Australia Travel Information
GMT +10 (GMT +11, Oct - Apr)
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin flat blade plugs are used but are different to those in most other countries, so an adapter is normally required.
English is the official language of Australia.
There are no mandatory gratuities or restaurant service charges in Australia, and tips are not generally expected, although it is becoming more common in expensive restaurants in the bigger cities to leave some money for good service. Australians are ultimately divided over tipping and there are no reliable rules to apply.
The crime rate in Australia is low; however, travellers should be aware that tourists could be targeted by petty criminals. Be vigilant about personal possessions and travel documents, particularly in popular tourist destinations such as along the Gold Coast. Tropical cyclones normally occur between November and April in some parts of Australia, particularly in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. There is a serious risk of bush fires in summer (November to March), especially in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and ACT. Also during the summer months, the shallow coastal waters of northern Australia and Queensland become infested with marine stingers, commonly known as box jellyfish, whose sting is highly dangerous and can be deadly. Visitors should pay attention to signs on beaches and follow the instructions of local lifeguards to avoid injury.
Generally an informal attitude, in dress and behaviour, prevails in most social and business situations. Sport, particularly rugby and cricket, is almost a religion in Australia.
Those doing business in Australia are sure to find that the friendly yet professional corporate atmosphere of the country will provide them with an exciting opportunity to develop their careers. The business culture of Australia is a bit of a hybrid breed, incorporating the trappings of British formality and conservatism, the egalitarian ethos of Scandinavian countries, and the dynamic, innovative approach to business that is generally thought of as American in origin - rounded out, of course, with typical Australian warmth and humour. The approach to management in Australia is consultative, pragmatic, and strictly non-hierarchical. Those in positions of relative power are accorded respect by virtue of their personal qualities, not simply because they happen to be the boss.
Business etiquette in Australia further reflects this egalitarian ethos. Use titles initially, though you will almost certainly be told to dispense with them - at which point, you should refer to your colleagues by their first names. Maintain eye contact when speaking to your associates, as this is regarded as a sign of forthrightness and trustworthiness - qualities which Australian businesspeople tend to favour over showiness, self-aggrandisement or empty promises. Business meetings in Australia should be scheduled about a week in advance, and then confirmed a few days before they are due to take place.
Be punctual, as lateness can be seen as a symptom of flakiness or indifference. Business meetings in Australia do not generally proceed from a set agenda. Rather, they are viewed as open forums, in which ideas are to be debated and discussed. In fact, over-preparing for a meeting can make you seem pushy - as though you wish to bully others into adopting your opinions on the issue at hand. The dress code for business in Australia remains surprisingly traditional: dark suits and ties are the norm for men; for women, business suits, worn either with pants or a skirt. As a general rule, avoid loud jewellery and accessories as to Australian eyes they might make you seem arrogant. The official language of business in Australia is English, and business hours are generally from 8.30am (or 9am) to 5pm (or 5.30pm), Monday to Friday.
The international dialling code for Australia is +61. Australian mobile phone companies operate on GSM networks, so some foreign phones may not be compatible with the local networks. Mobile phones are available for rent and internet cafes are widely available.
Travellers to Australia over 18 years do not have to pay customs duty on 2.25 litres of alcohol; and 50 cigarettes or 50g of cigars or tobacco products (note that all tobacco products in your baggage are included in this category, regardless of where they were purchased). Gifts are included in the A$900 duty-free allowance. Fresh produce and animal/plant products are prohibited.