WHAT TO EXPECT

What to Expect

Weather

Australia is located in the southern hemisphere, so the seasons are reversed. This means August is still winter season in Sydney, so the climate is much cooler than at other times of the year. There is also a greater chance of rain. However, with a subtropical climate, Sydney enjoys pleasant conditions in general throughout the year, so visitors should not be deterred from visiting the city in August.

Throughout August the average daytime temperatures in Sydney are a temperate 57°F though it can get quite cold, especially in the evenings. Average minimum temperatures generally tend to hover around 48°F, so carrying warm clothing would be advisable at night. However, despite it being winter, high temperatures in the city still regularly hit 65°F.

Language

Australia has no official language, but is largely monolingual with English being the de facto national language. Australian English has a distinctive accent and vocabulary.  Sydney is Australia’s most multicultural city where four out of six people in some suburbs speak a language other than English at home.

Time Differences

Sydney (Australian Eastern Time), is fifteen hours ahead of Central Time, seventeen hours ahead of Pacific time and eight hours ahead of Pacific Time.  The International Date Line crossing the Pacific Ocean changes the date by one day. If you cross the date line moving east, you subtract a day; if traveling west you add on a day (with local variations). Traveling direct from the West Coast to Australia you arrive two days later; traveling back, you arrive the same day you departed.

Hotels

Stay in a room and enjoy all the creature comforts of home. From elegant boutique hotels to large high-end international brands, Sydney hotels offer guests a great range of facilities, including pools, gyms, business centers, restaurants and bars. Ratings range from two to five stars and prices vary accordingly.

Food

There’s a freedom and creativity to their food and wine that helps them produce fresh and innovative flavors, including world-class wines, exciting ingredients and ‘fusion’ food. But what really sets Australia apart is their stunning weather, outstanding natural beauty and outdoor dining lifestyle. You can enjoy some of the world’s best food and wine in some of the world’s most stunning surroundings. Australia does open air dining like nowhere else.

Electricity

The voltage in Australia is 230V. If you plan to bring an appliance (including phones) that only uses 110 voltage (standard for US), please bring a converter and wall adaptor. If the appliance is dual voltage, you will only need a wall adapter. Power outlets accept only flat three-pin plugs.

Wi-fi

Public WiFi is available in an ever-increasing number of cafés, bars, restaurants, hotels and other public areas. All major Australian airports and most train stations provide WiFi access.

Most Australian hotels offer high-speed Internet services in the lobby or guestrooms. There are alternatives if wireless and ethernet service is not available, including cellular cards and WiFi hot spots. Please note that any Internet charges assessed are the responsibility of the traveler. 

Currency

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 cent and one and two dollar denominations.

Tipping

Tipping for good service has become more common Down Under. Australia, however, has a non-tipping culture.  Most restaurants and pubs have tipping jars, but they’re not commonly used. Showing appreciation for good personal service with a tip is not uncommon in cities and at popular tourist destinations.  As anywhere else in the world, tipping in Australia is entirely voluntary, and no one should feel obligated to tip.

Credit Cards & ATMs

The easiest way to get cash away from home is from an ATM (automated teller machine) with an international network such as Cirrus (Mastercard) or PLUS (Visa). Credit cards such as American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa and JCB are accepted in Australia. VISA or MasterCard are commonly accepted and are both accepted everywhere credit cards are accepted. American Express and Diners Club are accepted at major supermarket and department store chains and many tourist destinations. Discover is not usually accepted. It is best to carry more than one type of card as not all cards are accepted by all merchants. Always carry a little cash, because many shops will not take cards for purchases under AUD$15. Merchants may impose credit card surcharges in some places.

Tax Refund

The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) is part of the Australian Government’s tax system.  The TRS allows Australians and overseas visitors to claim a refund, (subject to certain conditions), of the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalization tax paid on goods bought in Australia and then taken out of Australia in checked luggage or carry-on bags. 

International Calling

Australian cell phones operate on a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) standard. To use your existing cell phone, contact your service provider and ask if your phone operates on a GSM standard. If so, your phone should work abroad but may incur international roaming fees. 

Safety

Generally, most of Australia is considered safe; however, taking the usual precautions are recommended. Guard your tickets and travel documents as you would your cash. Be alert for pickpockets, especially near tourist attractions. Place your passport on your body or in an interior pocket of your backpack. We also recommend using hotel safes where available. 

 

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Destination NSW is the lead government agency for the New South Wales (NSW) tourism and major events sectors. LEARN MORE

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