For that reason I'd thought I would guide you on how I went about getting my visa for my travel to Shanghai, China from Melbourne, Australia. This process should be quite similar in other states in Australia, but please make sure you also check yourself to make sure. As processes do change, and they may change by the time you read this.
Nonetheless, I will explain how I went about getting mine so it might help you - at least in getting an idea of what the process may be like.
- Find the local Embassy/ Consultate of China - To get a visa for China normally they say you need contact Embassy or Consulate of China. So I got those details off SmartTraveller (https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/). I find that this is a great site for understanding travel considerations and what to expect in whatever country you're going to. I like to register my travel details with them so when I go I know the authorities have an idea where I'm going as well as you never know what could happen. On their website I went through the 'Consulate list' on SmartTraveller and got the local contact details for the 'Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China' in Melbourne.
- Here's the Melbourne Consultate details - On SmartTraveller it lists that China has an Consulate in Toorak, Melbourne and that their website is https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/ce/cgmel/eng/.
- Melbourne Chinese Visa Processing Centre - Upon visiting this website, you should notice that they mention that they now have a nice visa centre that they recently opened that is located 5-10 minutes from the city.
- Their current address is at: Chinese Visa Application Service Center. The address is: PART Ground Floor, 570 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, 3004. Tel: 03-99372308* https://www.visaforchina.com.au/
- Visit visa centre - So you head over to the place, they currently say they open Monday-Friday 9am-3pm (at the time of writing this so be sure to check!). They also say that rush (really urgent - but you pay for it) applications should be submitted before 12 o'clock noon.
- Items to bring - Make sure you bring your passport (I have an Australian passport), travel itinerary and any other bits and pieces that they may need with you. The details of what you need to bring are on the VisaForChina website under 'Visa Instruction'. It also details whether you need a visa or not, what types there are available, fees, etc. There is also a form that you fill in that is also available at the centre, but I think it's best to prefill it - that way you can ensure you have everything you need before you go there.
- Leave passport with them to verify and add visa to - You leave your passport with them and you'll pick it up however many business days afterwards, depending if you ordered a regular, express, or rush. It should be from 4-5 business days, although ordering by mail would be different.
- Receive your passport back with the Chinese visa sticker inside - Return to the centre to pick up your visa on the designated day. Hopefully you will receive your passport with the new visa inside with no hassles as I did. Please note that the visa itself is the size of one page of your passport, so make sure you had a page spare for this.
I hope that my outline of how I got my visa has helped you in getting yours. I know this can be a confusing process and you sometimes wonder how reliable and dodgy sources and places may be. Either way, be sure to check yourself especially take into strong consideration your own circumstances and that their processes may differ and can change in time.
*Please note that they also say that "Holders of diplomatic, service (official) passport, or applicants qualified for the Chinese diplomatic, service, courtesy visa, or applicants applying for the Hong Kong visa/entry permit should still submit their applications directly to the Consulate-General without changes." So if you fall in that category then I think you'll need to visit the Toorak office.