General Information

General Information

Banks
Normal banking hours are Monday to Thursday 9.30am – 4.00pm and Fridays 9.30am – 5.00pm, excluding public holidays. 24 Hour Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) can be found throughout the City and Shopping Centres. There are four major banks in Australia which offer a full range of banking services including currency conversions and sales of travellers cheques including Commonwealth Bank, Westpac Bank, ANZ Bank and the National Australia Bank.

Climate
Sydney has a comfortable, temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters.

Sydney has, on average, 7 hours of sunshine a day. Its temperature ranges from an average winter minimum of 9 and a maximum of 17 degrees Celsius, to a peak summer maximum average of 26 degrees Celsius. Sydney’s rainfall averages 1213 millimetres a year, with an average of 11 wet days per month. More than 40 per cent of this rain falls between March and June. July in Sydney is winter time and overall the average temperatures for July are a minimum of 9°C and a maximum of 16°C.

For more information on weather conditions in Sydney, visit the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Currency
Decimal currency is used in Australia – units are dollars and cents. All major credit cards are widely accepted in Australia. Visit www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

Eating out
Sydney’s multi-cultural population is reflected in the wide variety of excellent restaurants offering a diversity of cuisine from around the world. Bistros, restaurants and cafes offer varied menus, prices and décor. Local seafood is recommended and includes Sydney Rock Oysters, King Prawns, Balmain Bugs and Barramundi.

As for eating in Sydney city, the following guides will assist you with making a choice:
Good Food Guide
Sydney.com
Urban Spoon
Eatability Sydney

Electricity and plug outlets
220-240V is standard in Australia. Electricity sockets take two or three flat, not rounded, prongs. North Americans and Europeans will need to buy a converter before they leave home.

Mobile phones
Australia operates on a digital network, therefore analogue mobile or cell phones cannot be used.

Temporary sim cards can be purchased from convenience stores, department stores or phone outlets. 

Public transport around Sydney
The Conference does not provide any transfers from the airport to conference hotels. All delegates must make their own transport arrangements from the airport. Taxis can be engaged at ranks at Sydney Airport. The taxi ride from the airport to the Sydney CBD can take between 25-30 minutes, depending on traffic. The Airport Link rail service runs from approximately 5.00am until midnight, seven days a week, to and from the Domestic and International Terminals and all City Circle railway stations. For more information visit www.airportlink.com.au.

There is an abundance of taxis that can be hailed from the street, or engaged at ranks throughout Sydney city. All public transport timetables, fare and route information is available from http://www.transportnsw.info/

Public transport is the easiest way to get around Sydney. Call the transport line on 131500 or go to www.transportnsw.com.au for timetable information. Once you’ve arrived at Sydney Airport, travel into the city centre with Sydney Trains. Sydney buses will take you to all the major tourist attractions around the city including Bondi Beach, Manly, The Rocks and Sydney Opera House.

If you are travelling late at night, be sure to plan your trip using the 131500 trip planner. To travel around Sydney you will need to buy the Opal card at any news agency or train station. The Opal Card is a smartcard ticket that you load value onto and keep for travel on all public transport in Sydney, and the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands. When you tap on at an Opal card reader to start your journey, and tap off at the end of your journey, the system will automatically calculate your fare and deduct it from the value stored on your Opal card. More information on www.opal.com.au.

The best way to really appreciate the natural beauty of Sydney is on board a ferry or a leisurely cruise across the sparkling harbour. Water taxis can deliver you to prime harbour locations or take to the air in a seaplane. Other ways to get around Sydney are by hiring a bike, going for a coastal walk or hiring a car and using the inner toll roads for speedy cross-city travel. Use the Tripview app to plan your journey.

Travel and Health Insurance
We strongly recommend that you take out insurance policies to cover medical and travel expenses. If necessary, consult your travel agent.

Safety and security
Sydney enjoys a reputation as a safe tourist destination. Nevertheless, you should exercise basic safety precautions such as walking in well-lit areas and staying in a group at night, always locking your car and hotel room, and not leaving valuable items unattended in public areas. The phone number for the emergency services in Australia is 000.

Shopping
Shops open from 9.00am to 5.00pm during the week with late night shopping on Thursdays to 9.00pm. On Saturdays and Sunday shops are open between 9.00am and 4.00pm.

Taxes
A Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10% applies to all consumer goods and is included in retail prices. All fees are quoted in Australian Dollars and are subject to GST.

Things you cannot bring into Australia
Australia has very strict importation laws and like most countries we place great emphasis on protecting our native fauna and flora from infectious diseases and other hazardous substances. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) provides quarantine inspection services for the arrival of international passengers, cargo, mail, animals, plants or their products exported from Australia. For more information regarding specifically what you are able to bring into Australia visit the Australian Government Biosecurity website.

Tipping
Tipping is not the general custom in Australia and service charges are not added to accounts by hotels and restaurants. However, you may tip hotel porters and food and drink waiters in restaurants (up to 10% of the bill) for special service. At any time, tipping is at your discretion.

Wheelchair access or other mobility disability access during the Conference 
When you register, please notify the Conference Secretariat of any mobility disabilities you have so that any venue access challenges can be addressed.