Australian Natural Adventures

Wildlife, Nature & Soft Adventure Tours

Custom Australia, New Zealand & Pacific tours and travel


Australia & New Zealand General Travel Information


Immigration and Customs
Luggage and Packing
Frequent Flyers
Local Customs
Calling Home
Medical Matters
Random Thoughts and Tips

Suggested Packing List



A current passport is required for travel to Australia and New Zealand. Although Australia does not have an official policy as the the expiry of the passport beyond your return date we strongly recommend that your passport is good for at least three months after your return date. New Zealand requires your passport to be current for three months beyond your departure date. If you are adding Fiji as an extension then your passport must be current for six months after the after your depart Fiji. It is recommended that all travelers have their own passport. If you are traveling with a minor, you will need written authorization from both parents for him/her to leave the country. US and Canadian citizens do not require a visa to visit New Zealand under normal tourist plans, although an Electronic Travel Authority is required for Australia and can be issued by the ticketing agency. No normal visa is produced for this but the ETA is recorded in the Australian Immigration computer system. A paper copy should be carried if you have a domestic (within the US) connecting flight that is not part of your international ticket so you can prove permission to enter Australia; without this you will not normally be able to check your bags through to Australia from your home city. Travelers of other nationalities should contact an Australian Embassy or Consulate for their requirements. US and Canadian visitors to New Zealand staying less than three months will be issued a Visitors Permit on arrival; others should contact a New Zealand Consulate. Visitors to Australia and New Zealand are permitted to bring in typical amounts of duty-free cigarettes, alcohol, electronics etc – more details about this and other regulations are at or Please note that although strictly speaking personal items in excess of the approved dollar limit are supposed to be owned by you for 12 months prior to arrival, this is not a problem unless you’re carrying suspicious quantities.

Due to their isolation and island geography, both Australia and New Zealand are free of many of the animal and plant diseases common elsewhere. Strict quarantine regulations help keep them this way. Please ensure that you observe these regulations – don’t bring any food products, plant or animal material in with you. You should also check your shoes, outerwear, backpacks etc to ensure they are clean and free from dirt and debris.

LUGGAGE AND PACKING (with thanks to our packing expert, Lester Keri)

First and foremost – pack light! Most people take far more than they need. If you’re an experienced traveler, you’ve probably met someone whose luggage went missing, so they had to buy things for their trip at their destination. Invariably they buy very little, but have as great a vacation as everyone else. There’s a lesson there! One suggestion is to take fewer, older clothes, then along the way buy souvenir t-shirts etc to wear. You can give the older clothes away to the country’s equivalent of Goodwill, which gives you three benefits – less packing going, less packing coming home, and a nice gesture as well. Most everywhere you stay has laundry facilities, either a laundromat on the premises or send-out. Just using this once on the trip can saves a week’s worth of clothes. The key to light packing is layering and multi-use. Two normal shirts = one thicker shirt; the outer one will be available for later use without washing. This idea is especially useful if you are combining temperate areas with tropical – say New Zealand and Cairns, or Darwin and Tasmania. Regardless of when you travel in New Zealand, cool temperatures are likely, so pack accordingly. If you expect to be on the water – rafting, boating or visiting the reef, remember wet cotton will make you colder, not warmer – so have a synthetic material top for warmth. Take a small ziplock bag of detergent with you – this can also be used for your smalls in the hotel room. Please ensure that valuables, medicines, etc are in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. We suggest packing about a week before you leave, and a few days later carry your bags around the house, upstairs and down. Then look at what you can remove, do so, and re-pack - the maxim to follow is “when in doubt, leave it out.” If it’s heavy to handle at home, it will be even more so while traveling, especially with the addition of souvenirs. In some lodges and hotels luggage service will not be available, so you may be toting your bags yourself to your room. You will also need to be handling them yourselves at airports, so please be sure that you have packed appropriately. It’s often said to bring a change of clothes in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost. This may be good advice for business meetings, but not for tourism. Don’t bother – save the space and just buy a few cheap things once there if necessary. Your luggage will either show up within a day or so, or your travel insurance will cover new purchases (we strongly advise travel insurance.)

Depending on your itinerary you may need a towel for the beach. As these are bulky, buy one there – either to bring home as a souvenir, or a cheapie to leave there.

Don’t put your home address or phone number on your outside luggage tags; use a work one. You don’t want to alert anyone that your house will be empty for some time. Put your work phone number and address inside each of your bags, as well. If they are lost, and the outside tag is missing, the airlines can still track you.

Airline Baggage Allowances from the US and Canada
Detailed baggage guidelines can be found by clicking on each airline's name

All airlines have up-to-date luggage allowances on their websites; these should be checked before final travel

On flights from the Americas to Australia with Qantas (QF) each person (including children) is allowed 2 checked pieces, not to exceed 50lb each; the maximum size per piece is 62” (length+height+width), with a total of 102” for both. We can think of no reason why you would need anything approaching this limit, For carry-on luggage the allowance is one piece of maximum dimension 45”, (or two of 42” within the country only), plus a personal item such as a purse, camera bag etc. This limit of one main carry-on includes Business and First Class due to US security concerns. However, regardless of size, weight limit for carry-ons is 15lb per piece; airlines are strict in enforcing all limits. On domestic Qantas-operated flights (not codeshare) the international limits apply. On Qantas codeshare flights one 50lb bag only, plus a carry-on, is all that is allowed. A flat rate of A$25 per piece (converted to USD or CAD for North America departures) is charged for any piece exceeding the free 50 lb limit up to a maximum weight of 70 lb. An excess baggage flat rate of A$150 (converted to USD or CAD for North America departures) will be charged for additional pieces. Maximum baggage weight is 70 lb.

Air New Zealand (NZ) and United (UA) have the same restrictions, including codeshare arrangements, as Qantas. Remember that in Australia most NZ flights will be codeshare.

Virgin Blue (DJ) allows 50lb of checked baggage for a $AU8 fee paid at ticket purchase ($AU25 at the check-in after ticket purchase; some fares include the allowance)*. There is a $AU10 fee for any additional weight up to 66lb; an additional $AU20 to 77lb, another $AU50 to 88lb, then $80 to 99lb and $AU to 110 lbs. These costs are cumulative.

Jetstar (JQ) allows 44lb at their second fare level - Jet Lite has no checked allowance, then charges $AU5 per 2lb up to 70lb, which is the maximum you may check in.

Rex Airlines (ZL) (Kangaroo Island)
Cabin Baggage: Two briefcases, or two small bags, each not exceeding: depth 23cm (9in), height 34cm (13in), length 48cm (19in). Cabin baggage should not exceed 7 kilograms (15lb) in weight total. The following articles may be carried on board over and above their carry on baggage allowance: lady's handbag, pocketbook or purse, which is appropriate to normal traveling dress and is not being used as a container for the transportation of articles which would otherwise be regarded as baggage; an overcoat, wrap or blanket; an umbrella or walking stick; a small camera and/or a pair of binoculars; a reasonable amount of reading matter for the flight; a pair of crutches and/or other prosthetic device for the passenger's use provided that the passenger is dependent upon them.

Checked-in baggage allowance: Standard Allowance 15Kg (33lb) (each passenger occupying a seat) Infants not occupying a seat 10Kg (22lb). Linear dimension restriction 140cm (56”) per piece (Depth plus Height plus Length). Charges apply if checked baggage is in excess of these allowances and is subject to space availability. Excess baggage is charged at $AU2 per additional Kg ($1 per lb). The maximum size and weight of baggage accepted is 158 linear cm (63”) (Depth plus Height plus Length) and 32Kg (70lb).

Air Niugini (PX) allows two 70lb pieces of maximum total dimensions 62” on their flights into Papua New Guinea, but this allowance does not apply to internal flights, where the maximum is 32kg (70lb). Extra weight will be charged for. Cabin baggage on the international flights is one piece with maximum total dimension of 45”; again internal flights are on a weight basis. The internal Airlink (ND) flights have a maximum of 16kg but may be less depending on the aircraft used.

All Airlines
Please be aware that on some smaller aircraft space may be limited, and larger carry-ons may need to be checked; there may not be room at all for a maximum size bag on a full flight. This applies to flights to Reef islands, and flights included in remote location tours such as Stewart Island and Arnhem Land, where maximum luggage limits may be one 20lb bag per person. It is suggested that if your travel plans include such flights you include a smaller bag or pack that can be used for side trips; your main luggage can be left at your hotel or forwarded on there.

Domestic (within the US)
Most US airlines now have a 50lb limit per bag on two checked bags, plus one carry-on. However, please check with your individual domestic airline for current bag limits. Most are now applying significant charges for overweight or excess bags, and many are now charging for all checked bags. We have a chart of current airline baggage fees here.

Carry on Baggage Restrictions to and from Australia

* All liquids, aerosols and gels must be carried in containers of no greater than 100ml/3.3oz capacity (approximately 100gm/3.5oz in weight).
* All containers must fit comfortably in a transparent, resealable plastic bag.
* The plastic bag must be no greater than 1 litre (1 quart) in capacity with a total outer edge measurement of no larger than 80cm (32”, approx 8”x8”).
* There is a limit of one plastic bag per passenger.
* The plastic bag must be removed from carry on baggage and presented to security personnel at the checkpoint for inspection and separate x-ray screening.
* Containers larger than 100ml will not be accepted, even if only partially filled.

For more information see

Duty Free Purchases - Passengers traveling from Australia
Passengers travelling from Australia may take on board liquids, aerosols and gels purchased after the final screening point, including duty free goods. However, passengers who are transferring to an onward flight must also ensure any liquids, aerosols and gels purchased after the screening point are packed in accordance with any security measures in place at their transfer airport. Please refer to a Qantas ground team member for further information.

Duty Free Purchases - Passengers traveling to Australia
Passengers travelling to Australia may take on board duty free liquids, aerosols and gels purchased at the airport as long as they are delivered to the departure gate in a sealed bag with proof of purchase and collected after you have proceeded through security screening. Passengers who are transferring to an onward flight must also ensure any liquids, aerosols and gels purchased after the screening point are packed in accordance with any security measures in place at their transfer airport. These procedures may vary from airport to airport. Please refer to a Qantas ground team member for further information.

For further information on the Australian regulations visit

The Ghan

If you are traveling on the Ghan or other Australian long-distance train, the following restrictions apply:
Cabin Baggage:
Gold Kangaroo Service: one suitcase not exceeding 20 kg (44lb) plus hand baggage including garment bag, cabin bag, briefcase;
Red Kangaroo Sleeper Cabin: hand baggage including garment bag, cabin bag, briefcase;
Red Kangaroo Daynighter Seat: cabin bag;
Checked Baggage:
40 kilograms (88lb) of baggage (two items not exceeding 20 kilograms each and not exceeding 180 linear centimetres (72"). An infant’s stroller or carry basket is included as part of checked baggage.
You are entitled to carry on board a handbag, pocket book or purse appropriate to normal travel dress which is not being used as a container for the transportation or articles which would otherwise be regarded as baggage; an overcoat, wrap or blanket; an umbrella or walking stick; a small camera and/ or pair of binoculars; a reasonable amount of reading matter for the journey; an infant’s food for consumption during travel; an infant’s carry basket; a fully collapsible wheelchair and/ or a prosthetic device if you are dependent upon them. Wheelchairs may be used to board the train and then may be stowed in the baggage van.

Frequent Flier

Both Qantas and Air New Zealand have frequent flier partnerships with other airlines, and your ticket may allow you to gain miles. Please check with your ff program to determine coverage, as alliances change. If we are ticketing your travel we will include your ff number in your air record if requested; but please retain all boarding pass stubs in case mileage is not credited – we or our partners are not responsible for accreditation. If you lose your boarding pass stubs and need ticket copies to establish mileage there will be a fee charged. Seat requests will be made by us for you, but cannot be guaranteed as it is under the control of the airlines and may be changed without notice.