As you probably expect, there is not much to worry about when it comes to your health in Australia – even the many feared creatures found there won’t pose a problem, providing you take suitable precautions (more about that later though). If you are ever in need of urgent medical attention anywhere in Australia though, the emergency number is 000, although phones brought into the country from abroad might find 112 to be the better option.
Visitors to Australia from the United Kingdom will benefit from the reciprocal medical arrangements between the two countries. This means that any UK citizen falling ill while Down Under will be able to receive free medical care. This doesn’t mean that health insurance is not needed though, as some medical issues are not covered, such as medical evacuations and treatment for pre-existing conditions.
There are no specific vaccinations required for visiting Australia, although standard vaccinations received for life at home should be up-to-date (such as tetanus and hepatitis B). If you’ve been to a country with yellow fever within six days of arrival in Australia, you’ll need to have a vaccination against this illness in order to gain entry. These countries include the majority of South America and many sub-Saharan African countries.
While there are many mosquitos in Australia, malaria is not found within the country – in fact, it was declared extinct in 1981. As with all medical advice found on this site, please make sure you speak to a medical professional before beginning your gap year in Australia.
Medical Care in Australia
Medical care in Australia is extremely good throughout the country, as you would expect from one of the most developed countries in the world. All towns and cities are covered by a whole range of medical services, and any traveller falling ill will receive excellent treatment.
There are a number of remote areas in Australia though, and by their nature the medical coverage will be sparse. This is where the Royal Flying Doctor Service comes in, and they can be with anyone – regardless of where they are – incredibly quickly. They are a voluntary organisation though, so if you need to use them, please try to make a donation so they can keep their services going.
If you’ve ever had a dental problem, you’ll know how painful they can be. Luckily for travellers in Australia, dentists can be found absolutely everywhere. Dental emergencies will often be covered by your insurance policy, but make sure you check before heading to the dentist. Additionally, dental work is not covered by the reciprocal agreement between the UK and Australia.
If you are looking for a dentist in Australia, please use this search tool.
Regardless of your medical circumstances, you’ll be able to find suitable medication while backpacking in Australia. For those travelling for short amounts of time though, sourcing medication should not be necessary, as packing enough medication to cover a trip is one of the most vital aspect of planning a gap year. It should be noted that you are only allowed to bring up to 3 months’ worth of medication into the country though.
If you run out of medication while in Australia, you will need to visit a local doctor. They will then be able to write a prescription for your medication, which can be picked up from a pharmacy.
Okay, it would be impossible not to mention the native wildlife while talking about your health in Australia. The country is home to a large number of poisonous snakes, spiders and other creepy-crawlies, plus the sea also contains a number of potentially dangerous creatures. The fact of the matter is this though: if you realise that sticking your hands under logs, poking snakes and swimming in croc-infested rivers is dangerous, you won’t run into any problems. Have some common sense, and the critters will generally leave you alone. There is a Poisons Advice Line if you have any concerns, which can be rung on 13 11 26.
It is also vital to protect yourself from mosquito bites while in Australia, as they can carry some nasty diseases. These include Murray Valley encephalitis, dengue fever and Ross River fever: at the very best, these will ruin your gap year, while at worst they can be fatal. So, use mosquito spray and cover up. If you are concerned about your health after being bitten, please see a medical professional as soon as possible.