Hello everybody,

I arrived in Australia two months ago and I have accumulated some experience regarding what to do and what not to do here. Now, I’ll share with you a little bit of information to make it easier if you are planning to visit Australia some day in the future.

When thinking about coming to Australia, the first thing you have to arrange is your Visa. To get it you can go to the Australian Consulate in Rio de Janeiro and ask them what documents are required. After gathering everything, you will have to send it to the Australian Embassy in Brasilia, by mail. If everything goes all right, it won’t take long for your passport to return with your Visa stamped in it.

Now, let’s talk about the air ticket. When I came here two months ago, Aerolineas Argentinas was the only Air Company to fly from South America to Australia. Now, I think Qantas, an Australian airline, is flying to Rio de Janeiro as well, but you’ll have to confirm this information. With 2 companies involved, prices could go down. Good news for us travelers! The whole trip takes about 26 hours and is very tiring. Flying Aerolineas, you have to go to Buenos Aires and change planes there. From there you take a 2 hours 40 minutes flight to the far south of Argentina, to a place called Rio Gallegos, in Patagonia. From there, the plane goes straight to Auckland, New Zealand, longest flight of the trip, taking approximately 10 hours to get there. From Auckland, it takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to land in Sydney. Yes, it’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile.

Arriving in Sydney you’ll have to go through customs. If you are not lucky enough to pass straight through, you will have to be patient because the customs officers are very rigorous and open all your bags. If you are looking for a job here and are travelling on a tourist visa, don’t let them know and avoid bringing any document or written paper that may link you to a job here. If you do so, it may be difficult for you to enter the country.

Accommodation in Australia is fairly easy to find and a little bit different from what we are used to in Brazil. As Australia has a huge income from tourism, there are hotels, hostels and "backpackers" everywhere, and the first thing you notice is that they are run in a very informal way. If you are not thinking of going to a 5 star hotel, you might stay in a hostel, where you have to be prepared to wash your clothes, share the bathroom with other guests and watch TV with a bunch of people in a TV room. Of course you can find rooms with shower and TV, but I’m saying all these things to warn you that you have to ask them what kind of services and facilities they provide, otherwise you might find things a little bit different from what you expected.

The cheapest kind of accommodation here is the Backpacker. It is a place where you pay for a bed and a small wardrobe to lockup your things. The room, normally very big, is shared with other people. It’s very common here as there are lots of young people travelling the whole country with very little money in their pockets. Frequently, these places are very neat, and you are very likely to make new friends and meet people from different countries.

To finish off this letter, let’s talk about food. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t like to try "different" tastes, you’d better stick to the famous BigMac, that you can buy in any one of the McDonalds restaurants spread around Australia. On the other hand, if you enjoy trying different tastes, this is the right place to be. As this is a multicultural country, you can find food from most Asian countries and European as well. It’s easy to eat Indian, Thai, Chinese and Japanese food here. Since I arrived here I have tried tastes that I haven’t come across in my entire life.

This letter is becoming very big and I haven’t been able to talk about half of what I intended to. Anyway, I’ll try to write another letter to talk about some other aspects of Australia and, when there’s a space available in Viv’s Newsletter, he might publish it.

If you need some more details about anything related to Australia, just send me an email and I’ll try to find out whatever it is.

See you.

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