What you need to know for your trip to Australia
VISA APPLICATIONS - GENERAL INFORMATION
The following information is provided by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. We recommend that all overseas participants to the World Congress on Positive Psychology read this carefully.
On 23 March 2013, the department implemented changes to the types of visas available to persons wishing to travel to Australia to attend, participate at, or compete in events being held in Australia.
Under Australia's universal visa system, all visitors to Australia must have a valid visa to travel to and enter Australia (other than New Zealand passport holders who will normally be granted a Special Category visa on arrival, provided they meet health and character requirements; and permanent residents of Norfolk Island who may be granted a Permanent Resident of Norfolk Island visa on arrival). For more information, see the fact sheet: http://www.border.gov.au/about/corporate/information/fact-sheets/47temporary-residence
There are many visa options available to people wishing to visit Australia. The appropriate visa option will depend, amongst other things, on the person's purpose for visiting Australia.
Click here for the new visa fact sheet, effective from 1 July 2013. This fact sheet includes information about the visa options available for those who are travelling to Australia as business visitors, including the new arrangements in place for online applications for the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa and the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa (subclass 400). For the purposes of attending this event, you may wish to consider applying for one of these visas, based on your role at the event.
Please note that only certain passport holders are eligible to apply for these visas online.
If your sole reason for coming to Australia is to attend this conference, please apply for this VISA.
For information on who can apply for the eVisitor (subclass 651) visa online, please go to: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/651-
For any other circumstances, please view the below VISA's:
For information on who can apply for the ETA (Subclass 601) visa online, please go to: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/601-
For information on who can apply for the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa online, please go to: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/600-
For information on who can apply for the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa (subclass 400) online, please go to: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/400-
We recommend that applicants applying for a paper-based visa lodge their application at least 6-8 weeks before their intended travel date to Australia. All travellers to Australia must have a valid visa before boarding their plane. Travellers to Australia cannot apply for a visa on arrival.
Australia is divided into three separate time zones: Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), and Australian Western Standard Time (AWST).
AEST is equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 10 hours (UTC +10). This covers the following states (which includes Melbourne); Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
ACST is equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 9½ hours (UTC +9½). This covers the following states; South Australia and the Northern Territory.
AWST is equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 8 hours (UTC +8). This covers the state of Western Australia.
You may need an adapter in order to plug your appliances into the power sockets: the adapter required for Australia is Type 1 Australia plug. The plugs in Australia have two flat metal pins, forming an inverted 'V' shape, and occaisionally a third pin in the centre. The electrical current in Australia is 220-240 volts, AC 50Hz
Post offices are usually open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, with some city post offices open on Saturday morning. Travellers can arrange to collect mail at post offices throughout Australia.
In Australia cars, trams, bikes and other vehicles travel on the left-hand side of the road of a bi-directional traffic. Pedestrians also walk on the left-hand side of a path or a corridor in general. Look to your RIGHT first then left to check incoming traffic when crossing a street or road. Same rules apply when you are making turns when driving. The steering wheel of an Australian car is on the right-hand side.
Australia's national currency is Australian Dollars (AUD), 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.
Credit cards such as American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa, UnionPay and JCB are accepted in Australia. VISA or MasterCard can be used everywhere credit cards are accepted. American Express and Diners Club are accepted at major supermarket and department store chains and many tourist destinations. A good tip is to carry multiple credit cards and a little cash. Merchants may impose credit card surcharges in some places.
Traveller's cheques are not widely accepted in Australia. If you do purchase traveller's cheques, it is best to buy them in Australian dollars as smaller shops, restaurants and other businesses are unlikely to know what the exchange rate is if you present a cheque in a different currency such as US dollars or British pounds.
Australia has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 percent. You may be able to claim a refund for the GST paid on goods if you have spent AUD $300 or more with a single business, no more than 60 days before departing Australia. Tourist Refund Scheme facilities are located in the departure are of international terminals.
Australia's seasons are at opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere. June to August is winter, and during July Melbourne experiences average maximum temperatures of around 14 degrees Celsius (or 57 degrees Fahrenheit) and average minimum temperatures of 6.7 degrees Celsius (or 44 degrees Fahrenheit). Melbourne typically experiences around 50 mm average rainfall in July.
Hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill, and tipping is always your choice. In upmarket restaurants, it is common to leave a tip to waiters of 10 percent of the bill for good service.
Some restaurants and cafes will add a 10 percent surcharge to prices on weekends and bank holidays. This is supposed to cover a slightly higher minimum wage for working these days. Some will also charge an extra 1.5 to 3% for card payments. These extra charges will be clearly stated on the menu or at the cash register.
INTERNATIONAL DIALLING CODES
The international dialling code for Australia is 61. Each region also has an area code, including Central East (New South Wales, Australia Capital Territory) with area code 02; South East (Victoria, Tasmania) with area code 03; Mobile telephones (Australia-wide) with area code 04; North East (Queensland) with area code 07; and Central and West (Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory) with area code 08. When calling from outside Australia, leave out the leading '0' from the area code or mobile phone number.
The outgoing IDD (international direct dialing) code from within Australia is 0011.
Mobile phone network coverage is available across Australia, however coverage may be limited in some remote areas.
Internet access and free WiFi is widely available at internet cafes, accommodation and libraries.
The emergency number in Australia is 000