Getting There & Getting About

International Airports

Internal Transport

Air Travel

Australia is a vast country, and many Australians rely on air travel to get from place to place as the British rely on trains and buses. The country has an excellent network of domestic flights, and recent deregulation has meant that services are very competitively priced. There are a huge number of airports and landing strips throughout the country, including airports in all capital cities and other centres such as Launceston, Alice Springs, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the islands off Tasmania. Flight length from Sydney to Adelaide is 100 minutes; to Brisbane 80 minutes; Melbourne 70 minutes; Perth 4 hours and Darwin 5 hours. Aircraft can also be chartered.

Ferries and Boats

The great majority of Australia's 36,738km (22,600 miles) of coastline and its many lakes, inland waterways and inlets may be toured by boat. There is also a daily car-ferry service linking Melbourne with Tasmania.

Train Travel

Although there is over 40,000 km (24,850 miles) of track covering the country, long distance rail travel can be slow and relatively expensive, especially when compared to air travel. However, for those who fancy seeing the country by train, there is a twice-weekly service that runs from Sydney on the east coast to Perth on the west coast, via Adelaide. The 4,350 km (2,704 miles) journey takes 3 days and 3 nights, and includes the famous 478km (297 mile) stretch of straight track that crosses the Nullarbar Plain, the longest in the world. There is also a weekly service that runs between Adelaide and Darwin, via Alice Springs, which takes 2 days and nights. Long-distance trains are air conditioned and have excellent catering facilities and showers.

Australia also has a number of express trains linking the state capitals; for example, Canberra to Sydney (4-5 hours), Brisbane to Cairns (31 hours) and Perth to Kalgoorlie (6-7 hours). The Kuranda Scenic Railway links Cairns with Kuranda via a 34 km- (14 mile-) climb through tropical rainforest.

Non-Australian passport holders can buy an Austrailpass (must be purchased outside Australia) which gives unlimited train travel for 14, 21 and 30 days, with 7-day extensions available. Each State operator offers its own Austrailpass scheme. The Austrail Flexi-Pass is valid for 8, 15, 22 and 29 days within a 6-month period (cannot be used on the coast-to-coast journeys), whilst the East Coast Discovery Pass offers 6 months' travel on the eastern coast.

Coach Travel

Coaches are one of the cheapest ways to travel around Australia, and services are comfortable, air conditioned with on-board bathrooms; some also have television and videos. Major cities are linked by the national coach system run by Greyhound Pioneer, and there are many other companies operating State and Interstate services. Journey length from Sydney to Adelaide is 22 hours; to Brisbane 15 hours; to Darwin 93 hours; to Melbourne 14 hours and to Perth 56 hours.

There are many different coach passes available, all of which are best bought before departure from country of origin. Some passes allow for unlimited travel on a variety of routes for between 7 days and 1 year, whilst others allow passengers to purchase kilometres and then travel in any direction on the national network to the distance purchased.

Driving in Australia

Car hire is available at all major hotels and airports to those over 21 years old. Roads are excellent, although those driving off the major highways in the outback may have difficulties from November to February because of summer rain. Distances between towns can be considerable, and it is a good idea to carry spare water, petrol and equipment, and ensure that the vehicles is in peak condition. The speed limit is 60 kph (35mph) in cities and towns in most states (50 kph/31 mph in Western Australia and Victoria), 50 kph (31 mph) in all suburban areas and 80-110 kph (50-68 mph) on highways and country roads unless signs indicate otherwise.

Travelling within Cities

All the major towns have comprehensive public transport systems, with the state capitals also having suburban rail networks. Adelaide and Melbourne have a tram system. Metered taxis are available; these have a minimum starting fare, then charge for the distance travelled. Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped.