Information for International Visitors
Banking and money
Banks: As a general guide, banks across the city are open for business Monday to Friday 9.30am-4pm. Some banks in local shopping centres are also open Saturday and Sunday (with varying opening hours).
Automatic teller machines (ATMs): ATMs are located throughout the city and will recognise cards issued by most banks.
Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club are accepted across the city by most outlets.
Currency exchange: Sydney Airport offers currency exchange facilities within the airport. Throughout Sydney CBD you’ll find numerous currency exchange services. Most banks also offer currency exchange services.
Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100
Coins: 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, $1 and $2
Pricing: Australian prices occasionally end in a variant of 1¢ or 2¢. Where this occurs, at the cash register the price is rounded to the nearest 5¢.
August is the end of winter in Sydney. The weather this time of year is still quite cold with the average daytime temperature between 11 – 20°C (51 – 68°F). Temperatures do drop at night, you will need a jacket for evenings.
Ultraviolet (UV) Index: Visitors to Sydney should look out for the UV index in local weather reports, which describes the daily solar UV radiation intensity. Protect yourself from sunburn by using SPF50+ sunscreen, which is readily available throughout Australia at supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies, and wearing sun-smart clothing, including a hat and sunglasses.
Mains supply in Australia is 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz with three-pin plugs used across the country. The Australian three-pin electrical socket differs from those found in most countries, and international travellers may require an adaptor socket. Standard outlets for 100-volt small appliances can be found in most hotel rooms.
Adaptors can be bought from all good travel stores, chemists and department stores located in and around the Sydney CBD.
In a life-threatening or time-critical emergency, dial Emergency Services on 000. The Triple Zero service is an operator-assisted service that connects callers to the most relevant emergency service organisation (police, fire brigade or ambulance). Calls to Triple Zero are free and can be made from all telephones (landline, mobile phones and payphones). When you dial 000 services, the most important thing to remember is to stay focused, stay relevant and stay on the line.
Goods and services tax
The goods and services tax (GST) is a broad-based 10 per cent tax included in the shelf price of most Australian goods and services. The Tourist Refund Scheme allows international travellers to claim a GST refund (subject to certain conditions) on some goods purchased in Australia. The refund applies only to items worn or goods taken on board as hand luggage when leaving the country.
Health and medical services
Australia has a high-standard healthcare system offering a mix of public and private services. Sydney offers various public and private hospitals. St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney is located in the city at 390 Victoria Street Darlinghurst, Sydney.
Private medical practitioners can be easily located through the Yellow Pages website or telephone book. By international standards, Australian health services are not overly expensive, and many international travellers will find their country has reciprocal healthcare agreements with Australia. As a general guide, these agreements provide for any ill-health episode requiring prompt medical attention. Comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended.
English is the official language of Australia but many foreign languages are used by minorities in local communities, including Arabic, Italian, Greek, Vietnamese and Chinese dialects. Translation and interpreter services can be accessed 24 hours a day by calling 13 14 50.
Passport and visas
All international travellers must present a valid and approved travel document (generally a passport) as evidence of their identity and nationality to allow entry into Australia. In addition, all international travellers (with the exception of most New Zealand passport holders) must also obtain a valid visa before travelling to Australia.
As a general guide, travellers are encouraged to apply for their Australian visa well in advance of their planned departure date.
Find the right visa for you here www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1
Passport holders from certain countries can apply for a visa online through the Australian Government’s eVisitor system. The eVisitor allows visitors to travel to Australia for short-term business or tourism purposes for up to three months. eVisitor applications are free.
Find out more about the eVisitor visa at www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/651-
Electronic Travel Authority
Passport holders from a range of other countries (including the US) can apply for a visa online through the Australian Government’s Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) system. Alternatively, passport holders outside of Australia can apply for ETA through a travel agent, airline office, specialist service provider or Australian visa office. The ETA allows people to visit Australia for short-term tourism or business purposes of up to three months. An ETA is available to passport holders from more than 30 countries, regions and locations.
Find out more about the ETA at www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/601-
Note: The eVisitor and ETA systems provide the electronic equivalent of a visa for the short-term traveller, replacing the traditional passport visa label or stamp. Most applications are processed within a day.
For conference organisers and delegates, specialised visa advice is available through the Australian Government’s International Event Coordinator Network (IECN). Located across the country, IECN staff work with event organisers to provide free advice and visa- processing assistance for international travellers invited to speak at, perform in, or attend an event in Australia.
Check the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website for eligibility requirements at www.immi.gov.au.
Transport in Sydney
Sydney has an extensive public transport system, covering trains, buses, light rail and ferries. You can use the Opal Travel app to view timetables, nearby stops and to help plan your journey. For more information please click here.
Most public telephones have International Direct Dialling and Subscriber Trunk Dialling. Phone cards for public phones and recharge cards for mobile phones can be bought from most newsagents, supermarkets and convenience stores. Many public phones also accept coins and credit cards. The international dialling code is 0011, followed by the country code and number.
Directory assistance: 1223
The international dialling code for Sydney is +612.
Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) is observed in Sydney, AEST is equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 11 hours (UTC +11).
Service with a smile is the rule of thumb in Australia and tipping is always optional. If the service is worthy of a tip, it will be appreciated.
Visitor information services
Visit the Sydney Visitor Information Centre at
Corner Goulburn and Dixon streets
Haymarket NSW 2000
7 days a week 11am–7pm