Australian Travel Hints

  • Australian Travel Hints

    Hiking Backpackers

    To get the most out of your time in Australia it’s a good idea to be well prepared. The friendly staff at our YHA hostels are always willing to answer your questions using their local knowledge. If you want to know a little more about visa requirements, our many varied climates, and other useful information to plan your trip these tips should help.

    Before You Leave

    Always give a family member or friend a copy of your itinerary so they can contact you in an emergency.

    Weather and Climate

    Australia is commonly thought of as a predominantly hot and dry continent, however this is not always the case. The vast size of Australia means that the climate varies significantly across regions and seasons. Further north the climate is mostly tropical, the southern areas are cooler with some areas receiving snow fall and our inland areas are mostly hot and dry. Australian seasons are the opposite of the northern hemisphere with winter from June to August and summer from December to February. While you are in Australia it’s important to be aware of the Australian sun.  Avoid embarrassing sunburn by wearing a shirt, a hat and SPF30+ sunscreen daily.

    Sandman On Beach


    The currency used in Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD). Currency exchange is available at most banks, hotels, airports and other currency exchange agents. You should always try to hold currency in multiple forms, that is:

    • Cash for daily expenses and emergencies
    • Travellers cheques, pre-paid travel cards or debit cards for the bulk of your funds
    • Credit cards for unexpected or larger expenditures

    Tip: Try to capitalise on exchange rates by monitoring your currency well in advance of your planned trip. Additionally, some credit cards are more traveller friendly than others and wave the currency conversion fee.

    The Mobile Application Revolution

    Smartphones offer travellers many benefits when venturing abroad. These devices run many applications (apps) that can assist with various aspects of travelling. Most major cities will have local apps to assist you with public transport, finding restaurants, locating attractions and more. Your YHA hostel staff may be able to help you find some helpful apps for the area.

    Mobile and Tablet

    Emergency Assistance

    In the event of an emergency (police, ambulance or fire) dial 000.

    Travel Insurance

    If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Regardless of whether you’re currently healthy, accidents happen all the time. Without a comprehensive travel insurance policy, ambulances, time in hospital, loss of baggage and last minute cancellations can cost thousands of dollars. If the initial pain of injuring yourself or losing your bag doesn’t hurt the bill at the end definitely will.

     First Aid Kit

    Water Safety

    When swimming at any Australian beach, always swim between the red and yellow flags. This is the safest part of the beach for swimming and is monitored by lifesavers. Lifesavers monitor most Australian beaches and public pools, assisting swimmers who are in trouble. If you need help from a lifesaver, signal for help by holding one arm up and waving. While you wait for the lifesaver float on your back and stay calm. When in northern Australia, never swim where crocodiles are known to inhabit. Box jellyfish also inhabit the waters in northern Australia during the months of October to April. Remember to wear SPF30+ sunscreen when swimming and reapply after you get out of the water. For more information visit

    Do not enter water if you are unable to swim and always swim in groups of two or more.

    Bondi Beachouse YHA - Tourist shot - Beach

    Personal Safety and Security

    Australia is generally a safe destination to visit with a stable political system and a low crime rate when compared to the rest of the world. However, it is important to take precautions when travelling away from home and monitor your personal safety and possessions. It is strongly recommended that you do not hitchhike in Australia; it is unsafe and even illegal in some states. When travelling long distances, always carry plenty of fuel, food and water.  It is recommended that when driving for extended periods of time you take a break every two hours.

    Note: All Australian states have restrictions on the blood alcohol level permitted when driving. Penalties can range from fines to jail time. 

    Bushwalking or Hiking

    If you’re planning to bushwalk or hike while in Australia it’s important to research the distance and difficulty of the route before you leave. For longer, more challenging walks it is recommended that you use a local guide. If you decide to go alone, ensure you tell someone where you are going, when you expect to return and the expected route you will be taking. To ensure you return safely with no injuries remember to pack accordingly take water, food, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, wet weather clothing, protective footwear and a detailed topographic map.

    Tas Hiking Rock


    Bushfires commonly happen during drier and hotter periods of the year and almost any part of Australia could come under threat from bushfire at some time. Check weather forecasts in local newspapers, radio and television, and the fire services website for Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Ban days in areas where you live, work or are travelling.

    If you are going on holidays or travelling in rural areas, make sure you stay informed about bushfires while you are away. Check the Fire Danger Ratings and local fire restrictions, including Total Fire Bans for the areas you are travelling through and staying. You can find this information on the rural fire service web page for the state or territory you are travelling in.

    Fire Warning_shutterstock