New South Wales travel guide
About New South Wales
The oldest state in the country, New South Wales gives many travellers their first taste of Australia; and it tends to be a potent one. Sydney’s ravishing waterside setting and cultural vibrancy make it one of the greatest world cities and its overall package – beaches, skyscrapers, Opera House and all – means it remains very much the centrepiece of the state (even, some might argue, the entire country).
It’s a city to enjoy on your own terms. Lose yourself in the markets and coffee houses of the outer suburbs, laze in the open parklands of the centre, catch one of the ferries crisscrossing the water or tick off the big sights, from Bondi to the Harbour Bridge. History is a big draw here too, with much of the architecture, especially in ‘The Rocks’, harking back to the early days of settlement.
Heading out of town, one of the state’s biggest natural draws lies just an hour or two away: the eucalyptus-hazed spectacle of the Blue Mountains. And there’s more – much more – to enjoy once you travel further afield. From the country music vibe of rural Tamworth and the hippy surfing outpost of Byron Bay to the winelands of the Hunter Valley and the national parks of the interior, there are few regions that can boast such variety.
Whether you remain in NSW throughout your trip or use it as a springboard to travel elsewhere in the country, the state makes for an absorbing place to explore. From the soft, sandy beaches of Nelson Bay to the rainforested parklands of northern Nightcap National Park, it lays claim to being one of the headiest and multi-layered regions in Australia.
800,642 sq km (309,130 sq miles).
10.14 per sq km.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Australia on the TravelHealthPro website.
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find information about entry and departure from Australia
Returning to the UK
Travelling from and returning to the UK
Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.
Travellers do not require an exemption to leave Australia, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status or visa status. See Leaving Australia
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Travel in Australia
Domestic travel restrictions are decided at the state-level. They may vary across the country and may be subject to change at short notice which could disrupt travel plans. You should check individual State and Territory websites for the latest information, including on whether you need to provide your COVID-19 vaccination status, apply for an exemption to cross borders or self-isolate on arrival.
Travelling to your international airport
You may travel by air from one Australian State or Territory to another to transit to an international flight.
Commercial flights are available between the UK and Australia. Schedules are more limited than usual due to COVID-19 restrictions, and are subject to change at short notice. You should check individual airline websites and contact your airline or tour operator direct for the latest information on all routes, including restrictions around transits and health measures put in place by airlines and at airports.
Some airlines have mandatory COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements. You should contact your individual airline for further information. You can find information on where you can get tested on Australia’s Health Direct webpages.
All passengers (with the exception of children under certain ages) and air crew must wear masks on flights and in airports.
Public spaces and services
Social distancing restrictions and other local measures are still in place across Australia with a number of variations. These are liable to change at short notice. You should monitor State and Territory websites for the latest information where you are and comply with these measures and other advice from local authorities. You can also check restrictions on the Australian Department of Health’s COVID-19 Restriction Checker.
Measures may include:
- restrictions on numbers of people at most non-work gatherings, in shops, cafes, restaurants and other places of public gathering, and on visitors to private residences
- social distancing
- restrictions on visiting aged care homes or hospitals
- wearing of facemasks
- providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination status
Healthcare in Australia
For contact details for doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.
View Health for further details on healthcare in Australia.
Information on Australia’s response to COVID-19, including guidance on self-isolation, is available from the Australian government Department of Health website and the Australian government coronavirus website.
If you’re in Australia and are concerned that you may have COVID-19 symptoms, you should isolate yourself and call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. If you have serious symptoms such as shortness of breath you should call 000 for urgent medical help.
Check the latest information from the State and Territory authorities:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
While you are in Australia, you can access essential and urgent medical care through the UK-Australia Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement. Guidance of what is covered can be found on the NHS website.
Essential and urgent hospital treatment is free. There is a charge to visit GPs and receive prescriptions. Some of these costs can be recovered through Medicare – Australia’s universal health insurance scheme. To enrol with Medicare visit the Services Australia website.
You should also check your travel insurance, which may cover the full sum of your treatment or prescriptions.
If you’re concerned about seeking medical treatment in person, many clinics offer distance or online services to avoid face-to-face contact. You can find a nearby clinic offering such services using the service finder on the Australian government’s Healthdirect website.
COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Australia
Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. If you’re a British national living in Australia, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider.
The Australian national vaccination programme started in February 2021 and is using the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. The Australian Government has stated that everyone living in Australia, including British nationals, is eligible for vaccination. Information on Australia’s national vaccination programme is available on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
For information on obtaining proof of your COVID-19 vaccination, please refer to the Australian Government Services Australia website.
Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad page.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
The level of crime is no higher than in the UK. Be careful with personal possessions and travel documents in cities and popular tourist destinations.
Avoid carrying everything in one bag. Do not leave bags unattended in vehicles, internet cafes, pubs or clubs. Theft from safety deposit boxes is common in the cheaper hotels and hostels.
Be particularly vigilant at night in the busy tourist areas of Sydney like Kings Cross, downtown George Street, Hyde Park and Centennial Park.
If you’re travelling in more remote areas, ask your hotel or hostel for advice on local safety information.
There have been some serious sexual assaults against British nationals in Australia.
Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you are going to drink, know your limit.
Beware of online lettings scams in which prospective tenants are asked to transfer a deposit to an overseas bank account in return for keys to a rental property in Australia. British travellers have fallen victim to these scams.
You can reduce the risk of losing your passport by getting a proof of age card. This is an accepted form of ID for many services like opening bank accounts or entering licensed premises. By getting a card soon after you arrive you will limit the need to carry your passport with you.
If your passport is lost or stolen you may be able to get an Emergency Travel Document (ETD). An ETD can only be used for urgent travel, not for general identity purposes. See Emergency Travel Documents
Australia is a huge country. If you’re bush walking or exploring national parks it can take hours to get help in the event of an emergency. The terrain and intense heat can have a severe impact on your capabilities. Take plenty of water and a means of rigging up shelter from the sun. Further advice on bush safety for each State or Territory can be found on the New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania government websites.
Australia is home to a number of dangerous animal species. Crocodiles, jellyfish and sharks, venomous insects, spiders and snakes are found in many parts of the country. See the Wet Tropics Management Authority website.
The Tourism Australia website has extensive information on travelling around the continent.
Rip currents are the main surf hazard for all beach users. They can occur at any beach, and can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.
Take the following simple precautions:
- F - Find the red and yellow flags and swim between them
- L - Look out for any safety signs.
- A - Ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for advice before entering the water.
- G - Get a friend to swim with you.
- S - Stick your hand up, try to stay calm, and call for help if you get into trouble.
Further guidance on beach safety is available on the SLS website.
Rivers and pools can be subject to sudden flash flooding as a result of heavy rain elsewhere in the area. There have been cases of British nationals being injured by diving into water which was too shallow. Make sure that there is sufficient depth of water before diving, and always follow warning signs if present.
There have been several snorkelling accidents involving British nationals and other foreign tourists, some of them fatal.
You need by law to complete a medical declaration for resort diving or snorkelling – these, and more detailed advice, can be found on the Workplace Health & Safety Queensland website.
For your own health and safety, you must be truthful about any medical conditions you have.
You can drive in Australia using your UK driving licence as long as you remain a temporary overseas visitor; your UK licence is valid; you haven’t been disqualified from driving anywhere; and your licence is not suspended or cancelled, or your visiting driving privileges withdrawn.
If you intend to stay in Australia and you hold a permanent visa, you can drive using your UK licence for a maximum of 3 months. To continue driving, you must get a local licence within this 3 month period.
You must carry your driving licence and passport when driving. Make sure you have sufficient insurance, including if you borrow a car from a friend or relative. Hire car insurance often doesn’t cover driving on unsealed roads. Check your policy before you set off.
In 2020 there were 1,093 road deaths in Australia (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 4.3 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.3 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2020.
Driving laws and regulations differ in each state/territory. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal. The penalties can be severe. You must wear a seat belt at all times.
If you’re hiring a car immediately on arrival be extra careful - you may be jet lagged and tired from your flight. Take regular rest breaks when driving long distances; there are many rest stops provided.
Prepare thoroughly if driving in remote outback areas, which can present unexpected hazards. Ensure you have a roadworthy vehicle fitted with GPS and two spare tyres. Take good maps and extra food, water and fuel. Plan your route carefully and seek local advice before you set out. Leave your route details and expected time of return with the local tourist authorities, police, your hotel/hostel, or friends and relatives and let them know when you’ve arrived safely.
Check road conditions before beginning your journey; stay with your vehicle if it breaks down; and avoid travelling in extreme heat conditions. Sudden storms and strong winds can make driving difficult. Take particular care when driving on unsealed roads, 4WD tracks and desert/beach roads. Northern Territory Police have in the past warned tourists to stay off unsealed tracks in remote areas of Central Australia following reports of stranded motorists.
Following a number of serious accidents, all vehicles on K’gari (Fraser Island) must observe a maximum speed of 80km/h on beaches and 30km/h in towns. 4WD vehicles must carry no more than 8 occupants (including the driver) and all luggage must be carried inside the vehicle. Avoid driving at night and be aware of beach hazards like ditches created by the surf. K’gari (Fraser Island) is unique but remote, and emergency services can take many hours to reach an accident. Carry a well-stocked first-aid kit and personal medication as there is no pharmacy on the island.
The mobile phone network generally works well in cities and large towns but coverage elsewhere can be very limited or non-existent. If you’re travelling to remote areas, check with your phone provider about coverage. You can use your UK mobile phone in Australia if global roaming has been activated, but making and receiving calls can be expensive. Many visitors prefer to buy an Australian SIM card on arrival. Australian SIM cards are available at some Australian airports, and at convenience stores and supermarkets.
Calls to standard fixed line numbers and Australian mobile numbers are free from Telstra public payphones.
Visit the Telstra website for more information, including how to find your nearest Telstra public payphone.
Keep up to date with local and international developments and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people.
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Australia.
Attacks could be indiscriminate including in places visited by foreigners. You should be vigilant, keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities.
On 17 December 2020, police shot a suspect linked to a double murder in Brisbane, Queensland, which is being treated as a terrorist incident.
On 9 November 2018, a person was killed and several were injured in a terrorist incident in Bourke Street, Melbourne.
On 5 June 2017, a person was shot dead and another taken hostage in Melbourne.
On 26 November 2015, the Australian government changed its national terrorism threat advisory system. Australia’s current national terrorism threat level is ‘probable’. There have been a number of attacks and disruptions linked to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL)-inspired terrorism.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
The Australian authorities will take action against anyone who imports or is found to be trafficking illegal drugs. Prosecution can lead to a lengthy jail sentence and deportation.
The legality of using e-cigarettes in Australia differs between States. Liquid nicotine is classed as a poison and banned from sale nationwide, however some States allow importation for personal use and the use of e-cigarettes without nicotine. You should seek local advice on what restrictions are in place at your destination.
Australian federal law changed on 7 December 2017 to recognise same-sex marriages. Australia has an established tradition of tolerance towards homosexuality, but there are still isolated incidents of homophobic crimes. Take care when visiting rural communities. The Visit Gay Australia website is a useful travel planning resource and you can find more detail on LGBT issues on the Australian Human Rights Commission website. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
Australia has strict quarantine rules to keep out pests and diseases that could affect plant, animal and human health. All luggage is x-rayed on arrival. Any items of concern are further inspected, treated and if necessary confiscated and destroyed. Breaches of quarantine regulations can result in large fines.
You will be given an incoming passenger card on the plane, on which you must declare any food or goods of plant or animal origin, and sporting equipment (including camping gear). A full list can be found on the Department of Agriculture website.
You will also be asked to declare whether you have ‘visited a rural area, or been in contact with, or near, farm animals outside Australia in the past 30 days’.
Different tax rules and rates apply to residents and non-residents. Working holidaymakers are usually regarded as non-resident for tax purposes; this means they do not qualify for any tax-free personal allowance on their earnings. Further advice on residency for tax purposes and income tax rates is available from the Australian Taxation Office website.
This page has information on travelling to Australia. Check what you must do to return to the UK.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Australia set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
To enter Australia, you must hold a valid passport, a valid visa, and a completed and signed Incoming Passenger Card.
Incoming Passenger Cards are distributed during your flight to Australia by your airline. For more information about visas, see “check your passport and travel documents” section below.
From 18 April 2022, travellers do not require a pre-departure COVID-19 test to enter or transit Australia regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status. You should check if COVID-19 testing requirements are different for any transit countries you will pass through on the way to Australia, or if your airline has additional requirements.
All travellers to Australia arriving by air, regardless of their vaccination status, must also complete a Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD). You can complete your DPD via the iOS app, the Android app, or the online form on the Department of Home Affairs website. You can start your DPD seven days before your flight and submit it within 72 hours prior to your departure for Australia. The DPD includes a declaration regarding your COVID-19 vaccination status and other health information. You may be asked to provide evidence you have completed your DPD when checking in for your flight to Australia. For further information, see the Department of Home Affairs website.
All travellers to Australia arriving by sea, for example by cruise ship, must complete a Maritime Travel Declaration (MTD) instead of a DPD. You can complete your MTD via an online form on the Department of Home Affairs website. According to the Department of Home Affairs, you should complete your MTD between three and ten days before you board the vessel.
States and territories can apply their own travel restrictions on travellers arriving from international and domestic locations. You should check requirements for the state or territory in which you will arrive. Border rules can change quickly. Travellers should prepare for disruptions to their plans.
Each state and territory is responsible for determining and managing quarantine requirements. You should check requirements for the state or territory in which you will arrive.
Travellers will need to comply with the quarantine requirements in the state or territory of arrival before travelling on to another state or territory.
If you’re fully vaccinated
All fully vaccinated visa holders can travel to Australia. You can check the Australian Government’s definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ for travel on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.
Proof of vaccination status
You must present proof that you have been fully vaccinated to enter Australia.
If you were vaccinated in Australia, you should use an International COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate (ICVC) generated by Services Australia. If you were vaccinated outside of Australia, you can use a foreign vaccination certificate. See the requirements for foreign vaccination certificates from the Australian Department of Health.
Australia will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination record and proof of COVID-19 vaccination issued in the Crown Dependencies. Your final vaccine dose must have been administered at least 7 days prior to travel. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
Unvaccinated temporary visa holders, or temporary visa holders who do not meet Australia’s definition of fully vaccinated for travel, will need a valid travel exemption to enter Australia. Exemption applications can be submitted online on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website, which also lists the travel exemption categories. People with Australian citizenship or permanent residency status do not require an exemption to enter Australia.
Unvaccinated travellers must also meet theDPD or MTD completion requirements outlined above.
Unvaccinated travellers may be subject to quarantine requirements in the state or territory of arrival. You should check requirements for the state or territory in which you will arrive.
Children and young people
For entry into Australia, regardless of their actual vaccination status, children are considered fully vaccinated travellers for entry purposes if:
- They are 11 years old or under, or;
- They are aged 12 to 17 years and are travelling with at least one adult who is fully vaccinated
Anyone aged 18 years or older is considered an adult.
You can find more information about arrangements for children travelling to Australia on the Department of Home Affairs website.
Quarantine and self-isolation rules after entry into Australia are managed by state and territory authorities. Some states require partially vaccinated or unvaccinated children aged 12 to 17 years to self-isolate even if they are accompanied by fully vaccinated adult travellers.
If children are accompanied by unvaccinated adult travellers, the entire family group may be required to quarantine and will generally be subject to passenger cap limits for unvaccinated travellers. Travellers should always check the requirements of the state or territory they plan to travel to, or transit through, prior to arranging their travel.
If you’re transiting through Australia
British citizens are eligible to transit through Australia for a maximum of 8 hours without a visa. If you wish to transit without a visa, you must remain airside and you will not be able to clear immigration, including to collect baggage which should have been checked through to your final destination. You can check information from the Department of Home Affairs on transiting without a visa. If you are not eligible to transit without a visa, for example if your transit time is longer than 8 hours, you will need to apply for and obtain a visa before travelling to Australia.
If you plan to transit Australia, check the latest entry restrictions for your destination and keep in touch with your airline, cruise line or tour operator before you travel.
Unvaccinated temporary visa holders, or temporary visa holders who do not meet Australia’s definition of fully vaccinated for travel, will need a valid travel exemption to enter Australia. Exemption applications can be submitted online on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website. People with Australian citizenship or permanent residency status do not require an exemption to enter Australia.
Applications for exemptions from quarantine requirements must be granted by state or territory health departments. You should contact the health department of the state or territory in which you will arrive for further advice.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
Subject to current restrictions, British citizens can usually get the following types of electronic visitor visa:
- eVisitor visa direct from the Department of Home Affairs. There is no visa application charge or service fee for this
- Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) via your travel agent or airline. There is no visa application charge, but a service fee of A$20 applies
If you hold an ePassport you can use SmartGate to pass through passport control when arriving in Australia. See the Australian Border Force website for more information.
Working holiday visa
If you’re on a working holiday visa you should be aware of your rights as an employee in Australia and how to report any concerns about unfair or unlawful treatment.
Thousands of British working holiday makers travel to Australia each year with the vast majority enjoying their stay without issue. Working conditions, accommodation and medical facilities are generally of a good standard.
In October 2016 the Fair Work Ombudsman published a report following an inquiry into the wages and conditions of people working under the working holiday visa program, which highlighted exploitative workplace cultures where unreasonable and unlawful requirements were being imposed in some isolated and remote workplaces. If you have concerns about your workplace conditions or treatment you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94. You can also report concerns to them anonymously.
If you feel you’re being treated unfairly or unlawfully by an employer, you can email the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) at the British High Commission in Canberra at: Australia.WHVreferrals@fcdo.gov.uk. The NCA is working with a number of Australian authorities to help identify and address any illegal employer behaviour affecting British nationals.
For further information and advice, see our working holiday makers booklet.
Visas during COVID-19
According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, there may be disruptions to visa processing arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can review global visa processing times on the Department of Home Affairs website.
If you’re unable to leave Australia and your visa is nearing expiry or has expired already, you should contact the Australian Department of Home Affairs as soon as possible. Australia does not issue visa extensions so you will need to apply for a new visa to remain lawful in Australia, and provide relevant supporting documentation. If your visa is expiring or has expired, you can follow the advice from the Department of Home Affairs.
You can find more information about visas for Australia, including visa options that may suit your needs, on the Department of Home Affairs website.
For entry into Australia, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is needed.
If you’re transiting another country on your way to or from Australia, make sure you check the entry requirements for that country. Many countries will only permit entry if you have at least 6 months validity remaining on your passport.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are valid for entry into, transit through, and exit from Australia.
If you’re a British national living in Australia with Australian citizenship, or you’re a dual national, you should leave and enter Australia on your Australian passport, otherwise you may face difficulties and delays. For more information, see the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade’s website.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Returning to the UK
Travellers do not require an exemption to leave Australia, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status or visa status. This includes unvaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents, who do not require an exemption to depart Australia as of 18 April 2022.
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Australia on the TravelHealthPro website
See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Australia
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
Make sure you arrange comprehensive medical insurance before you travel to Australia. If you’re not covered under the reciprocal healthcare arrangements which exist between Australia and the UK, costs of treatment can be high.
The standard of healthcare in Australia is very good. Under the reciprocal healthcare arrangements, UK residents are entitled to limited subsidised health services from Medicare for medically necessary treatment while visiting Australia. These provisions do not apply to non-visitors, for example those who are studying in Australia. Other exclusions under the reciprocal agreement include pharmaceuticals when not a hospital in-patient, use of ambulance services and medical evacuations, which are very expensive.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 000 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
For more information, visit the Medicare website. If you visit one of their offices while in Australia, take your passport and your NHS card (if you have it).
Be aware of the risk of bushfires, especially at the height of the Australian summer (November to February). Bushfires can start and change direction with little or no notice. If you’re travelling in a high risk bushfire area, follow local authorities’ advice.
Australia regularly battles devastating bushfires across a number of regions during the summer season. The 2019-2020 summer fires resulted in the loss of lives and property with many residents advised to evacuate their homes.
If you’re in or near an affected area, stay safe and follow the advice of local authorities:
- Australian Capital Territory Fire and Rescue
- New South Wales Rural Fire Service and ‘Fires Near Me’ app
- Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service
- Queensland Fire & Emergency Services
- South Australian Country Fire Service
- Tasmania Fire Service
- Victorian Country Fire Authority
- Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services
In the event of emergency, always dial Triple Zero (000).
A Fire Danger Rating system operates across Australia indicating the possible consequences of a fire, if one were to start. The highest rating of ‘Catastrophic’ has been issued in several locations.
Smoke generated by bush fires can result in poor air quality, which could provoke respiratory conditions. Smoke can often accumulate many kilometres from the fire, including in urban areas and major cities. Most State and Territory governments provide detailed information on the monitoring of air quality and useful advice if you’re unable to avoid being in a smoke affected area:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Heavy rain and tropical cyclones can cause flooding, including flash floods in some areas. The Bureau of Meteorology issues weather warnings including Flood Warning Services.
Follow local media and in an emergency dial triple zero (000).
Significant weather events can happen suddenly and with little warning. Spillways, flood plains and drains can become quickly submerged.
In some cases, stay at home or leave now orders may be issued by local authorities. You should always follow the advice of local authorities.
More information can be found on the relevant state and territory websites:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Tropical cyclones occur in some parts of Australia, mainly Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia. The Cyclone season normally runs from November to April.
Monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website for updates. See our Tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you’re caught up in a storm.
Dust storms occur regularly in Australia, usually only in outback areas.
Whilst a rare occurrence in Australia, earthquakes can happen. Follow the advice of the local authorities and emergency services in the event of a natural disaster.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or cannot offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you cannot find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.