Answers from Our Experts (2)
1) Currency: You need to understand the Australian Dollar before coming here, especially when the exchange rate is chaging. This is the best website to check the current rates on - http://au.finance.yahoo.com/currencies/converter/. Most shops, restaurants, hotels and tour organisers accept American express and traveller's cheques. ATMs around the city also accept international credit cards.
2) Weather: Australia is a huge country, and because of which the temperature around the country really varies - even when it's 'Summer' around the nation. The weather in Sydney is very constant - as per the season - so if it says 70F, you know you're up for blue skies and beaming sunshine. But if you're planning to travel around the country, i.e. go to Melbourne, Great Barrier Reef or the Northern Territory, then check the temperature and pack extra clothes. Chances are you'll be packing warm clothes along with a bikini!
3) Accomodation: There are various options available for where you can stay in Sydney. And because it's a tourist-heavy city, it's not advisable that you book after arriving in the city. So, do your research for where you want to stay - near the beach, in the heart of the city, in a five-star accomodation or a backpackers. There is something for every budget and taste, so don't fret. Check here for accomodation details - http://www.wotif.com/hotels/australia-sydney-hotels.html
One of the most important things to know before your trip is just how strong the sun is in Australia. As you prepare your itinerary and figure out the best spots to visit from restaurants to bars to the best attractions, make sure you are also preparing yourself for major sun exposure. Due to the sun’s strength in Australia, skin cancer rates are high, so it’s best to be smart and protect your skin by wearing hats, sunglasses and SPF30+ sunscreen, also by seeking shade when possible. Don’t ruin your trip with a sunburn, prepare for the sun before!
Although Sydney is connected by train, bus and ferry, you should be prepared for a more relaxed pace. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to get anywhere as the most common form of transportation is the bus, and you can hit some heavy traffic depending on where you’re headed.
Look Both Ways
I’m sure you already know that Australia drives on the left side of the road, but it is definitely something to bear in mind while you’re visiting if you’re accustomed to driving on the right. Hark back to your childhood when you were learning to “stop, look and listen”. It may sound silly, but as I’m sure as your own parents have already told you “it’s for your own good”.