About Australia

What are the flying times between the US and Australia?

From the West Coast of the USA it takes a little longer to fly to Sydney than it takes to fly to Europe. For example, takes 11-12 hours to fly to London and 12-13 hours to fly to Sydney.

The flying time for the non-stop Qantas flight from Houston to Sydney is 14-15 hours.

In order to complicate our lives a little, there is also the matter of the International Dateline to contend with.

99% of the time, flights depart the US late in the day and after an overnight flight, arrive  early the next morning.

However the day and date when you arrive will have moved forward 2 days because you have crossed the International Dateline; so if you leave the US on a Thursday, your arrival will be Saturday morning.

On the flight home the date you leave Australia will be the date you arrive home. If you depart Sunday, then you will arrive Sunday, in other words that day you ‘lost’ on the way to Australia is now reclaimed and order has been restored.

What should I know about driving in Australia?

Words like ‘motorway’ and ‘highway’ take on a slightly different meaning when you visit Australia and it’s important that you understand this before you arrive. Check out our top tips and travel advice whilst driving in Australia.

Most importantly, once out of the major cities a ‘motorway’ or ‘highway’ doesn’t necessarily mean two or three lanes in each direction. In fact  ‘highway’ or ‘motorway’ will often mean just one lane in each direction!

This means that driving will be more intense than you might have expected especially when factoring in the need to drive on the left. So sharing the driving duties with a co-driver is a good thing, as are regular refreshment stops.

All of the Australian Vacations Journeys show maps of each days progress and estimated driving times, but be aware that stopping for photo-stop opportunities and the like will add to the times shown.

What should I know about when using money and credit cards in Australia?

  • Australia’s currency is the Australian dollar (NZ$)
  • As a guide, in December 2016, for every US$1.00 you get AU$1.33

Here’s some more local money tips

  • All of the major credit cards can be used in Australia.
  • ATM machines are found throughout the country in both small towns and cities.
  • International credit cards and ATM cards with a four-digit PIN encoded are widely accepted but please check with your bank before leaving home to make sure your card has been unlocked for use outside of the USA.
  • A 10% Goods & Service Tax, GST, tax is added to all goods and services and is included in the price you pay.
  • In restaurants and bars, in fact in most places, tips are not expected for normal service. However, tipping for extra special service or kindness is at the discretion of the visitor, usually 10%.
  • Hotels and restaurants in Australia do not add service charges to their bills.

Do I need a visa?

No visa is required for U.S. passport holders for a stay of up to 3 months.

Your passport must be valid for at least a further three months beyond the date you intend to leave Australia. Please check these documents carefully.

In addition you will need evidence of having a return ticket back to the USA or an onward ticket to a country that you have the required documents to enter.

You must also have sufficient available funds to support yourself during your stay – approximately NZ$1000 per month per person although this is rarely actually checked, especially when you have a valid credit card.

Do I need inoculations or vaccinations?

As long as you have been living continuously in the USA for the 3 months prior to your arrival, no vaccinations or inoculations are required

Is Australia a safe place for visitors?

Australia is one of the safest countries in the world, in fact visitors sometimes become too relaxed about the security of their personal property.

Aussies are friendly, free-spirited and welcoming with a high respect for human rights and equality, so traveling can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages and cultures.

Always take the same precautions with your safety and possessions that you usually would at home.

  • Lock car doors, do not leave vehicles unattended for long periods in isolated spots.
  • Do not leave property within view in your car when unattended.
  • Do not camp by the side of the road when traveling alone.
  • Apply common sense at all times.

Leave photo-copies of your passports and visas with a friend or relative before you depart and make sure you have travel insurance.

Can I use my mobile phone in Australia?

Mobile phones that use the GSM network can be used (the phone must be unlocked) SIM cards can be purchased on arrival. Check your phone with your US phone provider before you depart.

Which local customs and rituals should I be aware of?


If encountering any of these customs and rituals the appropriate response is to remain quiet and respectful.

What “not-so-seriousl” tips could be helpful?

This is a ‘not-so-serious’ list of tips that will help make your vacation more enjoyable.


Where can I find out about local events happening in Australia during my visit?


Australian Vacations

Will it cost me more when we make our bookings with Australian Vacations?

No, it will not cost you more and sometimes it will cost you less. This is because we have special discounted rates with a wide range of hotels, rental-car companies and other tourism operators in New Zealand. This allows us to provide you with the most competitive rates in the market, the assurance of a quality vacation experience and with far less stress than trying to go it alone.

Plus, you get the bonus of our experience and advice about Australia included at no extra cost and you can’t put a price on that!

How long before I depart should I make my bookings?

Australia is experiencing an unprecedented surge in popularity by international visitors. This means that during the summer months between December and the end of March accommodation will be at a premium so an early booking, at least 6 months in advance, is strongly recommended.


For the spring and autumn months of November and April we suggest making your booking about 3 months in advance.