The minimum legal 'drinking' age is 18. When going to bars and nightclubs, you should carry identification to prove you are at least 18 years old. You may not be let in otherwise. No one may buy liquor from a bar or liquor store (bottle shop) unless they are at least 18 years. Buying liquor for a 'minor' is illegal.
Rental cars are freely available on the Gold Coast from Budget, Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, Europcar and several smaller operators. Vehicles are generally no more than eight months old, with automatic transmission and air-conditioning. Renters have to be 21 or older and hold a current driver's licence. An international license is not necessary. Travel Online can certainly help you with your rental car requirements, visit our Campervans and Car Rental websites for details.
The subtropical Gold Coast has bright, sunny days (300 of them a year!). It's quite warm in summer and mild in winter and there is really no 'bad' time to visit. Seasons in Australia are the reverse of North America and Europe. Summer is December to February (20-30°C), Autumn (fall) March to May (15-25°C), Winter June to August (11 -22°C), and Spring September to November (15-25°C).
The Australian dollar is divided into 100 cents. One and two cent coins are no longer in circulation, but many items in shops and supermarkets are priced in odd amounts, such as $1.97 or $9.99. The law provides that the TOTAL bill is rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. So $19.97 becomes $19.95, $19.98 becomes $20.00. Coin denominations are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c $1 and $2. Notes are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100, are colour coded and made from a plastic compound that will survive a wash or a swim.
All banks have automated teller machines (ATMs) accessible 24-hours a day, generally outside the branch or in the foyer. Check with your card issuer that your charge or account-linked credit card can be used in this way, and at which bank as none accept every brand of card. Be warned, cash snatching is not uncommon so be conscious of the people around you and avoid ATMs in dark or seemingly deserted places.
Australians drive on the left, which can be disconcerting for visitors used to driving on the right side of the road. Roads are generally good and major routes well signposted. Speed limits and distances are expressed in kilometres and vary substantially from 50 kph in residential and heavy traffic areas to 110 kph on freeways. Drink driving is a serious offence and heavily policed. The legal limit of .05% is quite low - roughly equivalent to two small glasses of wine in the first hour and one an hour thereafter for men, less for women.
The Gold Coast has two daily newspapers, The Gold Coast Bulletin, and the Courier Mail (Queensland wide). The Sunday edition is called the Sunday Mail. A national broadsheet, The Australian, appears daily except Sunday, as does a national business tabloid, The Australian Financial Review.
The Gold Coast Mail is a free weekly publication widely covering the gold coast region featuring local people, local classifieds, and entertainment and is published on Thursdays.
Australian health care professionals are highly trained and medical services are among the best in the world. Visitors from the UK, New Zealand and Finland are entitled to free or heavily subsidised medical and hospital care under reciprocal national health care agreements with the taxpayer funded Medicare organisation. All other visitors should take out travel insurance when visiting Australia. Several Australian-based travel insurers have special cover for visitors which are very much less expensive than travel cover sold in the US, for instance. Major hotels have doctors on-call.
Visitors who have a medical condition requiring treatment should ensure they carry a letter from their doctor outlining their condition and the medication required. This is also important if the drug is uncommon or contains narcotics, which may be a restricted import. Most medication is available in Australia, but only on a doctor's prescription. Prescription drugs are dispensed by qualified pharmacist at 'pharmacies' or 'chemist' shops.
Queensland Rail provides numerous daily services between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Telephone Transinfo on 13 12 30 for route and ticket information.
The Gold Coast is home to a dazzling array of places to eat. From relaxed beach cafes to elegant restaurants, there's something to tease every taste and every budget. You can pick up a restaurant guide from your accommodation or local information centres on arrival, or ask the locals where they like to eat!
Travellers cheques, especially in foreign currencies, are generally NOT accepted EXCEPT by hotels and big stores and tourist shops. These display a 'travellers cheques welcome' sign. Cash your cheques at a bank or Bureau de Change to ensure you have enough spending money. The same holds true for foreign currency, which is not generally accepted by Australian businesses and shops.
No service charge applies in Australia. Tipping is not mandatory but tip in restaurants and hotel bars is optional for exceptional service.