Handy Travel Info for Australia

by on Friday, 13 September 2013

G’day! Our wildlife await you (c) ISV

Coming to Australia on an ISV Volunteer and Travel Program?  Here are a few bits of info that may help you as you travel.

Time Difference

Sydney, Australia (Australian Eastern Standard Time) is 17 hours ahead of Los Angeles (Pacific Daylight Time) during the ISV Australia Program months of May to September. The easiest way to convert time is to subtract 7 hours from the time in Los Angeles. The result is equal to the time in Sydney, Australia on the next day. Example:  Monday 12:00 p.m. PDT in Los Angeles = Tuesday 5:00 a.m. AEST in Sydney, Australia.

Sydney is 10 hours ahead of British Summer Time. Example:  Monday Midday in London is 10pm AEST in Sydney, Australia.

Note: South Australia and the Northern Territory are half an hour behind AEST.

Our plugs look like this! Three prongs, or the two top ones at a minimum are required.


In Australia, most electrical plugs have three flat prongs, providing a current of 240 AC with a 50 Hz cycle. Equipment designed for North America and UK/Europe voltages require a special adapter plug, available where travel supplies are sold. You can also purchase these from duty free stores at the airport.  If you are bringing a charger (i.e. phone, camera etc), you will need to pay attention to this.

Pack accordingly as our climate varies widely based on location (c) ISV


Australia is a large country and the weather varies massively depending on your location. Australian winter (June through August) temperatures in the regions where our projects are located range from approximately -5°C to 20°C (23°F to 70°F). Read the information in your ISV project overview about the local temperatures so you can pack accordingly. It’s a common occurrence for travelers to assume Australia is hot everywhere year round – this simply isn’t true and some parts are surprisingly cold!

Importantly, Australia has one of the highest UV ratings in the world, which makes the sun extremely harsh. It is important to wear sunscreen and a hat whenever you are spending extended periods of time outdoors, no matter what time of the year or weather conditions. The sun in Australia can burn even on a cloudy day.  


Australia uses the metric system. Here are a few quick conversions…

1 inch  = 2.5 cm2 pints = 1 quart1 quart = .94 liter4 quarts = 1 gallon 1 pound = .45 kg1 foot = 30 cm1 yard = 91 cm1 mile = 1.61 km

Note: Australia uses Celsius (C) as opposed to Fahrenheit (F).

As a general rule, Australians don’t tip. However, in appreciation you may wish to leave a tip (i.e. tips for quality guides). (c) ISV


Tipping is generally not expected for service in Australia. This includes tipping at both restaurants and bars. However, if you wish to leave a tip, 10% is more than enough.


In Australia, all goods and service taxes (GST 10%) are usually already included in purchase prices.


In Australia, some shops are open 7 days a week and are open late on Thursday and Friday nights (depending on the city), so you can usually buy whatever you need at any time. In larger cities, some supermarkets are also open 7 days a week and during the week until midnight or 24 hours. Small towns often have more limited opening hours. Store hours vary depending on the city.

Sydney has a range of local transport options, including the manly ferry which is like taking a harbour cruise!

Public Transportation

Public transportation (buses, trains, and ferries) is very good in general, especially in cities! Many urban Australians do not drive cars regularly because public transport is extremely efficient and petrol is very expensive in Australia. It is advisable to have small change on hand when using public transport (i.e., coins) and some services require pre-paid tickets (small convenience stores often sell these). Information on public transport in Sydney (such as timetables) can be obtained by calling 131-500.

Road Tips

Australians drive on the left side of the road. Please use caution when crossing the street. Also, pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way and traffic will not stop/slow down for you! Be safe while in OZ.

To learn more about ISV’s programs visit our website www.isvolunteers.org.


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