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Weather

Gold Coast is known for their mild sub-tropical climate that features an estimated 8 hours of sunshine, 300 days a year. Temperatures in July range from 11° to 21°C (52° to 70°F), with July being a winter month. We recommend attendees bring a light jacket and/or raincoat. Make sure to take temperatures into consideration when packing.

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Time

Gold Coast is in the Australian Eastern Standard Time zone (AEST): GMT + 10 hours. Daylight savings time is not observed.

Time in Gold Coast

Language

English is Australia's national language.

Currency

The Australian dollar (AUD) is the currency of Australia. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $. It is based on the decimal system and has 100 cents to the dollar.

Currency exchange facilities are available at all international airports and key tourist centers such as Surfers Paradise.

Australian Coinage: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2

Australian Banknotes: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100

It is a good idea to convert at least some currency, around $50–100, at a bank before your trip. Barring that, use your credit card. Credit card companies use the bank exchange rate as well. The currency exchange at the border is also reasonable. For currency conversion rates, convert your currency.

Credit Cards & Automated Teller Machines

Major credit cards such as American Express, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. Keep in mind that your financial institution at home will automatically make the currency conversion on purchases abroad before you receive your monthly statement. Inquire about any fees your financial institution may charge for using your card abroad before you travel. Automated teller machines (ATMs) can be found throughout Gold Coast. Exchange rates are often better through ATMs than through currency exchange offices or hotels. It is important that you check with your credit card company or financial institution before you travel to ensure that your cards will work in Australia.

Health Care

If you require medical attention, you can ask for assistance from your hotel, or go to the nearest public hospital. With the exception of accident and emergency treatment, all non-Australian citizens will be charged for medical treatment and must have adequate health insurance when traveling. For non-emergency cases, you should expect to provide payment onsite. Vaccination certificates are not usually required. Check with your local physician before traveling as requirements can change.

It is important to obtain travel health insurance before leaving home since your regular health insurance may not include coverage outside of your country of residence. Contact your health insurance provider to determine your best option. Be sure to pack any prescription medication you will need during your trip. Pharmacies are widely available, but may not be able to fill a prescription from outside of Australia.

Sun protection is recommended all year round, even on cloudy days.

Canadian Emergency Number: 000 from a fixed line. 112 from a mobile phone.

Electrical Conversion

240/250 volts AC 50HZ universal outlets for 110 volts (shavers only) are standard in hotels, apartments and motels. Adapters can be purchased from international hotels.

Safety

Gold Coast is considered a safe city for tourists and a democracy with a strong economy. Gold Coast has a low crime rate and no history of international terrorist activity. At the same time, tourists should always be aware of your surroundings and keep a close eye on belongings. If you encounter a problem, be sure to report it to local police by calling 000 from a fixed line, or 112 from a mobile phone.

More Tourist information can be found at: http://customs.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/GuideforTravellers-WEB2.pdf

Sales Tax

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) may apply to various goods and services you purchase during your stay in Australia. The GST rate in Australia is 10%. Non-Australian residents may qualify for a refund of some of the GST you have paid in Australia through the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS).

You must spend a minimum of AU $300 on goods in a single store to be eligible for a tax refund. Visitors who wish to claim a refund of the GST must provide proof of purchase (receipts) that they purchased their goods from Australia. Please note that credit card slips are not considered valid proof of purchase. You must have the cash register receipt with an original tax invoice from the store. You may not claim any purchases made in duty free shops. Claims must be made at the airport in Australia after you have passed through passport control. There are a number of excluded consumables. For more details: http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/TRS_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Gold Coast's Signature ‘Food Finds'

Fantales

Fantales: A favorite Australian food, the delectable bite-sized treat is made up of chewy caramel coated in milk chocolate. It's renowned for yellow and blue wrapping scribed with movie trivia, a marketing move that has endeared the treat to DVD groupies and moviegoers.

Barramundi: Perhaps the most Australian of all fish varieties, Barramundi gets its name from the Aboriginal language meaning "large-scaled river fish." It's served in restaurants across the country.
Best pan-fried or seared skin-side first (rarely battered or deep fried), it's often dished up as a fish steak with an herbed oil.

Grilled Kangaroo: Why not eat the national animal? In some areas ‘roos overpopulate the terrain. Plus, the methane-free kangaroo is low in fat. This is not for lovers of well-done meat as it's prone to drying out. It's generally cooked rare to medium, often primarily on one side. Kangaroo goes well with garlic, pepper, juniper, rosemary and fruity flavors such as plum, red currant and orange.

Vegemite: Happy little vegemites enjoy it for breakfast, lunch and tea, so goes the much-played anthem. This is as Australian food as it gets. Although it looks like Britain's Marmite, locals will tell you vegemite is very different. And substantially better, more savory than sweet. Although the ingredients are much debated, the dark brown food paste is made from yeast extract (as opposed to Marmite's vegetable extract). Instructions are simple: spread the toast as soon as possible and apply an even spread of vege.

Lamingtons

Lamingtons: The lamington is often referred to as the "National Cake of Australia." The National Trust of Queensland even named the lamington one of Australia's favorite icons. This square-shaped sponge cake is coated in a layer of chocolate icing and desiccated coconut. It sometimes comes in two halves with a layer of cream or jam in the middle. Found commonly throughout cafes as a perfect accompaniment to tea and coffee, it's also often baked for fundraisers.

Tipping

Tipping is not expected in Australia, but it is always appreciated. It is customary to tip around 10% or round to the nearest AU $10 for a family meal. Tipping bellboys and porters is sometimes done, but no one tips bar staff, barbers or hairdressers.