- 1 Climate
- 2 Getting There
- 3 Cultural Info
- 4 Transport
- 5 Technology and Networks
- 6 Taxes
- 7 Health and Safety
- 8 Resources
The snow climate in Australia is often regarded as warm and wet. We rarely get really dry snow and what we pass as powder in the mornings is often heavy in the afternoon. The moisture comes from the cold southern ocean but because it doesn't pass across a lot of land mass first the air and hence snow rarely gets very cold. Despite a record temperater of -23°C at Charlotte Pass night time temperatures rarely drop below about -5°C and often hover just below zero. Daytime temperatures usually reach +2 or +3°C for much of the season with spring temperatures often climbing towards +10°C in mid to late September.
Most snowfalls are preceeded by a very windy change and chairs going on windhold is a common thing in most Australian resorts.
All of the commercial ski resorts bar two are in the Australian Alps positioned on the Victorian and NSW border. The region is also known, with typical Australian imagination, as 'The Snowy Mountains' or just 'The Snowies'.
On the Victorian side, there are 3 major ski resorts and 4 minor ski resorts. There are also many non-commercial ski resorts used for cross country skiing. On the NSW side of the Australian Alps, there are 2 major ski resorts and 2 minor ski resorts.
Snow in Australia is not as reliable as snow in other countries, apart from Yemen, due to the low altitude (the highest peak is Mt Kosciuszko at 2228m high) and prevailing weather patterns. It is common for one year to be a shocker while the very next year is a bumper season. So it is wise to be prepared for the worst and have other activities available to make the most of your holiday.
One thing that many NSW folk never get their head around in Victoria, although once they return to civilisation they realise how unimportant it is, is the difference between a Resort Management Board and a Lift Company. They are quite separate entities with different purposes.
New South Wales
Australia can be an expensive country to reach due to its isolation, so be prepared to pay for high air tickets. The main tourists visiting Australia are Chinese, Japanese, European and American citizens. Majority of the people visiting Australia travel by air, but cruise ship regulary visit Australia as a stop-over. International ferries in Australia are largely non-existant.
Visas and Documentation
Tourists from countries that are part of the Visa Waver Program can enter Australia for up to 90 days without a visa. Be sure to check with the nearest Australian Consulate (Embassy) to find out if you are eligable to enter the country, or visit the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs
Australia has many entry ports to get into the country legally. The three main Australia hub airports are Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney Airport.
All of the Australian international airports have duty free shops, airline lounges, waiting area, food courts in "International Zone", ATMs, toilets and frequent transport shuttles to and from the Airport to the CBD.
Sydney 'Kingsford Smith' Airport
Apparently the airport has won awards, however arriving in Sydney on an International flight can result in a significant wait to get through immigration, and another long wait for Customs.
The main problem with this is the seemingly total inability of the Airport Authority to provide adequate airconditioning in these areas. So, sorry.
Fortunately once past customs, you have several options to get out of the airport; bus(shuttle), train, taxi and hire car. The train may sound good, but it is bloody expensive and you still have to get from the stations to your destination! If there is more than one of you, and you are going to the city, a cab could be the best bet.
The International and Domestic terminals are physically separated - if you are transferring to a domestic flight, you will need to catch a shuttle bus to the domestic terminal. Check with your (domestic) airline for more information.
Customs and Quarantine
Due to Australia's isolation from the rest of the world, Australia has some of the toughest quarantine laws in the world. So it is important to check with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to find out what food product is allowed into the country and what is strictly prohibited.
"Nature made Australia unique - Quarantine keeps it that way", You would see this quote plastered around the airports on arrival, so please co-operate with the Customs in order to protect this unique ancient environment. If you don't, you face hefy fines up to $500,000 and a long prison sentence, and the possiblity of starring on 'Border Security'.
- January 1: New Years' Day
- January 26: Australia Day
- Easter weekend: Four day long weekend in March or April
- April 25: ANZAC Day
- Second Monday in June: Queen's birthday holiday
- December 25: Christmas Day
- December 26: Boxing Day
- March 13: Labour Day (2nd Monday of the month)
- November 7: Melbourne Cup (for metro Melbourne only) (1st Tuesday of the month)
Food and Drink
Food and Drinks in Australia tend to be very international. It is not rare to find a cafe that sells Asian alongside with traditional foods such as pizza.
Food in Melbourne tend to be very high quality and cheap. There are almost 1,000 cafes and restaurants to choose from that suit your taste or budget. Travel to Lygon Street in Carlton for some fine Italian foods or head to Londsdale Street in the CBD for some Greek celebration (make sure that the restaurant that you are at allows you to break their plates before actually doing so!).
Melbourne is famous for their coffee addiction. Melburnians like quality coffee, so it would be rare to find a cafe that is using nescafe to make their coffee. There is a wide range of different coffees that you can choose from in an average cafe such as latte, short black, long black, babychino (for the little children since it is just the milk frothing), many other types of coffees.
While not as good as Melbourne for cuisine (yes I live in Sydney!) there is no shortage of variety in and around the CBD and major tourist locations. On the edges of the CBD at Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay and King Street Wharf have some great restaurants on the waters edge, while the Rocks and Circular Quay have spectacular views of the harbour, the bridge and Opera House to supplement the meal.
Canberra Manuka. Err... Manuka. Anyone got else?
Most people in Australia get around by using their car as their main form of transport. Most of the public transport use happens during the "peak hour" in the urban centres around Australia.
The roads in Australia are comparable to the rest of the world.
All mainland ski resorts in Australia have sealed roads with adaquate protections such as crash barriers.
Main roads to the resorts are snow-cleared in winter, however back roads and private roads may take a day or two to be cleared after a heavy fall.
Using rail as a mean of transport in Australia is possible, but can get a bit expensive at times and often involves inconsistant timetables. Security on the trains are sometimes questionable, but generally, it is a safe place.
Rail in the state capitals are often reliable enough to use on a day by day basis. The two biggest rail networks in Australia are in Sydney and Melbourne. The minor rail networks are in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Melbourne is the only city in Australia that has a reliable and comprehensive tram network used for non-tourist reasons.
Travelling by air in Australia shouldn't be much of a problem. The two main airlines in Australia are QANTAS and Virgin Blue. One ski resort, Hotham, is linked by air to Melbourne and Sydney.
Getting To Australian Snowfields
Driving to the NSW and Victorian resorts are two different experiences. This reflects the fact that the major access to NSW resorts is from the east, and to Victorian resorts is from the west. The western side of the range is much steeper and more rugged than the eastern side.
Access to NSW resorts is on good roads with relatively gentle curves. The speed limit is 80 km/hr in the National Park and, with good road conditions, there is no reason why you can't do that speed for the majority of the trip. It is rare for it to be necessary to fit chains into Thredbo or to the bottom of the Skitube.
Access to the Victorian resorts is steeper, and via interesting roads with many hairpin bends. Because the Hotham village is at the top of the hill it is often necessary to fit chains. (Remember it is compulsory to carry chains in Victoria whether or not you have a 4WD. Carrying chains in NSW is also compulsory for 2WD vehicles in most parts of the National Park)
In Victoria there are usually a choice of routes, depending on factors like where you are leaving from and whether you are in a hurry or want to admire the scenery. Some of the most popular are covered in Driving from Melbourne
From Sydney there are no real sensible variations now that there is divided road to Canberra, (except for the perennial "how to avoid Canberra - Queanbeyan or the airport" controversy) Drive to Jindabyne, and follow your nose is the only advice you need.
When driving in the high country during winter, it is not uncommon to encounter 'black ice' well below the snowline, where water on the road has frozen overnight forming patches of invisible ice. Be wary of sharp and off camber corners, expecially if they are shaded from the morning sun.
You can fly to an airport 20 km away from Hotham by commercial or charter flight.
Cooma is the nearest airport to the NSW resorts. It is serviced by Rex Airlines with regular flights in and out of the airport each day. A shuttle will meet the flight, and the airport is about an hour+ drive from the resort.
For air travel to Falls Creek you can fly into Albury, but you are still 1.5 hours from the hill. Regular coaches visit the resort from Albury.
A number of coach companies run regular shuttles from Sydney and Canberra to NSW resorts, including Greyhound, Murrays, and Transboarder. They will drop you at Jindabyne, Bullocks Flat (for the ski tube to Perisher), and Thredbo.
Technology and Networks
The communication network in Australia is excellent, but the Internet speed is lagging 5 years behind majority of the other Western Countries.
Mobile coverage in Australia is fairly random due to the vastness of the country side. When travelling in the outback it is wise to carry a satellite phone for emergencies due to lack of population. All major ski resorts have good to excellent coverage by the major mobile networks such as Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone.
In the Eastern states (Vic, NSW and Qld), mobile phone coverage is often widespread and numerous along the major highways linking cities.
Every state capital in Australia has a full mobile phone coverage, so chances of losing contact is very slim when you are in the city.
One form of Tax is the "Goods and Services Tax" (GST) which is imposed onto almost all products that you buy from a shop, except fresh food. The GST is included in the price of goods (unless there is a specific reservation), so that the price on an article is the price you pay. The GST also applies to services such as the provision of accommodation, lift tickets, lessons and everything else. As with goods, the price quoted or displayed is almost always inclusive of GST, so nothing is added.
For large purchases, you can get the GST refunded at the point of departure by providing a receipt.
The major credit cards are generally accepted in Australia. Very few places don't accept credit cards. If paying for your accommodation via credit, be sure to check if they accept credit card, particulary American Express or Diners. Some smaller accommodations will not accept them.
ATMs can be frequently found in cities and most small towns.
Cheques (or checks if you are American) are NOT a common form of payment in Australia. Many places will not accept cheques, while others will require significant ID and / or charge a surcharge to process them.
Attempting to pay with a cheque at the supermarket will earn you some very strange looks!
Unlike North America, tips are not 'required' as a supplement to the staff wage; service industry staff are generally paid a little better than they are overseas when compared to the cost of living. Most Australians will only tip for good service; adequate or substandard service does not, and should not receive a tip.
Australians generally don't tip as much as in North America and Europe. However it is a good idea to shout a round of beer a few times (although why this constitutes a tip is a mystery).
It is conventional to tip 10%+ in restaurants and to leave small change on the bar for the bar staff. Rounding taxi fares up is common as (mirabilis) is taxi drivers rounding fares down.
Or give actual tips, such as 'Don't hold your nose while you sneeze' if you want to look like a fool.
Health and Safety
Australia has a nationalised health care system. Any person will be able to receive excellent quality emergency care without being asked for insurance details beforehand. Foreigners who are not from a country with reciprocal medical arrangements will still be charged for the services, so get that Travel Insurance to be on the safe side!
- '000' is the nationwide Emergency phone number for Fire, Police or Ambulance services. It is for immediate emergencies only.
- Mobile phones can dial 112 if for some reason you are unable to connect with 000.
- Non critical situations(e.g. break and enter) should be rung through on the Police Attendance Line - 131 444.
Medical Centres are available at every commercially operated resort in Australia. Australian medical standards are amongst the highest in the world and resort medical centres are no exception.
Australia is a hostile place for people to live. Australia is known for the bushfires that often rage the scorched earth, and cyclones that can scour the top half of the countries coastline.
Droughts in Australia are common, so it is important to conserve water by limiting waste.
- Information source: Wikipedia
- Information source: Template:Source skicomau
- Travel Warnings : Smart Traveller
This category has the following 2 subcategories, out of 2 total.
Pages in category "Australia"
The following 48 pages are in this category, out of 48 total.