Australia’s national currency is the Australian dollar, which comes in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Coins come in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and $1 and $2 denominations.
Current exchange rates can be viewed using the XE Currency Converter.
Currency exchange facilities are located at the international airport, throughout Sydney’s city centre and are a service offered by a majority of banks and Australia Post offices.
Sydney enjoys a pleasant, temperate climate year round, with more than 340 sunny days a year!
|Mean maximum temperature (°C)||28.4||28.1||26.6||23.9||20.8||18.3||17.6||19.5||22.5||24.3||25.3||27.4||23.6|
|Mean minimum temperature (°C)||19.3||19.4||17.8||14.3||11.2||8.9||7.8||8.7||11.6||13.7||15.8||17.9||13.9|
The emergency number for police, ambulance or fire brigade is 000.
Communications and mobile or cell phones
Australia’s country code is 61. Local calls from public pay phones are charged at A$0.60, whilst international, long distance and overseas calls tend to be timed and charged accordingly.
Mobile phone network coverage is available across Australia and is plentiful in Sydney. If you are travelling to some remote areas of the country pre- or post-event, coverage may become limited.
As Australia operates on a digital network, please check that you have a compatible mobile or cell phone, as analogue mobile or cell phones will not work.
There are a number of mobile phone retailers (Optus, and Vodafone) at the international arrival terminal at Sydney Airport. They will be able to assist you with setting up your phone for use in Australia and/or set you up with a local SIM card. Using a local SIM card is a good idea if you wish to avoid global roaming charges, however, you will need an unlocked handset if you wish to use prepaid SIM cards from Australian providers such as Telstra, Optus, Virgin or Vodafone.
Australian electricity supply is 220 – 240 volts, 50 Hz. Appliance connection is via a flat 3-pin plug that is standard in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Converter plugs for appliances are readily available at the airport, department stores and electronic stores.
If you are travelling from a country where appliances require an alternate voltage, you may need a voltage converter along with a converter plug. American and Japanese travellers are most likely to be affected by this. Most hotels provide 110-volt outlets for shavers.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
A Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent is included in all consumer goods and services in Australia. The 10 per cent is included in the retail price advertised. You may be able to claim a refund of the GST paid on goods bought in Australia if you have spent A$300 (including GST) or more in one store, no more than 60 days before departure and retain your invoices and receipts. Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) facilities are located in the departure area of international terminals and you need to carry or wear the goods you intend to claim. You can make your claim at the TRS facilities 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of your flight. For more detailed information, refer to the Australian Government’s Tourist Refund Scheme site.
Australian quarantine restrictions
Australia has strict quarantine and bio-security measures and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture is responsible for protecting Australia’s human, animal and plant health from overseas pests and diseases. You will see quarantine officers at all Australian international airports. On arrival, all luggage is inspected to ensure that no banned items are brought inside Australian borders. Before travelling to Australia, please ensure you are familiar with all prohibited items.
As you enter Australia, you will be required to complete and submit an Incoming Passenger Card, which contains a declaration that you do not have banned or restricted items in your luggage or on your person. This is a legal document and passengers must tick ‘yes’ to declare if you are carrying any food, plant material or animal products. Failure to declare that you are carrying an item that is banned or restricted can result in an on-the-spot fine or prosecution.
A comprehensive list of all banned items and the processes to follow can be found at the Department’s website <http://www.daff.gov.au/biosecurity/travel/cant-take>
The department has also listed a number of frequently asked questions < http://www.daff.gov.au/biosecurity/faqs> that may also be helpful.
Bringing money into Australia
There is currently no restriction on the amount of money you can bring in or take out of Australia; however, if you plan to arrive in Australia with more than A$10,000 in cash (or the equivalent in a foreign currency) you must declare it to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service upon arrival and departure. You may also be required to fill in a Bearer Negotiable Instruments (BNI) form if you’re carrying promissory notes, traveller’s cheques, personal cheques, money orders or postal orders. Penalties apply for the failure to declare. For further information, visit the Australian Customs and Border Protection website.
Banks and transactions
Banks in Australia are open from 9.30 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30 am to 5.00 pm on Friday. Selected banks are open on Saturday; however, all banks are closed on Sunday. Australian banks offer the range of services that are typical in other western nations, including currency exchange.
If more convenient, Australian Post (post office) is also able to provide a range of banking services on behalf of more than 70 banks and financial institutions. You can use your credit or debit card for deposits and withdrawals, account balance enquiries, paying credit card bills and sending money overseas.
Cash withdrawal machines or automatic teller machines (ATM) with an international network such as Cirrus (MasterCard) or PLUS (Visa) are widespread and are the easiest way for you to withdraw cash whilst on the go. Australian ATMs use a four-digit code, so check with your bank and make sure you change yours before you leave home.
Electronic fund transfer machines (EFTPOS) are also commonly used at most retail outlets, as well as by taxis, restaurants and hotels for point of sale transactions, and can be used to access many types of bank accounts and credit cards.
All major credit cards are accepted throughout Australia. For Chinese visitors looking to use UnionPay, over 90,000 merchants in Australia accept UnionPay cards, including all Sydney taxis that have a Cabcharge card terminal on-board.
Restaurants in Sydney
Sydney is one of the most eclectic food capitals in the world, with visitors savouring its diverse, fresh and creative cuisine options. Similar to hotel options in the city, Sydney’s restaurants span the full spectrum when it comes to catering for varying tastes and budgets. Whether you opt for dinner with a view at iconic Circular Quay to soak in a view of the Sydney Opera House; dine on some delicious dumplings in bustling Chinatown; enjoy a local pub meal; or a snack close to the event venue, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Sydney.com provides a great guide to some of the local favourites.
Shopping in Sydney
From designer boutiques, luxury labels, eclectic markets, outlet tours and department stores, Sydney’s shopping scene is a must when you’re in town. Popular shopping precincts in Sydney are open seven days a week, with many shopping centres and precincts offering late-night shopping until 9.00 pm on Thursdays. Want to plan your shopping expedition in advance? Head to Sydney.com for a guide to fashion and shopping in the harbour city.
English is Australia’s national language. However, if English is not your native language, know that you are travelling to a warm and welcoming multicultural city, where 32 per cent of the population speaks a second language. In fact, Sydneysiders speak over 200+ languages!
Sydney’s local time is Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), which equates to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) plus 10 hours.
Daylight Saving Time begins on the first Sunday in October, when clocks are put forward one hour and ends on the first Sunday in April, when clocks are put back one hour.
Please note that Australia has three different time zones, so keep this in mind if you are travelling around the country before or after the event.
Tipping is not customary, nor expected, but is welcome when the service exceeds expectation. It is recommended to tip 10 per cent in bars and restaurants for good service.
You don’t require vaccinations unless you have come from, or have visited, a yellow fever infected country within six days of your arrival in Australia. For more details read the Australian Government yellow fever factsheet.
You’ll find widespread access to the internet via Wi-Fi or plug-in at locations around the city. Connected locations include internet cafes, most hotels, backpacker accommodation and hostels, major airports, some railway stations, public libraries, fast-food chains, and on board Sydney Ferries.
Some examples of locations offering free Wi-Fi include: