Planning a trip to Australia? Well, mate, you’re going to need to know a few things before you visit because things are wild down here. To help you get started, here are 17 things I think you absolutely must know before you visit my gorgeous home country.
1. It’s bloody big
True story! Australia is HUGE, like, massive. If you think you can conquer the whole thing in a week, you’re mad. It’s expensive and time-consuming to fly from one side to the other. Put it this way, it’s cheaper for me to fly to Bali than to Perth. If you’re planning a trip to Australia, you’re going to need to either tackle it by state or coast, to get the most out of the places you’re visiting, or visit for a decent amount of time to see it all properly.
2. Bloody isn’t a swearword
Just so you know… cos, I feel like it’s considered a cuss word in the U.S but here it’s just a super casual emphasis. In fact, we’re real casual with the swear words so if someone calls you something that’s considered incredibly offensive in your home country, it’s important to focus on the person’s body language, not the words spoken. This will help you work out whether or not they really think you’re a fuckwit, cos, chances are they’ve just hit you with a top-class compliment, ya bloody rippa!
3. There are plenty of things that can kill you
21 out of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world call Australia home, as do an alarming number of other murderous creatures! We’ve got sharks, spiders of all shapes and sizes, killer jellyfish so small you can’t see them, dingoes, crocodiles, fish, bees, octopus and toads and even a shell with a little creature inside that’ll definitely kill you if trodden on. There are even giant birds that’ll mow you down and beat you up in the rainforest if they feel like it. Heck, one time some Australians waged a war against some Emus… and LOST! #TrueStory! We have no control over what goes on down here. It’s a real shit-show.
4. But, really, the chances of them getting you are slim
Yes, Australia is a death trap, but there are a lot of us living here and we’re still alive, so, how bad can it be?! Look, if you sit down and look at a list of all the stuff that can get you, it’s terrifying, but really you’re not likely to come into contact with most of them. Just take notice of what the locals are doing and be sure to read any warning signs and do what they say!
5. We’re really sarcastic and joke around…. a lot!
We’re definitely a sarcastic bunch and we love to joke around and have fun. We especially love to get one over on tourists and have a laugh at their expense, so keep your wits about you or you’ll be eating spoonfuls of vegemite and trying to protect yourself against drop bears and face snakes.
6. Our native wildlife is awesome
Terrifying? Yes! But aside from all the things that can murder you, we actually have a ton of super cute and wonderful creatures. Let’s list some of those and forget about all of those scary snakes for a while… we’ve got sugar gliders (freakin adorable!), quokkas, fruit bats, plenty of platypi, echidnas, bilbies, pretty-faced wallabies, wombats, turtles, koalas, fairy penguins, quolls and even pygmy possums. So cute! They don’t want to murder you! They want to be friends.
7. Conservation is important
I’d like to think there’s a big focus on the environment down here. While we aren’t perfect, Aussies are pretty good at things like recycling and not leaving our rubbish behind to get swept into waterways. When you’re visiting please be respectful of our beautiful country and don’t do anything that could have an adverse impact on the environment or the animals that call it home.
8. We don’t ride kangaroos everywhere
I’ve had way too many people ask me if this is true. No, we do not ride kangaroos.
9. Australia has an incredible Indigenous history and culture
If you’re visiting Australia, I highly recommend you visit places where you can see, experience and learn about Australia’s Indigenous history and the Indigenous culture too. Hearing Dreamtime stories will change the way you look at Australia as the stories are truly beautiful and fill you with wonder.
I also think it’s really important to learn about what happened to the Indigenous culture after the Captain Cook landing. Taking the time to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and learning about their story will give you a deeper understanding of Australia’s history. It’ll also go a long way to embracing diversity as well as celebrating, respecting and appreciating the Indigenous culture and, hopefully, prevent anything like this from ever happening again. I know, from experience, learning about New Zealand’s Maori history and culture gave me a totally different perspective and appreciation of New Zealand and made me fall in love with it even more.
10. Things are expensive
Unfortunately, Australia isn’t exactly your #1 budget-friendly destination, things here tend to be quite pricey compared to other parts of the world. That said, there are things you can do to keep costs down like finding ways to cook for yourself, buying fresh produce from farmers markets and refilling water bottles.
11. The sun is NO joke
This isn’t Europe, there are rules! The sun in Australia is set to ‘beast mode,’ meaning you will get sunburnt if you lay out in the sun all day. Seriously guys, we can spot the tourists a mile off, cos ya’ll red! It’s incredibly important you wear sunscreen, cover up, wear a hat and avoid the hottest parts of the day (from around 11am to 2pm). You also need to stay hydrated or you’ll get heatstroke.
12. You need to be careful at beaches
This is incredibly important! When you visit a beach you absolutely must swim between the flags and take direction from the surf life savers. Aussies are usually raised at the beach, we’re confident swimmers and usually know how to read a rip and survive one. Tourists don’t! That’s not a bad thing, don’t be embarrassed. Just make sure you swim between the flags and take heed of any warning signs on the beach. Don’t swim at an unpatrolled beach, please!
13. We have some unique ‘traditional’ foods
Unlike other countries we don’t really have traditional dish… instead, we have a weird assortment of foods we consider classics. Things like meat pies and sausage rolls seem to be staples as well as other things like vegemite toast, tim tams and the like. To be honest, that most traditional of Aussie meals would probably have to be the humble BBQ. Mmmmm BBQ.
14. If you’re road tripping, you need to be wary of what you’ve got in your car
This one’s for real! You can’t just throw a bunch of fruit in your car and drive it around the country. We have a lot of farm land and moving soil, fruit or plants can mean transporting dangerous bugs etc across the country, spreading disease and potentially wiping out entire crops. It’s serious business.
15. It’s either coffee or beer o’clock
Aussies love coffee and we love our booze… it’s either time for a coffee or time for a cold one. You choose, we won’t judge you either way.
16. Don’t underestimate the bush
Each year we see news reports of tourists (and even sometimes locals) who underestimate the Aussie bush and set out for a bushwalk with nothing but half a bottle of water and a week later they’re rescued by chopper, barely clinging to life. Our bushland is fierce, so if you’re planning on doing some camping or bushwalking please make sure you prepare properly.
17. We steal stuff from New Zealand and claim it as our own
It’s a favourite past-time! Pavlova? Stolen. The ‘flat white?’ Thieved. Phar Lap? Jacked. Russell Crowe? He’s all yours, New Zealand. Besides, we don’t need him, we’ve got *Iggy Azaelia. *An excellent example of sarcasm. Look at this great photo of Australia I took:
Bonus Tip: I recommend you brush up on your Australian slang so you, a) know exactly WTF we’re all saying and b) can try some of it out for yourself. Just remember, if you’re going to swear at us and have it not be offensive, it’s all in the delivery…. good luck to you!
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Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.