10 Apr 2009 by Olga Brighton
The Australian currency is known as the dollar and the symbol is $. It is written out as AU$ (or Australian Dollar). It is worth between $0.50-0.80 United States cents. The exchange rate depends heavily on the US dollar. No other currency is considered during exchange.
Banks generally offer the best exchange rates, and in the cities and towns you should be able to find one or two main Australian banks in order to make the exchange. If you bring in more than $5,000 during your visit, you must declare this at customs when you enter the country.
Although single cents might still be used in rare instances the Australian coins $0.01 and $0.02 worth are no longer in circulation. The prices of items or services are thus rounded up to the nearest $0.05. You are better off by carrying small denominations of bills, in order to finance your trip.
International Credit cards are widely accepted. Australian money (called notes) is produced in plastic polymer rather than on paper. ATM machines are available at most places but you will have to pay a hefty surcharge. ATMsS dole out bills in larger denominations and merchants will have a hard time making change for you.
Goods and Services Tax or GST is the universal sales tax. Exempt from this universal tax are food items. The tax is included in the price of the item not added at the time of sale. You can find duty-free shops in some of the larger cities, but to be exempt of the tax you will need to provide a copy of your ticket and your passport.
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