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Travel guide Central Australia & Alice Springs

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Travelling to Australia

For many, it is a dream to travel to the Land Down Under.  The Great Barrier Reef is a natural phenomenon many long to see for themselves, as is the giant Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) sitting smack in the middle of the country. Seeing kangaroos in the wild, the chance to cuddle a koala, and just experience the laid-back attitude for which Australians are famous, may seem like an impossible dream. Happily, it takes only a day to travel to this great island continent, and with flights more reasonably priced than ever, and plenty of deals available throughout the year, you could soon be chatting with the locals while marveling at the mixed-up features of a platypus.

Getting there
Plenty of airlines travel to Australia, including their main carrier, Qantas. How much you pay to travel to Australia is going to depend on a number of things. Firstly – are you near a major airport hub? It may be cheaper to book your flight directly from that hub, and find an alternate way of getting to it. (So, for example, if you live in Washington DC, it may be cheaper to catch a train to New York City and fly from there, rather than booking a flight from your own international airport). The cities in Canada and the USA with the most flights to Australia are generally Vancouver, Toronto, New York City, Los Angeles and Honolulu. The main point of arrival in Australia for flights from North America is Sydney, although other major cities are available.

Season is also a consideration – Australia has its seasons reversed from North America, meaning that January is the middle of summer. The good news is that you can travel to some amazing destinations in Australia during the cheaper, off-peak season. The reason is that Australia’s climate varies substantially from north to south, and the northern part of Australia is actually nicest to visit in the winter months while many parts of Australia in the south are best enjoyed during the summer months. And of course, autumn and spring are excellent times to visit anywhere in Australia.

The next factor to determine your ticket price is – who is offering the best deals? In Canada and the USA, there are plenty of search engines boasting cheap flights, but the reality is that prices are changing by the minute and while you’re checking out all of the sites, the cheap seats may be getting snapped up. One innovative website has minimised your difficulies: Kayak. Instead of selling you the flight, it searches the web for the cheapest deals and then lists them all for you. It will also search the major sites like Expedia, Travelocity and Hotwire to provide you with the direct comparison all at once, and save you the trouble of doing it yourself. From there, you can click on the cheapest flights and you’ll be immediately directed to the appropriate website for booking that particular flight.

Visas and Passports
All visitors to Australia require a valid passport, and with the exception of New Zealand citizens, require a visa. This must be obtained before you travel and cannot be purchased upon arrival in Australia, although it can be extended while you’re in the country. Details of visas can change, so for the most up-to-date information check out Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Getting Around - Driving
If you plan to drive, you will need to hold a valid International Permit in addition to a current driving license from your own country. Be warned that Australians drive on the left side of the road, and the driver’s seat is on the right side of their car, which can be unnerving at first, but you will quickly adapt.

If you plan to see parts of Australia that are far apart, arrange to purchase air tickets to these places before you arrive in the country. It is much cheaper to buy flights around Australia as part of your main international air ticket, or as a separate air pass.

Air passes are not available to residents of Australia and offer a fantastic opportunity to see the country. The tickets are frequently bought as coupons, and you choose how many you would like. For example, the Qantas Boomerang Air Pass allows you to hop around the country, at $AUS240 per segment within one zone, or $AUS300 per segment if it’s within two zones. You could choose to fly from Sydney to Melbourne to Ayers Rock to Alice Springs to Perth, for example, for a small fraction of what a resident of Australia would pay for the same flights. For these passes to be valid, you must have a valid international air ticket. Check with your travel agent for details of these passes, or contact Qantas in your home country.

Australia has some truly fantastic bus companies, with modern and luxurious coaches offering video entertainment and onboard toilets. These are exceptionally clean and very safe. If you would really like to see Australia in all her vastness, consider purchasing a bus pass. These can easily be purchased at any major bus station in Australia, and can be valid for unlimited use during a set number of weeks, or valid for a year but with a set number of destinations. It is important to note that you must book your seats to travel on long-distance bus or coach lines, as unlike in Canada and the USA – they do not simply add another bus every time one fills up. Instead, you are allocated a place on the bus and often, a designated seat.

Electrical items
 If you live in Canada or the USA, your appliances run on 110 volts. Fortunately, most travel items have a switch on them to easily convert to Australia’s 240 volts. However, you’ll still need to purchase an adaptor, as your electrical plug will not fit into an Australian socket (with the exception of high-end hotels, which tend to provide 110 volt outlets with flexible sockets for shavers). Be careful though – if you buy an adapter, but forget to flick the switch to 240 volts, or your item does not have the switch to allow you to do it, you will destroy your appliance within moments of switching it on. (The reverse does not happen with appliances purchased in Australia and moved to the USA or Canada – they simply won’t work properly or at all until the correct voltage is provided).

The Australian dollar is the currency, and is worth around 15 cents less than either the Canadian or American dollars, so you’ll get good value for your money.

The choices are endless – from yachts drifting along the tranquil Whitsunday Passage, to century-old cottages set in vineyards, to oceanfront apartments – you will find all you dreamed of and more. Gone are the days of resigning yourself to a simple hotel room; while these are certainly available throughout Australia, you can choose an option that is truly memorable for the same price. Check out TakeABreak for the best of every style of accommodation, at the best prices.

Making your plans
Australia is a huge country, and it may be difficult to decide where you are going to visit. Before you make any plans, be sure to check out the many destination articles available at Holiday Inspirations where you’ll find plenty of details about each of the towns and their attractions, history and culture.

About the Author- Kylie-Jane Degeling
Is a freelance writer who has lived in Adelaide,Yulara (Uluru), Alice Springs and Canberra, as well as five different countries throughout the world. After backpacking around Australia, she worked as a tour guide in Central Australia, before training for her Commercial Pilot License and working as a flight instructor, scenic flight and charter pilot. She later worked as a travelling IT trainer for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which involved spending time in each of their 16 District Offices around the country on a frequent rotating basis.  Having experienced Australia as a backpacker, tour guide, pilot and business traveler, Kylie now enjoys family holidays with her husband Alex and children Jezzy and Jordan. She says, “I have been lucky to see Australia from a variety of perspectives, and as a travel writer can use this experience to inspire others to find holidays they would enjoy.”

Kylie currently works as a travel writer in addition to being a government writer and columnist for two parenting magazines.


About the author
Find out more about Kylie at http://bit.ly/h_experts

More accomodation in Top End & Darwin
Darwin | Tennant Creek | Katherine | Kakadu & Mary River | Arnhem Land | Hayman Island | Brampton Island | Hamilton Island | Lindeman Island | Airlie Beach | Long Island | Whitsunday Island | Bowen | Mackay | Humpty Doo | Humpty Doo | Sarina | Darwin, Northern Suburbs | Middle Point | Litchfield Region | Daydream Island | Mataranka | Midge Point | The Gulf Region | Kings Canyon | Pine Creek | Pioneer Valley | Marian | Adelaide River | Pirlangimpi | Palmerston | Batchelor | Whitsundays | Bullo River | Kuttabul | Dundee Beach | Fannie Bay | Bayview | Barunga | Bathurst Island | Borroloola | Cape Crawford | Cobourg Peninsula | Cooinda | Daly River | Daly Waters | Howard Springs | Jabiru | King Ash Bay | Larrimah | Maningrida | Melville Island | Gove | Oenpelli | Seven Spirit Bay | Threeways | Virginia | Cannonvale | Nebo | Preston QLD | Proserpine | Shute Harbour | Clermont | Clermont | Coppabella | Coral Cove | Queens Beach | Coconut Grove | Nightcliff | Wagait Beach | Larrakeyah | Anula | Brinkin | Cullen Bay | Leanyer | Ludmilla | Northlakes | Parap | The Gardens | Woolner | Dolphin Heads | Jubilee Pocket | MARINA AREA | Marina Terrace | Northern Point | ONE TREE HILL | ROSE BAY | STRATHFIELD | Western Side QLD | Cape Gloucester | Catseye Beach | Collaroy | Koumala | McMinns Lagoon |

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