Time Zones Australia crosses three time zones. Daylight savings means that clocks are put forward one hour during summer months in all states except Queensland. As a general rule, this is from the first Sunday in October to the third Sunday in March.
Eastern Time (EST): New South Wales, Australian Captial Territory, Victoria & Tasmania - GMT + 10 during Winter and GMT + 11 during summer. Queensland is GMT + 10 all year.
Central Time (CST): Northern Territory and South Australia. GMT + 9 1/2 during winter and GMT + 10 1/2 during summer.
Western Time (WST): Western Australia GMT + 8 during winter and GMT + 9 during summer.
Vaccinations Vaccinations are not required unless you have come from or visited a yellow fever infected country or zone within six days before arrival. No other health certification is required to enter Australia.
Passports & Visas - USA Citizens of the USA must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date of return. US Citizens visiting Australia also need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) before departure to Australia. An ETA replaces the traditional visa and can be arranged for a stay of up to 3 months. Do it yourself online!
Customs There are strict laws prohibiting or restricting the entry of drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms, protected wildlife and associated products. If you are unsure about anything, declare it to Customs upon arrival.
Quarantine Quarantine items include fresh or packaged food, fruit, eggs, meat, vegetables, seeds, skins, feathers, wood and plants. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services screens and X-rays all luggage and uses sniffer dogs to find high-risk products. There will be bins provided at international airports for travelers to dispose of quarantine items. Failure to declare these items could result in serious fines.
Driving A valid US driver's license is required to rent all vehicles. Motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road and operate right-hand drive vehicles. Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers. Speed limits are generally 100kph (60mph) on open roads and 50kph (30mph) through towns unless otherwise stated. Rental cars are not permitted on unpaved roads.
Electricity The electrical current in Australia is 220-240 volts, AC 50Hz. The power outlet is a 3 pin, flat prong plug . Most hotels have facilities for 110 volt shavers. It is advisable for travelers using 110 volt appliances to bring a voltage converter kit with them.
Money The Australian dollar notes come in $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5 denominations. Coins are 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c, with single cents rounded to the nearest 5 cents.
Bank hours are normally 9.30am - 5pm Monday through Friday. Major credit cards are widely accepted at hotels, banks and most restaurants and stores. ATM machines are also commonly found throughout the country.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) GST is currently 10%. Please visit www.customs.gov.au for detailed information about claiming a refund at the departure gate for GST paid on goods purchased in Australia that you take out of the country with you.
Tipping Tipping is not customary in Australia, so is entirely up to your discretion. For better class restaurants, it is usual to tip up to 10% of the bill, or to round taxi fares to the nearest dollar.