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Australia info


Blue Mountains, New South Wales
 

Location

Australia lies in the southern hemisphere between latitudes 9° and 44°S, and longitudes 112° and 154°E. Australia is the world's smallest continent and sixth largest country by total area. Its nearest neighbour countries are Indonesia and Papua New Guinea in the north and New Zealand in the south east. With a total area of 7,686,850 square kilometres (including Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island) Australia is about 23 times as large as Finland. Australia's capital is Canberra. The total population of Australia is about 23,5 million, and owing to country's size the population density remains among the lowest in the world.

Accommodation

All major international hotel chains operate in Australia, and there are accommodation options to suit a wide range of budgets and travelling preferences. During major events and especially in smaller places it may be difficult to find accommodation at weekends.

Banks

Banking services are not on a par with the Finnish standards, but are on an acceptable level. Opening times: Monday to Thursday 10:00-16:00, on Fridays 10:00-17:00.

Barbers and hairdressers

Barber and hairdressing services are widely available in greater cities. Prices vary a lot, and they are higher than in Finland.

Business in Australia

A comprehensive guide how to set up a business in Australia can be found here.

Cars

Almost all car makes are represented in Australia, and their service networks cover the entire country. In general, cars are well equipped and have an automatic transmission. Vehicles are right-hand driven because Australia drives on the left. Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP Insurance) is a mandatory requirement and each individual car must be insured. Insurances offering a wider coverage are readily available. All states and territories require an annual vehicle registration fee.

Children

A diverse range of hobby activities for children are at hand in Australia. Attitudes towards children are positive.

Climate

Australia's climate varies widely. The greater part of the continent is desert or semi-arid, and the south-east and south-west corners have a temperate climate. The northern part has a tropical climate, which varies between tropical rainforests, grasslands and desert. Tropical cyclones, heat waves and bushfires are frequent during the summer months.

Clothing

The weather is cool during the autumn and winter months, and there are significant temperature variations between day and night. You should choose your travel wardrobe accordingly.

Cuisine

Australia offers a dizzying array of dining options - a wide multicultural mix is represented in restaurants. It is relatively safe to drink tap water, but people with sensitive stomachs should be on their guard.

Currency

Australia's currency is Australian dollar (AUD).

Electricity

Mains voltage in Australia is 230V (50Hz).  Power adapters for European electrical appliances are available in department stores, electrical stores and souvenier shops.

Embassies

See the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs for foreign embassies. The Finnish embassy is located in Canberra.

Habitation

Apartments and flats for rent are plentiful. Rents vary a lot, and are contingent on location. Apartments are normally equipped with an oven, a dish machine and curtains, but fridge, freezer, wash machine and microwave oven are often excluded. Fully furnished and equipped apartments are also available for rent.

Vuokrattavana

Health care

In order to access the health care system in Australia, one must contact the local general practitioner (GP). When necessary, the GP gives the patient a referral to a specialist. In case of emergency, patients can access public hospitals through emergency departments. The Australian Government has signed a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Finland. The agreement entitles Finns to free health services for essential medical treatment in case of acute illnesses. Costs caused by non-acute illnesses are partly subsidised afterwards by Medicare (corresponds to the Finnish Kela compensation).

 

Household services

Household services are available from private companies and entrepreneurs at least in greater cities. Hourly rates for home cleaning vary from 20 to 60 Australian dollars depending on the area.

Image of Finland

Finland has a positive image, but the country is not particularly well known. Finnish immigrants have several active clubs and societies in Australia in greater cities. Thousands of Finns have lived in Australia since the 1950's.

Immigration

The website www.immi.gov.au offers comprehensive information and advice about migrating to and working or studying in Australia.

Import regulations

Australia's import regulations are very strict. All imported food and wooden items, for example, must be cleared by Customs upon entry into Australia.

Leisure time

Australia’s cities have a rich and thriving culture ranging from theatre, concerts and open-air festivals to art galleries and national attractions. Amongst the famous attractions of Sydney are the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. A vivid nightlife is also at hand for those who are so inclined.

Libraries and internet

All cities have libraries that offer (also free) Internet services.

Moves

Numerous moving companies operate in Australia.

Parking

Street side parking places are scarce, and the parking fees in Australian CBDs are some of the most expensive in the world. Parking can be paid with a credit card, too. Private car parks are expensive, but several shopping centres offer reasonably priced or free parking for a limited time.

Parking

Pets

Cats and dogs (and other pets) can be imported to Australia under strict conditions (quarantine rules are applied).

Phones

Country code for Australia is 61. Traditional phones are still widely used, but use of mobile phones is, of course, very common. It should be noted that there are still areas without network coverage.

Photographing

Guidelines given by authorities should be followed. Indigenous protected areas and military buildings are normally marked with a "photographing prohibited" sign.

Post

Post offices are open from Monday to Friday 09.00-17.00. Postal services are reliable.

     

Public holidays
 

Day 2017  
New Year's Day 1 January  
New Year's Holiday 2 January  
Australia Day 26 January  
Good Friday 14 April  
Easter Saturday 15 April  
Easter Monday 17 April  
Anzac Day 25 April  
Queen's Birthday 12 June  
Labour Day 2 October  
Christmas Day 25 December  
Boxing Day 26 December  

 

Public transport

Major cities have a well-functioning public transport system. Elsewhere it is advisable, or even necessary to own a car owing to the long distances. Traffic jams are frequent in greater cities. Performance of taxi services is satisfactory and generally reliable. Quality of taxi vehicles is mediocre and is subject to a relatively large variation.

City Circle, Melbourne 

Same-sex relationships

Same-sex relationships are tolerated.

Schools and education

Depending on the state or territory, school is compulsory from the age of five to six to the age of fifteen to seventeen. Schools run by the governments are free for Australian citizens and permanent resident holders. Fees apply for temporary residence holders.  Australian universities welcome foreign students, but the tuition fees are high.

Shopping

In Sydney area, the grocery stores are normally open from Monday to Sunday 07:00-23:00. Other small stores are open from Monday to Friday 09:00/10:00-17:00, and on Saturdays 09.00-17.00. On Thursdays all shops are open till 21:00. Notable shopping centres are located in several suburbs, and they are open every day. Amongst major supermarket chains are Woolworths and Coles, David Jones and Myer are remarkable department store chains. Ikea is situated in the suburb of Homebush (about 20 kilometres from Sydney CBD). DFO (Direct Factory Outlet) clothing warehouse lies next to Ikea.

  

Spouse

Job opportunities are subject to the labour market situation.

Tipping

The restaurant bill includes a service charge, which works as a tip for those who serve you. You may, however, leave an extra 10% tip.

Toilets

There are free toilets in public buildings, parks and shopping centres, and they are clean.

Traffic

Traffic during peak hours in major Australian cities is usually very congested and can cause considerable delays. The default speed limit within built-up areas is 50 kilometres per hour, and outside built-up areas 100 kilometres per hour. Some highways and freeways are zoned 110 kilometres per hour.

  

Visas

Australia offers a wide selection of visas for those travelling to Australia. For a holiday trip you can get a free visa, eVisitor (subclass 651), from the internet. This visa lets you visit Australia for up to three months at a time within a 12-month period. You must first create yourself an account by using this link, section ”Create an ImmiAccount (Individuals)”. After you have confirmed your e-mail address you can log in and fill in the application form (section My applications/New application). The processing time is normally one working day, but it may be longer in some cases. The visa is electronically stored but it is a good idea to take the confirmation e-mail with you. You can find more information on the visa here.

Waste management

Municipal waste management service is in operation in cities and densely populated places. The majority of waste is disposed of in the landfills. Levels of recycling do not match those of Finland.

Weights and measures

The Metric system is used in Australia.

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