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How to Plan a Trip to Australia: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: August 25, 2022

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Waterfall in the lush rainforest wilderness of the Blue Mountain in Australia

Leura Cascades in the Blue Mountains, Australia

When planning a trip to Australia, the following answers to the most common travel questions can help you confidently create an excellent travel itinerary.

Whether you want to see the Great Barrier Reef’s colorful coral, discover the Aboriginal legends of Uluru, explore Australia’s best wine regions, or enjoy glamor in Sydney Harbour, this guide will share everything you need to know.

Discover the best times to visit Australia’s states and territories, popular destinations, safety information, and more recommendations for your vacation.

Overview
  1. Can I travel to Australia?
  2. When is the best time to visit Australia?
  3. How many days should I spend in Australia?
  4. What are Australia’s states and territories?
  5. What are the most popular destinations in Australia?
  6. Are there remote destinations to avoid the crowds in Australia?
  7. How to decide where to go in Australia?
  8. Can I also visit New Zealand on a multi-country trip from Australia?
  9. What should I do on my trip to Australia?
  10. Should I visit the Great Barrier Reef?
  11. Does Australia have good beaches?
  12. Is Australia a good place for outdoor adventures?
  13. Where can I see wildlife in Australia?
  14. Is Australia a good place for wine?
  15. How do I travel around Australia?
  16. Is Australia a good destination for families?
  17. Is Australia suitable for senior travelers?
  18. Is Australia suitable for couples or honeymooners?
  19. What food should I try in Australia?
  20. Is Australia safe to visit?
  21. What language do they speak in Australia?
  22. What are some popular Australian slang terms?
  23. What vaccinations do I need to travel to Australia?
  24. Which airports should I plan for?
  25. Do I need a visa for Australia?
  26. What currency does Australia use?
  27. How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Australia?
  28. Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Can I travel to Australia?

Australia is open to American travelers.

You can freely enter Australia on vacation if you have the appropriate travel documentation. Your Zicasso travel specialist can update you on the requirements and any government-enforced travel restrictions in the rare chance entry requirements change.

Besides Australia, the entire South Pacific region is open to travelers. If you would like to learn more about where in the world you can visit on vacation, check out our guide on Where Americans Can Travel Right Now.

Learn more: Plan Your Trip to Australia

When is the best time to visit Australia?

The best time to visit Australia is from March to May or September to November. These months represent the shoulder seasons, fall and spring, boasting milder temperatures than summer, reasonable travel rates, and fewer crowds.

The best time to visit Australia may differ from one state or territory to another, but the fall and spring months are ideal for most travel experiences. For example, you could explore the Northern Territory’s Uluru in September, sip wine in the Barossa Valley in May, or swim with the Great Barrier Reef’s sealife in October.

December to February is the hottest time of the year in Australia, while June to August brings winter weather to many parts of the country. As Australia is a year-round destination, you can visit during the summer and winter months if you can manage the heat or wish to see snow in areas like the Australian Alps.

Learn more: Best Time to Visit Australia

How many days should I spend in Australia?

You can spend as long or as little as you like in Australia, though typical tours range from 10 to 14 days.

This is an excellent timeframe, as you can spend your days exploring several places. You could, for example, enjoy a family trip that includes Melbourne, Sydney, and Port Douglas, or embrace romance on your honeymoon from Sydney to Uluru, Cairns, Mossman, and Melbourne.

Shorter trips are also possible with Zicasso on highlight tours of famous cities. We also plan extended vacations for travelers who wish to explore slowly, visiting popular destinations and places off the beaten path, or combine their trip with a stop in New Zealand.

What are Australia’s states and territories?

There are six states and two territories in Australia and the list below highlights them:

  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia
  • Northern Territory
  • Australian Capital Territory

What are the most popular destinations in Australia?

Within Australia’s six states and two territories, there are many great travel destinations and the following list shares the most popular:

  • Sydney
  • Uluru
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Melbourne
  • Darwin
  • Tasmania
  • Kimberley
  • Perth
  • Great Ocean Road
  • Kangaroo Island

Discover the highlights of these destinations, recommendations for how long to spend in each city, town, region, or island, and more in our guide to the 10 Best Places to Visit in Australia. You can also explore information on the 8 Best Cities to Visit in Australia.

Are there remote destinations to avoid the crowds in Australia?

From the Great Barrier Reef’s secret islands to rural towns in the outback, desert villages in Western Australia, and breathtaking resorts along its coastlines, the following list showcases the best remote destinations to avoid crowds:

  • Hyde Wildlife Park
  • Cape York
  • Kiwirrkurra Community
  • Macquarie Island
  • Wolfe Creek Crater
  • Lizard Island
  • Heron Island
  • Fitzroy Island

Learn more: The Most Remote Destinations in Australia To Escape The Crowds5 Best Secret Islands of the Great Barrier Reef

How to decide where to go in Australia?

Australia is a massive country, with large states and territories offering many options to visit. So when planning your trip, you may find it challenging to decide where to go, but understanding the type of experience you wish to have can guide your decisions.

Some travelers visit popular cities like Sydney and Melbourne, and spend days exploring the Great Barrier Reef. At the same time, thrill-seekers and adventurers relish itineraries that take them to Port Douglas, Daintree National Park, and Cradle Mountain. Couples may prefer the quiet romance of Uluru and Mossman, while seniors may prefer Alice Springs and Cairns.

A Zicasso travel specialist can help you choose where to go and craft an itinerary unique to you.

Can I also visit New Zealand on a multi-country trip from Australia?

New Zealand is around the corner from Australia, so it is common for travelers to combine their Australian vacation with a few days in New Zealand.

Our Zicasso travel specialists plan thousands of multi-country trips to Australia and New Zealand, and we have a wide selection of sample itineraries that include both.

Besides a trip to Australia and New Zealand, you can easily visit other destinations in the South Pacific, like Bora Bora and Fiji, from Australia.

Learn more: Australia & New Zealand ToursSouth Pacific Vacations & Tours

What should I do on my trip to Australia?

From fine dining in Sydney to road trips along the Great Ocean Road, swimming in the Great Barrier Reef, and stargazing in Uluru, this list showcases the top things to do:

  • Cruise Sydney Harbour with dinner on board, visiting famous beaches and landmarks like the Sydney Opera House
  • Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for panoramic views of the city
  • Explore the Aboriginal history and Australian heritage on cultural tours of museums, exhibits, and traditional villages
  • Discover the Great Ocean Road on a road trip or trek along the Australian coastline
  • Dine under the stars accompanied by traditional Aboriginal stories
  • Admire the natural beauty of the famous Uluru rock formation
  • Dive into the translucent waters of the Great Barrier Reef to spot rare marine species and swim around the rainbow-colored reef
  • Traverse trails weaving beneath the Daintree Rainforest canopy
  • Walk across the striking yellow landscape of the Pinnacles Desert
  • Learn to surf some of the world’s best waves at Australia’s famous beaches

Explore our guide to the Top 9 Things to Do in Australia, which shares more insight into the unique travel experiences across the country, helping you select the best things to do.

Should I visit the Great Barrier Reef?

As one of the world's natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef is a bucket-list experience. The coral formations are breathtaking, you can discover rare marine species, and there are sensational scuba-diving spots to explore. You should, if time allows, visit the Great Barrier Reef at least once.

Learn more: Great Barrier Reef Tours and VacationsThe Great Barrier Reef’s Great Eight and Where to Find Them

Does Australia have good beaches?

Surf, snorkel, scuba dive, or relax on Australia’s beaches, some of the best in the world. Whether you want to enjoy the seclusion of hidden coves or the glamor of famous seaside resorts, there are beaches for every type of traveler. Below, we share a list of the top ones:

  • Whitehaven Beach, Queensland
  • The Spit, Queensland
  • Bells Beach, Victoria
  • Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
  • Twilight Beach, Western Australia
  • Cable Beach, Western Australia
  • Bondi Beach, New South Wales
  • Hyams Beach, New South Wales

Is Australia a good place for outdoor adventures?

From hiking to cycling, snorkeling to scenic drives, Australia is an excellent place for outdoor adventures.

Each state or territory shares unique experiences that leverage the qualities of their environments. For example, hiking trails carve through lush forests in Queensland, cycling tracks descend the desert banks of South Australia, and scuba diving spots pepper Western Australia’s coastline.

From one destination or national park to the next, you can embrace the thrill of outdoor adventure when you visit Australia.

Learn more: 7 Best Adventure Destinations in Australia10 Best National Parks in Australia8 Most Popular Cycling Routes in Australia

Where can I see wildlife in Australia?

See koalas clinging to trees, watch humpback whales breach the water of the Great Barrier Reef, or feed baby kangaroos as you spot and interact with Australian wildlife in the following places:

  • Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
  • Kangaroo Island, South Australia
  • Rottnest Island, Western Australia
  • Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
  • Daintree Rainforest, Queensland
  • Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
  • Montague Island, New South Wales
  • Phillip Island, Victoria

Learn more: Australia Safari ToursAustralia Kangaroo Safaris5 Best Wildlife Places to Visit in Australia with Family

Is Australia a good place for wine?

Australia produces some of the best wines in the world. Shiraz, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and sémillon are some of the best wine varieties in the country. From the Barossa to Yarra Valley, you can visit world-class vineyards to taste exceptional vintages and learn about local wine-making culture.

Learn more: Australian Wine Tours4 Best Wine Regions in Australia

How do I travel around Australia?

Planes, trains, buses, private and rental cars, and boats are some of the best ways to travel around.

You will find that some modes of transportation are more efficient than others, while some are more scenic. For example, flying is the quickest way to get from one city to the next, while cross-country train trips are breathtaking ways to travel between states or territories. Cars and buses are best for city tours, while boats are best for island hopping.

Wherever you go and whatever you do, your Zicasso travel specialist will arrange appropriate transfers for your trip, keeping in mind your idea of the perfect vacation.

Learn more: The Best Ways to Travel Around Australia8 Best Scenic Drives in AustraliaTop 5 Scenic Train Rides in Australia

Is Australia a good destination for families?

From little explorers to beach-loving teenagers, adventure families, and grown-up history buffs, Australia is an excellent destination for all family members.

You can enjoy the laidback lifestyle and family-friendly atmosphere as you spend time discovering the country. There are wildlife sanctuaries where you can see koalas clinging to trees, the Great Barrier Reef’s spectacular coral gardens for snorkeling, and a culinary culture of flavorful dishes accessible to young palates.

Soak up the sunshine on Sydney’s beaches, explore the world-class museum exhibits in Melbourne, or trek across the Australian outback on your next family trip.

Learn more: Australia Family Vacations

Is Australia suitable for senior travelers?

A laidback atmosphere envelops Australia’s cities, making it a stunning destination for senior travelers wanting a relaxing and comfortable vacation in the South Pacific. Historic neighborhoods like the Rocks express a cultural vibrancy in and amongst the modern cityscapes, and the coast boasts lavish resort towns for senior trips under the sun.

You can experience Australian musical culture in the Sydney Opera House by watching a local performance, cross the sea to Fitzroy Island to discover the Great Barrier Reef in style, and learn about Aboriginal history against the backdrop of Uluru.

Australia’s commitment to senior tourism shines through the expert guides leading insightful tours, first-class accommodations catering to your every need, and captivating experiences you can enjoy without a hurry.

Learn more: Australia Tours for Seniors

Is Australia suitable for couples or honeymooners?

Sip wines in the Barossa Valley, enjoy each other's company on a Great Ocean Road trip, or embrace seclusion on an island resort in Australia, a dream destination for couples and honeymooners.

Australia tours for couples can combine adventure in the Great Barrier Reef with relaxation on secret islands, wine tasting across the countryside with city tours. From the Southern Highlands of New South Wales to Tasmania’s Cradle Mountains, you can get lost in the beauty of Australia as you explore with your partner.

There are exquisite seaside and outback accommodations to elevate your romantic experience, and expert guides to take you on private tours of highlights, including the Blue Mountains and Daintree Rainforest.

Learn more: Australia Tours for Couples6 Most Romantic Places in Australia for Couples5 Most Romantic Things to Do in Australia for CouplesAustralia Honeymoon Packages

What food should I try in Australia?

Global culinary influence translates into Australian cuisine, though there is a unique local flair to dishes and various authentic Australian foods to try. The following list shares the top foods to enjoy:

  • Savory pies
  • Australian barbie, or barbecue
  • Kangaroo
  • Emu
  • Lamingtons
  • Chicken parmigiana
  • Pavlova
  • Barramundi
  • Snags, Australian sausages
  • Bowen mangoes

Is Australia safe to visit?

Australia is very safe for travelers. The crime rate is low, locals are friendly, and the lifestyle is carefree.

Many visitors fear snakes, spiders, and aggressive wildlife, but it's unlikely you will encounter wildlife threats in Australian cities or when traveling with a destination expert. Some travelers express concerns about touring the outback and Australia’s remote regions. However, you can navigate these harsh environments comfortably with your knowledgeable guide, plenty of sunscreen, and bottled water.

Some travelers also worry about natural disasters, such as bushfires, droughts, floods, and cyclones. That said, your Zicasso travel specialist will guide you through the precautions to take and update you before your trip.

When planning your trip to Australia, a Zicasso travel specialist can provide you with all the safety guidance you may require to enjoy a worry-free vacation.

What language do they speak in Australia?

Australia’s official language is Australian English, a dialect with some differences from American English in terms of spelling and grammar.

For the most part, you will have absolutely no issues communicating with locals, hotel concierges, restaurant staff, and others on your trip. However, you will hear some unique Australian slang.

What are some popular Australian slang terms?

The most popular Australian slang terms you will hear on your vacation include:

  • Barbie, barbecue
  • Sheila, women
  • Bloke, man
  • Mate, friend
  • Bonzer/bonza, excellent
  • Arvo, afternoon
  • Sunnies, sunglasses
  • Cabbie, taxi driver
  • Crikey!, an exclamation of surprise
  • Joey, baby kangaroo
  • Mozzie, mosquito
  • Dunny, toilet

What vaccinations do I need to travel to Australia?

The CDC Australia Vaccination Information provides a comprehensive list of vaccination recommendations for your trip.

While you may not require these to enter Australia, we recommend you consult your doctor or travel nurse about the most appropriate vaccinations for the areas you plan to visit.

Which airports should I plan for?

The best airport to fly in and out of when visiting Australia is Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD). Sydney’s international airport is Australia’s largest and one of three with direct flights from the United States. Below, we share the top options for international and domestic flights, including airports in Melbourne and Brisbane:

  • Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD), Sydney
  • Melbourne Airport (MEL), Melbourne
  • Brisbane Airport (BNE), Brisbane
  • Adelaide Airport (ADL), Adelaide
  • Perth Airport (PER), Perth
  • Cairns Airport (CNS), Cairns

Do I need a visa for Australia?

For trips to Australia for fewer than 90 days, US passport holders must obtain a visa or approved Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).

Before your trip, a Zicasso travel specialist can provide you with further information on obtaining one of these requirements and more insight into any potential changes thereto.

What currency does Australia use?

The official currency of Australia is the Australian dollar ($).

You will use Australian dollars across the country, so we advise visiting a currency exchange provider to take cash with you. That said, many establishments in tourist destinations like Sydney and Melbourne accept electronic payments in the form of Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Australia?

You can plan your trip to Australia with the help of a Zicasso travel specialist. Having designed thousands of tours across Australia, our specialists create itineraries you can view on our Australia Tours & Vacations page.

From family-friendly ideas on exploring the Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s famous cities to honeymoons in Cairns and the Cradle Mountains, these sample trips can inspire your custom trip.

With an idea of where you would like to go and what you would like to do, you can fill out a Trip Request to get in touch with a travel specialist. The additional questions in this form will help our Travel Care team match you with a top travel specialist who can tailor your itinerary.

From planning to booking and assisting with emergencies that may occur during your vacation, your designated travel specialist will provide you with the support to enjoy a stress-free trip from the moment you inquire till the moment you return home.

Learn more: How to Plan Your Zicasso Trip in 4 Easy StepsHow to Plan Your Zicasso Trip Budget in 3 Easy Steps

Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Opera House and Harbour in Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Whether you wish to taste wine, sail between islands, or step into the remarkable outback desert, you can find the best ideas for your trip with sample itineraries from our Australia Tours & Vacations.

The marvels of Australia can introduce you to ancient culture in North Queensland or the famous Sydney Opera House, café culture in Melbourne, and whale watching near Perth. To learn more about Australia and find additional inspiration for your trip, visit our Australia Travel Guide.

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