The legal age for drinking alcohol is 18 years and young people are advised to carry proof of age or identification when going out to bars or clubs. You may not purchase alcohol from a liquor store or licensed establishment unless you are at least 18 years of age and it is illegal to purchase it for a 'minor'. The same rules apply to gambling at the famous Gold Coast Casino.
Rental cars are widely available on the Gold Coast and are usually no more than 8 months old. Equipped with air conditioning and automatic transmission, cars are available for hire from major companies such as Avis, Europcar, Budget, Thrifty and Hertz as well as a number of smaller operators. To hire a car you must be at least 21 years of age and hold a current drivers licence. International licenses are not necessary. Most car hire is available from the Gold Coast Airport.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are available for 24 hour access generally outside a branch or in major retail areas. However it is recommended that you check with your card issuer that you will be able to use your card in this way. Not all banks accept every brand of card however all major cards are accepted.
The Australian dollar is made up of 100 cents and although one and two cent coins aren't in circulation anymore, many retailers price products in odd amounts such as $9.99. As per the law, the total bill will be rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. Coin denominations increase in size and value from 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 while notes are made from a colour coded waterproof plastic compound and include $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
Driving in Australia is done on the left hand side of the road with all roads in good condition and major routes well signposted. Distances and speed limits are expressed in kilometres and vary from 50km in domestic areas to 110km on highways. Speeding and drink driving are serious offences and therefore heavily policed. Radars, laser guns and automatic cameras are used to detect speed while random breath analysis tests are conducted to ensure safe driving practices. The legal alcohol limit is .05% which roughly equates to two standard drinks in the first hour and one every hour thereafter although it is usually less for women. Offenders will be arrested, fingerprinted and fined.
Australia's medical services are among the best in the world thanks to our highly trained healthcare professionals. Free or heavily subsidised medical and hospital care is available to visitor from New Zealand, the UK and Finland under Medicare's tax payer funded reciprocal national health care agreement. It is advised that visitors from all other locations take out health insurance to cover any medical services that may be required while in Australia. There are a number of travel insurers who provide special cover for travellers which is much more affordable than that offered in the US. All major hotels also have an on-call doctor.
Queensland Rail provides a number of daily services between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Telephone Transinfo on 13 12 30 for route and ticket information. For more information, see Gold Coast Transport.
If you require treatment for a medical condition while visiting Australia, it is advised that you carry a letter from your treating physician outlining your condition and the medication it requires. This is especially important if the medication is uncommon or contains narcotics as this may cause complications at customs. Most medications are available in Australia however they do require a prescription and will need to be dispensed by a qualified pharmacist.
The Gold Coast is known as a holiday and recreation hot spot home to beautiful beaches, plenty of parks, a vibrant Arts Centre and rich culture and history. The region also plays host to the annual Gold Coast Marathon which sees thousands of competitors flock from all over Queensland.
Service charges do not apply in Australia and tipping is not compulsory. However if you enjoy excellent service in bars, restaurants or hotels a 10% tip is always appreciated.
See our travel guides for getting to the Gold Coast.
Travellers cheques, particularly those in foreign currencies, are not generally accepted however some hotels, major retailers and tourist shops will make an exception. You will know these exceptions as they will clearly display a sign stating that travellers cheques are welcome. Major banks and currency exchange