Is Australia Safe? Essential Travel Tips for Visitors

A low crime rate doesn't mean zero danger. From wilderness safety to preparing for weather extremes, this is what all first-time visitors need to know before visiting the land Down Under.


Sydney harbour at night Photo © Getty Images/BrookAttakorn

You're more likely to have a flip flop blow out than fall victim to crime while you're traveling Down Under. But here are some handy tips to keep yourself safe while traveling in Australia.

Australia has some of the lowest crime rates in the world however like many countries, the crime which may exist tends to cluster in the major cities. By exercising some common sense for your own personal safety and your belongings, your trip around Australia can be a safe one.

Alcohol-fueled crime

Alcohol-related crime can sometimes occur in nightlife spots and venues in cities around Australia. While you're likely to have an incident-free night out, there are things you can do to make it a safe one.

  • Drink in moderation so you can maintain your faculties to get back to your accommodation
  • Don't leave your drink or bag unattended. Keep an eye on them at all times
  • Don't accept drinks from anyone you don't know
  • Take only what you need out with you for the night
  • Look after your mates and yourself. If one of them or you starts not looking so good, feeling faint or acting incoherent, seek help immediately from venue staff and contact police as drink spiking may have occurred. Call 000 if you need medical assistance urgently.

Car crime

Theft from vehicles does happen and it doesn't matter if you are driving a car or a campervan but there are things you can do to avoid making your vehicle and its contents appealing for an opportunistic thief.

  • Take your valuables out of the vehicle where possible including any papers with your details on there such as rental hire. Don't lock them in the glovebox overnight, that's one of the first places thieves will check
  • If you are traveling, hide your valuables out of sight if you leave the vehicle for a break, etc
  • Sounds so simple but... lock the vehicle regardless of where you are. Make sure all windows are up and doors are secured. Don't forget the sunroof!
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit area at night where possible.

Other safety tips

  • Crowded places like festivals, markets and transport hubs can be hot spots for pickpockets. Keep your valuables secure and be aware of your surroundings
  • Only carry what you need for the day. Aside from having fewer things for a potential thief to flog, it's less you may accidentally lose
  • Don't leave your bag or belongings unattended
  • Walk in well-lit areas at night
  • Avoid using your headphones or walking around looking at your phone at night if alone. Aside from the need to know who is around you, you need to pay attention to the traffic should you need to cross a street or road. That latest Instagram post can wait.

Important numbers you can call for help

The emergency number to call in Australia is 000 or 112. This will put you in touch with an operator who will direct your call to police, fire or ambulance.

Several states and territories in Australia have a police assistance line for non-emergency cases such as reporting lost property, drink spiking (if medical attention isn't needed), motor vehicle theft, stealing and fraud.

If you are in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia or Northern Territory you can call 131444.

Victoria Police don't have an assistance line. To report non-emergency issues, please visit the nearest police station.

Travel Insurance

Simple and flexible travel insurance

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

Get a quote


  • Jasonb84 said

    I live in Sydney. Compared to most world cities, Sydney is a "safe" city. Unfortunately in Australia, there is a culture of "drinking to excess" or "binge drinking". So my advice for backpackers visiting Sydney is to be aware that there is an unhealthy alcohol drinking culture in Australia (not just Sydney), which if you get caught up in - could potentially cause you to become another "victim" or "offender". Other than that, Sydney is an awesome city - which I highly recommend you visit.


  • Miia said

    I used to live in Sydney in 2009 and used to go out a lot, walk alone during the night and found Sydney so safe. I was never scared there! I originally come from Finland and been 100 times more scared there in the countryside when there is zero people around me. Also Australian alcohol culture is so"calm" comparing to Finland, which made me feel safe. I never saw people arguing, passing out, shouting, vomiting on the streets when they were drunk. Which I see in Helsinki even during the days. When I moved back to Finland, I felt Helsinki was a war zone during the nights because of all these intoxicated people. So don't be worried in Sydney, you need to come to Finland if you want to really see the land of the drunksters????


  • Vadikaraste said

    Hi Miia,
    is that true that Helsinki is not very safe during the night? I always think that Northern Europe, particularly Finland, is the safest place on earth where people are calm, well-educated, and living a relatively good life.


  • Miia said

    Hi Vadikaraste!

    Yes, Finland is super safe during the nights, but if you are not used to those drunksters, it may feel a bit unsafe, if you are sober. My point was more like " I felt Sydney to be safer than Helsinki, because I didn't see any drunks there plus there was always so many people around me." Maybe statistics say different than my imagination. And I feel always safer in the big cities. But yes, Finland is also super-safe, welcome????


  • Cirena said

    Sydney is the kind of place where trouble only finds you if you go looking for it.
    Just one thing of note, if you see a drunken group of people yelling at others, ignore and walk away. If they follow say your not looking for trouble. The cross used to be a great place for a party, two assault resulted in murder in my time of going there, before those two incidents they actually reduced the number of police on the streets and that is why i believe people felt like they could carry out these assualts. Before the lockout laws around 20k people came into the area of a weekend and the local police resourced it like it was an event, then they stoped and we had problems.

    They say we have a problem but they leave the casino open all night, and if you visit the website about the new Baranagroo area, all it advertises is clubs and a new nightlife area.
    Something makes me feel like they want us spending our money in places that benefit them.

    Don't be fooled, here in australia its the state government that wants you to believe the cross isnt safe, here people look out for eachother, and most of us have a bit of a soft spot for backpackers (just dont park a van in a residential area and trash it kthnx).


  • Louise said

    What happened to Thomas Kelly was a tragedy and Australia does have a weird compulsive attitude to drinking that needs some serious work. But I went to school in the Cross, have lived nearby and now my kids go in there at night (although the lock out laws have driven them to Newtown most nights). The Cross is a brilliant place to explore and perfectly safe if you take the care you'd take in any big city centre. Stick with your mates, respect other people's space, don't get yourself to the point where you can't take care of yourself, and stay away from arguments. Thats all.


  • Anonomous said

    I found this site very helpful. I always feel safe in Sydney


  • Jamie said

    I stayed at the Hotel Gazebo in Kings Cross in 2000. I went with a friend but a couple of times one of us was ready to go back to the hotel before the other. I walked through Kings Cross at 4am with no hassle at all. Maybe I was just lucky, but coming from the UK I'd much rather walk through Sydney's Kings Cross than London's.


Add a Comment