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Travel / Visa
The flights are booked. The bags are packed. Now it’s time to get down to business with the all-essential tips and tricks, facts and figures to get you on your way to an enjoyable stay. From money changers and medics, to passports and post offices, these are the need-to-knows.
BANKING AND MONEY
Banks: Banks across the city are generally open for business Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm. Several banks located in the Queen Street Mall and in local shopping centres are also open Saturday and Sunday (with varying opening hours).
Automatic teller machines (ATMs): ATMs are conveniently located throughout the city and most recognise a wide variety of cards.
Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club are accepted as a means of payment by most outlets.
Currency exchange: Licensed money change services are available at the Brisbane Airport and at numerous Bureaux de Change located throughout the city. Most banks across the city also offer currency exchange services.
Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100
Coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2
Think sub-tropical. Think beautiful blue skies and heart-warming sunshine. Think short sleeve winters spent dining outdoors and a summer well-spent relaxing on the shores of a sandy city lagoon.
Mains supply in Australia is 220/240V-AC, 50Hz with three-pin plugs used across the country. Most hotel rooms have 110 volt international sockets for electric razors. Adaptors for plugs can be purchased from the Brisbane Visitor Information and Booking Centre in the Queen Street Mall and from all good travel stores, chemists and department stores.
GETTING AROUND BRISBANE
The TransLink public transport network helps travellers get around and about with ease and efficiency. TransLink offers a 24-hour, seven day a week, single point of contact for all Brisbane public transport services and information.
Alongside the TransLink transport, Brisbane gets things going with a whole host of other options. From padding around as a pedestrian, to catching a cab, to hiring a car or coach, Brisbane is a city in motion.
Immerse yourself in Brisbane. Feel the city heartbeat by strolling through the city streets. Brisbane boasts a compact city centre and easy-to-access urban precincts all linked by a foot-friendly network of paths, parks, bridges and boardwalks. Hit your stride in a city of sunshine where walking is a way of life.
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a flat ten per cent tax included in the shelf prices of most goods and services. The Tourist Refund Scheme allows international travellers to claim a GST refund (subject to certain conditions) on goods purchased in Australia.
English is the official language of Australia. Translation and interpreter services can be accessed 24-hours a day by calling 13 14 50.
PASSPORT AND VISAS
All international travellers must present a valid and approved travel document (generally a passport) as evidence of their identity and nationality to allow entry into Australia. In addition, all international travellers (with the exception of New Zealand passport holders) must also obtain a valid visa before travelling to Australia.
For international delegates the process of obtaining an Australian visa is extremely easy. Through the Australian Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) system, travellers from a range of countries can apply for an ETA on the Internet or through a travel agent or airline. (The ETA is the electronic equivalent of a visa for the short-term traveller which replaces the passport visa label or stamp.) Most online applications are processed instantly with travellers enjoying the added benefit of faster processing at the airport. Approved applications are electronically recorded on Australian Government systems and can be electronically confirmed by airline check-in staff prior to boarding.
For visitors not eligible for an ETA, Australian visitor visas may also be issued on the spot or in most cases within 24-hours at Australian Embassies and Consulates overseas.
As an added bonus, the Australian Government can also provide visa assistance through its International Event Coordinator Network (IECN). Located across the country, IECN staff work with event organisers to provide free advice and visa processing assistance for international travellers invited to speak at, perform in or attend an event in Australia.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to tipping in Australia. A good tip is always appreciated but not always expected. Feel free to tip if you think the service deserves to be rewarded.