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| Updated on Jul 7, 2016

The Australian Islands and the beauty of the unknown

Beyond the Sydney Opera house, the cinnamon red earth of the arid Outback and the vibrant evenings of Melbourne, Australia is much more than the wonders held within its continental borders. With 8222 islands, Australia's vast outland territory ranges from the charming and quietly beautiful Howe island to the wild and touristy Kangaroo island and the enchanting pink waters of the Middle island, offering an endless itineraries for every type of visitor. Although every island is very much worth a visit, there two remote destinations that no adventurous traveller and wildlife lover should miss.

Also known as the island of smiles,the Tiwi islands are one of the jewels of Australia. Located between the Arafura Sea and the Timor Sea, these islands have been inhabited by Aborigines for around 7,000 years. In order to preserve the outstanding endemic nature of the islands and the richness of its culture, you are required to arrange a tour with an Aboriginal guide. In this unique and inaccessible part of Australia, you will experience the cultural differences between the Polynesian influenced Tiwi people and the indigenous people of Arnhem just across the water, making your trip a unique and enriching cultural experience. Along the beautiful coastline of the islands, the diversity in landscape is outstanding, from magical dark green rainforest to deserted beaches and secluded waterfalls, Tiwi is a paradise to come back to.

australian visa onlineA man walks trough the coastline of Tiwi, 2014

The island of Lord Howe is utterly spectacular. With less than 11 km from end to end, its breathtaking nature and privileged location makes Lord Howe the idyllic destination for an Australian getaway. Take a trip to this beautifully secluded patch of land and immerse you in the surreal charm of the island. Walk along the shimmery white beaches, snorkel in the world's southernmost coral reef and hike through the palm tree surface of Mount Gower, enjoying the luxuriant views from the top. You can plan your trip with detail at the Lord Howe Island's tourism website.

australian visa onlineThe island of Lord Howe, 2015

To visit these magical destinations, you are required to fit the Australian travelling regulations. All visitors travelling to the country need to apply for an Australian visa through the website of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

There are five different visas for Australia, depending on your nationality and the length of your stay. For short stays, European passport holders are eligible for a free eVisitor visa that allow you to stay in the country for up to three months during a 12 month period. This type of visas must be applied for online with at least two weeks notice prior to the proposed date of travel. The parallel alternative for American and Canadian visitors, is the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA, 601). ETA’s must be applied for online through the Australian Department of Immigration and have a cost of US$20. If you wish to extend your travel visa for Australia once you are inside the country, you are required to apply for an Australian Visitor visa (600) that has an approximate cost of US$335.

Make sure you apply for this type of visa with at least three weeks notice, as the application process can be long and complex. Regarding the arrival in Australian airports, the traveller regulations are usually efficient and straightforward, with the usual custom declarations. For detailed information about the custom procedure and the different visa requirements for Australia, please contact the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. If you have any bureaucratic questions about how to get an Australian work permit, or you would like to know further information about Australian travel visas, please contact your closest embassy or consulate.

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