Travel advice and general information about Australia.

This is not official advice. If you need help, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

Table of Contents

About Australia

Australia is a sovereign country and Commonwealth realm located in Oceania, which is constituted of six states and ten territories. Each state and many of the territories have their own legislature, so laws can vary across Australia.

Population: 25 million

Language: English

Currency: Australian dollar (AUD)

Religion: Christianity (43%)

Government: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Political Rights and Civil Liberties: 95/100 (Free country)

Head of State: His Majesty King Charles III

Head of Government: The Honourable Anthony Albanese MP

Information for Barbadian nationals

Entry requirements

If you have only a Barbadian passport

Barbadians need a visitor visa (subclass 600) to enter Australia for tourism purposes, or to visit friends / family. Successful applicants are usually granted a visa of three, six or twelve months, depending on the circumstances.

Each applicant must pay a non-refundable fee of AUD $190. Additional costs may also apply for health checks, police certificates and/or biometrics if the Australian Department of Home Affairs requires it.

If you also have a British passport

Barbadians who are also British citizens can apply for a visitor visa (subclass 600), but there are cheaper and more streamlined visa streams available. British citizens can alternatively apply for an eVisitor Visa (subclass 651) free of charge, or an Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601) for AUD $20.

Persons who are eligible to enter Australia on an eVisitor Visa or Electronic Travel Authority can stay in the country for up to three months.

Follow the advice of the British government if you will be entering Australia using your British passport.

If you also have an American or Canadian passport

Barbadians who are also American or Canadian citizens can apply for a visitor visa (subclass 600), but there is a cheaper and more streamlined visa stream available. American and Canadian citizens can alternatively apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601) for AUD $20.

Persons who are eligible to enter Australia on an Electronic Travel Authority can stay in the country for up to three months.

If you are an American-Barbadian dual national, follow the advice of the U.S. government if you will be entering Australia using your U.S. passport.

If you are a Canadian-Barbadian dual national, follow the advice of the Canadian government if you will be entering Australia using your Canadian passport.

Getting to Australia

There are no direct flights to Australia from Barbados due to the substantial distances between the two countries. Persons travelling to Australia are advised to have at least two layovers to make the journey more manageable.

No airline offers flights on a single booking between Barbados and Australia. It is usually necessary to book a flight to London Heathrow with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, and another flight from London Heathrow to the final destination in Australia with either Singapore Airlines or Qantas Airways.

Make sure you leave adequate time between flights booked on separate tickets, because you will be responsible if you miss your connecting flight. For example, if your first booking is with British Airways from Barbados to London, and your second booking is with Singapore Airlines from London to Australia, avoid booking your Singapore Airlines flight to commence shortly after you arrive in London, in case of any delays. It is advisable to give yourself at least 36 to 48 hours between such flights since they are separate bookings, and to book a hotel room during your transit in London.

If there are any delays caused by the airline that causes you to miss your connecting flight, the airline is responsible for offering you an alternative flight at their expense if that connecting flight is part of the same booking. However, if your connecting flight is a separate ticket (even if it's with the same airline) you are responsible for any delays that causes you to miss your connection, even if it's not your fault.

Flying via Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines offers year-round flights from London Heathrow usually with a layover at Changi Airport in Singapore. Consider flights with a layover of at least eight hours.

Flying via Qantas Airways

Qantas Airways offers year-round flights from London Heathrow usually with a layover at Changi Airport in Singapore, but there are also direct flights from London to Perth (located in Western Australia). However, this direct flight is very long and can be exhausting. Consider other flights that include a stopover at Changi Airport in Singapore, which will make the journey more manageable and allow you to get some rest.

Layovers at Changi Airport

If you book a flight with either Singapore Airlines or Qantas Airways with a layover at Changi Airport, you do not clear immigration. Instead, you remain in the transit area of the airport while you wait for your onward flight to Australia. Consider reserving a room via an airside transit hotel such as Harilela Hospitality if your layover is six hours or more, which will allow you to get some rest before your onward flight.

Using third party booking sites

It may sometimes appear cheaper to use third party booking sites, rather than buying direct with the airline, but there is a reason for this. Third party booking sites often book separate tickets, and in some cases, use frequent flyer points in ways that airlines do not allow. Always book directly with airlines or reputable travel agencies. To compare prices between different airlines, use Google Flights.

Currency and payments

The currency in Australia is called the Australian Dollar (AUD). $1 is equivalent to 100 cents. Foreign currencies are not accepted by local businesses as a means of payment.

Local laws and customs

There is zero tolerance to the possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs in Australia. Persons convicted of drugs-related offences can expect long prison sentences and heavy fines.

Driving a vehicle

You must drive on the left-side, like in Barbados.

There are many speed cameras in populated areas of Australia. Speed limits are expressed in kilometres per hour (kph). Always observe the speed limit. Road traffic laws are strictly enforced in Australia.

You must always indicate at a roundabout, whether you are turning left or right. If you are going straight ahead at a roundabout, you must indicate left just before you reach the exit. You may be stopped by the police if you do not use your indicators correctly.

Drivers in Australia only use their car horns to warn others of a danger. Avoid using your car horn to express gratitude to other drivers for giving way, as using your car horn like this will confuse local drivers or cause a misunderstanding. It is customary to raise a 'high-five' to persons that give way.

You can use your Barbadian driving licence to drive any type of small vehicle listed on your licence (for example cars, motorcycles or vans) for a temporary period while you are a visitor in Australia. No visitor driving permit is required and you do not need an International Driving Permit.

Make sure you have appropriate car insurance. If you are planning to rent a car, make sure you are hiring a vehicle from a registered business as they are responsible for arranging car insurance on your behalf.

Australia has substantially large distances between populated areas. If you are planning to drive in the arid or remote areas of Australia (colloquially known as the outback), make sure you have a working satellite phone in case you need to contact the emergency services. Your life can be in danger if you breakdown without appropriate provisions, including water and food, due to the intense heat and extreme remoteness of the Australian outback.

Car rental companies often require customers to have a credit card. They may place a temporary hold on your credit card during the term of your rental in case you have an accident or cause damage to the vehicle. If you have an accident, you may be required to pay a substantial excess regardless of who is at fault. It may be more cost effective to purchase car hire excess insurance as an alternative to the Collision Damage Waiver offered by rental companies if you have the financial means to pay the excess before submitting a claim.

Many car rental companies do not allow their customers to drive their vehicles on unsealed roads or in the outback.

Using gas stations

Drivers are required to pump their own fuel and enter the premises of the on-site convenience store to pay before leaving. After you place the pump into your vehicle, the cashier will electronically activate the pump at your stand.

After pumping is finished, take note of the final amount and the pump number (usually sign-posted above the pump stand). When you approach the counter, advise the cashier what pump number you used.

Credit and debit card payments are accepted at most gas stations in Australia.

The term gas station is not used in Australia. What we call gas stations, Australian people call service stations or servos (pronounced "serve oh").

Fuel prices are not set by the Australian government and are determined by competition and market forces. Prices can therefore vary and are usually displayed at or near the entrance to a gas station, usually expressed in Australian cents.

Always make sure you have enough fuel if you are driving in the outback or in remote areas, as there can be huge distances between gas stations.

Communication style

Don't try to mimic the Australian accent.

Avoid speaking in Bajan creole or using Bajan terms or idioms as the locals will not understand you.

Be mindful how you respond to closed questions. Avoid responding with "no, please" in all situations as this phrase sounds unusual to persons outside Barbados and may cause confusion. If you are asked a question in which you are being offered something, you should respond with "yes, please" or "no, thank you". For all other yes/no questions, you should simply respond with "yes" or "no" and avoid using the verb "please" as this will confuse a Canadian or cause a misunderstanding.

Avoid saying "good night" as a greeting as this will cause a misunderstanding. In Australia, the expression "good night" is only ever used when departing. To greet someone in the late evening, even if the time is one minute before midnight, it is customary to say "good evening". If it's after 12 PM but before 5 PM, you should say "good afternoon".

Cultural differences

Never hang up the phone without saying bye. This would be considered rude, even in informal settings.

You may see public displays of affection between same-sex couples, such as hand-holding. Do not express derogatory remarks about a person's sexuality: homophobia is not tolerated in Australia.

Safety and security

Rivers, lakes and beaches

Exercise caution around water sources such as rivers, lakes and beaches, as there are a lot of crocodiles in Australia. Never assume there are no crocodiles around just because you cannot see them.

In the tropical areas of Australia, stinging jellyfish are often present in the ocean (regardless of depth), especially from November through May, though reports of jellyfish stings in Far North Queensland have been recorded year-round. The sting from the boxed jellyfish and irukandji is extremely painful and can be life threatening.

Snakes, spiders and plants

There are many venomous snakes and spiders in Australia, and in tropical areas, highly toxic plants such as dendrocnide (stinging bush) which should never be touched.

Hiking in forests or bush areas

If you intend to go forest hiking or bush walking, always be aware of your surroundings and observe posted warnings. Never make assumptions of safety if there are no warning signs around.

Emergency services

To contact the police, fire brigade or ambulance services, call 000. If you do not have an active SIM card installed, you may need to call 112 instead. There is no charge to call the emergency services, but you must only call in a genuine emergency or if you are reporting a crime that is in progress. To contact the police when it is not an emergency, call 131 444 (call charges may apply).

If you are arrested or detained in Australia

Barbados does not have official representation in Australia, but maintains an Honorary Consul based in Sydney, New South Wales.

The Honorary Consul in Sydney may be notified of your arrest. You may be able to ask the Australian government not to notify, but this is at the discretion of the local authorities.

Any person charged with a criminal offence has the right to receive a timely, fair and public hearing by an independent, impartial court and to be tried by jury. You have the right to be present at your trial and to consult with an attorney at law of your choice. You cannot be compelled to testify or confess guilt. These rights are guaranteed by the Australian Constitution.

You may be entitled to free legal aid if you are charged with a criminal offence and do not have the means to pay for your defence. To apply for legal aid, you should submit a request to the nearest legal aid commission of the state or territory in which you are located.

Frequently asked questions

I am an American, British or Canadian dual national. Should I still take my Barbadian passport?

Yes, if you are travelling overseas you should also take your Barbadian passport with you, as you will need it to re-enter Barbados without being subject to immigration control.