As a traveler, you are obliged to follow the laws and customs of the country you are visiting. The way of life in Australia might be very different from what you are accustomed to, yet it is your duty to adapt while you’re there. No matter where you go, breaking the rules will have consequences because there exists no excuse for ignorant or unethical tourists.
Social or religious norms reside in every region, and going against them could be considered offensive. Some acts may not be subject to legal penalties, yet might provoke displeasure among locals, which is equally distasteful. Like any other country, Australia has its fair share of rules and regulations you must get familiar with before initiating the tour.
Leave Your Pet Cactus at Home
Australia has very strict rules regarding incoming foreign substances from across the border. You must declare any food/goods of animal or plant origin before boarding the plane. Your entire luggage will be X-rayed on arrival and all suspicious items are thoroughly investigated. Australians are generally easygoing folks, but they will not tolerate stuff that could potentially harm the people, flora, and fauna of their homeland.
If you possess any forbidden articles, they will be confiscated and destroyed. You can also expect to pay a hefty fine, so it is best that you refer to the list of prohibited items beforehand. If you are carrying any drugs for medicinal purposes, it is mandatory that you can show proof in the form of authentic medical reports and prescription. Anyone in possession of illegal drugs shall be imprisoned for an indefinite period and then be deported.
The habit of smoking is a personal, but it will cost you in Australia. Cigarettes are expensive throughout the country, and rumor is that a legislation will soon be passed to further hike the price; presumably, $40 will be charged against one standard pack of cigarettes. Thus, smoking becomes an insanely exorbitant hobby, and you ought to reflect if it’s worthy of your hard earned money.
The law for e-cigarettes varies from region to region, but liquid nicotine is banned nationwide. E-cigarettes without nicotine are mostly acceptable, but do your research for the state you wish to visit. There are other types of addictions that are appreciated by Australians; Local wine, booze, and coffee are among the best around the world. You should also try their famous ‘Tim Tams’ that are known to win over anyone with a sweet tooth.
Bicycle helmets are mandatory in Australia for riders of all ages. Do not take it lightly because you will regret your decision while paying off the extensive fine. This kind of statute at national level is uncommon, but that’s how it is if you want to visit the country of kangaroos and koalas. The law is unpopular among locals as well because personal safety should be in the hands of the individual themselves. Unfortunately, it does not look like the law will be abolished anytime soon, so just get yourself a helmet if you plan to ride a bike on your trip.
Australia has extremely strict guns law as well, and bringing foreign weapons is illegal in every country I guess. However, you cannot wear a bulletproof jacket in Australia either, because the native authorities consider it a weapon; you are required to provide a license for it otherwise. You will not need that kind of body armor anyway as none of the locals dare to openly carry a gun around with them.
Forget about all those horrific stories you heard about Australia and its wildlife. None of the wild animals are out there to kill you and it is highly unlikely that you run into them. Owing to rapid urban development, animals hide away and you might only get to see them at the wildlife parks. Nonetheless, if you do come across a member of a fairly dangerous species by any chance, no need to panic. It will not attack unless you draw too much attention towards yourself.
The Australians love booze and know how to have a great time, but there are limits. If you are more than willing to get along with the locals then you must speak their language. Despite speaking English, you may have a hard time understanding a lot of things they say. The natives have their own set of slang words and phrases you need to get familiar with. If a local invites you to tea, then you may look forward to dinner.
There’s a possibility you will get invited to a Barbeque during your stay in the country. The number one rule for such gatherings is to never show up empty handed. Think of it as a one-dish party where making a contribution is basic courtesy. If you cannot decide on a food item, drinks are always welcome because there can never be enough.
Stay away from road rage during your trip and even in your own hometown if you have common sense. Speeding, street racing, incessant honking, explicit gestures, and blasting your stereo on the roads is antisocial behavior. The Australian police will literally kick your butt and confiscate your vehicle.
Party all you want but do not start crushing beer cans to express your excitement. All cans must be recycled in Australia; unlike plastic bottles, crushed cans make the job of recycling facilities more difficult. You may not be legally contested for crushing a can, unless you do it unconventionally. An incident in the country went viral where a local barmaid crushed a can between her breasts and got arrested for the feat; she had to pay a $1000 fine!
Do not bother tipping the waiters that serve at a public or private party. The minimum wage in Australia is high, thus the locals think of it as unnecessary.
Be a Voter
Voting is mandatory in Australia and non-voters have to pay a fine to make up for their laziness. As a tourist, you do not have to worry about participating in the country’s election, but you must support the cause to show and gain respect. People who are out of the country during election shall post their vote from overseas. You can also vote early if some business is keeping you from voting on the actual day.