Religion: There is no state religion in Australia and religious beliefs are diverse. Around 60% of Australians identify themselves as Christian.
Language: English is the main language in Australia and is spoken just about everywhere. Australian English does have some peculiarities and a distinct accent that may take some getting used to. There are around 70 indigenous languages still spoken. The large immigrant population means that there is also some Italian, Greek and Chinese spoken in these communities.
Area (sq. km):
7,686,850 square meters
Time: There are three time zones in Australia. Eastern Standard Time (EST) applies in the east and is GMT +10. The centre is GMT +9.5 and the west is GMT +8. Daylight savings applies in summer months in much of the country.
Airports: Sydney Airport is the most common entry into the country. All capital and major cities and tourist areas are serviced by airports, which are largely connected by bus and taxi, and sometimes train, to the city.
Telephone: Calling code: +61
Electricity plugs have three flat blades – two at the top which are angled and one at the bottom which is vertical.
Food: Australian cities offer a vast array of cuisine, reflecting the cultural mix of the country – fantastic Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian, Greek, Turkish and Lebanese is easy to track down in the cities. There is very little purely ‘Australian’ food – other than perhaps a meat pie and tomato sauce, or a steak on the barbeque. Local meats include emu, crocodile and kangaroo.
Transport: Because of the vast distances in Australia, long trips are easiest by plane. Airports service most major cities and regions. Good quality roads access much of the country, but in remote outback areas, roads may be rough, rutted or impassable in the wet. Trains connect the major centres.
Shopping: Australian products include opals, wool, leather and sheepskin products, fine local wine, surf brand clothing and vegemite (breakfast spread). Indigenous arts and crafts include a wide range of paintings in traditional and modern styles on bark or canvas; didgeridoos and boomerangs.
Nationalities other than Australians and New Zealanders will need a visa to visit Australia. Short term visas have largely been replaced by the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), however it is your responsibility to check the relevant authorities if this applies to you.
Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities. You should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.