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Interesting Facts about Queensland

The Australian Sunshine State welcomes you!

Here the sun bathes the incomperable landscape in the most beautiful light every day. Regardless of whether it is the deep red of the Outback, the luxuriant green of the rain forest, the golden sands or the shimmering blue of the Great Barrier Reef - in the many-coloured diversity of Queensland you will have your most colourful holiday. Explore the various regions, be inspired by the many activities and events and find all the important information before and during your trip.
Entry
For a stay of up to 3 months South Africans seeking to enter Australia for the purpose of tourism or as a visitor, require a passport that must be valid for at least 6 months after the end of the visit to Australia, as well as a visitors' visa. The Australian High Commission in Pretoria has entered into an arrangement with VFS (South Africa ) Pty Ltd which offer greater accessibility and extended opening hours to provide visa services. You may lodge your visa applications directly with VFS at their offices in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. VFS also has an arrangement with TNT couriers for collection and return of applications / passports to any location in South Africa at a very special rate. This arrangement needs to be done directly through VFS and not with TNT. You can also contact the VFS Helpline number 083-913 3636 or alternatively email them at info.diacsa@vfshelpline.com for any information related to lodging a visa application. We will also gladly assist you with your visa application.
Health
Please make sure that you are adequately protected against the sun (hat, sun glasses and water resistant sun screen with a correspondingly high UV protection factor). The general emergency telephone number is 000 (Triple Zero). As on beaches everywhere you should adhere to basic safety precautions. Swim or surf only on guarded beaches (October-April) and always between the red and yellow flags (the safest swimming area). Go into the water slowly and never swim alone or at night.
Opening Times
Banks: Monday to Thursday 09:30 - 16:00, Fridays till 17:00.
Post offices: Monday to Friday 09:00 - 17:00 (in larger towns and cities also Saturdays).
Shops: Monday to Friday from 09:00 - 17:00 and Saturday mornings. In some largers cities and tourist centres some shops are open around the clock, even on Sundays.

On the following public holidays shops, banks, post offices and other offices are closed throughout the country:
1 January (New Year's Day)
26 January (Australia Day)
Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday
25 April (Anzac Day)
1st Monday in May (Workers' Day)
2nd Monday in June (Queen's Birthday)
25 December (Christmas Day)
26 December (Boxing Day)
Climate and Travel Time
Queensland is characterized by two climate zones. In the north the climate is tropical, in the south sub-tropical. The best time to travel is from April to October. There are basically two seasons:
Winter: June-August, 23°C-29°C
Summer: September-May, 28°C-31°C
To phone
Everywhere in Australia you will find pay phones that function with coins, telephone cards and increasingly also with credit cards. South African cell phones with pre-activated roaming service can be used. Make enquiries with your cell phone service provider. An Australian pay-as-you-go sim card can reduce costs considerably. Notably in Outback areas the cell phone reception is very limited! The emergency telephone number is 000 (Triple Zero).
Local Time
Queensland is on Eastern Standard Time (EST): 8 hours ahead of South Africa. Here there is NO summer time as in other Australian regions from October to March.
Transport and Traffic
The rule of the road in Australia is to keep left. From region to region there are differing blood alcohol limitations. Drivers as well as passengers must make use of seat belts and motor cycle riders and cyclists must wear helmets. When picking up a rental car or camper, a valid national driving licence as well as an international driving licence or a certified English translation of the national driving licence is required! The driver must carry both.

N.B. In Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane there are several toll roads, which one either avoids or for which one purchases the relevant ticket in advance, as one's passage is registered electronically and it can become expensive if driving a rental car without a ticket. The rental companies have up to date information available.
Currency and Means of Payment
The currency is the Australian Dollar (1 AUD = 100 cents).
1 AUD = ± 8 ZAR (Last updated: Mar. 2012). One gets bank notes to the value of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Dollars, and coins to the value of 5, 10, 20, 50 cents, as well as 1 and 2 Dollar coins. Up to AUD 10 000 in Australian or foreign currency can be brought into the country without having to declare this. Cash & travellers' cheques can be exchanged at all international airports and at banks (opening times: Monday - Thursday from 09:00 - 16:00; Fridays 09:00 - 17:00). Cash can be withdrawn at ATM's but a fee will be charged. Payment by credit card is possible in most locations. Please note that local service charges may be levied if paying by credit card (eg. by hotels or car rental companies). AUD travellers' cheques can usually be exchanged at banks or in larger hotels without any fees being charged. For the payment of the security deposit for rental cars or campers it is absolutely essential to have a credit card in the name of the renter.
Electricity Supply
The voltage in Australia is 240/250 volt (50 Hertz) alternating current. South African devices can be used without any problems, however, a three pin adapter with flat pins will be required. In the bigger hotels such adapters can often be borrowed.
Local Taxes
A 10% turnover tax (GST) is levied on goods and services (GST = Goods and Services Tax). If not otherwise stated, GST is already included in our prices.
Travelling through Queensland
Whether on water, by road or by air - the infrastructure of Queensland is very well developed and offers a suitable means of transport for every type of tour. From the international airports of Cairns (CNS) and Brisbane (BNE) the city centre can be reached by public transport (Airtrain in Brisbane, bus in Cairns), by rental car or by taxi.
Fly-in Tours
The quickest way of reaching the many larger and smaller towns within or outside Queensland is by air. We can book flights with Qantas or the low cost carriers, Jetstar and Virgin Blue, for you. Among the aerial attractions are hot air balloon rides (eg. in the Atherton Tablelands), helicopter or sea plane excursions over the Great Barrier Reef or by postal plane into the Outback.
Rail Tours
The train is not only a means of transport in Queensland, but often an experience on its own. With the East Coast Discovery Pass one can travel from Brisbane to Cairns over a period of six months, getting on and off as one pleases. The Tilt Train travels three times per week between Brisbane and Cairns and takes 25 hours for the journey from south to north. The nostalgic Sunlander takes 7 hours longer from Brisbane to Cairns. The train stations of Queensland are connected free of charge to the coastal towns by shuttle buses. With the Spirit of the Outback from Brisbane to Longreach, with the Westlander from Brisbane to Charleville and with the Inlander from Townsville to Mount Isa one can travel right into the Outback with fascinating commentries on the history and culture of the early Australia.
Coach Tours
Touring buses offer reasonably priced possibilities to travel through the Sunny State. As the road network is very well developed, even more remote areas can be reached without any problems. The various bus passes, that are on offer for the whole of Australia, as well as individual regions, make travelling by bus even cheaper. The buses are comfortably fitted out, air-conditioned and videos are shown on board while travelling. Many bus companies offer extended coach tours that include sight-seeing excursions, accommodation (in hotels, motels, bungalows or on camp grounds) as well as most meals.
Cruises
Travelling by ship gives one an impression of how the early settlers reached Australia. Of course the standard on today's ships is very much higher and the travelling time clearly shorter. International cruise ships call at various Australian ports. Apart from that sailing cruises are also offered (especially to the Whitsundays), and in Brisbane water taxis are part of the public transport system.
Self-drive Tours & Road Conditions
An own car gives one the greatest freedom to travel where and when one wants to. From a small car to a large campervan everything is possible. In general the road conditions are similar to those on South Africa's better roads. Prices of petrol in Australia vary from state to state, and region to region, but in general fuel costs about the same or is slightly more expensive than in South Africa. If you intend travelling into remote areas, you should enquire about the road conditions and necessary equipment in advance. Apart from that one can leave one's planned route and time of arrival with a ranger or the police. For remote areas we also recommend the hiring of a satellite phone.

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