- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General Travel Advice
Irish citizens require a visa to enter Australia.
A valid passport is required for travel to Australia. It is recommended that incoming passengers have a minimum validity of six months on their passports. Passport cards cannot be used for entry to Australia.
For more information on visas and passports, please see the Additional Information tab.
Visitors to Australia are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities and stay fully informed of what's going on by monitoring local news and social media.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
You can contact all emergency services in Australia by dialling 000.
Within Australia, the protection of life and property is a responsibility of State and Territory governments. This responsibility includes the provision of Emergency Services Organisations (ESOs) i.e. police, fire and ambulance service. A number of ESOs provide their own information on what to do in an emergency.
Please use the links below to view the ESO websites in your particular state or territory. This information may help to save your life or property.
Our tips for Safe Travels:
- Get comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your planned activities.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
The Australian Government National Terrorism Threat Level is at ‘possible’. While Australia remains a potential terrorist target, there are fewer violent extremists with the intention to conduct an attack onshore.
Crime remains relatively low in Australia but you should take sensible precautions.
- Do not carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- You do not legally have to carry your passport with you at all times in Australia so leave it in a safe place unless absolutely necessary to avoid loss, theft or damage. Leave a copy of the biography page (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Always get local advice about safe places to socialise. If you are staying in cheap accommodation, be aware that the good value may be due to an undesirable location. Be careful in certain ‘party’ areas in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and take sensible precautions.
- If you are arrested or detained, you are entitled to request that the local police notify the Embassy or Consulate General of your detention.
Lost or stolen passport
If your passport is lost or stolen while in Australia, the Embassy in Canberra, Consulate General in Sydney or the Honorary Consulate in Perth can, in emergency situations, issue an emergency travel document or temporary passport. You will need to submit a completed application, duly witnessed and with all supporting documents and the appropriate fee. Proof of identity and citizenship will be required.
If you're a victim of a crime while in Australia, you should report it to the local police immediately. If you need consular assistance, contact us at the Embassy or Consulate. Each State and Territory have their own Victim Support helplines.
Australia’s primary emergency call service number is Triple Zero (000), which can be dialled from any fixed or mobile phone, pay phones and certain Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.
Reporting sexual assault
In the event of sexual assault, the Australian Police have specialised sexual assault teams, and many hospitals have dedicated sexual assault units. There’s also a national 24-hour telephone counselling service for cases of sexual assault and domestic violence – 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
As well as protecting yourself against crime while in Australia, you have a responsibility to ensure that your own behaviour is orderly and respectful and does not bring you to the attention of the police.
Despite Australia’s reputation as a laidback and relaxed country, the police and the courts take a very strict approach to law and order. The laws on ‘street offences’ such as public nuisance, drunk and disorderly behaviour, and on common assault are thoroughly enforced. You should follow the instructions of Australian police officers immediately and without argument.
A significant number of Irish nationals (particularly in the 20 to 30 age bracket) come before the Australian courts each year. They should expect no flexibility or leniency to a foreign national not familiar with Australian law.
Road traffic accidents are the most common cause of death and serious injury to Irish visitors in Australia so if you’re planning to drive, remember the basics:
- Traffic drives on the left.
- Bring your full Irish driving license and carry it with you – this is compulsory for all drivers in Australia.
- Make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance on your vehicle, especially if it’s borrowed. Some ‘open’ Australian insurance policies carry age restrictions and may cover only certain drivers.
- Be aware of Australia’s traffic laws, such as speed limits, which are generally lower than in Ireland; and street parking, which is strictly regulated. These laws are strictly enforced and hefty on-the-spot fines are applied.
- 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.
- Random breath testing of a driver’s blood alcohol and drug level is a common occurrence.
The Tourism Australia website has extensive information on travelling around the continent. The Australian Government’s Health and safety information for travellers - Tourism Australia also contains comprehensive travel safety advice on Australia.
Driver fatigue is a major cause of death on Australian roads. Always carry water and take rest breaks every two hours while driving long distances.
It’s also important to check the roadworthiness of your vehicle before travelling long distances in remote areas. Petrol stations could be few and far between and you may need to carry an additional petrol supply.
Watch out for signs warning of local wildlife, which may be present on the roads and can cause serious injury in a collision. Be particularly careful when driving at dawn and dusk when animals such as kangaroos are on the move.
In rural areas, roads may be unsealed and impassable after heavy rain. It’s a mistake to rely solely on GPS to plan itineraries.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged). If you’re planning to drive on unsealed roads, it’s essential that your hire car insurance policy has adequate cover.
The Australian surf can be dangerous, with strong rip currents challenging even the most experienced swimmer. You should only swim on beaches that are patrolled by lifeguards, and always swim between the red and yellow flags. The position of the flags highlights the safest part of the beach to swim. These are generally moved daily to take account of rip currents or other hazards.
As well as rip currents, some areas may present risk of stings or bites from local marine life, up to and including shark attacks. Always check the signs and pay attention to local information.
Never swim after drinking alcohol or taking drugs, and avoid swimming alone.
Safety in the Outback
Australia is a vast country with great distances between many major cities and centres of population. Some parts of the Outback are extremely remote and can present unexpected hazards. If you intend to travel to these areas, plan your trip with care and listen to local advice.
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.
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.
In very remote areas, you should notify relevant local tourist authorities or police of your departures and return times. Many national parks have beacon locators that the authorities ask hikers to take with them so that they can be more easily found in case of emergency.
Mobile phone coverage, though generally good in towns and cities, is often not available in remote areas. It’s a mistake to rely upon mobile phones or on real time internet maps if travelling in the Outback or even in some relatively well-populated rural areas.
Marine stingers are present in the tropical oceans around northern Australia from November to May. During this time, -you can only swim within stinger-resistant enclosures, which are set up on the most popular beaches. You will also need to wear protective clothing when swimming, snorkelling or diving on the outer Great Barrier Reef. Always observe warning signs. When bushwalking or hiking, you can avoid snake and spider bites by wearing protective footwear. If bitten, seek immediate medical attention by phoning 000.
Australia is known for its spiders, some of which are dangerous. Common venomous spiders in Australia include funnel-web, mouse, redback and white-tailed spiders. Since the introduction of anti-venoms in 1981, there has been only one death from a spider-bite.
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.
The police in Australia are strict in their implementation of the law and you should not expect any flexibility in respect of speed limits, parking restrictions or public order regulations.
What might pass in Ireland for friendly banter may be interpreted in Australia as a refusal to follow the orders of a police officer.
Disrespectful language or physical contact, especially from people under the influence of alcohol, is not tolerated.
Visa Over Stays
The Australian Border Force has stepped up its operations with regard to the deportation of foreign nationals who overstay their Australian visa.
If you believe you have overstayed your visa, it is best to engage with the Australian Border Force as soon as possible to try and work out a solution and hopefully avoid being detained. The Australian Border Force operate a confidential service, the Community Status Resolution Service, which allows people to call to discuss their situation. The number to call is 1300 853 773. Further details can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.
Each situation is dealt with strictly on a case-by-case basis. However, Australian Border Force advise that if you cooperate with them to resolve your immigration status, you may be granted a Bridging visa E. This lets you stay in Australia for a short time while you finalise your affairs. The Australian Border Force regularly conducts compliance activity to locate people living in the community unlawfully. If you are found in the community without a visa, you could be detained and removed from Australia. You could face a three-year re-entry ban from visiting Australia again.
If you have over stayed your visa and are picked up by the police or Border Force you will likely be detained at an Immigration Detention Centre while your deportation is arranged.
Please see the link here for more information about what you should do, when your Australian visa is expiring. Please see the link here for more information about what you should do if your Australian visa has expired.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural disasters and climate
The Australian climate can be extreme. Drought in one area can be paralleled by severe flooding in another. The north of the country gets a wet and a dry season, and much of the centre of the country is desert or semi-arid. While the climate is generally temperate in the south-east and south-west corners, even here the summer heat can be intense.
The weather between different cities may vary widely at certain times of the year. If you are planning on travelling around Australia, it is important to stay aware of the weather in each place you intend to stay. Up to date weather forecasts for all areas are available at the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology.
There is a wider risk of tropical cyclones which occur mainly in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia between November and April. -You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of local authorities, including the state emergency services and Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology.
The sunburn index is very high in Australia during both summer and winter months and the country has a high rate of skin cancer. High factor sun protection should be reapplied frequently and we highly recommend wearing a hat. For more information about sun safety, read the Australian Cancer Council’s “SunSmart” tips.
Due to the dry conditions in many parts of Australia, it is important to be alert to the possibility of bush fires. Each state has specific information and services available to help you plan ahead, stay informed, and stay alert to the possibility of bushfires. These services are listed by state here.
If there is a fire in your area, stay tuned to local radio for updates or download the ‘Fires Near Me Australia’ app. Know what to look out for and observe total fire ban warnings where they are in place. Find out what bushfire safety plans are in place in the area where you are camping, caravanning or renting accommodation. Bush fires have devastating effects and there are heavy penalties applied for breach of the rules.
During times of minimal rainfall, usually from October to April, intense bushfires can occur. Follow the advice of local authorities, and avoid affected or susceptible areas.
Consult the website of the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology for information on weather conditions.
Depending on the season, flash flooding can occur in many areas. Floods in recent years have led to loss of life and cut off whole towns and communities so pay attention to local warnings. It’s dangerous to try to cross swollen creeks or other flood waters; their power and depth may be deceptive.
Some unsealed roads (common in rural areas) may not be passable after heavy rain even if you’re travelling in a 4 x 4 vehicle. It’s important not to rely solely on GPS when planning a route. Local advice is usually available and should be sought out and heeded.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
You will need a visa in advance to enter Australia. You have to be pre-cleared and issued with an Electronic Travel Authorisation. Travel agents, the nearest Australian Embassy or the Australian Immigration website can provide further details.
Always respect the terms of your visa. It’s an offence to overstay a visa and doing so will likely incur a sanction, which can include up to a three-year ban on entering the country.
Immigration law is very strictly enforced –do not be under any illusion on this point.
Travelling to Australia on a working holiday visa
If you are travelling to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) and planning to extend your visa for Second and/or year under the same visa category, you should read the following link here carefully to ensure that you are complying with the conditions of your Working Holiday Visa. You should be aware of your rights as employees in Australia and how to report any concerns about unfair or unlawful treatment. For more information please visit Workplace discrimination - Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Always get comprehensive travel insurance. The Reciprocal Health Agreement between Ireland and Australia will cover citizens and residents of Ireland for emergency care only. For more information, please see here.
You do not need a pre-departure COVID-19 test to enter or transit Australia regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status. Please see the Australian government’s website for advice on COVID-19 and travelling, and be aware that COVID-19 restrictions can change with very little notice.
Visitors to northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and the north of Western Australia may be exposed to mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and Ross River fever. Take suitable precautions and use insect repellents and sleeping nets.
There have been reports of cases of Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE), a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease, in the Northern Territory and north Western Australia, with occasional cases in Queensland, New South Wales, central Australia and the central regions of Western Australia.
Moving to Australia for an extended period
If you’re thinking about moving to Australia for an extended period as a family unit, the most important thing is to fully research the visa class you intend to travel on. Get a clear and accurate picture of what entitlements will or will not apply for you and your family.
Take the time to research the state and city where you plan to relocate. Find out about issues such as childcare and school fees before you arrive.
Cost of living
The cost of living in Australia is high. Good accommodation in the major cities can be difficult to find and is very expensive by Irish standards. This applies in particular to Sydney and Melbourne, where there is a significant shortage of suitable accommodation, with rental prices reflecting the high demand.
There may be long waiting lists for schools and child care in certain areas and you may have to apply for places before you leave Ireland. Take note that the Australian school year begins in end January/February not in September as is the case at home.
In some states, notably New South Wales and Western Australia, temporary residents may have to pay significant fees for public primary schools and they may not be entitled to benefit from Australian tax rebates for child care expenses.
Emergency hospital treatment for Irish people legally resident in Australia is covered by the Reciprocal Health Agreement between the two countries. This doesn’t cover the cost of ambulances and follow-up care. Temporary residents are not generally entitled to Medicare (Australian public health rebate system) and as such may have to pay in full for childhood vaccinations and other medical bills. Temporary residents are not generally entitled to social welfare (Centrelink) payments. The system is structured differently in Australia so you may not be entitled to any child benefit payments and even if you were entitled to a medical card at home you will be required to pay for medical appointments and related services in Australia.
If you require emergency assistance from the Embassy, please contact us on +61 2 62140000 and follow the prompts.
If you call outside normal working hours at the weekend, you will be given instructions to call another number to speak to a Duty Officer.
Embassy of Ireland
20 Arkana Street
Tel: +61 2 6214 0000
Monday to Friday 9:30am – 12:30pm and 2pm – 4pm
Consulate General of Ireland
1 Market Street
Tel: +612 9264 9635
Monday to Friday 10.00 - 13.00
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr Martin Kavanagh
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Kavanagh Lawyers WA
165/580 Hay Street
Perth Western Australia 6004
Tel: +61 8 6557 5802
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.