Australia is a remote island country, making it a quite a unique place in terms of geography, history and culture. Unfortunately, non-Aussies have been exposed to many incorrect myths about Australia and its inhabitants, while some important facts about the continent remain unknown to outsiders. The team at GlobalEntryServices.org has provided a list of ten things that potential visitors to Australia should know before heading down under.
- Internet connection is slow. When it comes to internet connection speed, Australia ranks at number 50 among all countries in the world. With an average speed of 9.6 megabits per second (Mbps), Australia’s internet speed is slower than that of many third world countries. Twenty-three percent of Australians have an internet connection speed below four Mbps.
- Tipping is not customary. Australians do not tip for services such as cab rides, haircuts and food service. Employees who work in the service industry receive a much higher wage in Australia than they do in countries such as the United States. The minimum wage is about $17 (in U.S. terms) per hour. The team at GlobalEntryServices.org recommends tipping only for exceptional service.
- There’s an Australian slang. Although they speak English, Australians have a lot of commonly used slang terms. “Arvo” is a popular term for “afternoon,” while “servo” refers to a gas station. Australians also shorten and add a “y” to many of their words. For example, some may use the term “brekky” to mean “breakfast” and “exy” to mean “expensive.”
- Things can be “exy.” Because Australia is a remote island country, many of its products need to be imported. Food and drink prices are higher in Australia than most places in the world, and drinking in bars can especially drain your budget. If you’re a traveler on a budget, the team at GlobalEntryServices.org suggests staying in hostels and hitting the grocery store for meals.
- Drivers drive in the left lane. If you are from the United States or another country where drivers drive in the right lane, be sure to remember this important rule. As always, be sure to look both ways when you’re crossing the road on foot.
- It’s a big country. Australia has a relatively low population of 24 million, but the country is roughly the size of all of Europe or the continental United States. Don’t expect to see everything in one trip, even if you’re visiting for a few weeks. Visitors would probably have to spend about six months or more in the country to see everything. The team at GlobalEntryServices.org recommends conducting research and building an Australia itinerary that suits your interests and length of stay. More time spent in fewer places is the best way to experience Australia.
- Dial 000 in an Emergency. Triple Zero is the Aussie version of 911. Dialing this three-digit number will connect you to police, fire or emergency medical departments.
- You will need a visa to visit. Visitors must have a valid Australian visa before visiting. If you’re coming from New Zealand, however, you’ll able to apply for a visa upon arrival to Australia. The team at GlobalEntryServices.org recommends applying for a tourist visa at the nearest Australian embassy or consulate.
- It’s illegal to handle a phone while driving. Although the specifics of the law vary among the different Australian states, drivers throughout Australia must use a hands-free device if they wish to talk on the phone while driving.
Most Australians live on the coast. Although Australia’s interior, known as the Outback, has a number of incredible places to visit, it does not have a lot of inhabitants. Over 80 percent of Australians live in cities and suburbs located no further than 60 miles from the country’s coasts.