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General Question Mark

Is it true that I need a visa to enter Australia?

Yes, anyone who does not hold an Australian or New Zealand passport is required to obtain a visa. Details can be found here. You are also required to have an exit strategy ie a ticket out of the country at the time of arrival.

I’m on a strict diet. Why can’t I bring my own food with me?

Firstly, supplies for special diets are readily available in Australia. We are an island continent though, and due to strict border controls, have avoided many diseases to our population, unique native wildlife, farm animals and agricultural crops. We are so protective of this situation that quarantine at all points of entry is super strict: highly trained sniffer dogs are often seen around the luggage conveyor belts at airports.

Please familiarise yourself with the official guidelines here. The best advice is to DECLARE whatever you have. For example you may still have some snacks in your bag from the journey. If you declare then you shouldn’t be penalised, even if it is a banned product. If you don’t declare though, you face a possible on the spot fine or prosecution with a fine of up to $66,000 and a jail term with a criminal record!

To avoid spread of disease to crops, you are also not allowed to take some products including honey, nuts, fruit and vegetables between states for example, from Queensland to Western Australia.

If you’d like to see some “real life” examples of Border Security, check out some episodes of the reality TV show.

How long does it take to overcome jetlag? Counting Sheep Cartoon

There are many theories on whether jetlag is real and whether it’s worse travelling east or travelling west. An old “rule of thumb” is to allow a recovery day for each timezone that you travel through, making at least an extra week for Europeans to acclimatise for example, before competition starts. Everyone is different and there are some ideas here.

Why can’t I swim where I want to?

Beach SignAustralia, and the Gold Coast especially, is famous for its magnificent beaches. It is also, unfortunately, famous for “losing” swimmers – especially foreign tourists – in the surf. An untrained eye cannot tell that a seemingly beautiful calm ocean often has a dangerously strong undercurrent or “rip” just beneath the surface and unsuspecting swimmers lose control.Beach Flags

For this reason, there is a strict code of conduct to follow at the beach. We recommend ONLY swimming at beaches patrolled by surf lifesavers and also only swimming between the flags. Please familiarise yourself with this website and download the fact sheets here in your own language to be sure you understand.

If you’d like to see our wonderful surf lifesavers “in action”, check out the reality TV series Bondi Rescue which is filmed at Bondi Beach in Sydney. Here’s “Harries” with Jo Hassan on a cold winter day in 2013.


Even though it’s winter, someone said it will be hotter than the summer I’m used to. Is this true?

Possibly! It depends where you’re travelling from.Bondi Rescue and Jo

The Gold Coast is sub-tropical and averages 245 days of sunny weather a year. The average 1400 mm of rainfall comes mostly in the summer (December – February). As our event is in winter, we’re hoping for sunny dry days with a temperature range of 21 – 12 degrees centigrade. Check out this website for more detailed information.

Please note that this information is ONLY for the Gold Coast. If you plan to travel to other parts of Australia, you should check out the weather where you’re going. As Australia is so large, in the same time period it is possible to visit places that are completely tropical eg Cairns or Darwin. It is also possible to go snow skiing! We’ve prepared some travel ideas for you on the Tourism page.

How do I get around?

GoCardInformation about the public transport network for South East Queensland (Brisbane and the Gold Coast) can be found at Translink. There are various ticketing options depending on how far you want to travel and how long you are staying in the area.

A seeQ card is a time based smart card designed for tourists and covers all public transport in South East Queensland from Gympie (north) to Coolangatta (south), a distance of 280 km. You may not get value out of this over the competition days but it may be useful if you plan to travel widely either before or after.

A gocard is also a smart card for all of South East Queensland but requires “topping up”. If you’re ONLY staying on the Gold Coast then a go explore card is a smart card with a daily rate for all modes of transport.

As part of the preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Gold Coast has a new 16 station tram network called G:link. Please note – especially if you plan to hire a car – that the trams share the road network.

Which side of the road do you drive on and do I need an international licence?

Camel Road SignIn Australia we drive on the LEFT side of the road with the steering wheel on the right side of the car.

In Queensland you can drive with a valid licence from your own country however some other states require you to have an international and/or a translated version of your licence from home. Please check the specific requirements here if you plan to hire a car and drive in any state other than Queensland.

Please note that the Gold Coast (sometimes referred to by locals as “The Goldie”) is at the southern end of Queensland (abbreviated to Qld or QLD). It is only 50km from the Sports Super Centre to New South Wales (NSW)!

Road traffic signs are in km/h and speed limits are enforced. There are many hidden speed cameras and driving a hire car with an international licence is no excuse. This author knows someone who received a speeding ticket that was re-directed back to the UK where he lost “points” and had to pay the fine! There are also cameras at some traffic lights and people who continue to move once the light is red are fined too.

Random Breath Testing (RBT) can occur at any time of the day or night so please don’t “drink and drive”.

When driving around the Gold Coast, please remember to give way to trams; they may be quiet.

And, this road sign is real! Look out for others showing kangaroos, koalas and other wildlife. See further comments about kangaroos elsewhere on this FAQ page.

What’s the currency and are the shops open 24 hours a day?

The only legal currency is the Australian Dollar – AUD or AU$.

Many “7-11” independent stores as well as shops linked to petrol stations are open 24 hours a day. The only large shop to be legally open 24 hours a day in Queensland is the Woolworths supermarket near the Brisbane Airport.

Around Australia a general “rule of thumb” is most shops are open 9.00am – 5.30pm Monday to Saturday. Large supermarkets are generally open 8.00am to 9.00 pm Monday to Friday.

In cities there is late night shopping on a Friday and Thursday in the suburbs. Many large shopping centres are also open on Sundays. Tourist areas also have specific local trading laws.

Is Australian really a separate language to English?G'day with Prawns

Whilst we speak “English” in Australia it definitely sounds a little different – in the same way that “American” or “Canadian” sound different to the “English” spoken in the UK.

Having said that, there are many words that are not used anywhere else. Some words are even different from state to state! Here’s some background on a government website and here’s a list for you to start practising   🙂

Do I have to tip or bribe?

Tipping is not as much part of the Australian culture as it is in some countries. Having said that, a tip of 10% is generally given in a café or restaurant where there is wait service.

Bribery is illegal and not part of the Aussie way of life.

Can I get fined for dropping litter?

Short answer – yes. Australia is very proud of it’s rugged beauty, flora and fauna. Cigarette butts can cause bushfires, rubbish at the beach can kill marine life. Click here for more information.

What if I get sick?

MedicareIf you need to see a doctor, many countries are covered by reciprocal health schemes via Medicare but you need to ensure you have the appropriate card/details with you. Please check the specific situation for your country here.

There is a Sports Medicine Clinic  on site at the Sports Super Centre. It is open 6 days a week.

Travel insurance which includes medical cover is highly recommended.

Native Animals

Roos on Golf CourseDo you really see kangaroos bouncing down the road?

Whilst not an every day occurrence in the city centres, it is certainly common to see kangaroos in bushland settings. This photo was taken a few months ago on a golf course. Hitting a kangaroo is also a real issue when driving on the open road, especially between towns where there are hundreds of kilometres of “nothing” but open space. Many cars are fitted with a “bullbar” at the front to ease the situation in case an animal is hit whilst driving.

Can I really be killed by a spider, a snake or a jellyfish?

Short answer – yes.

The top 10 deadliest animals in the world are all found in Australia. We don’t mean to alarm you unnecessarily, but it is a real “thing” to be aware of.

Do I eat the crocodile or does it eat me?

Yes to both but we’d rather the second one didn’t happen as you probably wouldn’t live to tell the tale! Crocodile and kangaroo steaks are both on the menu – available in some restaurants and from some butchers to barbeque.

In tropical Australia – north Queensland, the Northern Territory and north Western Australia, be aware that crocodiles are around and take the particular “be croc wise” precautions detailed on this government website.

Are all sharks dangerous?

Shark and Ali at Seaworld

Short answer – no.

Being aware of the risks is important though. For example, it is suggested that you don’t surf at dawn and dusk when sharks prefer to feed.

If you want to see a shark close up, visit SeaWorld (Gold Coast), Underwater World (Sunshine Coast) or another aquarium or zoo. And if you really want to get “up close and personal” it is possible to do a shark dive experience at some venues. Here’s Ali Hassan doing the Shark Dive Encounter at SeaWorld a few years ago.



Do I have to stay at the Sports Super Centre? Gold Coast from Skypoint

No you don’t have to stay at the competition venue and in fact if you want an extended stay then it’s not actually possible as there are other sporting events being held alongside ours. There are literally thousands of beds in hotels, apartments and rental houses within minutes – either by footbike or car.

And if you’re really keen, Brisbane is only one hour away by car but due to starting times, staying closer is recommended!

To make it easier for you, we’ve contacted some accommodation places close to the venue and have listed the contact details and rates on the Venue page.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

The wearing of helmets in Australia is compulsory all the time, not just during the competition.

Other Fun

Can I buy one ticket for all the Gold Coast theme parks?

It is not possible to buy ONE ticket for all Gold Coast theme parks. There are deals though that combine several parks and if you go to one and have had such a good time you want to re-visit there are usually “upgrade” deals at the end of the day to go back. Check this link to look at which multi theme park ticket combinations are available.

The Australian Footbike Association does plan on organising a number of optional day trips after the competition – look out for updates on this!

How do I get to Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo? Australia Zoo

It is 2 hours by road (each way) from the Gold Coast to Australia Zoo which is in the hinterland behind the Sunshine Coast. If you don’t want to hire a car and drive yourself, here is the link for an organised tour.

Do I need to protect my drink in a nightclub?

Drink “spiking” can occur anywhere. Please be mindful to not leave your drink unattended and familiarise yourself with these precautions.

Why can’t I drink beer (any alcohol) where I want to or take it with me when I dine?

You can’t drink alcohol in a public place (eg park/beach/town square) in Queensland unless the premises are licensed or the area is declared a “licensed wet area”. On the spot fines apply.

Some restaurants are fully licensed and sell a range of alcohol. Others are “BYO” (Bring Your Own). This may mean any alcohol, especially wine and beer. In some cases though, places that are licensed allow you to bring your own wine (only) and in this case will probably charge you “corkage” either per bottle or per glass used. In this instance, unless it’s a very special bottle, it’s probably cheaper in the end to not BYO!