The currency used is the Australian dollar (AUD) which is made up of 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 and the coins in use are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2.
The language spoken in Australia is English.
Surfers Paradise enjoys a subtropical climate which results in an average three hundred days of sunshine per year. Temperatures vary slightly throughout the year with an average summer temperature of 28 degrees Celsius and 22 degrees Celsius in winter.
Surfers Paradise is ten hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Electricity in Australia is 220-240V.
Last year a 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced in Australia and this applies to most products and services. Under the Tourist Refund Scheme, however, visitors can claim a tax refund on any purchases which cost over AU$300, were bought in the same shop and which were purchased within the last month of your stay in the country. To avail of this service you need to hand in your receipt at customs and your refund will be paid there and then.
All visitors to Australia need a passport and a visa. Those from New Zealand are issued a visa on arrival; all other visitors must obtain one in advance. There are several different types of visa depending on the reason for visiting, but most holiday visitors will need a standard tourist visa. To apply for a visa you’ll need an application form, available from Australian diplomatic missions overseas and many travel agents. There’s a US$33 fee for a three-month stay and you’ll have to provide your passport and a passport photo with your application. Visitors between the ages of 18 and 30 from Britain, Ireland, Canada, Holland, Malta, South Korea and Japan may be eligible for a working holiday visa. You can work either full-time or part-time for as much of the year that you want, but you can’t work for the same employer for more than 3 months.
The tourist information centre in Surfers Paradise is located in the Cavill Mall and can be contacted on 5538 4419. It opens between 8.00am and 5.00pm from Monday to Friday, 9.00am and 5.00pm on Saturday and between 9.00am and 3.30pm on Sundays.
The main post office is located in the Paradise Centre on Cavill Avenue and opens between 9.00am and 5.00pm from Monday to Friday. You can also purchase stamps in most newsagents.
In general, shops open between 9.00am and 5.30pm from Monday to Friday, from 8.30am until 5.30pm on Saturday and 10.30am and 4.00pm on Sunday but most shops directly aimed at tourist have even more extensive opening hours. Office hours are generally between 8.30am or 9.00am until 5.00pm.
Changing both foreign currency or traveller’s cheques is not problem in Surfers Paradise and can be carried out in any one of the town’s banks. You will find a branch of American Express at 16 Orchid Avenue. ANZ is located at 3232 Gold Coast Highway, Commonwealth is at 3206 Gold Coast Highway and finally Thomas Cook is located in the Paradise Centre on Cavill Avenue. Normal opening hours are between 9.30am and 4.00pm from Monday to Thursday and until 5.00pm on Fridays.
All major credit cards are also widely accepted and if you have the PIN you can also use these to receive cash in compatible bank machines. The same applies to bankcards which are members of any of the international banking networks including Cirrus and Plus.
The country code for Australia is 61 and the area code for Surfers Paradise is 07. Dial this number first if calling from outside Queensland and omit the 0 if calling from overseas. Local calls from public phones cost 40c for an unlimited amount of time. You can make local calls from Telstra payphone booths and also from the gold and blue phones found in many shops and hotels. Long-distance calls can be made from almost any public phone. Many public phones accept Telstra Phonecards which come in $5, $10, $20 and $50 denominations and are available from retail outlets which display the Phonecard logo. Otherwise you can use coins of 10 cents and upwards. Long-distance calls are charged according to distance and rates vary depending on what time you call. The lowest rates are currently at weekends and after 8pm during the week.
In Australia tipping is not compulsory as it is in America and some parts of Europe. It is considered as a ‘thank you’ for good service rather than an obligation. If you decide to tip the amount should be in accordance with how good you felt the service was. Ten percent of the bill is considered reasonable.
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to a country as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In Australia they occur on January 1st, January 26th,Good Friday, Easter Monday, April 25th, June 12th, December 25th and December 26th. It is a good idea to check the particular area too as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.