New South Wales
A knowledgeable travel professional, with their extensive knowledge and contacts in the industry, can provide support before your trip, monitor your progress en route and provide post travel assistance. Because we coordinate air, land, rail and sea transportation, your trip can proceed seamlessly to your hotel/resort, activities and excursions. Rather than than doing your own time consuming research, let us use our extensive knowledge to help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure the quality of trip you’ve been looking for.
Sydney local time
Sydney Opera House
The most recognizable of Sydney’s icons, the distinctive sight of the Opera House is famous the world over. 14 years in construction it opened in 1973 but still remains one of the most remarkable modern buildings in the world.
Naturally it is predominantly an auditorium and offers a full program of opera and other stage performances but it is possible to take a variety of guided tours around the building, either around the front of the house or backstage. You can even arrange specialist tours, when qualified experts give you the full insight into the architecture and unique design of the opera house.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
If the Opera House is the most recognizable Sydney image, the Harbour Bridge is the most dominant. From anywhere on the city’s quay it is a fantastic photo opportunity but there are a couple of ways to get even more out of it.
You can either walk along to the first pylon and climb the 200 steps to the viewing platform, from where you can obtain the best vantage point to take in the city skyline, or do the awesome bridge climb, which involves hooking up a safety line and climbing all the way along the arch right to the very top. Both day and night climbs are available; the latter is particularly spectacular as the city lights are reflected in the water of Sydney Harbour – 134metres below you. A reasonable level of fitness is needed to complete the climb, with the full walk taking three hours to complete.
What Else Sydney Offers
- The Australian Museum of Sydney is arguably one of the best natural history museums in the world.
- The most famous beach in Sydney and one of the best known in the world, Bondi Beach is the home of the long blonde-haired surf dude of Australian stereotype.
- Centrally located, Sydney Tower offers the best views available over the city, its harbor and parks. The Observation Deck, at 250m above street level, is the ideal place to get a general idea of Sydney’s skyline.
- The largest aquarium in the Southern Hemisphere the Sydney Aquarium cannot be missed. One of the world’s great coastal cities, Sydney’s relationship with the sea has always been a healthy one, and in this marvelous living museum you can see just some of the remarkable animals that inhabit the waters around Australia.
The Hunter region includes the premier wine-growing regions of the Hunter Valley and the Upper Hunter, attracting wine enthusiasts from home and abroad. All you need is a short break to enjoy a taste of the Hunter’s best – crisp Hunter semillon and ripe Hunter shiraz. Combine your food and wine experience with one of the exciting Hunter events coming up soon for the perfect getaway.
Less than two hours from Sydney by road or train, the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is one of the country’s most spectacular icons. The surrounding picturesque towns of Blackheath, Faulconbridge, Katoomba, Leura, Megalong Valley, Mount Victoria, Springwood, Wentworth Falls, Hartley, Lithgow and Oberon offer a great range of restaurants and accommodation as well as an endless variety of fun things to do. For one-of-a-kind experiences visit Scenic World for stunning panoramic views of the region, or head underground at the Jenolan Caves, one of the oldest cave systems in the world.
If you’re feeling like a breath of fresh air or a short break to recharge your batteries, the beautiful South Coast of NSW beckons with some spectacular scenery and adventure experiences. Crystal-clear bays and lakes, uncrowded beaches and beautiful rivers are perfect year-round for fishing, diving, canoeing, and boating while the pristine bushland is enjoyed by bush walkers, bird-lovers and cycling enthusiasts.
Take in stunning scenery and coastal views along the 22 km Kiama Coast Walk, or the 31 km Light to Light Walk on the Sapphire Coast. See sleek fur seals up close, in the wild, at Montague Island off the coast from Narooma. Camp on the beaches of the Shoalhaven and go surfing in Shellharbour. Top it all off with some great food and wine at cafes and restaurants located by a river, overlooking the beach or amidst the vines.
Visit the scenic North Coast of NSW where you’ll discover a hinterland of lush river valleys and a coastline of sparkling beaches that are accessible from the Legendary Pacific Coast touring route.
North Coast holiday choices are many and varied: tackle the vast sand dunes of Stockton Beach north of Newcastle by 4WD, or scuba dive at the Solitary Islands Marine Park off the coast of Coffs Harbour. Discover unique nature experiences in the North Coast’s many national parks and reserves. Hike through the ancient forests in the World Heritage-listed Dorrigo National Park. Whale watching is also popular at many locations along the North Coast.
Lord Howe Island
At any one time, you’ll be one of only 400 visitors on Lord Howe Island. The crystal clear waters of Lord Howe Island are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and surfing. On land, the trek to the summit of Mount Gower is recognized as one of the world’s best one-day hikes. A holiday here is relaxing and unhurried, where getting around by bike or on foot is the way to go and there are plenty of activities to discover.
The island is an idyllic location for fishing enthusiasts as well as snorkelers and scuba divers. You can cast off at Blinky Beach for Australian salmon or snorkel straight off the sand at Neds Beach where you can also hand-feed fish. Enjoy a wide range of other water sports including surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, kite surfing and windsurfing.
The Snowy Mountains region is a true alpine wilderness, home to Mt Kosciuszko, the continent’s five highest peaks and its only glacial lakes. Australia’s ultimate snow sports playground offers plenty of action on and off the snowfields. Wander through historic towns, explore caves and go bushwalking and hiking through national parks. For unique Snowy Mountains experiences, go on a horseriding adventure, enjoy trout fishing and tackle mountain biking trails.
In outback national parks, you’ll discover sun-baked sand dunes as well as lush wetlands teeming with wildlife. Spend some time exploring the back roads and walking tracks of these parks to discover the fascinating story of the plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh environment.
In Outback NSW, you’ll find comfortable accommodation, great food and a warm welcome wherever you go. Consider a houseboat holiday in Wentworth, a caravan fishing trip to Brewarrina, or a bushwalking excursion to Cobar.
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New South Wales Travel Information and Tips
Passport, Visa and Customs
Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a visa to enter Australia. New Zealand passport holders can apply for a visa upon arrival in the country. All other passport holders must apply for a visa before leaving home. You can apply for a range of visas, including tourist visas and working holiday visas, at your nearest Australian Consulate. You can also apply for certain types of visas online.
There are important things you should know before applying for, or being granted, an Australian visa. These include applying for the right type of visa, application requirements, your obligations while in Australia and the importance of complying with visa conditions.
A tourist visa is for people visiting Australia for a holiday, sightseeing, social or recreational reasons, to visit relatives, friends or for other short-term non-work purposes. There are a number of tourist visas available for people wishing to visit Australia as a tourist. Visit the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship website for eligibility requirements. Legato Travel can issue these visa’s, furthering streamlining your vacation planning.
Customs and Quarantine
Australia’s customs laws prevent you from bringing drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms and protected wildlife into Australia. Some common items such as fresh or packaged food, fruit, eggs, meat, plants, seeds, skins and feathers are also prohibited. There is no limit on currency but you will need to declare amounts over $10000. For more detailed information go to the Australian Government Customs and Border Protection website and Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is responsible for issuing visas to people who want to visit, work, study or live in Australia. It is responsible for the management of lawful and orderly entry and stay of people in Australia, including through effective border security. It provides information and application forms for migration to Australia, and information about settling in Australia, Australian citizenship, and multicultural affairs.
The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service manages the security and integrity of Australia’s borders. It works closely with other government and international agencies, in particular the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Department of Defense, to detect and deter unlawful movement of goods and people across the border.
The Department of Agriculture manages quarantine controls at Australian borders to minimize the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country.
Weather and Seasons
Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year but the climate can vary due to the size of our continent. The northern states typically experience warm weather much of the time, with the southern states experiencing cooler winters. Australia is also one of the driest continents on earth with an average annual rainfall of less than 600 millimeters. Like all countries in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.
Australia is a country for all seasons. You can do practically anything here, at any time of year. There are four seasons across most of the country and a wet and dry season in our tropical north.
Summer in Australia, from December to February, is a great time to get outdoors. Swim Sydney’s beaches or hike Tasmania’s Overland Track. March to May heralds Australia’s autumn, a season of fiery foliage in Canberra and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne. Australia’s winter, from June to August, offers snow skiing in the Australian Alps. Alternatively, take a winter sun holiday. Snorkel in the temperate Great Barrier Reef or 4WD through South Australia’s Simpson Desert. Spring in Australia, from September to November is the time to watch for whales and wildflowers as you explore the wineries of Western Australia’s Margaret River region.
In tropical Australia, the dry season from May to October has clear blue skies and sunny days. It’s the time to experience Darwin’s vibrant outdoor markets, movies and festivals. December to March is the wet season, which is hot and humid with daily rainstorms. See waterfalls thunder through Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks or fly over Katherine Gorge when its water levels are highest.
Australia is generally a safe destination with travelers enjoying unhindered travel experiences in terms of their personal safety and security. Our stable political system, well-maintained roads, low crime rate and high standard of health make it a safe and easy country to explore.
With common-sense, you can safely enjoy Australia’s unique landscapes – from the vast outback to wild ocean beaches and pristine wilderness. However, as with all travel at home or away, you should observe the same precautions with your personal safety and possessions.
Here you will find practical information out about the health facilities and services available and website links for more detailed information.
Travel Insurance & Medical Services
A travel insurance policy that covers you for theft, loss, accidents and medical problems before you leave home is highly recommended. If you plan on doing any adventure activities like scuba diving, bushwalking or traveling in remote areas, check that your policy fully covers these activities. Remember to bring your insurance policy details and emergency contact numbers and with you. Contact Legato Travel for questions about travel insurance and purchase your policy.
Vaccinations & Medications
No special immunizations or vaccinations are required to visit Australia unless you have come from, or have visited a yellow fever infected country within six days of your arrival. However, regulations and medical advice can change at short notice, so check with your doctor and the relevant Australian Government websites before you leave home.
Medicine brought into Australia for personal use is subject to controls and must be declared on your arrival. It is recommended you bring a prescription or letter from your doctor outlining your medical condition and the medicine you are carrying. If you need to obtain prescription medicine while you are here, the prescription must be written by a doctor in Australia.
Much time and effort has been spent in recent years to ensure that traveling with a disability won’t stop you enjoying all that Australia has to offer. If you have a medical condition or special needs, you will find plenty of services available. Speak to your travel agent about your specific requirements or visit the websites below to help you prepare before you leave home.
000 is the number for all emergency services in Australia. An operator will connect you to police, ambulance or the fire brigade. You should only call 000 in an emergency.
The Australian sun is very strong and can burn your skin in as little as 15 minutes in summer, so it is important to protect yourself all year round, even if it is a cloudy day.
Surf & Water Safety
Most of Australia’s population lives close to the coastline and the beach has long occupied a special place in the Australian identity. Australians love the water, and every day thousands of people flock to Australia’s coastline to swim, surf, relax and have fun. But our beautiful beaches can hold hidden dangers in the form of strong currents and beach conditions can change dramatically for those who are not used to them.
Popular beaches are usually patrolled by volunteer lifesavers from October to April and red and yellow flags mark the safest area for swimming. Be safe and always swim between these flags and always swim with other people.
If you intend to go diving, check with a dive operator in the locality or contact the Diving Industry Association in the state that you are visiting for information on site conditions, safety regulations, licenses, permits and diver rating requirements.
Traveling in remote locations
Australia’s outback tracks are among the best four-wheel-drive journeys in the world, but driving in Australia’s remote and rugged areas requires thorough preparation. Before embarking on an unescorted outback journey, check road conditions, ensure your vehicle is properly equipped and that you have a good map, extra provisions and an emergency plan. Make sure you inform someone of your expected arrival. Distances between towns in Australia are often hundreds of kilometers apart, so plan your trip accordingly. Be aware that mobile phones may have limited coverage in remote areas. If your vehicle breaks down in a remote area, always stay with your vehicle. This is the single most important rule of survival. Some roads should not be traveled unless part of a well-organized convoy.
If bushwalking or hiking check the length and difficulty of the walk and consider using a local guide for long or challenging walks. Check the Parks Australia website for the latest information on track conditions and hazards.
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. Try this handy currency converter.
Goods and Services Tax
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$300 or more in one store, no more than 30 days before departing Australia. Tourist Refund Scheme facilities are located in the departure area of international terminals.
You’ll find large department stores, arcades, malls, gift and souvenir shops across Australia. Trading hours vary across the country but shops in tourist and city areas are generally open until 6pm, with the exception of late night shopping on either Thursdays or Fridays in different states. In Australia you are covered by Australia’s consumer protection laws which require businesses to treat you fairly.
Tipping and bargaining
Hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill. In up market restaurants, it is usual to tip waiters up to ten per cent of the bill for good service. However, tipping is always your choice. It is not custom to bargain in Australia.
The emergency number for police, ambulance and or fire brigade is 000.
Australia’s official language is English. However, being a multicultural nation with a significant migrant population, we also enjoy a tremendous diversity of languages and cultures.
Electrical power points
Our electrical current is 220 – 240 volts, AC 50Hz. The Australian three-pin power outlet is different from some other countries, so you may need an adapter.
Australia’s country code is 61. Local calls from public pay phones are untimed and charged at AUD$.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.
Post offices are usually open 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, with some city post offices open on Saturday morning. Travelers can arrange to collect mail at post offices throughout Australia.
Flying is the best way to cover large distances in a short time. You’ll spend less time traveling and more time on the ground savoring Australia’s can’t-miss landscapes and laid-back lifestyle. Australia’s domestic airlines – Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Rex and their subsidiaries – serve all state capital cities and regional cities. Competition amongst domestic airlines means that great fares are available.
Australia has a vast network of well-maintained roads and some of the most beautiful touring routes in the world. Travel from Sydney to Brisbane past sleepy seaside towns and lush hinterland. Experience Australia’s Red Centre in an epic drive across the desert. Or follow Victoria’s Great Ocean Road as it hugs our spectacular south-east coast. You’ll find car rental companies at major airports, central city locations, suburbs and resorts. So hire a car, four wheel drive, caravans or motorbike and hit the highway.
- Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road, with the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the car. The maximum speed limit in cities and towns is 60km/h and 50km/h in some suburban areas. On country roads and highways, the maximum speed is usually 110km/h. For your safety, drink-driving laws apply, and drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times. Motor cyclists and cyclists must wear helmets. An international visitor may drive in Australia on a valid overseas driver’s license for the same class of vehicle. You should carry both your home license and international license when driving.
Coach and bus travel in Australia is comfortable, easy and economical. Coaches generally have air conditioning, reading lights, adjustable seats and videos. Services are frequent, affordable and efficient. Australia’s national coach operator, Greyhound, offer passes to fit every budget.
Train travel is a convenient, affordable and scenic way to explore Australia. Interstate and intra-state rail services connect our cities and regional centers, while cross-country train trips offer a unique insight into Australia’s size and diversity. Traveling options range from budget to luxury, and a range of rail passes can reduce your costs if you plan to see large sections of the country.
Australia also has epic rail journeys such as The Ghan and Indian-Pacific, which sweep across the continent, offering comfort and a sense bygone romance. The Indian-Pacific travels between Sydney to Perth, stopping for whistle-stop tours of Broken Hill, Adelaide and gold-rich Kalgoorlie. The legendary Ghan travels between Adelaide and Darwin, taking in Australia’s Red Centre and the tropical Top End.
All of Australia’s capital cities are served by a wide variety of public transport, including trains, buses, ferries, monorail, light rail and trams. Taxis charge according to their meter.
The Spirit of Tasmania runs a passenger and vehicle ferry service between Melbourne and Tasmania nightly. Extra services are running during summer peak times. Sealink ferries connect South Australia and Kangaroo Island several times a day. Ferries connect suburbs in our capital cities – they criss-cross Sydney Harbour, the Swan River in Perth and the Brisbane River in Brisbane.
Walking is a great way to get around our cities, so get ready to pound our wide, easy-on-the-feet pedestrian streets. You can also tackle some of the longest tracks and trails in the world in Australia – impressive journeys of a thousand kilometers or more that can take several weeks to complete.