Travel Information - A
The law requires that in the Northern Territory all visitors must obtain a permit to enter designated Aboriginal tribal land. The system helps protect the privacy of Aboriginal communities, safeguard their culture and the natural environment. The only exceptions are designated public roads that pass through Aboriginal land. But, if you need to drive off the road to stop for fuel, you will require a transit permit. Organised tour operators arrange permits for their customers. Visitors are welcome to many rock art and ceremonial sites under the guidance of the traditional owners who take pride in explaining their cultural significance. Visitors should follow their guide's instructions about behaviour and women should dress modestly.
Liquor is prohibited by some Aboriginal communities and may not be brought into or carried through their land. If you intend to carry liquor, please check with the NT Liquor Commission in Darwin first. Telephone (08) 8981 1955.
Throughout Australia you will in accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets from backpacker style to five star resorts. Because of the favourable exchange rate visitors from the United States, the UK, Europe and Japan will also find prices in Australia exceptional value. Travel Online can assist with accommodation in all major (and not so major!) tourist destinations and regions throughout Australia. It is wise (and usually much better value) to book and pay for accommodation before arriving in Australia as part of an overall package as you can "lock in" the exchange rate at time of pre-purchase.
The capital of South Australia doesn't attract nearly as many tourists as, say Sydney, Melbourne or Queensland but it is a delightful destination. It is a cultured, sophisticated but relaxed city with fine museums, galleries, restaurants, parks, festivals, theatre and a casino. It is also the gateway to excellent wineries, beautiful countryside, fine beaches and Kangaroo Island.
Major airports throughout Australia are among the best in the world and most are located not far from the city centre. Approximate distances, taxi time and one-way costs from Airport to city centres:
- Sydney 9klm,15 minutes, taxi $24.00, bus $6.50 o/w, Train $15.00
- Melbourne 20 klm, 30 minutes, taxi $35.00 skybus $12.00
- Brisbane 13klm, 15 minutes, taxi $18.00, bus $7.50 o/w, airtrain $9.00 o/w
- Adelaide 8klm, 10 minutes, taxi $9.00, bus $2.90
- Perth 13klm, 15 minutes, taxi $22, bus $9.00
- Hobart 20km, 22 minutes, taxi $25.00 bus $8.00
- Darwin 14km, 16 minutes, taxi $20.00, bus $7.50 one way
- Cairns 12km, 14 minutes, taxi $12.00, minibus $6.50
Backed by the rugged MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs sits in the centre of Australia and is a melting pot of cultures and traditions. Its 26,000 people include a large number of Aboriginal people, families descended from pioneers who built The Alice (as most locals call it) in the late 1800s, and thousands of short-term contract workers from all over Australia. It's a fascinating town with many fine natural and man-made attractions and is worth considering as a side trip for visitors to Ayers Rock and the Red Centre.
Anzac Day (April 25) is a public holiday and a day of great significance. The original Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) fought in World War 1 and April 25 1915 was the date that forces landed at Gallipoli. This is a day of remembrance, not a celebration of war, where all people who fought in all wars are remembered at dawn services, marches and ceremonies across the country. Wherever you are you will find yourself part of it and it can be deeply moving. The day is also one of celebrating the freedom the veterans fought for so you will also find picnics, barbecues, family outings and pubs with games of two-up happening (an illegal gambling game on other days of the year).
There are many fine and varied art galleries throughout Australia, many of them offering free admission unless there is a visiting or special exhibition. Two of the best are the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney and the National Gallery in Canberra.
Along with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Ayers Rock (Uluru) is one of the best known Australian icons in the world. It is the largest monolith (single rock) on earth, standing 348 metres above the desert floor. It is 3.1 kilometres from east to west, 1.9 km wide and 9.4 km around its base. And that is just the third above ground!
Though the Rock is red ochre in colour, it has many faces and can change colours dramatically. Sunset can turn it from vibrant red to orange to lilac in minutes. Cloud cover, dust, the position of the sun can all affect how you see it. Though rare, heavy rain can spill down the rock in silver cascades. For many visitors it can be a spiritual experience and just getting there will give you an insight into how vast and unforgiving Australia's interior can be. The Anangu people prefer visitors to respect its cultural significance and not climb Uluru.