations that are specific to each season and each region. To distinguish them, it is necessary to know the geography of the country. It is known that the equatorial climate is located at the northern tip of the country, the tropical climate in the north, the subtropical in the southwest, the desert in the center and the temperate climate in the southeast. South Australia is often the favorite destination for tourists, as the climate is close to that found in Western countries.
To make the most of your trip, it is important to find out about the weather and the temperatures you may encounter, depending on the seasons and the regions you wish to visit.
What are the formalities for entering Australia for a tourist stay?
Traveling to Australia requires a certain administrative organization, and above all comes the question of the visa. Whether for a short or long stay, a valid visa is essential to enter the country. But which one to choose?
The eVisitor Visa / Tourist Visa
European citizens can apply for an eVisitor visa (subclass 651), also called the “Tourist Visa”, for stays of less than 3 months in Australian territory. The eVisitor visa is free and individual, that is to say, each member of the same family must have this famous sesame, including a child under 18 declared on the passport of one of his parents. Each visa is valid for a period of one year after its date of issue, for a stay not exceeding 3 months in Australia. The request for authorization to enter Australian soil must be made outside Australian soil, ideally 2 weeks before the scheduled departure.
The Visitor Visa
For stays longer than three months, travelers can apply for the Visitor Visa (subclass 600) which will allow them to stay for up to 12 months. You will note that this visa is paid for. The cost is 145 AUD if you apply from your home country or 370 AUD if you apply locally.
Those who wish to carry out training or studies whose duration does not exceed 3 months can simply benefit from the eVisitor visa. Those who wish to study in Australia for more than 3 months must apply for the Student Visa (subclass 500) which allows them to study full-time in a specialized establishment (University, schools, etc.). This visa does not impose any age limit and costs 630 AUD or around 400 €.
Working Holiday Visa
If you wish to participate in the Working Holiday Program (PVT), also called Working Holiday Visa (WHV) in English, in Australia then you must apply for a Working Holiday visa (subclass 417).
With an initial duration of 12 months, the WHV for the French is renewable up to two times. This type of visa is an excellent way to discover Australia while being able to work on-site, it is an opportunity to achieve unique professional experiences. Whether your PVT project is nomadic or sedentary, the visa application remains the same.
The costs related to the Working Holiday visa application amount to 495 AU$ or approximately 300 €.
Other visas and more information
- List of all visas available for Australia
- Visa finder: a tool to help you select a visa according to your type of stay
- Australian Embassy in France
- French Embassy in Australia
- Things to Know when Traveling to Australia
How to apply for a visa for Australia?
For the majority of visas, you can apply online, from the Australian Immigration website. First of all, you will need to select the desired visa and fill out an application form, including several types of information: contact details, the purpose of the trip, duration, nationality, etc.
Following your request, with a little patience, you will receive an email containing the electronic version of your visa. Depending on the type of visa requested and the checks carried out by the Australian authorities, this can take between 1 day and several months. To avoid problems, it is better to be well informed and to do it in advance!
If you have to go to Australia urgently, know that it is possible to apply for an emergency visa plus an application fee for processing your application.
What are the means of transport in Australia?
Australia is huge and most major cities are separated by long distances. To move from point A to point B, there are several means of transport, it’s up to you to choose the one that suits you best!
Most major cities in the country have an airport. This is very useful, fast, and effective for the longest distances. Several local airlines that use the same routes are in competition with each other, but also with the international airlines that serve the country. Airfares are very competitive and are therefore accessible to all.
For long-distance journeys, the plane is really the favorite. For a trip from Brisbane to Adelaide (2034 km), it takes about 2h35 of flight against more than 24h by train.
Despite its 41,000 kilometers of railway tracks, Australians are not fond of the train for long-distance journeys. Nevertheless, it remains a popular means of transport for tourists traveling to Australia. The main reason: the length of the journeys. If some find it much too long, others take the opportunity to admire the landscapes and explore the country. The train is undoubtedly a very good way to appreciate the diversity of Australia.
Regarding the price of Australian train tickets, for long distances, you have to put your hand in your wallet and pay sums which can sometimes be high.
On the other hand, to move to the suburbs, towards or to the big cities like Sydney, there are frequent train services at more than reasonable rates.
Traveling in Australia by bus requires patience, a lot of patience. The distances are enormous and the travel time is lengthened by numerous stops. However, the bus remains the least expensive means of transport. Bus companies offer formulas for unlimited travel, especially between the country’s major cities: Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Cairns.
Car, motorhome, or van
Traveling Australia by van or car is arguably the best way to explore Australia in slow travel mode. Indeed, Australia is gigantic: if you choose this mode of transport, we advise you to plan a long trip, a minimum of 3 months.
You can rent one from rental companies located all over the country and mainly at airports.
Small important point: Australians drive on the left like in the United Kingdom, so you will have to review some traffic rules before hitting the road.
To facilitate your journeys by car, there are ferries. Ferries are very famous in the country, they save travelers considerable time. Indeed, the “ferries” allow you to go from point A to B by boat with your vehicle.
There are several ferry operators that cover the main ports of the country. This is very practical and represents a real-time saver, especially for long journeys or to travel to certain islands such as Tasmania.
The travel budget and the Australian currency
The currency used in Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD). In February 2022: 1 AU$ is equivalent to approximately 0.63€, and 1 € = 1.59 AU$. The cost of living in Australia is about 1% higher than in France, so very similar. Local purchasing power is 25% higher.
We advise you to leave for Australia with a certain amount of Australian dollars previously changed in Europe. We also recommend that you contact your bank before you leave on your trip. Thus, you will obtain more information on the authorizations you will have on-site to withdraw cash and pay with your bank card. In Australia, there are ATMs outside each bank, but also in restaurants, bars, and grocery stores.
Australian exchange offices are not numerous in the small towns, you will find them mainly in the big cities close to tourist places. We recommend that you approach the small exchange offices located in busy places and avoid changing several small amounts. It is more interesting to exchange a large sum so as not to have to pay the exchange fees too many times.
Australia travel budget
To travel to Australia, it is necessary to plan around 60€ per day and per person mainly for accommodation, food, activities, and travel. Added to this is the cost of visas and round-trip plane tickets, these are not insignificant costs since, for example, it takes around €950 to travel between Paris-Sydney.
There are different options for accommodation in Australia. Depending on your preferences, the cost of accommodation may vary. Of course, if you travel by van or other vans the accommodation costs drop considerably. In Australia, the land is intended for this type of traveler and most of it is even free. We recommend downloading the Wikicamps app to find all available locations.
Backpackers prefer nights in youth hostels where it costs a little less than 20€ per night. You can also consider renting a homestay or renting a small apartment, it will cost you around 50€ per night.
The most expensive accommodation for a trip to Australia remains the hotel room. For a budget hotel, it takes about 70 € per night.
Eating on the go, eating out, shopping, and cooking yourself: depending on your preferences and your mode of travel in Australia, the food budget varies.
It takes about 20€ for a meal at a mid-range restaurant. For a fast-food or street-food meal, you will pay a maximum of €15. If your situation allows it and you prefer to cook yourself, it will cost you around 5€ per person. Namely, a packet of sandwich bread costs around €1, as does 500g of pasta and 1L of milk.
Driving in Australia is cheaper than in France: this is directly linked to the price of fuel, which is lower. Renting a first-price car costs around 25€ per day. If you stay there for a while, you can opt to buy a used car, van, or 4X4. You will need to plan a budget of around €3,500 to obtain a vehicle in good condition that you can rely on for your trips. As far as parking is concerned, car parks are paid for in most cities and the prices are high. When it’s free, it’s usually limited to 1 or 2 hours only.
If we report the price per kilometer, the bus is the most economical means of transport in Australia. The companies offer attractive packages and tours. The one most used by travelers is the “Greyhound”. For example, a 15-day unlimited pass with them costs €200, and the 90-day one €360.
As surprising as it may seem, traveling by plane in Australia is also an economical means of transport. Thanks to low-cost companies, this mode of transport remains accessible to small and medium budgets. The plane makes it possible to move quickly at reasonable costs.
If you have to take the ferry to visit Australian islands, the prices vary according to the destination and according to the type of vehicle you have.
Probably one of the biggest parts of your Australian travel budget: activities. Overall entrances to tourist sites and attractions are expensive, so do not underestimate this part of the budget. The cost of sports activities can also be high.
If you want to explore the Australian islands and travel to different places, take the time to budget for your travel and accommodation.
Here are some examples of activity prices that you can do on-site, per person:
- A cinema ticket costs €12
- Entrance to a nightclub costs around €20.
- Adult entry to Uluru National Park costs €15
- Entry to visit the Sydney Opera House costs €45
- Entrance to Sydney Zoo costs €11
- A day’s all-inclusive cruise and scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef costs around €200
Must-see destinations and attractions in Australia
The Australian territory has a multitude of surprises in store for you! You will have appointments in the four corners of the country to discover the beauty of Australia and live unforgettable moments. We share with you the “must-do” during a trip to the land of Oz, and discover the must-see destinations and attractions.
If you have to choose to visit an Australian city, we definitely recommend cosmopolitan Sydney. A city of contrasts, its main attractions are the Sydney Opera House, the Harbor Bridge, and Port Jackson Bay. Its historical districts and its golden beaches make its visit very pleasant. Its “Taronga Zoo” and the Sydney Aquarium, meanwhile, are a delight for families visiting the city.
Located in the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, in the heart of the arid Red Center region, Uluru, also called Ayers Rock, is an Australian must-see. This huge rock is a symbol of the country, but also of the Aboriginal history of the Northern Territory. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the rock is a sacred place for the Aborigines. Know that it changes colors depending on the light, at sunset it shows itself in its most intense red: a splendor!
Great Ocean Road
The direction the south of the country to travel on the B100 road nicknamed the Great Ocean Road. One of the most beautiful coastal roads in the country and also in the world. It offers an incredible view of the ocean while allowing you to explore the wild coast and the tropical forests. You can also see the famous local animals, namely kangaroos and wild koalas.
If you love Kangaroos, be sure to visit Kangaroo Island! Located off Adelaide, in the south of the country, this island is a real paradise for animal lovers. With more than 18 natural parks, it represents the natural island par excellence. You can observe kangaroos in freedom, but not only: penguins, opossums, wallabies, and koalas flourish there in peace.
The Australian islands are all sublime, but if you had to choose just one to visit, it would probably be Tasmania. Located in the south of the country, it is the only island state in Australia. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a wilderness area, Tasmania is a unique destination for its preserved flora. You can meet an emblematic animal there: the Tasmanian devil.
The great coral barrier
The Great Barrier Reef: the largest coral reef in the world. Listed as a World Heritage Site, it is the largest reef in the world and is the eighth wonder of the world. With its 2000 kilometers in the Pacific Ocean, the coral reef is the coral massif considered to be the largest living organism on earth. It is the only one visible from space. Incredible isn’t it? If you are lucky enough to go there, you can stay on several mainland islands that have been transformed into a holiday centers.
Do not miss diving in the turquoise waters to meet the magnificent underwater species, you will not regret it! The best time to go diving on the Great Barrier Reef is between mid-August and mid-December.
Even if a significant part of the population has European origins, Australian culture can surprise you when you don’t know it. The habits and customs are well anchored, which is also the pride of its inhabitants. We share with you some typical Australian facts:
- Australians speak English, but English is called “Australian” since certain terms do not have the same meaning as in other English-speaking countries. If you are used to British or American English, you will find the pronunciation also very particular.
- Australians are very friendly and love to socialize. Don’t be surprised if you are addressed by your first name or simply by “mate” (friend). Titles accompanied by the surname are used only very rarely.
- Between the flavors from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Australian “outback”, Australian cuisine has its own particularities and can be surprising.
- If indeed beer is Australia’s national drink, Australian wines have a good reputation around the world and are one of the country’s main exports.
- Australians love barbecues: salty, sweet, meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, and fruit, there are “barbies” for all tastes.
- The sports culture is widespread in Australia and most Australians practice at least one.
- Outside of cities, nature is very present in Australia, don’t be surprised if you come across road signs indicating the presence of kangaroos, koalas, crocodiles, or other animals endemic to the region.
- The country is so large that virtually every Australian state has its own time zone and daylight saving time changes.
- For the inhabitants of the country, a foreigner is a friend whom we have not yet met. As a tourist, don’t worry, you will be well received.
Have you thought about travel insurance for Australia?
Travel insurance is not compulsory for a short tourist stay in Australia. It nevertheless remains mandatory in certain cases, especially if you go on a PVT / WHV. Depending on your visa and the length of your stay in Australia, your insurance needs to change.
It covers your medical expenses and hospitalizations abroad. This travel insurance also includes repatriation assistance cover and “private life” civil liability.
To fully enjoy your stay in Australia, it is certain that you will have to make choices and prepare for your departure. As you will have understood, the immensity of Australia will offer you an exceptional trip and you will be marked with incredible and unforgettable memories.