A guide for international visitors coming to Australia

Australia, with its diverse landscapes, unique wildlife, and vibrant culture, is a dream destination for travelers from around the world. Of course we are biased!

We love enquiries from overseas and an increasingly larger number of our clients are from outside of Australia especially those seeking expedition style adventures in the Kimberley or Top End.

This guide will provide you essential information to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. From weather considerations to visa requirements, insurance and medical cover, and tips on traveling around Australia, we’ve got you covered. And of course please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries.

Guide to Weather:

Australia’s vast size means that its climate varies greatly from region to region. This is really important to know. Whilst some destinations are all year round many are not.

Oh and of course for those from the northern hemisphere – our spring/summer runs from around November to March/April

Here’s a brief overview to help you plan your visit:

  • Northern Australia: Northern regions, including the Kimberley, Top End of the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland experience a tropical climate. It is always warm in these areas but it can be a dry heat (wonderful) or a wet, humid heat (not so wonderful). The wet season usually runs from November to April, while the dry season is from May to October. Virtually expedition cruises and tours in these areas operate in the dry season .

For more detailed information on the best time to visit the Kimberley check out our dedicated blog on ‘When is the best time to cruise the Kimberley?”

  • Southern Australia: In cities like Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide, Tasmania you can expect temperate weather. Summers (December to February) are warm; sometimes very warm, while winters (June to August) are cooler. Please do not assume it is always hot in Australia. You’ll need a jacket at least in Melbourne or Hobart in June, July, August. 

Australian Visa Requirements:

Most travellers to Australia need a pre-arranged visa to enter the country. One of the most common and convenient options is the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization). The ETA is available for passport holders from select countries including:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Most European Union countries

To apply for an ETA, visit the official Australian government website. Be careful to use the Australian government site for this – there are many sites that purport to be the official site but are actually private companies. Make sure to have your passport, valid credit card, and email address ready for the application process.

Official government site for Australian tourist visa

Entering Australia from Overseas: Immigration, Customs, and Quarantine Procedures:

When you arrive in Australia, you’ll need to go through immigration and customs procedures. Here’s what to expect:

  • Immigration: You’ll need to present your passport, visa (such as the ETA), and a completed Incoming Passenger Card. Ensure you fill out this card accurately, including details of any items you’re bringing into the country.
  • Customs: Australia has strict customs regulations to protect its unique ecosystem. Declare all food, plant material, and animal products you have with you. Failure to declare items can result in heavy fines. 
  • Quarantine: Australia is known for its stringent quarantine measures. Declare any food, fruits, vegetables, and animal products you’re carrying, as these items can introduce pests and diseases into the country. Quarantine officers may inspect your belongings, and it’s essential to cooperate fully.

Customs and quarantine is taken really seriously in Australia; more so than many other countries- please be really mindful on arrival. 

Insurance and Medical Cover:

It’s crucial to consider insurance and medical cover. While Australia offers excellent healthcare services, having comprehensive travel insurance is really non-negotiable. Some countries, like the UK, have reciprocal medical agreements with Australia, which may cover necessary medical expenses during your stay. However this is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance to cover unexpected events, such as trip cancellations, emergency medical situations & repatriation.

Travelling Around Australia:

Australia’s vastness can make traveling between destinations an adventure in itself. Here are some tips for getting around:

  • Domestic Flights: For long distances between major cities, domestic flights are often the quickest and most convenient option. There are a number of domestic airlines but really the only two that we recommend are Qantas and Virgin Australia. Low cost airlines such as Jetstar and (the ridiculously named) Bonza cannot provide a reliable service – think Ryanair, Whizz or Spirit. We can guide you through booking your domestic flights.
  • Trains: Australia offers scenic train journeys, such as the Ghan and Indian Pacific. This is a wonderful way to see the country. Normal rail services are not really focused on long distance travel.
  • Buses: Buses and coaches connect regional areas and smaller towns. They are a cost-effective way to travel but can be time-consuming for long distances.
  • Car Rentals: Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore remote areas. Please just remember to drive on the left side of the road!
  • Public Transport: Major cities have reliable public transport networks, including buses, trams, and trains.

Hopefully this covers all the absolute essentials. Just the key points:

  • You need a visa to enter Australia and this has to be pre-arranged.
  • Australia is not simply a ‘sunny all the time’ destination
  • Certain locations are not appropriate for visitors during the wet season

If you are planning to visit Australia for an expedition cruise or tour then please do not hesitate to contact us.

About Jenny

I’m an expert in small ship cruising in the Kimberley and have completed four cruises on different vessels along this spectacular coastline. With a family I now work part-time so if you would like to have a chat with me about Kimberley cruising at a time that suits you book in a call here  and I will call you then.

Cruises in the Kimberley are not ‘one size fits all’ scenario; there are different ships and itineraries each offering their own special elements.  If you would like some general information to start your research then download my free guide to Kimberley cruising here.   I have also written some really interesting blogs (if I do say so myself) click here to have read.

Book your no obligation 20 minute discovery call with our Kimberley cruise expert.

Book a time and date that works in with your schedule and we will call you. Let us discover together the right Kimberley Cruise for YOU.