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Geography

Red kangaroos in the Northern Territory

Australia is both the world's smallest continent and the sixth largest country with a land area of 7,682,300 square kilometres (2,966,152 square miles). It is comparable in size to the 48 contiguous United States although it has less than one tenth the population, with the distances between cities and towns easy to underestimate. Australia is bordered to the west by the Indian Ocean, and to the east by the South Pacific Ocean. The Tasman Sea lies to the southeast, separating it from New Zealand, while the Coral Sea lies to the northeast. Papua New GuineaEast Timor and Indonesia are Australia's northern neighbours, separated from Australia by the Arafura Sea and the Timor  Sea.

 
Mt Hotham, Victoria

Australia has a surprisingly good sized winter sports industry. The season is not very long compared to more 'favourable' climes, but Australians take full advantage of what they've got, extending the natural ski season with snow machines, etc.

By plane

 
A Qantas Boeing 747 landing at Sydney Airport

Australia is a long way from anywhere else in the world, so for most visitors the only practical way of getting into Australia is by air.

Approximately half of all travellers first arrive in Australia at Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport, (IATA: SYD). Significant numbers of travellers also arrive in Australia in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. There are also direct international services into Adelaide, Cairns, Darwin, the Gold Coast and Christmas Island.

Australia has strict quarantine requirements regarding importing animal and plant derived products (any food, wooden products, seeds, etc.) You must declare all such material, even if the items are permitted, and baggage is frequently scanned and may be examined by dogs. You may be fined $220 on-the-spot if you accidentally fail to declare, or even prosecuted in serious cases. Declared material will be examined and, depending on the circumstances, may be retained, disposed of, returned to you, or treated by quarantine at your expense. (You may have to pick the item up at a later time.) Processed and sealed chocolates and other confectionery are usually permitted after being declared and examined, as are reasonable quantities of infant formula with an accompanying infant. Different rules apply depending on the origin country of foods, as well as the state in which you are entering Australia.

Some shells, coral and items made from a protected species are also prohibited to discourage the trade in items that may originate from a threatened ecosystem or species.

While there are no restrictions on the amount of money that can be brought in or out, Australian customs also requires you to declare if you are bringing $10,000 (Australian) or more (or its equivalent in foreign currency) in or out of the country and you will be asked to complete some paperwork. Not declaring may result in you being arrested and a possible seizure of the cash.

 

(Thanks to WikiVoyage.org)

Internet

Australia offers many Internet access options for travellers:

Internet cafés are available in most tourist areas and normally cost $4–5 per hour. However, many internet cafés have 12-20 computers sharing a single broadband connection, sometimes making the internet painfully slow. If possible, ask if you can check the speed of a café's connection before forking out $4–5 for an hour.

Public libraries usually offer some form of Internet access to travellers, either free or for a small fee. Some prohibit access to email, promoting research use of their facilities. Others offer both Wi-Fi and terminals, with Wi-Fi usually being free of restrictions.

Major hotels offer Internet access, usually for an exorbitant fee. Most youth hostels and backpacker accommodation have at least an Internet terminal at reception. Some other accommodation providers offer Wi-Fi to their guests, almost always with a charge. It is still common to find motels and other smaller hotels without any Internet offering to customers.

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