Travel Information - M

Australian health care professionals are highly trained and medical services are among the best in the world. Medical and dental services and a wide range of alternative therapies are widely available and are comparatively cheap by most international standards. 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 system.

All other visitors should take out travel insurance when visiting Australia. Several Australian-based travel insurers have special cover for visitors which is very much less expensive than travel cover sold in the US, for instance. Major hotels have doctors on-call. Several hospitals have emergency departments - known as `casualty' - for urgent cases and 24 hour Medical Centres are in major towns and cities. Ambulance officers are paramedics and well equipped to deal with emergencies. If you are allergic to any drugs, or are taking vital medication, make sure you wear a bracelet, neck tag or carry a card or note in your wallet or purse so you can be treated correctly in an emergency. Note your blood group as well.

With its wide boulevards, fashion, restaurants, shopping, style and panache Melbourne is considered Australia's nearest counterpart city to European cities, and is generally thought of as Australia's refined, "blue blood" establishment "old money" capital. Sydney is considered "new money" and a little more exuberant which of course matches the weather, Melbourne having definite seasons with very cold winters whereas Sydney with its sub tropical climate does not. Melbourne was also the centre of government before Canberra early last century. In some ways Melbourne is the antithesis of Sydney - somewhat reserved and orderly - but it is still a lively city with great restaurants, theatre, shopping and nightlife. If you were to relocate Melbourne, it would not feel out of place in Europe whereas Sydney would be pulled to one side on entering customs for a bag inspection.

Also known as campervans, Winnebagos (American speak) and RV's or Recreational Vehicles, motorhomes can be a great option for those wanting to 'do their own thing' and camp out in comfort. There are caravan parks and camping grounds throughout Australia at or near most major attractions. Facilities usually include water, electricity, showers and toilets. Motorhomes in Australia are purpose-built, self-contained vehicles, and are not trailers towed behind a car or 4WD - these types of trailers are called caravans.

Cinemas abound in the major towns and cities across Australia with latest releases from all around the world. As a guide, movie tickets cost around $AU16 for adults and $10 for children but Tuesday is the traditional 'cheap day' offering half-price tickets or adults at children's prices.

There are many rewarding museums in Australia, many specialising in particular areas of history or interest. Many also have hands-on exhibits and activities for children. The Visitors to Sydney should seek out the Australian Museum and the Powerhouse Museum. All cities have worthy museums and most country towns have smaller museums that can be surprisingly delightful (Australians are notorious 'hoarders' as well as being proud of their town and its history).