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Australians sincerely laugh about being different from the rest of the world. And rightfully so, very similar to other developed western countries, Australia seems to be living in a world of its own. Though I already knew that they have summer in January and drive on the left-hand-side of the road, spending a month doing a road trip around Australia I learned a few more typical Aussie things that threw me off at first and proved that Australia is different from anyone else.
Aussies love their land, they love it so much that they do not need any layers between it and their feet. Honestly, my eyes have not seen this many barefoot people in cafes, shops, and supermarkets as they have in Australia.
Just look at this guy buying coffee at the counter!
SYDNEY! First thing we did after checking in to our room @yhaaustralia was going for one of those famous brunches. It is such a pleasure to be dining outside even though it is deep autumn in Australia right now. Oh yeah, the winds blow here too, but they are nothing like back home. They are warm and pleasant and I could take these winds on for a long time. #travel_monkey
It’s not just a convenience, it is more of a statement: “Yes, I am proud of my clean city streets and absolutely not grossed out that someone could have spit on it. I feel comfortable walking barefoot because my city is my home.” Something like that. Every time I saw a person walking barefoot into a cafe, I instantly knew it was a local.
2. Human sign holders
This is my favorite one and yep, it looks exactly as it sounds. People standing there holding “Stop” signs all day long. I don’t know why they don’t just put up a temporary sign during roadwork like they do in all other countries, but Australians like to mix it up and make it a little bit more lively. So, anytime you encounter a road work on your way in Australia, you’ll be greeted by a human “stop” or “slow” sign signaling you to keep it down. Why? My guess is that live signs draw much more attention than a static sign. Whatever it is, apparently it pays pretty well. So, if you are on a work and travel visa in Australia, you might want to check out the road block vacancies.
3. Aussie words
One of the reasons I was excited to travel to Australia was because of native English speakers. Finally, I do not have to guess what things mean! But it turned out to be not as easy given the infamous vocabulary of pure Australian terms. Therefore, it is not surprising that I’ve managed to make a fool of myself behind the counter of a self-scanning machines in a local supermarket. Persistently searching for a word ‘pepper’ in a list of vegetables, I was nearly ready to give up and leave the weighted pepper bell behind when the helper girl came by. She nicely pointed out that we should be looking for a word ‘capsicums’ which is a local word for pepper. And let’s face it, a much cuter one as well.
4. Spray oil
Don’t laugh at me, but I found that spray oil cans are an elegant solution to forever greasy oil bottles, especially for those traveling Australia in a car. They saved us from a lot of leaking disasters and were super comfortable to use. I have never seen anything like this anywhere else in the world apart from Australia.
5. An alternative world map
This might be a shocker to anyone used to seeing Europe as the center of the world. But, in Australia, things are seen differently. Here, Australia features at the center, with the world being divided by the Atlantic Ocean. It actually makes sense, as then, no continents are ripped apart for the purpose of the map display.
6. Jacuzzi everywhere
An advantage of being a warm destination is that swimming pools are very common. And that is understandable, as you want to cool off being in a tropical weather. However, in Aussieland, often you cannot swim in the sea that is full of deadly animals who are after you. But jacuzzi? Even the most budget hostels and campsites are likely to have them. Something that is considered a luxury spa procedure is so attainable in Australia! I used them every chance I’ve got, in Southern states where winters are colder, it was the best feeling to sit in the warm jacuzzi under the stars in Australian wintertime.
7. Horrible internet connection
Not all surprises were good or exciting. Some, like the overall internet speed, was quite disappointing, to say the least. As a person requiring a constant GPS signal to simply not get lost, I was quite frustrated. I am not even talking about such things like trying to write about ongoing Aussie adventures on the spot, which was almost a luxury. The general practice in hotels and hostels – Wi-Fi available only in the reception area, if you want it in the room, you have to pay. In such cases, I found it more convenient to just use Skyroam hotspot. Though it also costs, at least I could take it out on the street with me and not be tied to a room.
Read more about Australia:
- How to spend 48 hours in Sydney without hurting your budget?
- Forget the top things to do list, this is how you should really see Melbourne!
Have you ever encountered typical local things that surprised you on your trip? Let me know in the comment section below!
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I really enjoyed reading this perspective on life in Australia! I’m British so I had my own expectations and experiences, but I think we both share the same love for the relaxes Aussie way of live. Great read!
I love the world map and barefoot people…too funny!
I love reading stuff like this. Things you don’t even think about. I know what you mean about being excited to visit an English speaking country. I was like that when we went to the UK and man was I surprised. I didn’t even get out of the airport and I already couldn’t understand what they were saying. It might have been an accent thing, but I can’t be sure because I had no clue what they were saying to me. Fun post!
Yes! And you start noticing these small things once you have a chance to stay in a country for a longer period of time.
OMG – I was totally shocked by the barefeet! They walked everywhere barefoot: at the grocery store, mall, car, sidewalk… I was certainly culture shocked about that. I really like that alternative world map. It never occurred to me that most maps have Europe at the centre. Perhaps something that dates back to the colonial era?? I’d be curious to see what the history is behind it. I mean, the world isn’t flat and globes are more accurate representations but we don’t really carry globes around with us. (we barely carry paper maps anymore either… hmmm)
I feel if I had a few more months in Aussieland, I would start walking barefoot myself 😀
As an Aussie I loved reading this. So funny to see how others view your homeland. Bare feet is totally normal in Aus! I’d never do it here in Britain though but I do always wear my flip flops all year round which is as close as I can get to bare feet ?
Ha, I still call them capsicums! I also love all the shortened words, “arvo” “servo” etc. Also totally agree about the wifi!! I think one thing that really surprised me was the number of free barbecues and how clean they were kept! Amazing. They wouldn’t last a day in the UK.
Omg this is so funny I totally couldn’t believe the whole lack of shoes thing in Australia! The first time I encountered bare feet in public was at a supermarket and I was so confused. And then I noticed it everywhere LOL. The alternate world map threw me off too ? Love this post!!
I remember thinking Aussie lingo was HILARIOUS, particularly all the different sayings they have for bikinis or speedos (budgie-smugglers being my FAVORITE!).
Wow, enlighten me, what do budgie-smugglers look like? 😀
Such fun insight into Aussies. I think other continents should adopt the barefoot and jacuzzi traditions. You really get a sense for the culture with this list.
Hallelujah for the Jacuzzi’s around the world!
We found human sign holders also in the USA! Yet… Jacuzzi everywhere? They have my vote!!! 😀
Haha. I also adopted the barefoot thing in parts of Australia when I lived there! And yeah like Clazz says the shortening of everything confused me to. I was so confused the first time at work when someone said I had to go on “smoko” – comes from smoke break but what we would call a morning tea break!
Teako? I have no idea, but it is cute as hell 😀
Omg this is spot on!!! The Aussie words still baffle me haha. I always meet Aussies traveling and I feel like I’ve learned a ton of slang. But when I finally visited I felt like i didn’t know a thing! It’s a good thing they are very upbeat/friendly and could laugh with me!! Oh, and the crappy wifi is NO joke, I was so surprised!!!
I loved this perspective into the laid back Aussie way of life. Kind of similar to british culture in many ways, but waaaay more laid back. love it!
A friend of mine moved to Oz recently. I’ll bear these in mind when I visit him! LOL
Loved reading this! I’ve never been to Australia, but feel like I’m totally prepared now if I do haha
Spray oil is something new, we use sun protection cream.
Did you take photo with koala? 🙂
That is a frying oil, I doubt you use the sunscreen for that 😀
Haha, sorry about our internet (it upsets us too!). 51 in the world… fecking ridiculous.
I guess it is made so that people would spend their time in the nature rather than in their phone 😀
I loved reading this! I am Australian and here where I live in the South where its colder, we dont go barefoot so much. I never wear shoes at home but always wear them out. On the gold coast people walk around barefoot and wearing only bikini’s!
I love seeing what people from other countries notice the most. And its true, we are very laid back, don’t take things too seriously.
I loved every bit of it, Philomena! Australia is an awesome place to be and I find it great that you guys don’t take things too seriously. Makes me want to move there as well, haha.
I should read this before my Melbourne trip last year! I’m not aware if anyone walking barefoot in the city while I was there. Swimming pool is everywhere in my country too, Malaysia, yeah mainly because of the hot weather 🙂