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7 things you must know when travelling interstate

We’re a funny country, Australia. We are so united yet so divided.

Of course, we were formed as colonies where everything was different: currencies, stamps, even railway gauges. And we’re still paying for it.

This legacy means that when you’re travelling interstate, ignorance is not bliss.

So, when embarking on a break across the border you might want to check out this must-know guide beforehand.

1. Ordering a beer can be hard work

Pot. Pint. Pony. Please…

How is it that no wannabe PM has ever realised that if you really want to grab the public’s attention, you simply need to tackle one of the most controversial issues in the country?

“If I achieve only one thing during my term as PM, it will be to make beer names uniform across the country.”

Insert wild cheers and applause from an adoring crowd.

Instead we have the ridiculous first-world problem of having to use charts like the one below to know what beer to order when we travel from state to state to territory. Sigh.

Seriously, it's absurd to need guides like this, and it only tells some of the story. For example, in VIC it's often hard to get a schooner in a pub - it's pots or pints (568ml) only - but how many columns can we have? It would help if SA toed the line when it came to schooners.

2. Your ambulance cover might not cover you after all

Ok, time to get serious…

Think you have ambulance cover when travelling interstate? You might want to check that.

If the unthinkable happens and you require an ambo when on an interstate break, your existing subscription might not cover you if you have a slipup.

That could be costly – eating heavily into your daily bar tab – so it’s well worth making enquiries with your local provider if only for peace of mind. In some cases, private health insurance might be the way to go. 

Check your ambo cover or you could be up for a hefty bill.

3. We have different time zones, and confusion grows during daylight saving

We might not be as bad as the likes of France, Russia and the US – which all have 10-plus time zones – but telling the time can still be confusing. The craziness is amplified during daylight saving.

As a reminder, we have three regular time zones*.

•    Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) is observed by QLD, NSW (except Broken Hill), ACT, VIC, and TAS.
•    AEST is 30min ahead of Australian Central Standard Time (SA and NT and Broken Hill).
•    AEST is two hours ahead of Australian Western Standard Time (WA).

Daylight saving is not recognised in QLD, WA, or the NT, so put your clocks back an hour during this period if travelling into those locations from somewhere that does hoard daylight. If you use your smartphone to tell the time, simply relax because those things are so intelligent that they’ll do it all for you.

*There is this peculiar Australian Central Western Standard Time that is observed by a tiny, remote section of southwest WA, but let’s not confuse the situation any more than we need to.

Who can tell what the time is in Australia, particularly during daylight saving? And be careful going to Broken Hill because that will just do your head in.

4. Your football code is not loved by all

Sports lovers among us can all be guilty of being a bit insular when it comes to our chosen footy code. Here are a few things to keep in mind when travelling interstate:

•    AFL fans: The game might be called Australian rules, but half the country really couldn’t care about a sport oft-mockingly referred to as ‘aerial ping pong’. You may regularly fill stadiums to the brim but a whopping portion of the population has more interest in the horoscopes section of the daily newspaper than what is happening at the MCG.

•    Rugby league is not rugby. Rugby union is rugby; rugby league is called ‘footy’ or ‘league’. However, rugby is called footy, too. Are we clear? Just to be sure, one game is a 13-man code, the other 15, and there are major differences.

•    Anti-AFL fans: The ‘tight shorts’ jokes about AFL players are so yesterday. It’s like yelling ‘taxi’ when someone spills a drink at the local. It might have been funny about 15 years ago; it definitely isn’t now.

This is the Melbourne Cricket Ground. From March to September it hosts a game called Australian rules football. Men run around in tight shorts. LOL.

5. The catch of the day could catch you out

Fancy fishing while on a break? Well just wait before you chuck in that bait. In many cases, a recreational fishing licence is required when dangling a line. Then the minimum size of a legal catch varies from place to place, too.

It’s best to do your research, but it’s not as complex as it sounds. Many fishing licences can be obtained with ease online.

Don't be in the dark about fishing licences otherwise you could end up being bitten (by a fine, not a fish).

6. Quarantine laws must be noted

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it could land you in hot water with authorities, too. Biosecurity or quarantine zones exist within Australian states and territories, and restrict the transport of various plants, fruits, vegetables, and other items.

Roadside signage usually alerts you to what items are restricted from being taken over the border, but this website offers a comprehensive overview of restrictions throughout the country

Forget Michael Clarke's captaincy of the Australian cricket team. This girl's 'bold declaration' is the way to go when travelling interstate with produce, as smuggling fruit is a big no-no. Credit: Copyright SATC

7. Local lingo is like another language

This topic could be an article alone. In our day-to-day holidays travels, we will likely encounter varying names for a range of standard items, services, and other things.

At the beach we wear swimmers, bathers, togs, or cossies depending on where we are. You can get your daily supplies from the milk bar, corner shop or store, or deli – but they’re all the same. It’s a similar case when it comes to fried treats: a potato scallop, potato fritter, and a potato cake are one and the same.

And the list goes on and on. Ahh, Australia.

This could be a milk bar or a corner store or a deli, or all the above. Literally no-one knows.

Isn’t it time you ventured to another state? Book your next BIG4 break now.

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