Australia

With bright blue skies, immense red deserts, sun-bronzed beaches and vast green wetlands, Australia is big, bold and full of contrasts. Come and experience the kaleidoscope of brilliant colours this country proudly showcases.

Australia Tours & Travel

Top holiday deals in Australia

Abreise Days Preis USD
3 Aug 2015 10 Day Coast and Karijini 10 $1184
5 Aug 2015 5 Day Perth to Exmouth 5 $668
5 Aug 2015 7 Day Perth to Exmouth (& Return) 7 $864
6 Aug 2015 7 Day Adelaide to Alice Springs Explorer 7 $788
6 Aug 2015 6 Day Alice Springs to Adelaide Explorer 6 $708

All our Australia trips

3 Day Uluru Safari

3 days from
USD $582
CAD $603
AUD $590
EUR €408
GBP £340
NZD $658
ZAR R5,911
CHF FR493

Uluru Safari is the ideal short trip for those wanting to experience the Australian outback in a narrow time frame....

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3 Day Uluru Safari ex Yulara

3 days from
USD $582
CAD $603
AUD $590
EUR €408
GBP £340
NZD $658
ZAR R5,911
CHF FR493

This 3 day Uluru Safari is the ideal short trip for those wanting to experience the Australian Outback in a small...

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3 Day Uluru Explorer ex Yulara

3 days from
USD $442
CAD $453
AUD $446
EUR €307
GBP £258
NZD $495
ZAR R4,466
CHF FR371

The Uluru Explorer is the perfect trip for those wanting to experience Australia's Outback in a narrow time frame....

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3 Day Uluru Explorer

3 days from
USD $501
CAD $514
AUD $505
EUR €348
GBP £293
NZD $561
ZAR R5,061
CHF FR420

This 3 Day Uluru Explorer is the ideal short trip for those wanting to experience the Australian outback in a narrow...

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9 Day Nullarbor Unleashed

9 days from
USD $1,380
CAD $1,420
AUD $1,395
EUR €960
GBP £805
NZD $1,555
ZAR R13,965
CHF FR1,160

Traverse the map of Australia from Perth to Adelaide on a wildlife adventure trip across the Nullarbor Plain, passing...

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Expedition - Earthwatch Wildlife of Australia's Rainforests

7 days from
USD $2,170
CAD $2,240
AUD $2,195
EUR €1,510
GBP £1,270
NZD $2,445
ZAR R21,970
CHF FR1,830

Travel out to the rainforests of Northern Queensland. Help out with fieldwork, learn some handy new skills and get up...

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21 Day Perth to Darwin

21 days from
USD $3,645
CAD $3,765
AUD $3,690
EUR €2,540
GBP £2,135
NZD $4,110
ZAR R36,940
CHF FR3,075

The Aussie outback is calling on this awesome 4x4 tour of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Explore the...

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Wild Kimberley

9 days from
USD $2,465
CAD $2,545
AUD $2,495
EUR €1,715
GBP £1,440
NZD $2,780
ZAR R24,970
CHF FR2,080

Overloaded with natural wonders and steeped in history, the wild Kimberley region of Australia is the ideal place for...

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Broome to the Bungle Bungles

5 days from
USD $1,730
CAD $1,785
AUD $1,750
EUR €1,205
GBP £1,010
NZD $1,950
ZAR R17,515
CHF FR1,455

Travel to the outback of north-west Australia on a tour from Broome Beach to the Bungle Bungles on an unforgettable...

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Cape Leveque Experience

3 days from
USD $985
CAD $1,015
AUD $995
EUR €685
GBP £575
NZD $1,110
ZAR R9,960
CHF FR830

Discover the beauty of Cape Leveque and the Dampier Peninsula on a getaway from Broome's beaches through the dusty...

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9 Day 4WD Broome to Darwin

9 days from
USD $1,970
CAD $2,035
AUD $1,995
EUR €1,375
GBP £1,155
NZD $2,220
ZAR R19,970
CHF FR1,660

Travel on an epic 4x4 tour from the glistening beaches of Broome, across the wild Australian Outback into the...

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10 Day Western Wildlife Experience

10 days from
USD $1,480
CAD $1,525
AUD $1,495
EUR €1,030
GBP £865
NZD $1,665
ZAR R14,960
CHF FR1,245

Explore the southern map of Australia from Adelaide to Perth on a wildlife adventure trip across the Nullarbor Plain,...

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9 Day 4WD Darwin to Broome

9 days from
USD $1,970
CAD $2,035
AUD $1,995
EUR €1,375
GBP £1,155
NZD $2,220
ZAR R19,970
CHF FR1,660

Jump on an epic 4x4 tour from tropical Darwin across the wild Australian Outback into the Kimberley to the glistening...

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10 Day Broome to Perth

10 days from
USD $1,675
CAD $1,730
AUD $1,695
EUR €1,165
GBP £980
NZD $1,885
ZAR R16,965
CHF FR1,410

Soak up the laidback lifestyle of Australia's West Coast. From isolated beaches and vibrant reefs to red desert...

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21 Day Darwin to Perth

21 days from
USD $3,645
CAD $3,765
AUD $3,690
EUR €2,540
GBP £2,135
NZD $4,110
ZAR R36,940
CHF FR3,075

Discover the wild heart of the Australian Outback through the mighty Kimberleys and down along Western Australia's...

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West Macdonnell Ranges DayTrip

1 days from
USD $145
CAD $150
AUD $148
EUR €100
GBP £85
NZD $165
ZAR R1,480
CHF FR125

Venture into the Northern Territory's Western MacDonnell Ranges and visit Ormiston Gorge, Ellery Creek and Simpsons Gap.

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Expedition - Ultimate Western Australia Road Trip

21 days from
USD $8,463
CAD $8,736
AUD $8,565
EUR €5,892
GBP £4,949
NZD $9,539
ZAR R85,735
CHF FR7,134

Get a real sense of Australia's outback spirit on this 21-day journey that takes in metropolitan Perth, trundles...

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9 Day Territory Unleashed North

9 days from
USD $1,310
CAD $1,350
AUD $1,325
EUR €910
GBP £765
NZD $1,475
ZAR R13,260
CHF FR1,105

Journey from Alice Springs up to the Top End. Hike around Uluru, through Kata Tjuta and down into Kings Canyon....

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Australia trip reviews

Our Australia trips score an average of 4.29 out of 5 based on 83 reviews in the last year.

3.5 Day West Coast Explorer (Hobart to Hobart), July 2015

3 Day 4WD Kakadu/ Litchfield Safari, July 2015

Video

Articles on Australia

Great Barrier what? Meet Australia’s other marine wonderland

Posted on Fri, 3 Jul 2015

Here’s are 6 reasons to follow the Village People’s advice, point your compass due Ningaloo and ‘Go West’.

Read more

Into the wild: our 5 favourite spots in Australia’s Kimberley region

Posted on Wed, 24 Jun 2015

The Kimberley really is one of the last true wildernesses on earth. Welcome to our five favourite spots in Australia’s last frontier.

Read more

Sandsational: our pick of the world’s 7 most beautiful beaches

Posted on Sat, 2 May 2015

Picking the world’s best beach is a bit like arguing why your favourite colour should dominate the rainbow.

Read more

Is bigger always better? A guide to Australia’s weirdest big ‘things’

Posted on Fri, 23 Jan 2015

No one quite knows why, but there’s a twist in the Australian psyche that has made countless Aussies dedicate their lives to the construction of Big Things.

Read more

Transport

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Of course, there are times (like in the wide open spaces of the outback) when travelling in our own custom-built all-terrain vehicle is the most practical and flexible option. Depending on which trip you're on while in Australia, you may find yourself travelling by:

Accommodation

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in Australia you may find yourself staying in a:

About Australia

At a glance

Capital city: Canberra (population 307,000)
Population: 21.7 million
Language: English
Currency: AUD
Time zone: (GMT+10:00) Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney
Electricity: Type I (Australian/New Zealand & Chinese/Argentine 2/3-pin)
Dialing code: +61

Best time to visit Australia

Being such a large place, Australia has a wide range of climates so all year round there is somewhere great to visit.

Summer (December to February) can get very hot, but is perfect for beach-going and other outdoors activities. In the far north it is also the wet season, which can get quite humid and some beaches may be closed due to jellyfish or 'stingers'.

Winter (June to August) is pleasant and dry in the north but can get quite cold in the south, especially in Tasmania and Victoria where snowfall is common.

Spring and autumn are great times to visit Australia as the weather is milder, but still warm enough for swimming in northern areas.

Regardless of daytime temperatures, nights can get very cold in the desert areas of Central and Western Australia, so prepare accordingly.

The main school holiday period is from Christmas to late January, and is considered the peak travel time within Australia; expect popular tourist spots to be crowded during this time.

Adelaide weather chart Darwin weather chart Sydney weather chart Alice Springs weather chart

Culture and customs

Aboriginal boy
With a strong history of immigration, modern Australia is made up of people from many different cultural backgrounds. This mix makes Australia an endlessly fascinating place to visit as travellers will be exposed to a variety of different customs and cultures during their stay. From the ancient, spiritual ways of the indigenous population to the wide array of faiths, foods and festivals on display in the big cities, Australia is a cultural melting pot.

Despite the differences, there are many things that unify the people of Australia. Sports, in particular cricket, soccer and football (Australian Rules) are played and watched by the masses, irrespective of age, race, gender or income. Large sporting events like the AFL Grand Final, Melbourne Cup Day and the Boxing Day Cricket Test have universal appeal for Australians.

Australians relish public holidays, with national and state holidays offering locals time to relax with friends and family over a barbecue or picnic. Making use of Australia’s natural environment is also paramount during this time, with outdoor activities like bushwalking, swimming at the beach or lazing in the park popular with locals.

Eating and drinking

Eating oysters

Intrepid believes that one of the best ways of experiencing a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

Australia is a land that has been built by immigrants and these multicultural influences are evident in the wide array of food available. In the cities it’s possible to find world-class Vietnamese, Turkish, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Indian restaurants, as well as excellent gastro-pub fare. Head to the outback and you’ll find authentic 'bush tucker', simple campfire meals and sizzling barbecues.

Things to try in Australia

1. Fresh Seafood

With such an impressive coastline, it’s no wonder fresh oysters, prawns, mussels and ‘balmain bugs’ are devoured by locals and savoured by visitors. For those on a budget, there’s nothing wrong with eating fish and chips on the beach.

2. Wine

Australia creates some of the best wines in the world at South Australia’s Barossa Valley, Western Australia’s Margaret River and New South Wales’ Hunter Valley. Don’t miss the chance to taste some.

3. Beer

Whether you’re downing a can of VB in Victoria or sipping micro-brewed ale in Sydney, sharing a beer with mates is a social experience not to be missed when in Australia

4. Hot Pies

An Australian classic – savoury meat pies (or vegetable pies for the vegetarians) are best eaten with tomato sauce, and are easily found served in city cafes, country bakeries and football matches around Australia.

Geography and environment

Koala Outback
The continent of Australia is known for being one of the flattest, hottest and driest places on earth; but despite this there are an astounding variety of terrains and environments on this island nation. While large areas of Australia are covered in desert, there are also tropical rainforests, alpine snowfields, dense bushland, beaches, gorges, lakes and rivers to be found. Australia’s national parks are home to many species of birds and mammals not found in the wild anywhere else in the world including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies and wombats. Boasting many stunning white sand beaches, Australia has a coastline like none other. From busy Bondi to surfing icons like Bell’s Beach and Tasmania’s stunning Wineglass Bay, there are endless places to swim, surf, snorkel and paddle.

Despite Australia’s large landmass, most people tend to live in urban, coastal cities. Faster-paced cities like Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne hold much of the population, as do regional satellite cities such as Albury, Dubbo, Bunbury, Townsville, Newcastle and Geelong.

Outback towns have a unique flavour and a distinct way-of-life; things are slower here and due to smaller populations, space is plentiful with most locals relying on agriculture for a living. Venturing away from the city to visit the outback and rural areas of Australia is highly recommended as it gives travellers the chance to see a different side to Australia.

History and government

Bush tucker Aboriginal rock art

Early History

The land now known as Australia was inhabited by an indigenous population for thousands of years before white settlement and colonisation. Aboriginal tribes lived an independent lifestyle with the land providing all that was needed for survival; hunting, fishing and the gathering of berries and other edible plants provided sustenance for people. Tribes were largely nomadic – this allowed them to move around to find game and water and enable the land to regenerate in their absence. Tribal groups had different customs, rituals, music and language dialects, although the concept of ‘Dreamtime’ is a common theme in aboriginal culture and spirituality.

Rock paintings, middens (shell heaps) and other archaeological sites give us clues to ancient dreamtime stories, daily life, rituals and even the arrival of the white man. Central and Western Australia are particularly rich in ancient rock art and paintings, with some sites open to the public for viewing.

Recent History

Naval explorer Captain James Cook set foot on Australian soil in 1770, claiming the eastern coastline as British Territory. Australia was soon seen as a solution to overcrowding in British prisons and a way to expand the reach of the British Empire.

In 1788, 11 ships arrived from Great Britain carrying convicts, marines and settlers. The arrival of white settlers changed the face of Australia almost instantly. Much of the indigenous population fell victim to starvation and disease, with foreign diseases like small pox and loss of land devastating the aboriginal population. Colonisation soon expanded throughout Australia, with separate colonies being set up in Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria. Thousands of convicts and settlers arrived to populate the new colonies, essentially giving birth to modern Australia. Convict life was hard, with long days spent toiling in a harsh environment with the unforgiving climate making life difficult. Brutal physical punishment, public hangings and death from disease and malnutrition were commonplace. The free settlers also suffered, as limited access to healthcare and fresh produce created medical problems and malnutrition.

In the 1850s, Australia experienced a new wave of immigration due to the Gold Rush. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants from China, Britain, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Germany and France flocked to the Victorian goldfields to find their fortunes in the gold frenzy. This new wave of multiculturalism would be the first of many for Australia.

In 1901, the separate colonies united to form the Federation of Australia, meaning the nation was then governed under one constitution. Sir Edmund Barton became Australia’s first Prime Minister, governing the Commonwealth of Australia until 1903 when he stepped down to become a judge of Australia’s first High Court. A little more than a decade later, World War I was declared. Australia’s participation in World War I gave birth to the Anzac legend – the spirit of mateship, courage and honour that embodies the Australian way of life. Later on, Australia also participated in World War II, as well as the Korean War, Vietnam War and other conflicts and peacekeeping missions.

More recently, Australia has prospered with a strong economy based on tourism, agriculture and the export of resources and minerals like coal, iron and gold.

Top Picks

Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland Uluru Twelve Apostles Kimberley

Top 10 Places To See in Australia

1. Uluru

Nothing will prepare you for seeing Australia's most famous landmark for the first time. An important part of Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, this ancient monolith is a photographer's dream as it changes colours with the sun; from dazzling orange to dusty purple.

2. Great Barrier Reef

See the world's largest reef system - so big it can be seen from outer space! This World Heritage site, just off the coast of Queensland, is home to whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks, colourful coral and more than 1,500 species of fish. Go scuba diving or snorkelling to explore this incredible underwater world.

3. Twelve Apostles

Although there's actually only eight 'Apostles', these spectacular limestone rock stacks are a popular tourist spot along Victoria's Great Ocean Road. Formed by erosion that began 10-20 million years ago, the stacks rise majestically from the churning Southern Ocean. Hit the boardwalks, tracks and viewing areas for spectacular views.

4. Kakadu National Park

This region is a place of breathtaking beauty and incredible biodiversity. Steeped in Dreamtime history, Kakadu nurtures a staggering variety of landscapes and wildlife. Venture deep into the wilderness and discover gushing waterfalls, deep gorges, shimmering waterholes and rocky outcrops adorned with 20,000-year-old art.

5. Sydney Opera House

Set against a backdrop of that famous bridge which spans the sparkling harbour, the Opera House is one of Australia's most iconic sights. Those familiar sails, adorned with more than a million white tiles, host thousands of events and performances each year. Catch a show to admire the ornate interior, or take in the spectacular view from a ferry.

6. Kimberley

From deep gorges and dusty outback roads, and lush rainforests to idyllic billabongs, the landscape of this beautiful region is truly enchanting. A trip to the Kimberly can be as active or relaxing as you wish - hike past the strange 'beehive' domes of the Bungle Bungle Ranges, explore underground caves at Tunnel Creek or simply relax on white sand beaches.

7. Daintree

With verdant tropical rainforest stretching to white, sandy beaches, the Daintree is nothing short of spectacular. This complex ecosystem in Far North Queensland is home to a prolific amount of wildlife including frogs, reptiles, bats and butterflies, as well as the highest concentration of primitive plants species in the world. Australia's largest rainforest is a true natural wonder just waiting to be explored.

8. Wineglass Bay

With its white sand, crystal-clear water and distinct crescent shape, Wineglass Bay on Tasmania's gorgeous Freycinet Peninsula is a pristine paradise. It's easy to see why it's often voted as one of the top 10 beaches in the world! Hike a trail to the summit overlooking the bay for breathtaking views, or descend to the beach and set up camp. Go snorkelling to discover colourful fish and perhaps some playful dolphins.

9. Clare Valley

This beautiful wine-producing region is famed for its delicious local produce, picturesque scenery, friendly people and, of course, its fabulous wine. Explore back roads lined with vines and go wine-tasting to sample the very best drops this region has to offer.

10. Blue Mountains

Covering over one million hectares, the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains is rich in verdant rainforest, dramatic waterfalls, looming forests and an abundance of wildlife. Greet the iconic Three Sisters and wander the boardwalks to soak up this breathtaking area of Australian bush.

Shopping

Aboriginal art

From large malls and boutique shopping strips to weekend arts and crafts markets and vintage shops, Australia is a top place to shop. Shopping in Australia may not be cheap, but there are plenty of unique finds and original souvenirs to bring home.

Before heading home, check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to import certain items back into your home country. New Zealand, for example, has strict quarantine laws.

Things to buy in Australia

1. Indigenous Art

The quality of Aboriginal art is excellent in the Top End and Central and Western Australia. Be sure to buy from reputable galleries and organisations to ensure authenticity and fair prices for artists. Community-run organisations are typically the better choice.

2. Opals

If you’re looking for one, Coober Pedy has the best quality and variety on offer.

3. Pearls

These precious gems are plentiful in Broome due to the booming pearling industry.

4. Modern Art

Melbourne and Hobart are modern art and craft hot spots, making them great places to pick up one-of-a-kind mementos.

Festivals and Events in Australia

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

This festival reaches a colourful crescendo with a dazzling street parade full of camp icons, vibrant costumes and energetic dancing.

Darwin Beer Can Regatta

Only in Australia can you find an annual regatta full of boats made of beer cans! Darwin’s Mindil Beach comes alive each year with music, beer can boat racing and thong-throwing contests (flip-flop for you non-Australians) – an event unique to the ‘Top End’.

AFL Grand Final

Anxiously anticipated by many – the Australian Rules Football Grand Final is a great time to be in Melbourne. Tickets are notoriously scarce but pubs, clubs and backyards overflow with people watching the ‘Big Game’ and celebrating (or commiserating) afterwards.

FAQs on Australia

AUSTRALIA:
Belgium: Yes - required in advance
Canada: Yes - required in advance
Germany: Yes - required in advance
Ireland: Yes - required in advance
Netherlands: Yes - required in advance
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Yes - required in advance
Switzerland: Yes - required in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - required in advance
USA: Yes - required in advance

All travellers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before travelling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check the following website or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/index.html
Tipping isn’t mandatory in Australia; however, rounding up the bill or leaving spare change is common practice. Restaurant staff, taxi drivers and other service workers welcome tips for good service.
Internet access is widely available in most parts of Australia, with internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots commonly found in urban areas. Please note that internet access won’t be available in outback and remote areas.
Mobile phone coverage is excellent in most parts of Australia, especially in large cities and urban areas. Remote, rural and mountainous places may have limited to no coverage, so be aware of this before venturing away from the city. Ensure global roaming is activated before leaving your home country if you want to use your mobile.
Western-style flushable toilets are the norm in Australia, although may not be available when camping in remote areas (where ‘drop toilets’ are more common).
Newspaper = AU$2.00
Cup of coffee = AU$3.50
Pint of beer in a pub = AU$6.00
Basic lunch at a mid-range cafe = AU$10-20
Drinking water from taps in Australia is considered safe, unless otherwise marked. For environmental reasons, try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water.
Credit cards are widely accepted by shops, restaurants and cafes in Australia. Smaller establishments may only accept cash or require a minimum purchase for credit card use, so be sure to carry enough cash for smaller purchases.
ATMs are commonly found in large cities and regional towns in Australia. ATM access will be very limited in remote areas so be aware of this before heading into national parks or the Outback.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

Australians are not required to be covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation for trips within Australia. However we strongly recommend that you have a domestic travel insurance policy which covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Jan 26 Australia Day
Mar 29 Good Friday
March 30 Holy Saturday
Apr 1 Easter Monday
Apr 25 Anzac Day
Jun 10 Queen’s Birthday
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day

Please note these dates are for 2012 and include nationwide holidays only. There are several other holidays celebrated by the individual states. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/australia/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Australia Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Australia

1. Be considerate of Australia’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

3. When camping or visiting national parks, refrain from feeding native animals or leaving food out.

4. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

5. Try to use public transport wherever possible.

6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

9. Refrain from touching or interfering with ancient monuments, relics or historic sites.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
TracksRobyn Davidson
The Secret RiverKate Grenville
CloudstreetTim Winton
In a Sunburned CountryBill Bryson
The Floating BrothelSian Rees
Rabbit Proof FenceDoris Pilkington
SonglinesBruce Chatwin