Australia for European tourists

Der Empfang „down under“ ist erfrischend direkt. Schnell hat man sich an den Linksverkehr die australischen Verkehrsschilder und die riesigen Dimensionen gewöhnt / © Foto: Georg Berg
The reception “down under” is refreshingly direct. You quickly get used to the left-hand traffic, the Australian traffic signs and the huge dimensions / © Photo: Georg Berg
Die Mega-Yacht True North unterwegs zwischen Australien, Indonesien und Papua Neuguinea / © Foto: Georg Berg
The mega-yacht True North underway between Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea / © Photo: Georg Berg

Time difference

In Australia, the sun rises almost half a day earlier than in Europe. This is especially noticeable on arrival. If you have trouble falling asleep in the evening, you will be so tired in the morning that it will be difficult to get up. If possible, the change should take place at a destination with a relaxed daily routine. In the Northern Territory, the Bamurru Plains Lodge, about which there is a detailed report, is a good place to do this.

Keine goldenen Wasserhähne sondern Geborgenheit fernab der Metropolen verkörpert jedes Detail der Bamurru Plains Lodge / © Foto: Georg Berg
No golden water taps but security far away from the metropolises embodies every detail of the Bamurru Plains Lodge / © Photo: Georg Berg

The entry

As a tourist, you need a passport and must apply for a visa in advance. This can be done online, is free of charge and in just a few minutes you will receive an answer by e-mail. When you enter the country, Border Control recognizes the issued visa electronically on your passport. However, a printout of the confirmation e-mail is useful at the moment when the airline issues the boarding pass for the outbound flight.

Schön wenn es vor der Einreise noch eine Besichtigung im Cockpit geben kann / © Foto: Georg Berg
Nice if there can be a visit in the cockpit before entering the country / © Photo: Georg Berg

Bio-security in Australia as important as customs

Erntefrisch trocknet der Kaffee in Indonesien. Bei der Einfuhr nach Australien muss er deklariert werden / © Foto: Georg Berg
Freshly harvested coffee dries in Indonesia. When imported into Australia, it must be declared / © Photo: Georg Berg

The entry formalities in Australia are uncomplicated, apart from the strict import restrictions for plants and animals. Many food, plants or wood products are not allowed to be imported. If in doubt, you should even declare wool or jewelry made from natural materials on the form you get on the plane on international flights. The procedure is strict, but sounds more complicated than it is. On the return from Indonesia, I had brought some souvenirs and coffee to take back to Germany. Everything was inspected by Biosecurity and found to be without problems. However, there would have been the possibility at the airport to deposit the goods not approved for import for a fee of 30 dollars until departure.

Means of payment

In Australia the Australian dollar (AUD) is valid. Smaller amounts can also be paid by credit card, so you can confidently do without large amounts of cash.

Telephone, Internet and Electricity

European mobile phone operators charge quite high roaming fees for Australia. Therefore, it is worthwhile to purchase a prepaid data SIM card. Phone calls can then be made inexpensively via IP telephony such as Facetime or WhatsApp.

USB ports for charging mobile devices are widespread in Australia, and the True North cabins are also equipped with them. The mains voltage is 240 V but an adapter for type I sockets is required.

Abenteurliche Konstruktionen sind manchmal nötig, weil die australischen Steckdosen  vom Typ I das Gewicht von schweren Adaptern nicht halten können / © Foto: Georg Berg
Adventurous constructions are sometimes necessary because the Australian Type I sockets cannot hold the weight of heavy adapters / © Photo: Georg Berg

True North Adventure Cruises

A trip booked with True North Adventure Cruises always starts at a hotel in Australia, to which you travel on your own. In Darwin, for example, there is a meeting in the Mitchell’s Bar of the Hilton Hotel the evening before the trip, where you get to know each other and find out when the joint departure to the airport is the next morning.

Am Abend vor der Reise mit der True North macht sich die Reisegesellschaft in der Mitchell's-Bar des Darwin Hilton miteinander bekannt / © Foto: Georg Berg
The evening before the True North trip, the tour group gets acquainted with each other at the Darwin Hilton’s Mitchell’s Bar / © Photo: Georg Berg

From then on, Simone, as the English-speaking cruise director, takes charge of the tour and takes care of all the details. At sea, a very motivated team of 20 specialists takes care of the maximum 38 passengers on board. There are three cabin classes, of which the highest is almost always booked out first. The services on board can be used by all passengers and are included in the total price except for alcoholic beverages, helicopter flights and communication costs (telephone and internet via satellite). The satellite internet connection is distributed on board via WLAN. It is slow and just sufficient for WhatsApp calls at times of low usage.

Adventure means adventure

With the boarding of the ship the adventure begins, because the True North sails on the open sea and anchors at goals, which do not have other organizers yet in the program. Every evening after dinner, the cruise director takes stock of the day and suggests a program for the next day. There are usually a lot of choices, so that almost every wish can be fulfilled.

The captain is responsible for the safety of the ship, but also keeps the comfort of the passengers in mind. The particular program can deviate from the announced route depending on the weather conditions and the wishes of the guests.

Documentation of the voyage

It is not really necessary to take photos during the trip, because True North’s professionals will take care of that as well. Each participant can fully concentrate on his or her experiences.

Medienspezialist und Filmemacher Oliver Oldroyd startet seine Drohne / © Foto: Georg Berg
Media specialist and filmmaker Oliver Oldroyd launches his drone / © Photo: Georg Berg

A few weeks after the trip, a high-quality photo book lands in the mailbox and already on the last day of the trip, the film documentary produced by a professional team on the road is available on USB.

Reportage: Dragons, volcanoes and an Indonesian wedding
Reportage: On the way with the mega-yacht True North

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