Australia is a dream destination for many students. Picture yourself walking along the Sydney Harbor, admiring the beautiful skyline. On any given day a sea of sailboats, cruise ships and ferries navigate the harbor. At night, the Sydney Opera House’s iconic shell illuminates the skyline at sunset. The sounds of a live opera, the western classical music tradition, will soon fill the air!

After a breakfast of toast with vegemite and eggs, a private helicopter whisks you away to Whitehaven Beach so you can sink your toes into the white sand and gaze into the pristine water. You’re back in time for a cricket game in Melbourne. While on the road to your next destination, you can see kangaroos snacking as an arachnid sniffs its burrow.

Australia is just smaller than the USA and equally as diverse coast to coast. Geoscience Australia states Australia is the sixth largest country in the world with six states and two land territories. Think ahead and have an itinerary planned with a detailed map handy.

Preparing for the Journey

  • Download the ClearCause Travel Checklist
  • Visit travel.state.gov to discover country specific information about Australia, particularly risks to your health and safety, and travel alerts or warnings. The State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs describes them as follows:
    • Warnings
    • Alerts
    • Unstable government
    • An election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, disturbances
    • Civil war
    • Health alert like an outbreak of H1N1
    • Ongoing intense crime or violence
    • Or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks
    • Frequent terrorist attacks
    • Monsoon Season
  • Warnings are issued until the situation is resolved. Alerts are short term. In October of 2015, there are no country wide travel warnings or alerts for Australia, but don’t stop there. Make sure to click the “Safety & Security” tab. There you find advice cautioning you to be vigilant against terrorist threats and make you aware of other potential threats in the area.
  • Check the crime rate. You go find a comparison of America and Australia at NationMaster. Or, you check out the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR).
  • Register your trip on State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • Check out health risks at CDC.gov by clicking the destinations tab.
  • Get your recommended shots weeks before departure by visiting a travel clinic.
  • Obtain travel insurance to get medical help if needed, or bring you home if injured.

Wild for Oz

You plan to explore Australia’s vibrant climate and wilderness, most of which is desert. Oz is one of the driest continents on earth receiving less than 23.6 inches of rain annually. The scorching sun is intense. Wearing protective clothing and sunscreen is a must. However, other parts of the country are cooler. The southeastern and southwestern corners of Australia have four seasons and the northern part of the country has a tropical climate with rainforests and grasslands. Here’s the beginning of your bucket list:

Great Barrier Reef – Known as the “Australia’s great natural wonder” UNESCO describes it as the largest living organism on earth with the largest collection of coral reefs, fish and mollusk. The official Australian tourism website’s top ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef: snorkel Magnetic Island, fly over Heart Reef and speedboat your way through the reef.

Fraser Island – The tourism guide of Queensland describes Fraser Island (one of the largest in the world) as “dwarfed by ancient, gravity defying rainforests growing out of only sand,” yet it is one of the most spectacular islands on earth. The island is home to 300 bird species, dingoes, dugongs and many more!

Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island – Home to the remarkable rock formations, Flinders Chase National Park is a must-see. According to the official South Australia website, these granite boulders have been around for over 500 million years. The golden orange color covering the rocks offer extraordinary photo moments for visitors.

While in OZ, watch out for. . .

The sun – Australia has the highest cases of melanoma for men and women in the world.

Dangerous roads – Queensland’s Bruce Highway was named the most dangerous by Australian Automobile Association (AAA) with sixty-one percent of deaths from 2005 to 2009. Additionally, Australian road trains need to be watched for. These monstrous semi-trucks with linked trailers transport goods such as fuel, ore, cattle and other resources throughout the country. A triple truck train, the average road train is about one hundred sixty-four feet in length and weighs two hundred tons.

The water – The number one hazard on Australian beaches are rip currents; According to the Royal Life Saving Society, 271 people drowned in Australian waters between June of 2014 and June of 2015. Crocodiles and sharks; marine stingers; and marine creatures can be found in the water.

Now that you’ve managed to obtain a horde of info and tools, you are one wise student traveler. Time to learn some key phrases from the Aussie Dictionary, so you can converse with the locals. “Good day mate!”