This guides contains information that may be of use as you prepare to travel
to Queensland, Australia.
State Department Travel Advisory: Australia
- Australia in
- Guide to
- Australia: CIA World Facts and Figures
- The Australian Region: CIA World Facts and Figures
- Vital Statistics
- Time Difference
- Equipment and Clothing To Bring
- Electrical Devices
- Plane Travel
- Local Transportation
- Banking and ATMs
- Departure Tax
- Books and Films
of Queensland Things to Do and See
of Queensland St. Lucia Campus Map
- WWW Interface
to the University of Queensland Libraries
Australia (The Lonely Planet Tourist Guide)
Queensland (The Lonely Planet Tourist Guide)
Brisbane (The Lonely Planet Tourist Guide)
- Area: 2,967,207 sq. miles (Contiguous 48 US states: 3,021,299 sq. miles)
- Population: 18,000,000 (US: 255,000,000)
Australia has a number of different time zones. Eastern Standard
Time (EST) is observed in Queensland. Geneva, New York is 14 or 15 hours
behind, depending on whether Eastern Daylight Time or
(US) Eastern Standard Time is in effect. Much of Australia observes its
own daylight savings time, but the state of Queensland does not.
Current time in Brisbane, Queensland.
- States and Territories (Capitals: Population)
- Queensland (Brisbane: 1,157,000)
- New South Wales (Sydney: 3,392,000)
- Victoria (Melbourne: 2,916,000)
- Western Australia (Perth: 1,001,000)
- South Australia (Adelaide: 987,000)
- Tasmania (Hobart: 178,000)
- Northern Territory (Darwin: 68,500)
- Capitol Territory (Canberra: 274,000)
Australian currency is decimal based, with the Australian dollar as
the basic unit. Notes come in $100, $50, $20, $10, and $5 denominations.
Coins are minted in $2, $1, 50¢, 20¢, 10¢, and 5¢ denominations. There are
no pennies even though items are priced to the penny in stores and
markets. The total is rounded to the nearest 5¢. The $1 and $2 coins
are quit convenient. The terms "nickel" or "dime" are not used, and of
course, there are no "quarters".
Passports applications can be obtained at any County Clerk's Office.
In Geneva, the closest County Clerk's Office is:
1 DiPronia Drive
Waterloo (Seneca County)
Once you have obtained a passport, be sure to make two photocopies of it.
Leave one copy in a safe place at home and take the other copy with
you but store it separately from your actual passport. In case you
lose your passport, the copies will make replacing it much simpler.
There is a US Consulate in Brisbane. Finally, to minimize the chances
of theft or loss, you should not carry your passport with you on a
daily basis while in Australia.
A visa is required for all visitors to Australia.
Students enrolled in our program are able to enter Australia on visitor's
visa which costs $5 (as opposed to a more costly student visa). Visas can
from the Australian Consulate in New York. The Study Abroad Office can
handle obtaining the visas for all students in the program.
March is considered to be the end of the Brisbane summer. The days are beautifully
warm, dry, and clear,
but will turn a bit cooler by the end of April. You can expect April/May
maximum temperatures to be in the 23--26C (73--79F) range. As autumn advances,
the minimum temperatures may reach 13C (55F), not a real worry when you are coming
from Geneva, New York! The
Current Weather Forecasts For Brisbane, Queensland.
Temperature conversion: Fahrenheit = 1.8*Celsius + 32. (A rough conversion for the
temperature ranges in Queensland: Fahrenheit = 2*Celsius + 27.)
Standards of medical care are quite high in Australia. The country
has adopted a system of socialized medicine with universal coverage.
In the event of illness, call a doctor (visit his/her "surgery"), go
to a local clinic, or go to a public hospital. International visitors
are not covered by levied Australian health insurance and must pay for
services/hospitalization at the time of service.
- Statistics textbook
- Blank diskette
- Digital watch
- Students dress casually in Australia: shorts and tops, jeans and t-shirts
- Warmer clothes: jeans, sweaters, turtlenecks, and sweatshirts for the
Lamington and Carnarvon sections. ("Peelable" clothes are ideal; it gets
warm by the middle of the day.)
- 2 swimsuits and 2 beach towels
- Sun protection (especially for the island trips):
- Sun block (SPF 15 or higher)
- Hat for the sun
- Long-sleeved t-shirt for sun protection while snorkeling
- Face cloths (not usually supplied in Australian accommodations)
- Raincoat (an anorak is ideal) and umbrella
- Old disposable sneakers for use on reef walks, or aqua or splash shoes
- Walking shoes
- Hiking shoes
- Personal medication (and extra prescription, just in case)
- Toiletries, cosmetics
- Camera and 10 to 12 rolls of film (photo processing is expensive in Australia)
- Confident snorkelers who have their own gear can bring it; for
novices, gear and instruction will be supplied
A local phone call (in 1994) at a public pay phone was 40¢ with no
time limit on the call. Even local
calls from a "home" phone incur a charge of about 25¢ or so. All other
calls beyond the local dialing area are timed and are more expensive
depending on the distance. It is possible to purchase "phone cards" that
provide the caller with a fixed amount of "credit". The card may be used
Charges are automatically
deducted from the credit as the card is used
Australian power is 240v, 50Hz. The connection for appliances is a flat
3-pin plug (different from those used in the US).
Unless you have equipment that can handle 240v, do not bring it.
Plug adapters can be bought for about AU$10, but voltage converters to
change 240v to US 110v are much more expensive. For example,
buy a hair dryer there ($AU15-20) rather than buy a converter and adapter.
I thought the flight over was not too bad. I think you will be over the Pacific at night time. If you
can sleep for several hours, you will not be jet lagged at all because you arrive here in the morning. Try not
to party too much on the plane. Stick together and watch out for each other. You will want to pack a few
simple toiletries in your carry on bag --- toothbrush and the like. A backpack as a carry on bag worked out
The Brisbane City Council provides services for travelling
about the city: bus or ferry. The
bus system in Brisbane is extensive and economical when weekly
or monthly tickets are purchased. Since many busses travel along parts
of the same route, it is important to know the particular route number(s)
that will take you to your destination. You must hail the bus; they do not
automatically stop, even if people are waiting.
The city is divided into 5 zones (concentric rings). The fare is
determined by the number of zones you travel through. This may well be
confusing initially, but soon begins to make sense.
Bus schedules are available at the information kiosk in the
Queen Street Mall in downtown Brisbane, in the Brisbane City Hall building,
and at many local libraries.
a bus pass providing unlimited 2 zone travel for a month is AU$52.00, but must
be purchased by calendar month. (A bus pass for April and May will total about US $75.) A budget of $120
should be more than adequate for the entire stay including the few days in March and June. Since my
family has not rented a car, we have been using the bus system to do all of our travel around town. My kids
go to school on a city bus and I take a bus to the University. It takes a bit of getting used to, but is quite
manageable once you figure out the routes. Monthly passes may not be
purchased on a bus. However, they are widely available at many convenience
Exact change is not required when paying for a single fare on
board the bus.
The current Transportation Schedule
to the University is provided on the U of Q WWW Server.
Cars: I have checked into car rentals; basically impossible if you are not 21.
If you are 21, Hertz will rent a
car to you. Make sure to have an International Drivers's License.
Taxis: Meter operated taxicabs are found in all major cities and towns.
This is can be a reasonably inexpensive and convenient
option when travelling in groups of 3 or so. Tipping is optional.
Train: Tickets for Queensland Rail services may be purchased at train
Among the larger banks in Australia are the ANZ, Commonwealth and
National Bank of Australia. All have branches on the University
of Queensland campus. Banking Hours are similar to those in the US:
9:30--4:00 Monday to Thursday; 9:30--5:00 on Friday. Most banks have
automatic teller machines. See the information below.
While traveller's checks are a safe way to carry funds, many students
found it difficult to cash them. Some banks required a passport and then
charged a substantial fee to exchange them to Australian dollars.
If it is possible to obtain traveller's checks denominated in Australian
dollars, then do so.
You may wish to see if your local bank in the US can provide you
with Australian currency before you leave. This may make your first few
days in Australia less hectic.
By far, the easiest, safest, and potentially cheapest
method of obtain Australian currency is by using an ATM card or a debit
card. A more expensive alternative is using the cash advance feature on
credit card. The differences are explained briefly below.
When leaving Australia, an AU $27 departure tax is levied on all
persons aged 12 and over. I believe this tax must be
prepaid with airline tickets.
- If your bank card shows the Cirrus symbol (or if you know that it has
the Cirrus encoding), then you can use this card at any of the ATM
machines of the ANZ and the Commonwealth banks. This gives you
direct access to the funds in your checking account. There are usually
no fees or minimal fees for accessing your own funds this way. If you
have a bank card that shows the Plus symbol (or if you know that it has
the Plus encoding), then you can use this card at any of the ATM
machines of the ANZ bank. Again, any transfer fees to access your own
funds are minimal. Make sure you keep track of any funds withdrawn
this way, taking into account the exchange rate; otherwise you may
overdraw your checking account.
- If you have a bank card that is actually a debit card and it shows a
MasterCard or Visa logo, you can use it at most ATM machines of most
banks to access funds from your bank account. Again, any transfer fees
involved are minimal. (Debit cards are not credit cards; the amount of a
"charge" is immediately deducted from your checking account. Debit
cards are less common than credit cards.) Again, keep track of any
funds withdrawn this way, taking into account the exchange rate;
otherwise you may overdraw your checking account.
- If you have a credit card, (MasterCard or Visa), then you can use it in
most ATM machines to get a cash advance. Note that there can be
substantial fees involved to do this! Usually there is a transaction fee
plus interest charges that will appear on your next credit card
statement. You are essentially taking out a small loan. This differs
from the transactions in 1 or 2 where you are simply accessing your
existing checking account funds. This is the least preferred method of
getting money. Typically, it less expensive for you to use your credit
card to actually make the purchases you require than it is to get "cash
- Any card showing the MasterCard or Visa logo can be used inside
almost any bank at a teller to get cash. It will be either a debit
transaction (see 2) or a cash advance transaction (see 3) depending on
whether you are using a debit or a credit card. Note: an ordinary US bank
card (showing no Visa or MasterCard logo) cannot be used to get cash
from a bank teller, even if it has the Cirrus or Plus encoding.
Here's a list of readings and films that have been suggested by
various people as ways to learn more about Australia's history and culture.
- The Unique Continent editted by Jeremy Smith is a good introduction
to the unique ecology of Australia and the environemental problems the country
- The most famous Australian historian is Geoffrey Blainey.
He has written 20 books or so.
He is very controversial (you will read about him in the local
Australian press -- he is nationally known)
for his views on White Australia and multiculturalism.
- A Secret Country by John Pilger is a more critical voice,
(i.e., more left wing)
- The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes; a long history of
Australia which is quite interesting. Obtain it from the library.
- Trials in Power by Mark Considine is a book on politics
(on the Cain and Kerner governments in Victoria)
- The Road From Coorain by Jill Kerr Conway. Autobiographical
musings of a woman who grew up on a sheep ranch in the outback and
later became president of Smith College. The early chapters provide a
rich description of the Australian Outback.
- Nature of Australia: A portrait of the island continent by
- Australian Seashores by C.M. Younge
- A Coral Reef Handbook: A guide to the geology, flora and fauna of the
Great Barrier Reef Patricia Mather and Isobel Bennett, editors
- Australia - A Concise Political & Social History by
- My Brilliant Career by Franklin and then see the video
- Don's Party by David Williamson. This play is also a film
- My Place by Sally Morgan
- Background readings: novels
by Norman Lindsay, Hal Porter, T. Keneally (of Schindler's List fame),
Kevin Gilbert, Kath Walker, Ruth Parks,
and Patrick White.
- Books by Patrick White, Peter Carey, Frank Moorehouse,
and Elizabeth Jolly, and history by Manning Clark.
- Poetry by: Kath Walker, Judith Wright,
Kenneth Slessor, Banjo Patterson ("Waltzing Matilda"), and Henry Lawson
provide a good deal of feeling for the Australian "soul"
- For mystery readers:
- Kerry Greenwood has written a series of books set
in Melbourne in the 1920s which feature the feminist detective
- Author Clare McNab's stories are set in Sydney and feature the
lesbian detective Carol Ashton.
- There are lots of good movies which convey a feel for the place.
- Tim Mel Gibson's film debut, playing a simple-minded young
adult who falls in love with an older woman (Piper Laurie).
- Picnic at Hanging RockDirected by Peter Weir, this suspense
story revolves about the mysterious disappearance of a group of students
from an all-girls boarding school in the turn of the century Australia.
- Sunday too far Away Stars Jack Thompson as a champion
sheep-shearer circa 1956.
- Strictly Ballroom
- My Brilliant Career is about a woman born before her time.
Set in the late nineteenth century, it tells the story of a young woman
who lives with her family in the bush
country does not want to marry.
- The Man From Snowy RiverAn Australian Western about the
coming of age of a mountain man (Tom Burlinson). Also stars Kirk Douglas
and Jack Thompson.
- GallipoliDirected by Peter Weir and starring Mel Gibson. An
outstanding film about war (set during World War I).
- Breaker MorantRates five stars in many books; great character
study and high adventure rolled into one film.
- BlissBlack comedy about a business executive who survives
a heart-attack only to find himself in a hellish version of the
life he once had.
- MalcolmAn emotionally immature young man loses his job with
a rapid transit company after he builds his own tram with spare parts.
He falls in with thieves and loves it.
- LighthorsemenDramatization of the World War I encounter
between Australian and Turkish forces in Beersheba and the young
recruit who cannot bring himself to kill in battle.
- CaddieStory of a woman struggling to support herself and her
children in Australia in the 1920s.
- The ClubA highly paid rookie joins an Australian football
team whose last championship was a generation ago. Winning,
losing, loyalty, and determination...
- The PianoSet in New Zealand, but produced by Australian Jane
- Those interested in local artists should try
Arthur Boyd, Sydney Nolan, and the cartoonist Michael Leunig.
Other Information about the HWS Queensland Term
Author: Kevin Mitchell (email@example.com)
Last Update: 29 May 1996.