There are a number of stereotypes floating around about us Aussies. Some of them are accurate – yes, we do love beer, say ‘mate’ a lot, and enjoy the odd bit of Vegemite – some not so much. Sorry guys, but we don’t ride kangaroos to work, never say the phrase “throw another shrimp on the barbie,” and only 0.05% of us have ever wrestled a croc. So when you venture to our shores, how do you distinguish between the two and have yourself the most true-blue Aussie experience ever? By following these suggestions, of course.
Have a barbie on the beach, complete with snags, cold ones, and budgie smugglers
As stereotypical as it is, there’s really nothing Aussies enjoy more than packing up the car on a warm summer’s day and heading straight to the beach. In order for it to be a proper, full-day affair, you’ll need to pack a cricket bat, ball, esky (portable cooler) full of sausages, beer, bread, tomato sauce, towels and sunscreen. We pretty much refuse to wear anything but our bits of swimming lycra as soon as we get to the general vicinity of the beach, and shoes are entirely optional for the duration of the day, so don’t worry about packing clothes.
As mentioned earlier, “throw another shrimp on the barbie” has literally never been said by any Australian, so don’t make that error: it’s the quickest way to blow your cover. Things we actually do with shocking regularity include splitting off into outdated gender roles when it’s time to start cooking (boys at the barbie, girls setting up the table or readying the condiments), splashing the BBQ plate with beer prior to the first sausage, and getting bright red sunburnt noses regardless of how many times we’ve reapplied sunscreen. There’s certainly no shortage of beaches in our fair land but for sand and surf perfection we suggest Burleigh Beach on the Gold Coast, Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Byron Bay in Northern NSW, and Wine Glass Bay in Tasmania.
Admire our national icons from overcrowded vantage points
Have your heard of the Sydney Harbour Bridge? Or the Sydney Opera House? What about Uluru? We have a plethora of iconic landmarks here on our shores and, even as locals, we’ve all played tourist and marvelled at their greatness. Surprisingly, seeing as we’re one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, there always seems to be a cast of thousands doing the same thing at any given time of day. For some of our national icons, such as Uluru and the Twelve Apostles, this is an unavoidable fate, but for others you just need to know where to be. For example, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney offer some of the most spectacular views of the Bridge and Opera House, as well as a high degree of personal space.
The other sneakily excellent option is to board one of the city ferries at circular quay, which will take you under and around the famous landmarks for less than $5. Handily, they also have strict passenger limits thanks to their need to stay afloat, giving you plenty of room to feel smug about your choice and shake your head piously at the hordes of tourists jostling for prime position along the waterfront.
Sweat through Christmas
Thanks to our location in the southern hemisphere, we Aussies are the proud owners of stinking hot Christmases. While they may not be as magical and cozy as the snowy white version fed to us through all forms of media since the beginning of time, they do have their charm; the trick is just knowing how to navigate them. Firstly, forget about all the foods you usually associate with Christmas. As delicious as roast turkeys and plum puddings might be, they’re the last things you’ll be craving as sweat pools under the edges of your silly paper hat. Instead, opt for seafood, salads (don’t worry – yummy ones with bacon bits and creamy mayonnaise), and ice cream.
Secondly, rethink your Christmas setting. Beside the fireplace? Haha, you’re funny. The only appliances you should be near are air-conditioners or open freezers, but the best choice of location is anywhere in the great outdoors. Shade and proximity to water are key, so if you’re under a backyard pergola beside a pool or beside a tree at the beach you’re doing it right. For a truly memorable experience, head to Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach where you’ll catch glimpses of surfing Santas and have front row seats to the parade of (often questionable) festive swimwear.
Wear shorts all winter and complain about the cold
Following on from the above, we live in one of the hottest countries in the world and it’s our God-given right to complain should the ambient temperature ever dip below 20 degrees Celsius. Given our idea of layering up is wearing socks with thongs, it’s safe to say we don’t have much experience of in the art of rugging up (with the exception of our Melburnian friends, who are cold weather ninjas). Because we’re a thoughtful bunch and really want you to fit in, we’ve done the good deed of sourcing your best Aussie winter outfit. You’ll need a navy blue pair of Ruggers, a Jackie Howe, a flannel, and some $2 pluggers. As for complaints and whinges, “It’s too bloody cold!” will do the trick nicely.
Have one too many beers and sing Daryl Braithwaite’s Horses at the top of your lungs
Say what you like about Australians but never, ever mutter a word against Horses. It’s pretty much our unofficial anthem and boy, do we like to sing it loud and en masse. The soaring lyrics, the building crescendo, the big belt-worthy notes: really, what’s not to love? The best performances of this song come later in the evening in typical Aussie pubs all around the country. Try the Breakfast Creek Hotel in Brisbane, The Courthouse Hotel in Sydney, or Marquis of Lorne in Melbourne. And please, learn the chorus – belting it out with the locals is the very best way to make yourself some new mates.
Watch sport and yell a lot
Aussies love sport in all its shapes and forms. Victorians go nuts for AFL, Queenslanders love NRL, and the whole country gets overly invested in cricket. Of course we’ve also got rugby union, soccer, tennis, swimming, ironman, bowls, and even darts, all of which grace our TVs at one point or another in any given year. Naturally, there’s no better way to enjoy sports than watch them live; and our stadiums are big, rowdy, and home to some of our country’s best nights out. If you’re here over summer go to the Adelaide Oval and catch some cricket, in winter head to Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium for some AFL action or Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium for the NRL. Whatever the season, make sure you yell a lot, become noticeably agitated by the ref’s calls, and drink overpriced beer in bulk.
Poke fun at Kiwis and fiercely debate the origins of lamingtons and pavlova
It’s a rivalry as fierce and ingrained as England vs. France, butter vs. margarine, and toilet roll under vs. toilet roll over, and you wouldn’t be getting the full taste of Australia if you didn’t indulge. Australia and New Zealand fight over lots of things, from lamingtons (if you’ve never tried the chocolate and coconut sponge cake, head to Beatrix in Melbourne), to the nationality of Russel Crowe, to whose rugby team is best. While it’s all friendly banter, bonus points are awarded if you can convince a Kiwi to say “six fish and chips” or drop a well-timed sheep joke into the conversation.