Electrical current is 240/250 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin
flat blade plugs are used but are different to those in most other
countries, so an adapter is normally required.
English is the official language of Australia.
There are no mandatory gratuities in restaurant service charges
of any kind in Australia, and tips are not expected anywhere,
although it is becoming more common in expensive restaurants in the
bigger cities to leave some money for good service.
The crime rate in Australia is low, however travellers should be
aware that tourists could be targeted by petty criminals. Be
vigilant about personal possessions and travel documents,
particularly in popular tourist destinations such as along the Gold
Coast. There has been an increase in incidents of spiked drinks and
women in particular should be cautious in nightspots; many victims
were also sexually assaulted. Tropical cyclones normally occur
between November and April in some parts of Australia, usually in
Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory. There is a
serious risk of bush fires in summer, especially in Victoria,
Tasmania, New South Wales and ACT. During the summer months,
usually between October and May, the shallow coastal waters of
northern Australia and Queensland become infested with marine
stingers, commonly known as box jellyfish, whose sting is highly
dangerous and can be deadly. Visitors should pay attention to signs
on beaches and follow the instructions of local lifeguards.
Generally an informal attitude, in dress and behaviour, prevails
in most social and business situations. Sport, particularly rugby
and cricket, is almost a religion.
The international access code for Australia is +61. The outgoing
code is 0011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001144 for
the United Kingdom). The area code for both Canberra and Sydney is
(0)2. Local calls from public payphones are unlimited and cost a
standard rate, while international and long distance calls are
charged according to the time spent on the phone. Mobile phone
operators use GSM and CDMA networks (area code (0)4); mobile phones
are available for rent. Internet cafes are widely available.
Travellers to Australia over 18 years do not have to pay customs
duty on 2.25 litres of alcohol; 250 cigarettes or 250g cigars or
other tobacco products. Gifts are included in the A$900 duty-free
allowance. Fresh produce and animal/plant products are