MAPS AND INFORMATION
Forewarned is forearmed, so they say, and you can't say that we left you dangling. On this page, you will find loads of useful information about Australia and Tropical North Queensland. In fact, everything you didn't even realize you needed to know.. and much more!

Cairns time and weather. Click for more details

AUSTRALIA VISITOR INFORMATION

AUSTRALIAN IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS
As a general rule, all visitors to Australia (other than citizens of New Zealand travelling on a New Zealand passport) require a visa to enter Australia. Citizens from many countries will be able to obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) online before they embark. ETA eligible countries are: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Republic of Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, USA, and Vatican City.

If eligible, you can apply for an ETA over the Internet www.eta.immi.gov.au or you can let us at Cairns Unlimited organize it for you. If your country was not listed above, you will need to lodge a visa application at the nearest Australian Mission overseas. The application form can be downloaded from the website www.immi.gov.au

The conditions of an Australian Tourist Visa allow you to remain in our wonderful country for up to three months at a time, during a twelve month period. But the Working Holiday Program provides an opportunity for young people between 18 and 30 to spend (up to*) two years exploring Australia, with the option of engaging in casual, what the Immigration Department defines as 'incidental' employment.

... more details about an Australian WORKING HOLIDAY VISA
AUSTRALIAN HEALTH REGULATIONS
There are no compulsory immunisations required for Australia, unless you have been in an epidemic zone within 14 days of arrival. Travellers coming to Australia via tropical countries should seek advice about those countries before arrival. Medical treatment in Australia is of an extremely high standard, but it is our advice that when travelling anywhere, you have adequate travel and health insurance.

At Cairns Unlimited, we can save you trouble and $$$$$ with your TRAVEL INSURANCE needs.

AUSTRALIAN CUSTOMS REGULATIONS
There are limits for duty free imports of tobacco, alcohol, motor vehicles and many other items. To protect our health, and the health of our animals and our environment, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) prohibits the entry into Australia of any materials, particularly foodstuffs and fresh fruit, vegetables, or plants, that may harbour exotic pests, diseases and weeds. Penalties are severe for attempting to import plants and food undeclared.

At the time of writing, the official Australian Customs Service website, http://www.customs.gov.au, stated the following limits:

A$900 worth of goods (A$450 for people under 18 and both air and sea crew members ) including gifts (given to you or intended for others), souvenirs, cameras, electronic equipment, leather goods, perfume concentrates, jewellery, watches and sporting equipment. Alcohol and tobacco products cannot be included in this concession.
These goods can be: obtained overseas / purchased in Australia duty or tax free before departure / goods for which a tax refund has been approved through the Tourist Refund Scheme / purchased from an inwards duty free shop on arrival.

2.25 litres of alcoholic beverages for each passenger aged 18 years or over.
250 cigarettes, or 250 grams of cigars or tobacco products for each passenger aged 18 years or over. One opened packet containing 25 cigarettes or less is also allowed.
NOTE: However, if you exceed any of the concession limits set out above, Customs will charge you duty and tax on the entire importation or purchase within that group of items.


WHEN TO COME TO AUSTRALIA
Australia is a continent, and the climate will vary depending on the areas you plan to visit. Generally the north is warmer than the south, and parts of southern Australia can be very cold in winter. Tropical North Queensland is very hot and humid in summer, and still warm in winter. If you scroll down to the CAIRNS INFORMATION section, you will see the average daily temperatures for each month, as well as the average water temperature. Australia's seasons, although not always clearly defined, run roughly as follows:
SUMMER AUTUMN WINTER SPRING
December March June September
January April July October
February May August November
GETTING AROUND
Since Richard Branson launched his Virgin Blue airline in Australia in 2000, competition between domestic carriers has never been so hot. Qantas has been forced to retaliate by introducing a new cut price subsidiary airline, Jetstar. Qantas (including Jetstar) and Virgin Blue are the two main air carriers.

Australia has a number of long-distance bus companies but only Greyhound Australia offers a truly national network. Australian buses are modern and comfortable, but remember... it's a big country, and bussing from Melbourne to Cairns could really eat into your travel time.

Australia has what could best be described as a basic rail network linking all major cities except Darwin. Three times a week, Queensland Rail's 'Tilt Train' makes the return journey along the Queensland coast, between Brisbane and Cairns.

There are also a series of tour bus operators that allow you to hop on and off at different destinations along their route. These are mostly popular with young backpackers, and the most popular is Oz Experience. You can read more about Oz Experience on our BACKPACKERS page.

Depending on how long you plan to spend in Australia, there is always the option of buying or renting your own car or van. If you're interested in hiring a car or campervan, you can make an obligation-free enquiry on our CAR HIRE page.

For more details about getting around Australia by road, rail or air, please visit our TRANSPORT page.
MONEY
Australia uses dollars, and no, they're not the green ones with Presidents' heads on them. They're own own true blue Aussie dollars, and we're one of the few countries in the world that makes our banknotes out of PLASTIC. If you don't believe me, have a look at the small transparent window in every note.

We have also taken the progressive step of outlawing the one-cent and two-cent coins. Thus any purchase which ends in six or seven cents is rounded down to five cents, and any purchase which ends in eight or nine cents goes up to ten. Got it? Don't say we didn't warn you.

Australian Currency Denominations:
Banknotes: $5,$10,$20,$50,$100
Coins: 5c,10c,20c,50c,$1,$2

Try this handy CURRENCY CONVERTER.

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY
The Australian electricity service is 240 volt, 50 cycles with an English style 3 pin plug. Make sure any appliances you bring with you are suitable for different voltages. Do not plug 110 volt appliances into the 240 volt sockets!

Bring a travel adapter plug with you, or buy one on arrival in Cairns. They're readily available.

DRINKING WATER
In Cairns (and Australia wide) tap water is safe to drink, bottled drinking water is available everywhere. Water from fresh water rivers and creeks is usually safe especially in the mountains but check first if in doubt.

INTERNET CAFES
You'll be able to find access to the Internet virtually everywhere in Australia. We have compiled a comprehensive, up to date list of all the internet cafes in Tropical North Queensland, from Airlie Beach to Cooktown.

Cairns internet cafes have been marked on a map of the city centre for your convenience.

... more about INTERNET CAFES
MOBILE PHONES
Australia operates on a digital network. The main phone companies in Australia are Optus, Vodaphone, Telstra and Virgin Mobile. You can buy a pre-paid SIM card to fit your own compatible digital mobile phone, but beware of horrific roaming charges. At Cairns Unlimited, we can rent you a pre-paid handset for the duration of your stay, ensuring affordable call rates, and NO COST for receiving calls!

Ask us more about

TIPPING
Tipping is not the general custom in Australia, neither are service charges added to accounts by hotels and restaurants. Of course, you may tip hotel porters and food and drink waiters in restaurants if you are very pleased with the service. At any time, it's your choice, but if you have ever worked in the hospitality industry you'll understand that tipping is greatly appreciated.


CAIRNS VISITOR INFORMATION

TIME
The continent of Australia covers three time zones, with Western Australia 8-10 hours ahead of Greenwich Men Time (depending on daylight savings) and the eastern states 10-12 hours ahead of GMT. Queensland is the only eastern state to not have DAYLIGHT SAVING. This is a topic of heated debate in Queensland.

CHANGING MONEY
Most major Australian banks are represented in Cairns offering a range of services including currency exchange. There are numerous currency exchanges in central Cairns and you can change money at the airport, casino and major hotels. Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) are everywhere and most offer cash withdrawals for major credit cards and Cirrus enabled accounts. There are also ATM and EFTPOS machines in most fuel outlets and regional areas.

Credit cards are welcomed at the majority of hotels, shops and service providers in Cairns. EFTPOS bank transactions are widely available also.

Cairns Banking Hours:
9.30am till 4.00pm Monday to Thursday, 9.30am till 5.00pm Friday
9.00am till 1.00pm Saturday (Selected banks only)

CAIRNS POST OFFICES
Cairns post offices are open from 8.30am until 5.00pm Monday to Friday, the Cairns GPO is located on the corner of Grafton and Hartley streets. There are many post offices in the Cairns region and stamps can also be obtained from newsagents and some hotels and motels. There are post offices or agencies in all rural towns around North Queensland.

CAIRNS HEALTH SERVICES
Cairns is well equipped with medical services and hospitals capable of administering advanced medical care. In hotel general practitioners (GP) are available for visits, TRAVEL INSURANCE
is recommended during your Tropical North Queensland holiday.

Australian Red Cross
245 Lake Street, Cairns
Phone (07) 4051 2168

Calvary Pharmacy
144 Lake Street, Cairns
Phone (07) 4052 5260

Cairns Base Hospital
The Esplanade, Cairns
Phone (07) 4050 6333

DISABLED ACCESS
Far North Queensland has plenty of services and facilities to for people with a disability. Contact your accommodation provider or tour operator regarding individual needs. Handicap access taxis are available in the Cairns For information, services or support for people with a disability phone the Queensland Disability Information and Awareness Line on 1800 177 120 (Free call inside Australia)

... more about TRAVELLING WITH DISABILITIES

GETTING TO CAIRNS
Cairns airport is serviced by domestic and international flights, there are regular long-distance trains, daily coaches and cruise ships call into port.

... more about GETTING TO CAIRNS

GETTING AROUND
Getting about is easy. Local transport includes everything from rental cars to public bus services, taxis and limousines. Available transport around North Queensland includes aircraft, boats and trains.

... more about GETTING AROUND

CAIRNS SHOPPING
Shop till you drop - Cairns offers a huge variety of duty-free and locally made products. In addition to the Cairns shopping district, night markets and the Pier Marketplace there are regional shopping centres close by. Most shops open Monday to Friday from 08.00- 2100, Saturdays from 0900-1700 and Sundays from 1300-2000.

... more about CAIRNS SHOPPING

CAIRNS DINING
The Great Barrier Reef region is blessed with an abundance of local delicacies: fresh seafood from the oceans and rivers, tempting exotic tropical fruits from the Tropical Tablelands, and the piquant flavours of native australian cuisine.

There are many world class restaurants in Cairns City and its surrounding regions and they reflect the cosmopolitan nature of both its residents and visitors, with nearly all making a special point of presenting their own variation of Tropical specialities such as succulent prawns, delicate barramundi, mud crabs, reef species like the famed coral trout and red emperor, along with the subtle indigenous flavours of kangaroo, emu and crocodile. Be adventurous and you'll be rewarded by the very special experience that is 'a taste of the tropics'!

... more about CAIRNS DINING
PACKING
The Tropical North is warm or hot all year round. You may require some warmer cloths like a sweatshirt or jeans in the winter months but most of the year our local 'uniform' is shorts, T-shirts, hats and swim wear. The dress code in Tropical North Queensland, with very few exceptions, is about as relaxed casual as you could get.

CLIMATE
In tropical climates, there are no clear distinctions between the four seasons, and Cairns is no exception. The area really has two distinct seasons, the 'wet' season, which extends from around November till April, and the 'dry' season.

Average Daily Maximum Temperature (°C)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
31.6 31.0 30.5 29.1 27.8 25.9 25.6 26.5 27.7 29.2 30.4 31.3
Average Daily Minimum Temperature (°C)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
23.5 23.7 23.1 21.4 19.9 17.7 17.1 17.4 18.8 20.5 22.3 23.0
Average Water Temperature (°C)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
29.4 28.6 28.5 26.7 25.7 23.8 22.6 23.1 24.2 25.9 28.0 27.8
Average Rainfall per month (mm)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
393.5 455.6 419.0 198.2 97.1 48.8 28.2 28.9 33.8 40.5 95.5 182.8

Why waste money on disposable cameras, and be limited to just a handful of photos. Rent one of our top quality 14.7 Megapixel Canon Underwater cameras, and take as many photographs as you want!