Cairns is the gateway to Queensland’s tropical north and the Great Barrier Reef. Here you are close to islands, coral reefs and the world’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest. A provincial city, with a linear layout that runs south from Edmonton to Ellis Beach in the north, the city has recently experienced rapid growth, with suburbs taking over land previously used for sugar cane farming. An easy tropical lifestyle typifies Cairns, and shorts and T-shirts are normal attire. Buildings in Cairns are rarely taller than one or two levels.
A series of beaches extend north along the coast, including Machans, Holloways and Trinity beaches, Yorkeys Knob, Palm Cove, and Ellis Beach. Inland from the Northern Beaches along the Barron River flood plain is Freshwater Valley. Mount Whitfield, the Whitfield Range, Crystal Cascades and Kuranda are close by. Several other small towns and communities are sparsely located along the Bruce Highway.
Framed by mountain ranges and the Coral Sea, there are many opportunities to go walking in the rainforest or four-wheel driving in the Great Dividing Range.
Alice Springs is one of Australia’s most famous outback towns and the gateway to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta National Park. Surrounded by a red sand desert which stretches for hundreds of kilometres in all directions - this is Australia’s Red Centre.
The town straddles the usually dry Todd River and although it is close to the MacDonnell Ranges, the town is flat and easy to get around. It is renowned for its Aboriginal art and many local and Aboriginal art galleries can be found in Todd Mall, the town’s focal point. The Araluen Centre for Arts and Entertainment presents world-class ballets and orchestras, as well as local performances.
Learn about the surrounding desert environment at the Alice Springs Desert Park and Olive Pink Botanic Garden. The Alice Springs Reptile Centre is located in the town centre.
From Alice you can go hiking in the nearby MacDonnell Ranges or drive the four-wheel drive tracks at Finke Gorge National Park. Here you can connect with Australia’s rich Aboriginal traditions and experience some of the country’s most awesome landscapes.
With superb golden beaches, including the world renowned ‘Surfers Paradise’, the Gold Coast is a mix of cosmopolitan lifestyles, theme parks, high-end boutiques, and some of Australia’s best sporting events.
Its skyline is dominated by high-rise buildings, including the Q1, one of the world’s highest residential towers. The Gold Coast is all about glitz, glamour and fun. High Street Surfers Paradise is a new precinct for sophisticated food and fashion, while the bars and nightclubs of Cavill Avenue are the main hub of activity. There are also many theme parks close to town.
Popular beaches include South Stradbroke Island, The Spit, Main Beach, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach, Burleigh Heads. There are also beaches along many of the Gold Coast's tidal waterways.
The Gold Coast’s boundaries extend south to Coolangatta on the border with New South Wales, west to Mount Tamborine and north to Beenleigh near Brisbane. It is also the gateway to some of Queensland’s best natural attractions. Go whale-watching and island-hopping, or venture into the lush hinterland of World Heritage-listed national parks and rainforests.
Australia’s currency is Australian Dollars (AUD) and currency exchange is available at banks, hotels and international airports. The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa, JCB and their affiliates.
Australia has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent. You may be able to claim a refund of the GST paid on goods bought here if you have spent AUD$300 or more in one store, no more than 30 days before departing Australia. Tourist Refund Scheme facilities are located in the departure area of international terminals.
Hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill. In up market restaurants, it is usual to tip waiters up to ten per cent of the bill for good service. However, tipping is always your choice. It is not custom to bargain in Australia.
The emergency number for police, ambulance and or fire brigade is 000.
Our electrical current is 220 – 240 volts, AC 50Hz. The Australian three-pin power outlet is different from some other countries, so you may need an adaptor.
Australia’s country code is 61. Local calls from public pay phones are untimed and charged at AUD$.050. Mobile, long distance and overseas calls are usually timed.Mobile phone network coverage is available across Australia, however coverage may be limited in some remote areas. Internet access is widely available at internet cafes, accommodation and libraries.