Travelling to Australia
Australia's spectacular natural environment, multicultural communities, food and wine, the friendliness of its people, combined with its weather and lifestyle make it one of the world's most attractive tourist destinations. These qualities also make it one of the best places in the world in which to live and conduct business.
Tourism is one of Australia's largest and fastest-growing industries. The number of overseas visitors aged 15 years and over to Australia was 5.4 million in the year ended 30 September, 2011. Their total expenditure in Australia during this period was around A$18 billion.
Australia's unique environment has many native plants, animals and birds that exist nowhere else in the world. The country has a real commitment to conserving its natural heritage and has a range of protection procedures in place. Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid. These arid areas extend from the large central deserts to the Western coast. Soils in these areas are characteristically very infertile compared to other deserts of comparable aridity. This has presented Australians with the challenge of how best to manage the variety of regions our continent possesses to meet the competing demands of agriculture, economy and conservation. In land area, Australia is the sixth largest nation after Russia, Canada, China, the United States of America and Brazil. It has, however, a relatively small population. Despite the vast size of the continent however, Australia is one of the most urbanised and coast-dwelling populations in the world. More than 80 per cent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast.
Australia’s fertile areas are well-watered, and these are used very effectively to help feed the world. Sheep and cattle graze in dry country, but care must be taken with the soil. Some grazing land became desert when the long cycles that influence rainfall in Australia turned to drought.
As the world climate warmed and glaciers melted, oceans gradually rose to their current level and the land bridges to New Guinea and Tasmania were cut. Corals colonised a flooded coastal plain, forming the Great Barrier Reef of Queensland.
Ancient plants still grow in the wild. Pressure on native habitats from agriculture and introduced pests like the fox and rabbit have resulted in extinctions of some native species in the past 200 years. Australia now has a strong scientific and legal framework to deal with these issues. Australians care about their unique environment.
For more information on Australian environment, please visit the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy.
Overseas Driver Licences
Australia ’s state and territory driver licensing authorities recognise certain overseas country’s driver licences. Whether there is a requirement to hold an Australian licence depends on the type of visa the person holds. Further information about driving in Australia on an overseas driver's Licence can be found at the Austroads website including a list of recognised countries and Australian road authorities.
Working in Australia
Customs and Biosecurity
People, animals, goods, aircraft and vessels arriving in Australia are subject to biosecurity and customs conditions set by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. For information on what items you can and cannot take to Australia visit the Customs and Biosecurity pages of this website.
Australia in Brief provides an authoritative overview of Australia's history, the land, its people and their way of life. It also looks at Australia's economic, scientific and cultural achievements and its foreign, trade and defence policies.
Overview of Australia provides information about Australia's trade, foreign relations, economy, environment, government, indigenous peoples, science, and culture.
australia.gov.au is an internet portal that gives access to Australian Government information and services.