A small and diverse country, Israel is one of the world's oldest travel destinations, with the land spiritually sacred for the three great monotheistic religions. With a long coastline on the Mediterranean Sea and a small window on the Red Sea, Israel is an undeniably beautiful country with alternating scenes of sea, desert, ancient towns and stunning nature reserves.

Small Group Tours

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem by Marion Bunnik
Egypt & Middle East • Special

Egypt, Israel & Jordan

Uncover thousands of years of ancient history in three of the world’s oldest and most interesting countries.

Airfares included

Days 24
From (Per person / Twin share) $14,495 Save $900

Israel Facts & Tips

Capital
Capital — Jerusalem
Population
Population — 9 million
Language
Language — Hebrew
Religion
Religion — Judaism, Muslim & Christian
Time Zone
Time Zone — 7 hours behind AEST
Currency
Currency — New Shekel
  • Israel has one of the highest ratios of university degrees to population, in the world
  • The glue on the back of Israeli stamps is kosher
  • In Israel, the expression “shalom” (peace) is used for both hello and goodbye
  • Israeli bank notes have brail on them so the blind can identify them
  • Israel spends more money on security than any other country in the world
  • Although Israel’s agricultural production has increased seven times over in the past 30 years, its annual water usage remains roughly the same
  • When Golda Meir became the prime minister in 1969, she was the 3rd woman ever elected to lead a country in the modern world
  • Israel is only one of three democracies in the world without a codified constitution. The other two are New Zealand and Britain
  • Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives is the world’s oldest continuously used cemetery

Australian passport holders travelling to Israel need a visa at this time. A loose leaf visa will be issued on arrival free of charge.

We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.

Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.

Australian Embassy in Israel:

Discount Bank Tower, 28th Floor
23 Yehuda Halevi Street (corner Herzl Street)
Tel Aviv 65136
Ph. +972 3 693 5000
Fax. +972 3 693 5002

The official currency of Israel is the New Shekel. Notes are in denominations of ₪200, 100, 50, and 20.

The recommended currency to take to Israel is the US Dollar. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.

Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.

Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.

If you don’t have US Dollars with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.

Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.

  • The price of a cappuccino in Jerusalem is approximately USD3.50
  • The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately USD18
  • The price dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately USD40
  • The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately USD8

Israeli cuisine is a fusion of east and west and includes many dishes and flavours brought by Jewish immigrants from around the world. Fresh, finely chopped salads are popular and are eaten with every meal including breakfast. National specialties include falafel (deep-fried balls of mashed chickpeas) in a pita bread, with hummus (ground chickpeas), tahini (sesame seed sauce) and salads. If you have the opportunity, also try Ashkenazi classics like cholent (Shabbat meat stew) and gefilte fish, a white fish dish. Water should be drunk from bottles only, however please ensure that bottle top seals are not broken. Soft drinks and alcohol are not a problem but ice should be avoided.

Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.

If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.

Israel’s climate varies from the northern region to the southern region. Recommended months to travel are March-April, which is wildflower season, and September-October. The peak summer months of June-August can be extremely hot, especially in the Negev desert. Winters are wet, cold and occasionally snowy.

Want to get out and explore on your own?

The best way to get around Israeli cities and towns is to explore by foot. Taxis are readily available, however walking is a wonderful way to feel the history around you.

When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.

So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Israel…

Israel offers countless shopping opportunities as many malls have sprung up in the past few decades including the Malha Mall. There are also many colourful markets, annual bazaars, street malls and shops in the large cities - all of which offer attractive imported and locally-made items. Israel is famous for its exclusive lines of bathing suits (Gottex, Gideon Oberson), skin-care products made from mineral-rich Dead Sea mud, silver jewellery, diamonds, glass, art, leather coats, painted tiles, embroidery, religious items and antiques. Tel Aviv has entire streets devoted to one particular item: spices, bridal gowns, fabrics and gift items amongst other things. In Jerusalem the Old City is the place to visit for artefacts, ornaments made of wood, seashells and leather, blown glass items and traditional clothing. The annual art fair “Khutsot ha-Yotzer” offers both prestigious works of art and folk crafts created by Israeli artists.

  • Be respectful if you’re visiting a mosque, synagogue or other religious site. Take off your shoes, and cover your head if you’re a woman, before going into a mosque or synagogue. Do not enter during prayers
  • At some sites in Israel, male visitors may be given a smart cardboard yarmulke (skull cap) to respect the religious importance of the site
  • Please be sensitive when discussing the political situation, remember you’re there as an observer

If you’re in Israel during Sukkot, be prepared to be inundated with tourists and locals alike as cities come alive. From music festivals at the Dead Sea in the Negev Desert, to parades along the streets of Jerusalem, celebrations are in full flight, typically during October, to observe this sacred occasion. Karmiel, a city of Galilee hosts the 3 day Karmiel Dance Festival each year in July. Thousands of visits can marvel at over 80 events and performances including a huge bazaar and plenty of fun activities.

Other national public holidays to be aware of include:

  • Election Day
  • Passover (Day 1, usually in April)
  • Passover (Day 7)
  • Yom HaAtzmaut
  • Shavuot (50 days after Passover)
  • Rosh Hashana (163 days after Passover)
  • Rosh Hashana (Day 2)
  • Yom Kippur
  • Sukkot (Day 1)
  • Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah

Israel Highlights

Egypt & Middle East Destinations

Egypt

Synonymous with ancient civilisations, travellers have been marvelling at Egypt’s wondrous antiquities, pyramids and temples for thousands of years.

Jordan

Explore dramatic scenery in Wadi Rum, discover ancient ruins in Amman, be mesmerised by the beautiful Dead Sea and tour the famous lost city of Petra.

Oman

Explore the great expanse of Wahiba Sands, camp in luxury under a blanket of stars or cruise the scenic fjords of the Musandam Peninsula in a traditional dhow.

Bunnik Reviews