Australia is known by many nicknames, but perhaps the most popular is the “land down under.” The country is rich in natural resources and incredible sights. It is also famous for wide open areas that often house species of insects that have never been seen before.
Indeed, Australia has lots of amazing beaches and wide deserts. It is also a very, very large country. In fact, it is often labeled as a sub-continent. It definitely stands out among its neighboring countries and islands as a large mass in the ocean.
What Makes Australia Safe
In this article, we will discuss, in some detail, the safety of Australia as a travel destination.
In short, though, it is an extremely safe country. There are many reasons for this, but one is that it is a highly urbanized country with lots to offer for tourists who wish to experience a modern, high-tech lifestyle.
Some of the major cities in this country are among the best, and safest, in the world. These include Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. The fact that it is a highly urbanized first world country already explains why it is so safe.
Summary of Australia’s Safety
Before we proceed into the details, let’s look at the following summary of the country’s safety in terms of various factors.
- Overall safety – Traveling to Australia means you basically don’t have to worry about your safety. Just use your common sense. Perhaps the only major risks are those that involve natural disasters, and these are typically rare. Crime is not an issue as well; there are incidences but they are few and far between.
- Transportation – One concern that you might have while driving in Australia is the possibility of a wild animal jumping in front of you, and hitting it, and risking your health in the process as well. There are also incidents of drunk drivers. But the roads are typically first rate and traffic should not be a problem at all.
- Natural disasters – The only real threat that Australia offers is the natural disasters that can occur in the country. This also includes attacks from dangerous wildlife, riptides, exposure to harmful ultraviolet light, and the hazardous waters as well. Fortunately, the government has taken necessary measures, such as putting up signs and constantly advising the public of the dangers posed by mother nature.
- Crime – there’s little to no incidence of pickpocketing in Australia. You still need to remain vigilant though, especially in big cities like Melbourne and Sydney. When it comes to mugging, it’s pretty rare as well, but likewise you need to remain smart and avoid suspicious areas.
- Solo traveling for women – Just use your common sense and follow all safety precautions, and you’ll definitely have a wonderful experience traveling solo to Australia with no problems whatsoever.
As you can see, Australia is quite safe for visitors and tourists. The only real threats are those from harmful wild animals and natural disasters. So you really have to follow the guidelines and rules set up by the government.
Threats from Nature
Here’s a list of some of nature’s threats that you need to be aware of once you visit Australia:
- Riptides – strong ocean currents, especially on the beaches of the East Coast, are deemed the most dangerous natural disasters in Australia. Riptides have claimed the lives of many people.
- Crocodiles – there are dangerous crocodiles in the north. The most dangerous are the saltwater ones.
- Jellyfish – if you’re going out swimming on the beaches of Australia, before you do so, check out some signs or advisories saying that bluebottles or box jellyfishes have been spotted. If this is the case, then just cancel your swim.
- Snakes – there are several poisonous snakes in Australia. You have to do your research and check out what these snakes look like, so that when you encounter them, you won’t make the mistake of going near them or even touching them.
- Spiders – Australia is home to many varieties of spiders, and several of them are actually quite lethal. You should know about these as well. You should be wary of funnel spiders that sometimes hide in shoes. They are quite lethal so you need to get an antidote right away once you get bitten.
Local Customs and Laws
Here are some of the most important aspects of Australia’s laws that you need to remember as a traveler.
- On trafficking illegal drugs – Like most countries, bringing these harmful drugs to the country will result in jail time and heavy fines. In Australia, you will also be deported back to your home country when evidence can be put against you.
- E-cigarettes – In Australia, e-cigarettes are legal in some states but not in others. On the other hand, one component of e-cigarette, known as liquid nicotine is labeled as a poison throughout the nation so it is illegal to sell this substance. Some States however, allow personal use of e-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine.
- Same-sex marriage – last December 2017, Australia acknowledged the legality of same-sex marriages. The country, in fact, has a reputation of being tolerant towards homosexuality, although there are instances around the nation of people committing crimes related to homophobia.
- Local culture – Australia’s culture mainly derives from the West, particularly in Britain. Aside from the Western influence, though, it also has influence from the cultures of the people of Oceania, the aborigines and the islanders from Torres Strait.
- Aborigines – aborigines and the Torres Strait islanders are the oldest civilizations in Australia. Evidence has shown that these ancestors have been in Australia during the last 40,000 to 60,000 years.
- Typical attitude – usually, Australians are relaxed, and are direct to the point when they say what they want to say. They are also typically an outgoing group of people. Most Australians live in the big cities, especially those located near the coast.
In a typical day, Australians are normally informal. Even if you greet others, the greeting is usually just informal.
You can shake hands with the people that you meet, unless there is a global health crisis that requires social distancing.
It is also normal to call people by their first name.
During the Christmas season, it is normal to tip with cash, but also even beer or wine. When you receive a gift during Christmas, it is normal to open it in front of the person who gave the gift.
When it comes to religion, the Australian government is quite secular, but there are many denominations that are active in society. For example, Christian churches are very active in the following aspects of society:
- Health and welfare
In the country, the Roman Catholic denomination is the biggest source of education and health services that isn’t affiliated with the government.
Even before the global health crisis which started in 2019, Australia has already put in place robust quarantine procedures to mitigate the health risks mentioned above, including those from the flora and fauna of the region.
For example, when you arrive in Australia for the first time, your luggage will be x-rayed, items that are suspicious or could cause some form of concern can be inspected further and treated.
If necessary, these items can be destroyed or confiscated. Moreover, you can be fined for bringing these items that need to be quarantined.
While you’re on the plane, you will be given an incoming passenger card. In this card, you will have to state if you have brought any goods or food that contain animal or plant ingredients. You will also declare if you brought any sports related gear.
Australia has one of the world’s lowest crime rates. Most crimes that occur in the country happen in the big cities, and all you need to do is to use your common sense to be safe as you enjoy the sights and sounds of the city.
Crimes can be categorized according to the following:
Alcohol-related crimes. When you’re hanging out in night life venues in the big cities of Australia, where drinks are served, you need to observe the following tips:
- Drink moderately – you need to do this so that you can go back to your place of accommodation.
- Refuse drinks that are given to you by someone you don’t know.
- Take care of your belongings
Car-related crimes. There are some recorded instances of car theft. To prevent these things from happening to you, take note of the following tips:
- As much as possible, when you leave your car parked, don’t leave your important belongings inside. In particular, don’t put your important documents and other belongings inside the glove box. That’s an obvious place to hide stuff and thieves know to look at this part of the car first.
- Lock your car and close the windows when you leave the car. This may be an obvious tip, but it’s well worth mentioning, since sometimes people forget this out of hurrying.
Other Safety Concerns
Be careful when you are in crowded places like markets and festivals. Most pickpocket crimes occur in these instances.
When you’re going out, just bring the things that you need to bring. When you bring less stuff, the chances of being a victim of pickpockets become lower, and you’re less likely to lose stuff as well.
When you’re walking around at night, try to avoid dark alleys and corners. Stay in the light.
Try not to wear head phones while you’re walking as well. Especially during night time. If you’re using headphones, your attention is divided, and that’s not good since you need to be aware of the traffic when you have to cross roads.
For the same reasons mentioned above, you should also avoid looking at your cellphones while walking outside. Don’t use your phone altogether during these situations.
Important Hotline Numbers
When in Australia, you need to know the important hotline numbers. These numbers are 000 and 112.
By contacting these numbers, you will be directed to an operator who can help you contact an ambulance for health emergencies. You can also use these numbers to contact the fire or the police department.
Aside from these emergency numbers, each state has its own unique number for police-related incidents that aren’t an emergency.
For example, when you are in the following states:
- Northern Territory
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
You can contact the number 131444.
Healthcare in Australia
Before going to Australia, here are some of the vaccinations that you need to have, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow fever
- Japanese encephalitis
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella
Another important thing you can do before going to Australia is have a comprehensive medical insurance. Without a medical insurance, treatment costs can be so expensive.
When it comes to healthcare standards, Australia’s is excellent. Here are some facts about Australian healthcare that will leave you impressed:
- Healthcare providers in Australia include nurses, allied health workers, medical specialists, and general practitioners providing primary care services.
- Australia’s universal healthcare system is known as Medicare, and it is available to citizens of New Zealand and Australia, and also permanent residents in the country.
- The Australian government has a wide array of responsibilities related to healthcare, including purchasing vaccines for an immunization program, subsidizing services for age care, ensuring that the food supply in the country is safe, and so much more.
Some of the challenges faced by Australia health-wise include: ageing population, chronic diseases, research to further enhance medicine and health, using new technologies that will improve the health care system, and using health data in the best possible way.
There you have it. Aside from the natural disasters and the dangers posed by the animals and waters of Australia, it is an extremely safe nation. This is partly due to the fact that it is a first world, progressive country, and it has mitigated most of these dangers to the point that you will really feel safe most days. You just have to play your part by using your common sense and avoiding dangerous situations.