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Looking to travel to Australia? Get all the information you need to have a safe, enjoyable and unforgettable trip while there, courtesy of GoBear Malaysia. We’ll present you with things you need to keep it mind before and during your time there, especially the need to get travel insurance for Australia.

 

About exciting Australia

G’day, mate! Australia is both the largest island and the smallest continent in the world. It has a population size similar, although slightly lower, to that of Malaysia (~24 million as of 2015), mostly concentrated around the coastal regions (as the central region is mostly desert). As a result, while the cities are fairly densely populated, the countryside is much less so. Its capital city is Canberra, midway between the business centres of Melbourne and Sydney.

Because of its size, Australia is split up between several time zones; be aware about the potential difference in time zones if you intend to travel between several states. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the states with temperate climates have summer start towards the end of the year and winter towards the middle.

It’s a pretty safe place, so most Malaysian travel insurance policies include Australia in Area 1 (usually the cheapest band), but you should check your specific plan to make sure you’re covered if you decide to go. Its currency is the Australian dollar (AUD).

As it was primarily settled by convicts and other colonists from the United Kingdom, English is the official and primary language. In the Chinatowns of each state, Cantonese is widely spoken, as most of the Chinese migrants came from Canton (and more recently, Hong Kong), although Mandarin is also understood. Australians usually call themselves Aussies. Language-wise, you should not have difficulties in contacting the emergency services concierge provided by your travel insurance in Australia.

Australian Food

Food in Australia is multi-cultural in nature, featuring mostly Western (and especially English-influenced) dishes. Fish and chips, roasted chicken and steaks are found in almost all casual and fine dining restaurants. There is also a strong Italian, as well as Greek influence on Aussie cuisine, so youwill also find pizzas and pastas, as well as Mediterranean cuisines on display throughout Australia.Chinese – especially Hong Kong – and other Asian food is widely available in the capital cities andsurrounding suburbs. Australia also has a strong wine culture, with many wine-producing districts such as the Barossa and Clare Valleys in South Australia, Hunter Valley in New South Wales, and the Yarra Valley in Victoria.

Food safety standards are generally quite high here, but just in case, GoBear Malaysia recommends travel insurance for Australia.

What to buy in Australia

Australia has originated many iconic brands, including Billabong, Arnotts, Boost Juice Bars and Harvey Norman. International retail outlets and brands are also found everywhere throughout the major cities and suburban shopping malls. During sales (generally, around Easter, June/July and Christmas/New Year), you can pick up many well-known brands at reasonable and affordable prices. Inquire about GST refunds in-store; you might be eligible depending on how much you spent andwhen you’re leaving. Australia also produces its own beer (VB, Foster’s, Cooper’s) and liquor (Bundaberg Rum), and you can pick up wines very, very cheaply (especially if you went for cask wines). GoBear Malaysia recommends checking whether your credit card covers lost or stolen purchaseswhile overseas, or you can buy travel insurance for your Australia shopping spree.

What to do when in Australia

Australia (or OZ, as it’s sometimes colloquially known) has some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, and its people are sporting mad, so if physical activities are your cup of tea, then this is the place to be. From jungle trekking to scuba-diving to kayaking and even just walking along nature trails, you can do it all. Just make sure that you are in good health, and that your travel insurance for Australia covers you for all the things you intend to do.

There is also a very vibrant artistic – especially musical and theatrical – community, with concerts and plays almost year-round in the capital cities.

Australia travel advisory

Have a hassle-free trip! International travel, especially to Australia, has its own set of issues that youshould prepare for, so that you can properly enjoy your holiday overseas. Aside from travel insurance for Australia, GoBear Malaysia recommends you consider the following:

Passport visa requirements for Australia

Make sure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity after the dates you intend to go; you may notbe allowed to travel if your passport is too close to expiry. Australia does not issue Visa-On- Arrival; it uses instead the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which is linked to your passport number (so always apply for it after you renew your passport). You may apply online (the fee is AUD20 in 2016) or at a travel agency (usually RM30 per person). ETAs are multiple-entry visas, with a 1-year validity period, and allow you to stay for tourism or business visits for up to 90 days each entry.

In the event that your passport or other travel documents are lost or stolen, make sure you know the emergency contact details for your travel insurance concierge in Australia, so that you can be assisted as quickly as possible.

Electricity & water supply in Australia

While Malaysia uses the Type G power socket, you will instead see Type I sockets in Australia. Thismeans that you will need a universal travel adapter. However, its 230V/50Hz electrical system is close enough to Malaysia’s that you can otherwise simply plug in your electrical items. If you havemany items to plug in, just bring a Malaysian extension board and plug that into the travel adapter.

The tap water here is generally safe to drink, although you may also choose to use a water filtration jug.

Australian telecommunications & Internet coverage

The telecommunications network in Australia covers most of the urban and suburban areas, with strong mobile network coverage throughout those areas as well as the major inter-state roads. The two major telcos here are Telstra and Optus, with many other players using their infrastructure orrolling out their own. Mobile phones bought in Malaysia should work seamlessly with Aussie pre-paid SIMs, but do check the specific frequencies your phone uses against the ones your preferred Aussie telco supports. Wi-Fi is widely available everywhere you go in the cities, as is 4G LTE. The emergencynumber is 000 from fixed lines and mobile phones alike, and you can also try 112 from mobile phones.

Healthcare & medical facilities in Australia 

Australia has a universal healthcare plan called Medicare, as well as private health insurance coverage. Its hospitals are a mix of both government-funded and private, while its GP clinics are mostly private in nature. Private clinics are mostly by appointment only, so you may need to check for one that accepts walk-ins if you’re sick and need medical advice. Aside from your own travel insurance while in Australia, you can also buy Overseas Visitors Health Cover, which will entitle you to at least the same level of healthcare that Aussie citizens and PRs have.

Australian credit card facilities

International credit card networks that are present in Australia include Visa, MasterCard, and American Express (to a smaller degree). UnionPay is also widely available, especially throughout Australia Post outlets, most major Aussie bank ATMs and POS terminals, and when paying for taxi rides via CabCharge. Credit cards are accepted almost universally by even the smallest retailer and food outlets.

Ready to start planning your OZ travels? Stay safe and protected while overseas! Try out GoBearMalaysia’s travel insurance comparison services for a quick, comprehensive and easy-to- use look at all the insurers and the travel insurance policies they offer for Australia.

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