Australia Safety

The number 000 can be dialled from any telephone in Australia free of charge. This number will connect you with emergency operators for the police, fire brigade, and ambulance service. Mobile phones sold in Australia recognise it as the emergency number and will use any available network to place the call. However, if you have a phone obtained outside Australia, using the universal emergency number 112 is a better idea. Using 112 will use any available network, will work even if your phone is not roaming, and will work even if the phone does not have a SIM.

Few travellers will be victims of crime. You should take normal precautions against bag snatching, pick pocketing and the like. There are some areas of the large cities that are more dangerous after dark, but there generally are no areas that the police refuse to patrol or that are dangerous to enter if you aren't a local. When leaving your car alone, make sure it is locked.

Exposure to the sun at Australian latitudes frequently results in sunburn. UV radiation in the middle of the day can be double what it is in the early morning or later afternoon, so if possible avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day. You should wear sunscreen (SPF 30+), clothing, and a hat to shade the sun. Reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours throughout the day as it wears off quickly if you are sweating or swimming. If you are heading to the beach, consider buying a sun-tent (less than $20).

Around 10-20 overseas travellers drown in Australia each year, and most of these drownings occur at ocean beaches. Beach goers should swim between the red and yellow flags which designate patrolled areas. In most cases the local volunteer surf lifesavers or professional lifeguards are only available during certain hours, and at some beaches only on weekends, and often only during summer. If you do choose to swim, be aware of the risks, check conditions, stay within your depth, and don't swim alone. Hard surfboards and other water craft such as surf skis, kayaks etc. , are not permitted between the red and yellow flags.

Australian ocean beaches can sometimes have strong rips. If you are caught in a rip at a patrolled beach, conserve your energy, float or tread water and raise one hand. The local swimmers or surfers will also quickly come to your aid. If you are caught in a rip at an unpatrolled beach stay calm to conserve energy and swim parallel to the beach. Most rips are only a few metres wide, and once clear of the undertow, you will be able to swim or catch a wave to return to shore.

Crocodiles and Box Jellyfish are found on tropical beaches, depending on the time of year and area. Sharks occur on many of Australia's beaches. Patrolled beaches will be monitoring the ocean for any shark activity. If you hear a continuous siren, go off at the beach and a red and a red and white quartered flag is waved or held out of the tower as it indicates a shark sighting, so make your way to shore. Once it is clear, a short blast of the siren will be sounded, which usually means that it is safe to return to the water. Australia is home to six of the top ten deadliest snakes in the world. Never try to pick up any snake, even if you believe it to be a non-poisonous species. If bitten you should immobilise the wound and seek immediate medical help. Do not clean the wound.

Emergency: 000