English is the common language found throughout New South Wales. However, with the pockets of foreign diasporas that now exist in places like Sydney, it is not uncommon to hear Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and other languages. The rural areas of Australia speak English, although it is generally slower and more accented than that of the city areas.
The Australian dollar (AU$) is the only currency accepted throughout New South Wales. Notes come in $100, $50, $20, $10, and $5, but are renowned for their intricate designs and color. They are definitely worth saving as souvenirs. Throughout the urban areas of New South Wales, credit cards are widely accepted. However, the use of credit cards is somewhat restricted in the outback areas. Cities and towns are dotted with ATMs and banks, but the rural regions of New South Wales offer only limited banking facilities. Banks and large hotels accept travelers checks. However, some may charge a conversion fee.
Much of New South Wales follows Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is 10 hours ahead of Universal Coordinated Time (UTC +10). However, between October and April, daylight saving is followed, changing the standard time to 11 hours ahead of UTC.
New South Wales uses the same high voltage electricity as the rest of Australia. It uses 220-240 volts, which is twice as much as the standard 110-120 volts used in the United States of America. Type I plugs are used throughout the state, which are designed with a grounded, flat pin plus two, flat diagonal pins.
To call somewhere in New South Wales, international dialers must press the Australian country code first (+61), then 2 for the state’s area code. Be aware that southeastern New South Wales falls under the southeast Australian area code of 3. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are the three largest providers of both GSM 900 and GSM 1800 cellular networks. Tourists heading into the remote regions of New South Wales can find better phone coverage through satellite networks. Globalstar and Thuraya phones can be hired, giving satellite connection.
When entering Australia, there are several restrictions that apply for duty-free items. Tobacco products of more than 250 grams, or 250 cigarettes, will incur customs duty. In addition, 2.25 liters of alcohol, or goods valued at more than AU$900 will also incur a fee.
New South Wales Tourism Department: Destination New South Wales, Sydney +61-2-9240-8788 or visit http://www.visitnsw.com/.
Embassies in New South Wales
US Consulate General, Sydney: +61-2-9373-9200 Canadian Consulate, Sydney: +61-2-9364-3000 French Consulate, Sydney: +61-2-9268-2400 British Consulate General, Sydney: +61-2-9247-7521 Royal Thai Consulate-General, Sydney: +61-2-9241-2542
Emergency services: 000