Travel Information - E
Eating out in most parts of Australia can be extremely rewarding, whether it be five star or cheap café. The raw produce is fresh, whether it be vegetables, seafood or meat, and the style of cuisine varied (Mediterranean, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Greek, Lebanese - whatever!). As restaurants (and chefs) change hands, it is best to pick up a current restaurant guide on arrival rather than recommend some here. However, if you do make it to Ayers Rock, 'Dinner Under the Stars' will be unforgettable - gourmet Australian cuisine, white tablecloths, fine wines, the desert around you, a sea of stars above, and an astronomer to tell you all about it!
Echidnas are spiny anteaters - spine covered monotremes with claws and slender snout - found in various parts of Australia. They don't show themselves too much but you may be lucky enough to come across one. They are shy little animals and may just roll up into a ball if you approach - just observe from a distance and they'll unfurl and waddle off. Cute as buttons.
There are many quality lodges and resorts that focus on being entirely eco-friendly around Australia and most owner/operators of hotel/resorts are environmentally aware. You can also do your bit by getting two days use out of your bathroom towels and so on. You'll find that most Australians don't throw rubbish about and frown on people who do.
Australian electricity is 240volt/50Hz and uses a three flat pin plug. For people travelling with hairdryers/shavers etc adapters are readily available.
The emergency telephone number in Sydney and all other cities in Australia is 000.
It is available from any public, private or mobile phone at no charge. 000 connects you to a central service operator who will ask if you need the police, ambulance or fire brigade.
Stay on the line and do not hang up until told to, as a phone trace will locate you even if you collapse and drop the handset. If you have a problem in your hotel, phone the hotel operator, reception or the duty manager. Major hotels have their own security staff. Remember if you are calling from your room to dial the local line access code before you call 000 if hotel help is not available. Please remember 000 is an emergency service and should not be used to report minor incidents, lost property and so on. Call the Telstra number information service on 1223 (free call) for the number of your nearest police station.
Emus are large, flightless birds with three toes. They are related to the ostrich, but smaller. If travelling in parts of the outback you may find one jogging along next to your car. They are quite fascinating but be wary as they are also stupid and are inclined to take a hard left or right turn and jump in front of your vehicle.
All banks will exchange foreign currency and travellers cheques. The rates will vary depending on the bank. There are also bureau de change offices. The previous day's exchange rates are published in newspapers daily. Visitors should remembers banks are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Banking hours are generally 10am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, 10am to 5pm Fridays. Some branches open longer. Banks have automated teller machines which can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visitors must ensure their credit or charge card is accepted by the particular bank (displayed), or the security system may withhold the card.
Major hotels will also exchange foreign currency but their rates are poor and to be avoided except in emergencies and then only for small amounts. The United States dollar, British pound, German mark, Swiss franc, French franc and Japanese yen generally attract the best exchange rates. Canadian, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong dollars, Dutch guilder and Italian lire are easily exchanged. The Euro is also quoted on the local foreign exchange market. Australian businesses do not accept foreign currency notes or coins.