AUSTRALIA FACTS

WEATHER
Australia’s seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. So, December to February is summer, March to May is autumn, June to August is winter, and September to November is spring. Because the island continent is so vast, the climate can vary. Typically the northern states will have warmer weather year round (25°C – 31°C / 77°F – 87°F) and where the southern states will have cooler winters (11°C – 21°C) (51.8°F – 70°F). The average rainfall is less than 600 millimeters (23.58 inches) per year making Australia one of the driest continents on earth.

WHAT TO PACK
Depending on the time of year you visit, you will want to pack appropriate clothing. Shorts and t-shirts are adequate in the summer, but you may want to pack a light jacket. In spring and fall, the nights are cooler so plan for pants and a long-sleeved shirt and perhaps a warm sweater. The winter months can be colder so pack jeans, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and coats. A pair of gloves may be desirable. You may want to bring a sweater and coat yearlong if you plan on visiting the higher elevations. Any time of year, it's best to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

CURRENCY
The unit of currency in Australian is the dollar, but most major credit cards are accepted. Currency can be exchanged at banks, hotels, and international airports. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted. Not all merchants carry all credit cards and some may impose a credit card surcharge. Any amount of foreign currency may be brought in to Australia, however any person that arrives with more than AUD$10,000 in cash must declare it to Australian Customs when you land at the airport. You may also be required to file a Bearer Negotiable Instruments form.

INTERNET AND ELECTRICITY
Unless your electronic equipment has a multi-voltage option, an adapter/converter will be necessary. The Electricity supply in Australia runs at 220/240 volts and uses three pin plugs. Cell phone coverage is available across Australia but may be limited in some rural areas. Internet access is available at internet cafes and libraries.

DRIVING IN AUSTRALIA
Because many of the roads are rural, drivers should take care to be aware of weather extremes, changes in terrain, and narrow secondary roads and bridges. Many areas will require a 4WD and you should carry a GPS and two spare tires. Plan your route carefully and notify a third party of your plans. Be sure to bring food, water, maps, extra fuel, and have an emergency plan. If your vehicle breaks down be sure to stay with it so help can find you.

HEALTH AND SAFETY
Be sure to wear sun protection and reapply it often. Check the weather conditions before going to the beach. Never swim alone and always swim between the flags on patrolled beaches. If you go diving be sure to check with a dive operator in the area for safety regulations, permits, licenses, and site conditions. When hiking be sure to wear appropriate clothing and use a local guide for long or challenging walks. Don’t pet or play with the wildlife, as you could get scratched or bitten. Medicine brought in to Australia must be declared on arrival. You may want to bring a doctor’s note stating your medical condition.