- General Info
- Health Risks
- Insect Threats
- Water Quality
- Security Concerns
- Weather Notes
- Electrical Standards
- Visa Info
- Time Zone
Australia is a massive, sparsely populated country, crossing multiple climate zones, where busy, modern cities contrast with miles and miles of open territory. From the tropical northern city of Darwin and Kakadu National Park, to Alice Springs and heart of the outback, a land of glorious sunrises and sunsets, red rocks, eucalyptus, and, of course, Uluru (Ayers Rock), and from Queensland in the east, home of The Great Barrier Reef, to Perth, "The City of Lights", in the west, down to south-east Sydney where architecture and dramatically beautiful landscapes vie for attention, each state has its own distinct character.
Language: English, native languages.
Major International Airports Include:
|Adelaide||Adelaide Int'l||ADL||4 miles W|
|Melbourne||Melbourne Int'l||MEL||14 miles NW|
|Perth||Perth Int'l||PER||7 miles NE|
|Sydney||Kingsford Smith Airport||SYD||6.2 miles S|
The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in this region depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. You should observe the precautions listed in this document in most areas of this region. However, in highly developed areas of Australia and New Zealand, you should observe health precautions similar to those that would apply while traveling in the United States.
Diseases found in Australia and the South Pacific (risk can vary by country and region within a country; quality of in-country surveillance also varies)
Food and Waterborne Diseases
Make sure your food and drinking water are safe. Food and waterborne diseases are the primary cause of illness in travelers. Travelers' diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout Australia and the South Pacific and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage ( hepatitis).
Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness.
Humans get malaria from the bite of a mosquito infected with the parasite. Prevent this serious disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. All travelers to malaria-risk areas in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, including infants, children, and former residents of these countries should take an antimalarial drug. Papua New Guinea has risk in all areas under the elevation of 1800 meters (5906 feet). The Solomon Islands has risk in all areas, except for the southern province of Rennell Island and Bellona Island. Vanuatu has risk throughout all its islands.
There is no risk for malaria in Australia, Christmas Island, Cook Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia (Tahiti), Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Pitcairn, Samoa, American Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Wake Island, Wallis and Futuna.
r There is no risk for yellow fever in Australia and the South Pacific. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. . For detailed information, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.
Other Disease Risks
Risk of infection is quite variable within this region. Vaccine rates are high in Australia and New Zealand, but rates of certain infectious diseases are high in travelers to other islands. Dengue, filariasis, Ross River virus, and Murray Valley encephalitis are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Scrub typhus and other rickettsial infections are present in this region. Protecting yourself against insect and tick bites (see below) will help to prevent these diseases. Japanese encephalitis is present in Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait and far northern Australia. Other hazards for travelers include ciguatera poisoning, which occurs frequently on some of the islands. Snake and spider bites are also a risk.
Other Health Risks
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from motor vehicle injuries: avoid drinking and driving; wear your safety belt and place children in age-appropriate restraints in the back seat; follow the local customs and laws regarding pedestrian safety and vehicle speed; obey the rules of the road; and use helmets on bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes. Avoid boarding an overloaded bus or mini-bus. Where possible, hire a local driver.
Check with your healthcare provider: you and your family may need routine as well as recommended vaccinations.
Before travel, be sure you and your children are up to date on all routine immunizations according to schedules approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). See the schedule for adults and the schedule for infants and children. Some schedules can be accelerated for travel.
See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect. If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. It might not be too late to get your shots or medications as well as other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.
The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Australia and the South Pacific. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.
- hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
- hepatitis B, especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
- rabies, if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling, or engaging in certain occupational activities.
- typhoid, (except for Australia and New Zealand), particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region. typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors
- As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles.
All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:
- When using repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid children's eyes and mouth and use it sparingly around their ears.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or, if hands are not visibly soiled, use a waterless, alcohol-based hand rub to remove potentially infectious materials from your skin and help prevent disease transmission.
- In developing countries, drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, learn how to make water safer to drink.
- Take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your health care provider for a prescription.)
- To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, even on beaches.
- Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Protect yourself from mosquito and insect bites.
- Do not eat food purchased from street vendors or food that is not well cooked to reduce risk of infection (i.e., hepatitis A and typhoid fever).
- Do not drink beverages with ice.
- Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.
- Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as schistosomiasis.
- Do not handle animals, especially monkeys, dogs, and cats, to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague). Consider pre-exposure rabies vaccination if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas.
- Do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing or injections to prevent infections such as HIV and hepatitis B.
After You Return Home
If you have visited a malaria-risk area in the South Pacific, continue taking your antimalarial drug for 4 weeks (doxycycline or mefloquine) or 7 days (atovaquone/proguanil) after leaving the risk area.
Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the physician your travel history.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Those traveling to Australia are at risk from dengue fever and viral encephalitis transmitted by mosquito bites. Travelers should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing.
The urban municipal water supply in Australia is considered safe for drinking. In rural or sparsely populated areas the water may not meet the same standards, and water should be treated before drinking.
Australia has instituted an alert system for possible terrorist attacks. The threat levels range from "low" to "high." The Australian Attorney General's Office maintains a website with up-to-date information regarding the current assessment of the terrorism threat at http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au. American citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Travelers may also contact the Australian National Security Hotline at 61-1-800-123-400.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.
Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1- 202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad."
CRIME: Visitors should be aware that street crime, burglaries, and car thefts are a daily occurrence in the larger cities. Weapons are increasingly used in such crimes, which also may be associated with drug trafficking and usage. Foreign visitors are sometimes targets for pickpockets, purse-snatchers and petty thieves. Appropriate, common sense precautions should be taken, especially at night, to avoid becoming a target of opportunity. To call for fire/police/ambulance services throughout Australia, dial "000" for urgent assistance.
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
Every state in Australia has a crime victim assistance program that includes crimes against international visitors. Information on these local programs may be found at www.vaonline.org.
Source: US Department of State
The tropical northern third of Australia has two seasons - the wet and the dry. Travelers can expect hot, wet summers (with occasional flooding) and warm, dry winters. Farther southward and towards the interior, the climate is hot and dry year round. The eastern and southeastern coastal areas offer warm to hot summers and mild winters with year-round precipitation. The west coast typically enjoys hot, dry summers and mild winters, and almost all of the precipitation is received in the winter. Snow is mainly limited to the Tasmanian interior, and the Australian Alps.
Australia's electrical current is 240/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.
To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.
For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.
American citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport to enter Australia. Americans must enter with an Australian visa or, if eligible, through Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. It may be obtained for a small service fee at http://www.eta.immi.gov.au. Airlines and many travel agents in the United States are also able to issue ETA's. Please note that American citizens, who overstay their ETA or visa, even for short periods, may be subject to exclusion, detention and removal. More information about the ETA and entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Australia at 1601 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202) 797-3000, via the Australian Embassy home page on the Internet at http://www.austemb.org. Visa inquires may be directed to the Australian Visa Information Service at 888-990-8888. Visit the Embassy of Australia web site at http://www.austemb.org for the most current visa information.
The time zone for eastern Australia is +10 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in eastern Australia would be 3:00 am
The unit of currency in Australia is the Australian dollar (AUD).
Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter
Traveled to Australia?
If you have visited this country recently and have ideas, thoughts, or suggestions to share with other travelers, we'd love to hear from you! Share your travel experiences and we'll post them on our website.
Other Travelers' Experiences in Australia
"Dengue fever is only a concern in the more tropical areas. Visitors to Sydney or Melbourne are not at risk."
"I am an Australian. Your travel advice for Australia mentions getting rabies from animals. Australia is RABIES-FREE. Period.
The telephone adapter you show is mostly out of date, and we use the usual RJ-11 style modular plug in most places."
"Under Time Zone, it might be better to say that NYC is -5 hours from GMT and Melbourne is +10 hours from GMT so the difference in time between Melbourne and NYC is +15 hours; thus at noon in NYC, it is 3 AM in Melbourne."
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