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CURRENCY

Australian currency is decimal. Banks are open from 9.30am - 4.00pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30am to 5.00pm on Fridays. ATMs are available at any time and are located at most shopping centres in each town. Foreign exchange is available at city banks, major hotels, Thomas Cook offices, American Express offices, the Perth International Airport and Foreign Currency Exchange.

VISA

Every nationality except New Zealanders need visas. Tourists visas are generally valid for six months and cost US$22. Visas for less than three months are free.

CLIMATE

There are two main seasons in Western Australia. In the south there's a warm temperate climate: Spring starts in September, Summer in December, Autumn in March and Winter in June. The north has a tropical climate with two seasons: the Dry and the Wet. The Dry season starts around May and the Wet around November. Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are the best times to visit, with hot, dry summers and mild, but rainy, winters.

LANGUAGE

English is Australia's official language.

RELIGION

Christianity is the predominant faith but all major religions are represented. Churches, mosques, temples and synagogues are located in most major cities.

HEALTH/MEDICAL FACILITIES

Australia has a very high standard of hygiene and very safe food and drinking water. As a result special precautions are unnecessary. Doctors and dentists are highly trained and hospitals are well equipped.

Health Risks: Sunburn, spider bites, snake bites.