Essential Info for Australia
Capital city: Canberra
Other main cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth
Neighbouring countries: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu
Geography: Due to Australia's size, the country has a variety of landscapes. There are tropical rainforests in the north-east, while the south-west and east is made up of mountain ranges. In the centre of Australia is dry desert, known as the outback. The outback makes up the largest portion of land in Australia.
Political system: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy.
Major religions: Christianity is the main religion. Other religions include Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism.
Main language: English (official)
Money: The Australian dollar (AUD), divided into 100 cents.
Tipping: If a service charge is not added to the bill, a tip – at the discretion of the patron – is always welcomed, but not expected.
Time: Australia has three time zones. Eastern (GMT +10), Central (GMT +9.5) and Western (GMT +8). Daylight savings is observed.
Electricity: 230/240 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin flat blade plugs, different to those found in most other countries, are the norm.
Internet domain: .au
International dialling code: +61, plus a two-digit local area/city code.
Emergency contacts: 000 for the police, ambulance and fire services. If assistance is required for non-emergency situations, the local number of the closest required service can be called.
Transport and driving: Drive on the left-hand side. The use of seatbelts is compulsory for all drivers and passengers. Foreign driving licences that are in English are considered valid for driving in Australia for the first three months. After this period expats are required to convert their licence into an Australian one. The national transport system in Australia is excellent, and for long journeys expats have the option of travelling by plane, train and inter-city bus within the country.