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The popularity of Australia with international visitors is growing year by year. It is a land of contrasts, yet it is safe and friendly, and overseas visitors are welcomed.

Australia offers sunshine and a rich variety of golden beaches, open spaces and wilderness areas, unique flora and fauna, a rugged, pioneering way of life in its sparsely settled outback regions, sophisticated entertainment and shopping facilities in its modern cities, and the full spectrum of cultural, sporting and recreational activities. Climatically, it is a country conducive to outdoor holidays.

Major centres of tourist interest include the Great Barrier Reef and the Gold Coast resort area in Queensland Ayers Rock (Uluru) and Alice Springs in the hot dry centre of the continent the winter snow resorts in the Australian Alps the wide stretches of golden beaches Canberra, the elaborately planned national capital and the six State capital cities, each with its individual style.

Accommodation ranges from international-standard hotels and convention facilities to camping parks.

Tourism is one of Australia’s largest and fastest-growing industries. Nearly three million tourists came to Australia in 1992-93, generating total foreign-exchange earnings of $8.4 billion, contributing 10 per cent to Australia’s total current account credit.

Tourist offices

The Australian Government's tourism marketing authority, the Australian Tourist Commission, promotes Australia as an international tourist destination through its offices in Auckland, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Osaka and Singapore.

Official State and Territory tourist offices are in all Australian capital cities and in some major regional centres. They have expert local knowledge and can help with accommodation, transport advice and tours.

Passports and visas

All visitors must have visitor visas and current passports, which should be valid for three months longer than the intended stay. The only exceptions are citizens of New Zealand, who require only valid New Zealand passports. Applications for visas can be made at Australian Government offices overseas. A return or onward-passage ticket or evidence of enough funds for the period of intended stay may be required. On arrival in Australia, visitors will be asked to produce completed incoming passenger cards (which are usually distributed aboard aircraft and ships), passports and visas. Visitors cannot undertake employment or formal studies and are expected to leave at the end of their authorised stay. If a stay beyond three months is required there is a $30 fee for processing the application.

This document has been prepared by Australia's International Public Affairs branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The help received from Australian government departments, associated organisations and other authorities is gratefully acknowledged. Information is current to April 1995. Money values are in Australian currency, weights and measures in Metric.