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 Tasmania is English.
Tasmania’s climate is temperate, similar to that of southern Australia with warm, dry summers and cold wet winters. It has four distinct seasons. Unlike southern Australia, however, the climate in Tasmania is more variable and changeable. The state’s capital, Hobart, for example, receives less rain than any other Australian capital with the exception of Adelaide whereas other regions receive quite a heavy rainfall. Highs in summer are rarely above 25 degrees Celsius while snow is common in the highlands during winter.
Tasmania is 10 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 26 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. Those aged between 26 and 30 can also apply for a working visa, but the conditions are much stricter. You have to prove that you working there will be ‘mutually beneficial’ to Australia and your own country.
On mainland Australia you will find information on any question you might have about Tasmania in any of the government-run Travel Centres. Once you reach Tasmania, there are privately run Tasmanian Travel and Information Centres (TTICs) in Burnie, Devonport, Hobart and Launceston. You should also try to get your hands on a copy of Tasmanian Travelways which is published by Tourism Tasmania and will tell you all you need to know to make your visit as hassle free as possible.
Shops in Tasmania are generally open from 9.00am until 5.30pm from Monday to Friday and from 9.00am until noon on Saturdays. Some stores also have late opening on Fridays until 9.00pm. Now most major department stores and those aimed directly at tourists also open on Sundays. Office hours are normally from 8.30am until 5.00pm from Monday to Friday.
If you take foreign currency to Tasmania you can change it at any of the state’s airports as well as some travel agencies and in any bank. While you will get a better rate in the latter, the difference is not normally significant. Travellers’ cheques in non-Australian currency can only be cashed at a bank but those in Australian currency are accepted as cash in most places. Opening hours for most branches are between 9.30am and 4.30pm from Monday to Friday.
You can also use all major credit cards in most places although it may prove difficult in more remote areas. This can also be used to withdraw cash at an ATM if you have your PIN. Bank cards which are members of any international network including Plus and Cirrus can also be used for this purpose. You should note, however, that a $5 may be charged for transactions using foreign ATM cards in addition to fees charged by your own bank.
The country code for Australia is 61 and the area code for Tasmania is 03. Dial this number first if calling from outside Tasmania 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.
There are post offices in all Tasmania’s main towns and they are open between 9.00am and 5.00pm from Monday to Friday and until midday on Saturday. You can also purchase stamps in most newsagents. All post offices will hold mail, keeping it for one month before returning it to the sender, although for a small fee you can arrange to have mail forwarded to you. If you are sending post to Europe or the US, it will take between four and ten days to reach its destination.
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.