The Department of Foreign Affairs might not issue travel advice, but that hasn’t stopped other countries taking the lead, highlighting coming to Australia is a trip not without great risk.
But what dangers lurk in Australia that have got the United States, Russia, China and even Ireland putting out a warning to their citizens?
It would seem our wildlife for starters. The US State Department’s down-the-line warning that “the continent and its waters host wildlife that merit awe and respect in equal doses” while Russia’s Foreign Ministry told its citizens “Australian fauna are extremely aggressive towards humans”.
They must be talking about the myriad deadly snakes, spiders, insects and sea creatures like sharks, sea urchins, sting rays and jellyfish… Well, not entirely. Moscow paid particularly close attention to the platypus with its poisonous gland on the hind spur of the elusive male and Russia was actually talking about the kangaroo with its “very sharp claws” that can “lead to blood poisoning’ should you happen to get a scratch.
Other countries are also warning their citizens that travelling to Australia comes with a ‘probable’ terror alert, raised following Australia’s Lindt cafe siege in 2014. However, it’s not just that causing concern for the Chinese, rather it’s the likelihood you will be robbed and assaulted.
With that they’ve advised their citizens to stay inside after dark, especially women.
Australia’s love of a beer or two has sparked concern internationally, and the US says Americans should “be careful when consuming alcohol with unfamiliar people, as drink spiking can occur”. Not entirely untrue… But then they go and warn their citizens of the bar brawls that take place. It’s got the Irish up in arms too, with the Foreign Affair’s Department warning and advising “sensible precautions” for visitors to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
While we’re all aware of the vast landscape that is outback Australia and do our best to inform visitors of the challenges they will inevitably face if they decide to head off the beaten track, Italy highlights a critical piece of information in that 100,000 square-kilometres of remote South Australia was the site of nuclear testing in the 1950s and it is “necessary to remain only on the road Adelaide – Alice Springs”.
Other dangers are of course Australia’s rough seas and sharks, the sunshine, mosquitoes and “unfamiliar blooms”.