8 Things You Should Absolutely NOT Do In Australia
There’s a lot to love about Australia. The wildlife, nightlife, beaches, and friendly people attract millions of visitors every year to our country.
But as diverse as Australia is, it still exists in a bit of a bubble. And there are some things that you only learn not to do after you’ve been here a while.
So, we’ll spare you the years of dodgy behavior and let you in on a few that you can immediately write off.
1. Try to get friendly with the wildlife.
One of the most common mistakes people tend to make is to assume that certain animals are friendly, indifferent, or harmless. And since bush walks are a big reason why people decide to visit Australia, it’s worth pointing out that it’s not at all the case.
A general tip, whenever you’re interacting with wild animals, is to admire them from afar. And that’s especially true of some Australian natives, such as kangaroos.
If you think kangaroos are just calm grazers, think again.
Male kangaroos, in particular, can be aggressive and territorial. So, consider the consequences if you think you might get one upset, because the last thing you want is a 100kg muscle-bound marsupial chasing you down at 35 miles per hour.
In short, don’t try to touch or feed anything that isn’t human. And even then, ask politely first.
2. Do an Australian accent.
Yeah, we know we’ve got a sexy accent. But you’ve either got it or you don’t and if you don’t, it’s best not to fake it.
Once you’ve lived in Australia long enough, you’ll pick it up. So, if you want to speak like a true Aussie we invite you to move down!
But if you’ve just read an Australian slang dictionary and can’t wait to call someone a bastard, maybe hold off on that for a while.
And, in general, don’t make a big deal out of the accent. It’s just how we talk.
3. Swim outside the flags.
Enjoying a day at an Australian beach? Good on ya! We’re proud of having some of the best beaches in the world.
However, the waters around Australia can be deceptively dangerous.
The yellow and red flags at beaches in Australia are a national symbol of “don’t swim past this point”. If you swim outside the flags, you risk being caught in a rip current. And that can quickly turn a lovely day at the beach into a nightmare scenario.
4. Leave home without sunscreen.
This bit of advice is true pretty much year-round but extremely important in the summer, especially if you get sunburned easily. Australia experiences enormous amounts of solar radiation and people die of heat stroke every year.
We can’t overstate how important it is to always use adequate sun protection. That includes hats, sunscreen, and even umbrellas if you need them.
And, just to drive this point home, the WHO reports the highest incidence of skin cancer among white populations in Australia.
5. Go on a bushwalk alone.
This bit of advice is something native Australian don’t need to be convinced to do. But every year, the Australian outback claims a few ill-equipped travelers who think they’re up to the challenge.
If you’re thinking about going out alone, don’t.
Between the extreme climate, the dangerous wildlife, and the unbelievably wide-open spaces, the outback can be among the most unforgiving places on earth.
6. Miss out on Australia’s signature foods and drinks.
If you come to Australia, do so with an open mind. Especially when it comes to food and drink.
Many staples of the Australian diet take a while to get used to, such as vegemite. But way more of our food staples are pleasing to every palate.
Tim Tams, meat pies, and lamingtons are delicious and don’t even require an adventurous palate.
And, despite its Italian origins, you’ve never had a proper chicken parma until you’ve had it at an Australian pub.
7. Underestimate the sheer size of Australia.
A lot of people, especially from smaller countries, fail to grasp how big Australia is.
If you’re visiting Sydney and thinking you might just pop over for a day trip to Melbourne, think again. They’re over 600 miles apart!
To be clear, Australia is a fantastic place for road trips. But be aware that those will be very long drives and plan accordingly.
8. Bring your worries with you.
This is one of the harsher lessons you might have to learn in Australia.
Australians appreciate and cherish a way of life that doesn’t revolve around what we do for a living. In Australia, jobs are a part of life, but they don’t define life. And no one is going to feel sorry for you if you tell them how hard you’re working.
And no one is going to be all that impressed with you if you tell them how hard you work and how much you earn. More likely, you’ll get told to bugger off back home if you like working so hard.
It’s one of the most beautiful things about Australia. Once you get here, the only thing that matters is what you’re going to do here, not what you’ve done before.
So, soak in the sun, eat some great food, and enjoy your time in the greatest place on earth.