Australia is both the world’s smallest continent and the only country that has a whole continent to itself. Famed for its natural wonders and wide open spaces (beaches, deserts and “the bush” or “the Outback”), Australia is ironically one of the world’s most highly urbanised countries and is well known for the cosmopolitan attractions of its cities, such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Australian capital city Canberra.
Australia is completely surrounded by ocean: there is no way to travel overland to Australia. Hence, all international visitors arrive by plane or by boat. Almost all travellers will first travel to one of the state capitals, as these have all the major airports and many of the major ports.
Approximately half of all international travellers arrive first in Australia in Sydney , the largest city, via Kingsford-Smith International Airport. Assuming direct flights to Sydney from various parts of the globe, travellers can expect a 3 hour flight from New Zealand , a 15 hour flight from the west of the United States of America , and up to a 24 hour flight plus from western Europe . On account of long journey times from some destinations, many travellers opt to book a stop-over in their flight in order to minimise the impact of jet lag and flight discomfort.
After Sydney, significant numbers of travellers also arrive first in Australia in Melbourne (Tullamarine Airport), Brisbane and Perth . Much smaller numbers arrive at international airports in Cairns , Adelaide , Darwin , the Gold Coast (Coolangatta), Norfolk Island , Newcastle and Broome .
Customs and Quarantine
Australia has a very strict customs requirement when it comes to animal and vegetable imports including wood, and other prohibited goods. This is because Australia is a large and isolated island, and thus far free of many diseases and insect pests found in other countries. All incoming visitors must pass a customs check for these items. No fruits, vegetables, meat or other food products are allowed in unless they are factory-made and on the approved list of imports (eg, chocolate is o.k.)
There is no penalty for declaring illegal goods – they’ll just be confiscated and destroyed – but if you attempt to bring them in without declaring them, there are extremely heavy penalties including fines and a possible jail term.
The Australian Quarantine and Immigration Service website ( http://www.immi.gov.au/ ) has more details.
Visas and Documentation
All foreigners except New Zealanders require visas.
The citizens of some countries, however, can obtain a short stay tourist or business visa online
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