Practical Travel Info

Currency
The national currency of Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD). Australian currency is decimal, with the dollar as the basic unit. 100 cents (100c) = one dollar $1. Notes come in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations. Coins come in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 denominations. Australian prices occasionally end in a variant of 1c or 2c. Where this occurs, at the cash register, the price is rounded to the nearest 5c.

ATM's
ATM’s (Automatic Teller Machines) are commonly found throughout Queensland and generally teller money in denominations of $20 and $50. Please note that some banks ATMs will charge a small fee for withdrawing money.

Credit Cards and Traveller's Cheques
Major credit cards are widely accepted with the most common being Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and their affiliates. Traveller's cheques are also accepted in Queensland; however please note that some banks will charge a small fee for cashing travellers’ cheques. Currency exchange facilities are also available at international airports and in major city centres.

Tipping
Tipping is not common in Australia and prices are generally inclusive of GST. Tipping is appreciated for exceptional service (generally 10% at restaurants and rounding up of taxi fares), however is not compulsory or expected

Taxes
There is a 10% tax on all goods and services purchased in Australia. You can claim a refund of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) that you pay on certain goods you buy in Australia. The refund only applies to goods you take with you as hand luggage or wear on the aircraft or ship when you leave the country. For more information, please see the Tourist Refund Scheme at www.customs.gov.au.

 

Visa

Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a visa to enter Australia. A tourist visa is for people visiting Australia for a holiday, sightseeing, visiting friends or relatives and other short term non-work activities. 

To apply for a visa online, visit www.immi.gov.au.

The Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) allows people to visit Australia for short term tourism or business purposes of up to three months. An ETA is available to passport holders from more than 30 countries, regions and locations. Visit www.immi.gov.au to check if you are eligible.  

If you are a non-resident and wishing to work in Australia, a Working Holiday Visa or a Work and Holiday Visa is required. Visitors should ensure they apply for the correct visa to suit their requirements. For more detailed information, visit www.immi.gov.au.

Once in Australia, a visa is not needed to enter Queensland when travelling from other states.

Embassies

You will find US Embassies in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Perth. The High Commission of Canada is based in Canberra and the Canadian Consulate in Sydney. The Embassy of the Federative Republic of Brazil is located in Canberra and the Consulate of Brazil can be found in Brisbane. For a full list of Foreign Embassies throughout Australia, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade www.dfat.gov.au/embassies.html.
Taxis
‘Metered’ and ‘Exempted’ Taxi Services operate throughout Queensland. ‘Metered’ taxi services are in more populated cities, whereas ‘Exempted’ taxi services are in areas with small populations. For a list of taxi service areas, visit the Department of Transport and Main Roads website.
Australia Wide Taxi: 131 008 or 131 924

Bus/Coach
Bus and coach travel in Queensland is comfortable, easy and economical, offering a reliable service, linking you from destination to destination. Coaches generally have air conditioning, reading lights, adjustable seats and videos and are available for quick transfers, long-haul journeys or door-to-door services.
For a range of service options visit the Getting Around section of our website.

Planes
With international airports in Brisbane, Cairns and the Gold Coast plus many regional and island airports, air travel is an efficient and reliable way to get around.
Qantas, Virgin Australia, JetStar and Tigerair plus a number of smaller regional carriers operate throughout the state with most offering in-flight entertainment and dedicated staff to ensure you arrive in holiday mode.
Qantas - www.qantas.com.au
Virgin Australia - www.virginaustralia.com  
Jetstar - www.jetstar.com.au
Tigerair - www.tigerair.com/au/en/

Trains
From Cairns in the tropical north to the stunning Whitsundays islands, the Great Barrier Reef, the Fraser Coast and the sunburnt plains of the Outback - Queensland offers the largest and most comprehensive network of long distance and tourist trains in Australia - delivering unique travel experience to suit every traveller.
For more information visit the Queensland Rail Travel website.

Public Transport
Getting around couldn’t be easier with Queensland’s extensive public transport network.
Most of South East Queensland is serviced by buses, trains, ferries and trams on the TransLink network, which stretches from Gympie in the north to Coolangatta in the south and west to Helidon.  Some services within the Translink network are prepaid, it would be recommended if travelling in these areas to use a GoCard or a SEEQ card depending on your travel requirements. Visit TransLink's website for timetable information, maps and a helpful Journey Planner to get a wide range of transport options. 

Travel throughout regional Queensland on qconnect urban buses. Visit the qconnect website for information on bus services including fares, timetables, and up-to-date service announcements.  Plan your next regional Queensland visit by using the qconnect journey planner to organise your personalised point-to-point trip to help you get to where you want to be, when you want to be there.

Further information can also be found at your local Visitor Information Centre (VIC). 

Self-Drive
Hire companies are plentiful and most accommodating when trying to find that perfect vehicle to get you around on your holiday, whether you are looking for a car, 4WD, motorhome or motorbike. For information about hire companies, click here.

To find an itinerary with suggested stop-over's, road conditions and distances to help you plan your trip by visiting the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland's (RACQ) website.

Before you head off, take a look at some important must-know information about driving in Queensland.

Queensland is a large state, approximately seven times the size of the United Kingdom. If you are driving on your holiday please ensure you familiarise yourself with the Queensland road rules at Department of Transport and Main Roads website.

Australian Road Rules
  • In Australia, all vehicles travel on the left side of the road.
  • Speed Limit - Always travel no faster than the signed maximum speed limit.
  • Seatbelts - All occupants of a vehicle must wear seatbelts at all times.
  • Child restraints – It is the law for all children up to 7 years of age be correctly restrained according to their age and size. For more information on child restraint laws, please refer to the Department of Transport and Main Roads website.
  • Tolls – Queensland has a number of toll roads where costs are dependent on the vehicle you are driving and the toll road you access. There are no toll booths or toll gates in Queensland, so you need to make arrangements to pay the toll prior to travel or up to 72 hours after travel on the toll roads. For more information on tolls, please click here.  
  • Crash Helmets - Motorbike, moped and scooter drivers must wear an Australian approved crash helmet. Bicycle helmets are also compulsory.
  • Hand-held mobile telephone - Drivers are not allowed to use mobile phones whilst driving.
  • Drink-Driving - Avoid drinking alcohol before driving. Australia has strict laws on 'drink-driving' and police actively enforce them.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs – Driving after taking drugs that affect your ability to drive is illegal – penalties are severe. Police conduct ‘random drug tests’ on drivers throughout the state.
  • Fraser Island has specific road rules, especially for four wheel drive vehicles. This information can be found on the Department of Transport website.

For more information take a look at the Queensland Road Rules.

Driver Safety
  • Plan your trip – Spend some time to calculate how long it will take to drive between destinations
  • Avoid driving tired – Share the driving with companions and stop for a rest at least every two hours
  • Road conditions – Road conditions can vary from bitumen surfaces to gravel and dirt. Be careful of potholes, soft road edges, narrow bridges and dusty roads.
  • Driving in floods – Do not attempt to cross flooded bridges or causeways. Even shallow water can have the strength to sweep away vehicles.
  • Beware of wildlife and stock – Australian wildlife and livestock often graze on the roadside and can stray onto the road.

Licencing
If you would like to drive in Australia, you are required to understand the rules of the road.  A bona-fide tourist may drive in Australia on a valid overseas driver’s licence for the same class of vehicle.
Licences must be carried when driving, in addition to a valid passport.  If it is not in English, carry an International Permit or an official translation of that licence.

Fines

In Queensland, police officers, Queensland Transport and Main Roads traffic inspectors, and local council officers enforce road and traffic laws. For more information refer to the Queensland Government – Fines and enforcement web page.

 

When holidaying in Queensland, keep an eye out for the blue and yellow Visitor Information Centre sign. Staff at accredited Visitor Information Centres can give you friendly advice on where to stay and what to do, and help you book accommodation and activities. Accredited Visitor Information Centres offer:
  • Local area information and knowledge on things to see and do
  • Booking services for a range of accommodation, activity, transport and touring options
  • Complimentary maps and brochures

Download the free Visitor Information Centre Finder App for Apple/iOS
Download the free Visitor Information Centre Finder App for Android

Click here to see all Visitor Information Centres in Queensland

General trading hours for businesses vary throughout Queensland and can also differ again with Public Holidays.

Banks
In general, banks operate from 9.30am to 4.30pm weekdays, with some banks operating of a Saturday 9.30am to 12.00pm.

Post Offices
In general, Australia Post Offices are open from 9.00am to 5.00pm weekdays, with some post offices operation of a Saturday 9.00am – 12.30pm.
For specific post office operating hours in Queensland, visit the Australia Post website.
Retail Shops & Supermarkets
In Queensland, the maximum permissible shopping hours are generally 8.00am to 9.00pm weekdays, and 8.00am to 5.00pm on Saturdays. The Brisbane, Cairns, Gold and Sunshine Coasts Central Business Districts are also open on Sundays.

Public Holidays

The major public holidays celebrated in Queensland include:
  • New Year’s Day - January 1
  • Australia Day - January 26
  • Good Friday - March or April
  • Easter Monday - March or April
  • ANZAC Day - April 25
  • Queen’s Birthday - June 9
  • Royal Queensland Show Day (Brisbane only)– August
  • Labour Day - First Monday in October
  • Christmas Day - December 25
  • Boxing Day - December 26
Outside of the major public holidays, there are region specific public holidays, for more information, please refer to the Public and School Holidays section.
Post
In general, Australia Post Offices are open from 9.00am to 5.00pm weekdays, with some post offices operation of a Saturday 9.00am – 12.30pm.
For specific post office operating hours in Queensland, visit the Australia Post website. 

Internet Access
Depending on the establishment, paid or free internet access is available at many Internet cafes, accommodation and libraries. However, if you have your own device, there are also many paid and free public wifi locations around Queensland including in some shops, cafes and even McDonald’s.

Phoning in and Out
The Country code for Australia is 61. 
The area code for Queensland is 07. 
All mobile phones start with the prefix 04. 
When calling overseas, you will need to dial the international access code from Australia (0011), then the country code of the country you are calling and the appropriate area code.

There are four main mobile phone providers in Australia:
Telstra - www.telstra.com.au 
Optus - www.optus.com.au
Vodafone - www.vodafone.com.au
Virgin - www.virginmobile.com.au

Australia's public health care system is called Medicare. Eligibility for benefits is generally restricted to residents of Australia. While Australia does have reciprocal healthcare agreements with several countries, it is best to check before you leave home and to always have appropriate travel insurance.

Hospitals
There are a number of hospital and health care facilities around Queensland.
For health emergencies call 000.
If you have a health concern but it is not an emergency, you can phone 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for help.
Some visitors to Australia are covered under the Australian Government Reciprocal Health Care Agreements, for more information please visit the Department of Human Services website. Please note, charges apply to patients who do not hold a current Medicare Card. If you are travelling to Australia, it is recommended that you have travel insurance. You should refer to your own travel insurance company for more information about healthcare inclusions to check your level of cover.

Emergency Numbers
The emergency number for Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance in Australia is 000.
From mobile phones call 112.

Insurance
Visitors to Australia are strongly advised to take out travel insurance. Most travel insurance policies will cover medical expenses (including hospitalisation), cancellation charges, luggage, personal effects, travel documents, money, cash in hospital, hijacking, death, disability, loss of income, personal liability and some additional expenses.

Vaccinations
There are no compulsory immunisations required before arriving in Australia unless travellers have been in a quarantine zone within 14 days before travel.

Sun
The Australian sun is extremely strong, especially between 10am and 3pm. Take care in the Australian sun by:
  • Seeking shade, 
  • Wearing adequate clothing including a shirt, hat and sunglasses and;
  • Applying 30+ sunscreen lotion.
One coat of sunscreen is not enough. Remember to reapply every two hours and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Follow these tips every day, even the cloudy days. 

Alcohol
It is an offence to drink alcohol in a public place anywhere in Queensland. However, if you are planning on travelling through Queensland, you need to know about alcohol restrictions. For information on alcohol restriction visit the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs website. 

Drugs 
n/a – refer to driving section

Crime
Crime Stoppers provides a telephone hotline and website for member of the community to provide anonymous information about criminal activity.

Crime Stoppers 
Phone: 1800 333 000 (Landline Toll Free)

If you need police to attend an address or you need immediate police assistance please phone 000.

Useful links and apps for Travelling Safe:
Department of Transport and Main Roads for information on driving safely in Queensland.
RACQ for a 24 hour up to date road report, including road closures and planning.
Queensland Government for driving safety tips go to the Driver Reviver Program.
Bureau of Meteorology for up to date weather including cyclone warnings.
Queensland Police Service
Queensland Ambulance Service for first aid information.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service for parks information.
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection for information on becoming croc-wise in crocodile country.
Maritime Safety Queensland
St John's Ambulance
Surf Lifesaving Queensland for surf and beach safety.

Useful Apps:
Australian disaster related events and disaster resilience information
Disaster Watch Phone App for Apple/iOS
Disaster Watch Phone App for Android

Beach Safety
Beach Safe App on Apple/iOS
Beach Safe App on Android

Swimming
Being beach safe is about understanding and recognising the potential dangers, learning how to avoid them and knowing how to help someone if they get into trouble.

Beach, Swimming and Waterway Safety Tips
  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags.
  • Blue flags indicate where surfing is allowed.
  • Read and obey warning signs on beaches, at beach access points and at waterways.
  • If you are unsure of the beach surf conditions, check with a Lifesaver or Lifeguard.
  • If you find yourself in a strong current (also known as a ‘rip’), do not panic. Stay calm, float with the current and raise your hand to alert a Lifesaver or Lifeguard that you require assistance. 
  • Never try to swim against a rip, as you will simply get tired and lose strength.
  • Always swim with others. Children should always be accompanied in the water by an adult who can swim.
  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or in darkness.
  • Never jump or dive into shallow water, a rock pool, creek, lake or river due to immersed rocks and logs.
  • Know your health limitations when considering diving, snorkelling, swimming (or other active pursuits).
For detailed beach information, including weather and forecasts, tide, swell, water temperature, service patrol periods, Lifesaving Clubs, regulatory and hazard information, download the Beach Safe App.

Download the Beach Safe App on Apple/iOS
Download the Beach Safe App on Android

Marine Life

We have listed various marine life creatures below that can pose a threat to humans when proper precautions are not observed. These have been noted, not to alarm you, but rather to point out some significant informative facts around their potential danger and precautions you can take to avoid them.

Sharks 

While shark attacks are rare, the following precautions help reduce the risk of dangerous incidents:
  • Always swim between the flags at patrolled beaches.
  • Do not swim alone or at night.
  • Avoid swimming in canals or near the mouth of a river.
Stingers (Jellyfish) 

During the warmer months, October to June, marine stingers, including the dangerous Box Jellyfish and the Irukandji Jellyfish, may be present in tropical waters. The following precautions help to minimise the risks to swimmers: 
  • Wearing full protective clothing (i.e. a lycra "stinger suit" or wet suit) to reduce exposure to potential stings (stinger suits are available for hire).
  • Swimming in stinger resistant enclosures where they are provided gives a higher degree of protection, but are not stinger proof. Enclosures generally operate from November to May.
  • If you are stung, wash the affected area with household vinegar as soon as possible and seek medical attention.

Crocodiles 

There are both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles in Tropical North Queensland. They can be found around rivers, freshwater lagoons and coastal beaches. Follow these precautions to help reduce the risk of dangerous incidents:
  • When fishing, avoid standing at the water's edge or on logs or branches that hang over deep water.
  • When camping near lakes, rivers and beaches, camp about two metres from the high water mark and at least 50 metres from the edge of the water. Crocodiles are most active at night.
  • Read and obey warning signs, they are there for a reason.



Weather
Queensland is blessed with an enviable climate of warm sunny days. Warm summers and mild winters are what you can expect, plus loads of sunshine (with just the occasional shower).

Queensland is subtropical in the south, where summers are warm, winters are mild and autumn and spring offer the very best climates; and tropical in the north, where the wet season (throughout summer) can be quite humid and hot, while the dry season (throughout winter) is quite dry and mild.

Seven Day Weather Forecast for various Queensland regions.

Average temperatures by season:
Summer (December-February) Brisbane: 20°C to 29°C
Cairns: 22°C to 31°C

Autumn (March-May)
Brisbane: 14°C to 28°C
Cairns: 20°C to 30°C

Winter (June-August)
Brisbane: 10°C to 22°C
Cairns: 17°C to 26°C

Spring (September-November)
Brisbane: 13°C to 27°C
Cairns: 19°C to 30°C

Natural Disasters – current alerts 
Queensland’s tourism destinations are accessible and open for business.
People should contact their travel agent, airline, accommodation, attraction or tour provider directly if concerned about a current booking.
For comprehensive weather information and warnings visit the Bureau of Meteorology website.

What should I pack?/wear
Queensland has a warm, sunny climate so casual, lightweight clothes (in natural fibres) are generally worn. Most Queenslanders dress informally, although you should include smart casual outfit for restaurants, hotels and bars. Comfortable shoes, shorts and jeans are a must for bushwalking, fossicking or horse riding. Sand shoes (sneakers) are recommended if you intend to reef-walk. 
In winter in the southern part of Queensland, temperatures can drop so some warm clothing such as a jacket or sweatshirt should be included. It is advisable to wear a hat during the day, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect you from the warm rays of the sun.

Extra protection in the Queensland sun
Luckily the Queensland lifestyle revolves around the great outdoors but remember the Australian sun is fierce. Enjoy Queensland’s activities (including sightseeing), without the risk of harmful exposure to the sun by using simple skin protection. Wear a broad brimmed hat, a shirt with a collar and sleeves and SPF30+ broad spectrum, water resistant sun-screen on exposed skin. Try to avoid the sun during the middle of the day (10am-2pm) when the ultraviolet rays are at their strongest.




Fishing licences
Anglers do not required a licence to fish recreationally in Queensland, except if fishing in some stocked impoundments. There are however fishing rules that apply to everyone. For more information, please refer to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website or download the Queensland Fishing App below which features fishing rules in Queensland.
Download the Qld Fishing App for Apple/iOS
Download the Qld Fishing App for Android

Boat licences
In Queensland, a recreational marine driver’s licence (RMDL) is required to operate a recreational boat. For more information about RMDL including boating licencing for interstate and international visitors, please refer to the Maritime Safety Queensland website.
Boating Safety 
If you are the holder of a boating licence, a skipper’s blood alcohol content cannot exceed 0.05%.
When hiring watercraft, ensure that the operator has provided you with all the necessary boating and safety equipment and local hints needed for the areas you are visiting.
Weather forecasts should be obtained when planning any trip on the water, no matter how short. Weather forecast telephone numbers to use when in Queensland include:
All of Queensland - 1300 360 426
Marine warnings - 1300 360 427
South East Queensland - 1300 360 428

Diving licences
Snorkelling or SCUBA Diving Safety 
You must have completed a training course to go SCUBA diving. However, to enjoy snorkelling, a competent swimmer can usually master this quickly.
When diving or snorkelling remember:
  • Never go diving or snorkelling alone.
  • Always let someone know where you’re going and what time you will return.
  • Advise the dive company of ANY medical condition or medicine you are currently taking.
Cycling in Queensland
Cycling is a great form of transport to experience various locations around Queensland. Under the Queensland Road Rules bicycles are considered vehicles, so people riding bicycles must obey all general road rules as well as specific road rules for cyclists (which includes wearing a helmet). Refer to the Department of Transport and Main Roads website for:


Agents
There are so many great Queensland experiences to choose from, and a Travel Specialist who is an expert on everything Australian can help you plan your perfect Queensland holiday. To find a Travel Specialist, use the Tourism Australia Travel Specialist tool and contact a specialist to help plan your Queensland holiday.


The electrical current in Australia is 220-240 volts, AC 50Hz. The Australian three pin power outlet is different from some other countries so an adaptor may be required.