ADVICE FOR IRISH SUPPORTERS TRAVELLING TO THE 2003 RUGBY WORLD CUP
We hope you enjoy your time during the Rugby World Cup 2003 tournament. Thorough preparation for your trip will help to prevent problems later on, so please spare a little time to read this notice carefully and keep it for reference.
The cost of living is slightly lower in Australia than in Ireland. However, prices in hotels and other tourist-related businesses may increase for the duration of the World Cup and visitors should shop around for the best value in accommodation, car hire, tours etc.
While the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide are generally safe, you should take normal precautions to ensure that your possessions, especially money, credit cards and documents, are secure.
BEFORE YOU GO
Make sure that your passport is valid for your stay.
If you need a new passport, apply now. The relevant forms are available at Garda Stations, Post Offices or from the Passport Offices in Dublin and Cork. Follow the instructions on the form carefully as incorrectly completed forms will delay the issue of your passport. Applicants submitting properly completed applications through the "Passport Express" facility, which is available through most Post Offices, will receive their passports within 10 working days.
Be sure to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should always carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
A visa is required by Irish nationals in order to enter Australia. However, the Australian Immigration Department have introduced a new travel procedure called the Electronic Travel Authority System (ETA) for tourist and short term business travel replacing the conventional visa. ETAs are widely available from travel agents. There is no evidence placed in your passport, rather the existence of the ETA is verified electronically at check in prior to boarding and again at the Australian border.
Insurance (Travel and Health)
Ensure that you have sufficient travel insurance to cover against the loss or theft of your belongings.
Visitors from Ireland are entitled to free treatment as a public inpatient or outpatient at public hospitals in Australia and access to subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) during their visit. This arrangement will cover any ill health or injury requiring immediate treatment while in Australia. You should show your passport at hospitals or pharmacies. (You will not be entitled to free or subsidised treatment as a private patient in a public hospital nor as a patient in a private hospital).
If you are already insured for medical expenses, you may wish to consult with your medical insurance company as to what entitlements you would have over and above those outlined in the preceding paragraph.
The most reliable sources of tickets are the RWC-approved tour operator-appointed agents in Ireland.
All Ireland's four games in the first phase of the Cup are officially SOLD OUT. Beware of ticket “touts” or “scalpers”.
Access to the vicinity of stadia is likely to be restricted to those in possession of match tickets.
The Ireland team will play, in the first phase, at four match venues in Australia, as follows:
- Central Coast Stadium, Gosford, Saturday, 11 October 2003 (kick off 17.00 local time) versus Romania.
Travelling from Sydney to Gosford takes about 90 minutes by road from central Sydney and the same by train from Central Station, Sydney. The stadium is a 5-10 minute walk from Gosford Station along Mann St. As well as the regular scheduled services there will be three special trains departing Central Station, Sydney at 14.00, 14.30 and 15.00 and two returning at 19.15 and 19.53.
- Aussie Stadium, Sydney, Sunday, 19 October 2003 (kick off 20.00 local time) versus Namibia.
The stadium is at Moore Park, about 4km from downtown Sydney and is easily accessible by bus. On match days special shuttle buses run to and from the stadium from Central Station.
- Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, Sunday, 26 October 2003 (kick off 18.00 local time) versus Argentina .
Adelaide Oval is situated adjacent to the city centre.
- Telstra Dome, Melbourne, Saturday 1 November 2003 (kick off 20.35 local time) versus Australia.
Telstra Dome is situated at the western edge of Melbourne city centre, easily reached on foot and is served by local tram.
Should Ireland progress to the quarter finals of the tournament, they will play either in Brisbane or Melbourne. The winner of Ireland's pool (Pool A) will play their quarter-final at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday 8 November. The runner up in Ireland's pool will play at Telstra Dome in Melbourne on Sunday 9 November.
DURING YOUR STAY
Australian cities have good and affordable public transport networks.
Travel between the major cities is usually undertaken by air. Qantas (www.qantas.com.au) and Virgin Blue (www.virginblue.com.au) are the main operators. It is possible to travel by road and rail but the distances are long.
Sydney International Airport is situated approximately 10km from central Sydney which is reachable by bus, train and taxi (about A$25).
Melbourne International Airport is situated about 22km north-west of the city centre. A taxi to the city costs between A$40 and A$50. There is a Sky bus service for A$10.
Adelaide Airport is about 7km west of the city centre and is served by bus and taxi (about A$20).
Money and Credit Cards
The Australian dollar exchange rate in September 2003 was approximately A$1 = €0.58.
Irish bank cards bearing international logos such as Cirrus or Maestro may be used at Automatic Telling Machines. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
Most Irish mobile phones will function in Australia. You should check with your phone company about roaming charges. Alternatively SIM cards can be rented on arrival at airports for insertion into your Irish mobile. Makes such as Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson etc are the norm.
For landline calls to Ireland, prepaid telephone cards may be bought at convenience stores and will provide substantial savings over hotel and public phones. These cards typically offer calls to Ireland for less than A$0.10 a minute. Please make sure when purchasing a card for public phones to ask for the international call card.
The emergency phone number for the Police, Fire and Ambulance is 000.
October is the start of summer in Australia and, especially in Sydney and Adelaide, the weather is likely to be warm and pleasant, with temperatures over 20 celsius. Melbourne's summer weather can be changeable with occasional bouts of cool weather and heavy rain.
Sydney and Melbourne are 9 hours ahead of Ireland until the clocks go forward one hour in the early morning of Sunday 26 October. As the clocks in Ireland go back one hour on the same date, Sydney and Melbourne will then be 11 hours ahead. Adelaide is ½ hour behind Sydney and Melbourne.
The official Rugby World Cup website is www.rugby2003.com.au
The Australian Tourist Commission website is www.australia.com
The Irish Rugby Football Union website is www.irishrugby.ie
Emergency Contact Numbers
If you need emergency Consular assistance while in Melbourne, Adelaide or Brisbane please contact
Embassy of Ireland
20 Arkana St,
Canberra ACT 2603
Tel : ++61 2 6273 3022
Fax : ++61 2 6273 3741
If you need emergency Consular assistance while in Gosford or Sydney please contact
Consulate General of Ireland
Level 30, 400 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel : ++ 61 2 9231 6999
Fax : ++ 61 2 9231 6254
Consular Services Section
Department of Foreign Affairs
69-71 St. Stephen's Green,
(Tel: + 353 1 4780822)
(Fax:+ 353 1 4082798)