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Australia - Facts for Tourists
Visa: A visa is required... Contact Australia Tourist Commission... and for free maps, and tourist information. Or call them.

Currency: The Australian Dollar... 100 cents to the Dollar. Bills are 1,2,5,10, 20,50. Coins are 1,2,5,10,20,50 cents.

Language: The Australian version of English... really very nice.

Temperature: The seasons are reversed compared to Nothern Hemisphere... Average in August is 65 degrees F. September is a good month to visit.

Bank hours: M-Th 10-3, Fri 10-5

Shop hours: M-F 9-5, Sat 9-12.

Things to buy: Opals (no duty), Aboriginal art, copper, silver, leather.

Food: No national cuisine, but food can be excellent, thanks to the influx of non-English foreigners who have taught the "Aussies" to cook.

Drink: Beer is the national drink. Excellent wines. Beer is much stronger than in the US.

Tipping: Tipping is not obligatory, but you should tip hotel porters and waiters in deluxe restaurants 10%. Taxi drivers have set charges. Nothing extra. If you really enjoyed yourself in a small, regular, restaurant, a small tip is appreciated. Aussie's are horrified at the 15-20% recommended in the U.S.

Airport: Kingsford Smith Airport... 5 miles from Sydney, will probably be your arrival airport. International travelers can take the Kingsford Smith bus to city center... or it will drop you off at designated hotels along the route.

Departure Tax: There is a "hefty" departure tax from Australia. However, this tax can be paid conveniently in advance, by purchasing a departure stamp and placing it in your passport.

The Australian: They are a friendly, fun-loving bunch. Originally the country was settled by "convicts" from England. Until recent times, no Australian wanted to acknowledge a "convict" in his background. Suddenly they look on this period with great pride...and the libraries are full of people trying to find an original "convict" in their background. The people of Australia do like the Americans... but they generally think of the U.S. as "California and Disneyland". They are very likeable people.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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