A couple of months ago we wrote a post on Canadian Stereotypes.  It was a lot of fun to share our views of how people perceive us.  While we were writing it, we thought that it would be a great idea to have other people share their stereotypes and misconceptions about the country that they call home.  Lauren and Todd of Globetrooper, (an amazing website where people can find travel partners or join existing trips) were kind enough to be our first guest writers on the subject and it is a hoot of a post.   I don’t want to bore you with my intro any longer so let’s get on with learning about some Aussi stereotypes right now.

Aussie Stereoptypes by Globetrooper

Australians are known for their ‘No worries’ attitude, and that is definitely true. But over the course of my travels, there are many things that people think about Australia (or Australians) that are blatantly false.

Aussie-stereotypes-Kangaroo

Or Does it?

Here are some of the common misconceptions people have about Australians and ‘Down Under’:

We all talk in slang that you won’t understand

G’day mate, shrimp on the barby, fair dinkum, hard yakka, Sheila… I am Australian and I have never used any of these typical Aussie slang words, except for in jest. A few words that you might come across:

  • Cooee: it’s a high-pitched call to attract attention or simply just to see how good the echo is. You’ll only hear someone use it if you’re going caving or trekking through a valley.
  • Bogan: someone from the country or small town that’s a bit close-minded. They don’t get out often.
  • Chuck a sicky: no it’s not a type of projectile. It’s pretending to be sick to get a day off work – a normal occurrence to get a long weekend.
  • Budgie smugglers: these should have been banned from coming into the country. They’re the tiniest of bathers for men, an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-nightmare-speedo-mankini.
  • Thongs: sorry to burst your bubble, but this is the more common word for flip flops or sandals.
  • Jumper: no, it’s not a mode of transport involving a kangaroo. It’s a sweater, or a pullover.

It never rains

Yes, Australia has the lowest precipitation of any of the world’s inhabited continents (Antarctica gets less) but it still rains. I love the answer that Tourism Australia gave, obviously everyone has a sense of humour:

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)

A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

I’ve included some of the hilarious questions and answers from the Australian Tourism Board throughout this post, as they’re too good not to share.

aussie-stereotypes-crocodile-dundee

Crocodile Dundee a legend!

It’s just an island, how big can it be?

Australia is the word’s smallest continent but the world’s sixth largest country. It covers an area of 7.7 thsd square kilometres, that’s slightly smaller than the United States mainland which is 7.8 thsd square kilometres. However, 44% of Australia is desert and a further 37% is semi-arid grassland or shrub communities. So we mainly live along the coasts, thus why you see most photos related to Australia at a beach.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney – can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)

A: Sure, it’s only three thousand miles, take lots of water…

Kangaroos and Koalas live in our backyards

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)

A: Depends how much you’ve been drinking.

‘Do you ride kangaroos to school? Where do you park them?’ Back in the 90′s when my parents took me on my first trip overseas to the US, this is one of the first questions I was asked, along with ‘do you have phone lines?’. Kangaroos and koalas rarely come into the cities, but if you venture inland to the country communities you should be able to find some. Just don’t try to pat them.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It’s a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)

A: It’s called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

 

aussie-stereotypes-vegemite

Pass the Vegemite Mate!

We all eat Vegemite for breakfast, lunch and tea

A lot of Australians (like others around the world) detest Vegemite. It is an acquired taste, to say the least, and is usually spread very thinly on hot buttered toast for breakfast. Tim Tams are the preferred treat of every Aussie household, chocolate coated chocolate biscuits with chocolate cream in the middle – you can’t get much better than that!

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)

A: No, we are a peaceful civilisation of vegan hunter gatherers. Milk is illegal.

aussie-stereotypes-crocodile

Deadly animals is another Aussie Stereotype

You have a really high chance of dying from from all the poisonous/lethal/most deadly things

Many of the world’s most venomous snakes are found in Australia, and one of the most dangerous spiders in the world, the funnel-web, is commonly found in Sydney homes. With technology in anti-venoms and treatments, it is rare to die from a snake or spider bite in Australia.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)

A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

The north of Australia is home to the world’s largest species of crocodile, the salt water crocodile. Males can occasionally grow to lengths of over 6 metres, big enough to swallow anyone whole! Each year one or two people are eaten by crocodiles in Australia. You can greatly reduce your risk of being eaten by not camping next to an enclosed riverbank that has a sign saying, ‘Warning: Crocodiles’.

Sydney is the capital, or maybe it’s Melbourne?

Neither actually. Sydney and Melbourne are Australia’s largest cities but they couldn’t decide who was bigger and better, so they compromised on a smaller city in between and created Canberra.

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The Australian Flag

Other things about Australia you might not know:

  • Christmas is in Summer so you get to ride around on your new bike straight away
  • We now have our first female ranga (redhead) prime minister
  • The AU$ just reached parity with the US for the 1st time since flotation – easy way to pick the Aussie travellers in conversation, we’re all raving about it
  • Instead of everyone being trained for the army, we all have to go through a gruelling Baywatch-style life-saving program at the beach. Ok, that’s a wish not a fact.
  • Most Aussies under 40 haven’t seen much of Australia outside of their home, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane + some close coast/snow/wine trips. Everything is so far away that if we’re going to travel somewhere, it may as well be overseas
  • Most people blow their RTW budget here – best to plan the end of your trip here
  • We have plastic money, that’s right, you can’t rip up our big boys

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43 Comments

    1. davendeb

      Ooh, totally looking forward to reading that post! I will study it well before I visit Australia.

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention G'Day some Aussie Stereotypes | The Planet D: Around the World Adventure Couple -- Topsy.com

  2. Verity

    Haha love it! Oh budgie smugglers… it has to be my favourite slang. And someone at Tourism Australia has an awesome sense of humour… I like the one about hippo racing at Kings Cross… come naked :).

    I think the most frequent conversation I have with people living here in Sweden is about how dangerous they think it is in Australia. Everyone goes on and on about snakes, spiders, sharks, crocodiles (my boyfriend thinks there might be dragons too) but they get pretty disappointed when I say the most dangerous thing is going swimming in the ocean. They ask “because of the sharks?” and I say “no because of the water!”
    .-= Verity´s last blog ..At home in Australia =-.

    1. davendeb

      It is true, we have always heard about how dangerous it is in Australia. I had visions of deadly spiders and snakes sneaking into houses and attacking people in their sleep.

  3. LeslieTravel

    Great post! I love the photos. Having been to Australia, I’d say a few stereotypes are true– mainly, the deadly animals (jellyfish, crocs, etc) and the national love of beer and BBQ. Then again, those last two are pretty popular in the US as well :)

  4. Pommie Travels

    Love this, when I was in Australia it rained ALL the time. Travelling up the East Coast it poured with rain in Byron Bay, got stuck there because there were floods up to Brisbane and then I got caught in a cyclone in Airlie Beach! I’m still convinced there’s a government conspiracy to make tourists think that it’s always hot and sunny in Australia.
    .-= Pommie Travels´s last blog ..Getting to Belgium from London- Plane- Train or Bus =-.

    1. davendeb

      Wow, now that is some bad weather you were in. If there is a conspiracy, the government is definitely doing their job well. Sunshine and heat is excellent for the tourism business:-)

  5. Sophie

    Fun post :)

    Re dangerous animals: in the Sydney Aquarium, after walking past all kinds of interesting creatures, you’re presented with the deadliest of them all: humans. Way worse than any spider, snake, shark or croc! In Oz and everywhere else.
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Magic of Cities 2- Copenhagen =-.

    1. davendeb

      Erica, I am right there with you. At least we thought Crocodile Dundee was really cool so we though Australians were cool. Unlike Canada. Everyone thought we were all like Bob and Doug Mackenzie…Take off eh:-)

    1. davendeb

      Haha, That is where I got all my ideas of Australia too… Men at work and their vegemite sandwiches.

    1. davendeb

      Haha, Crocodile Dundee is definitely the culprit, just like Bob and Dough Mackenzie are to blame for Canada:)

  6. Pamela

    Great series idea. I was born and raised in Alaska. I didn’t have to leave the country to get asked stupid questions. In fact, last week I was planning my road trip home to Alaska and a co-worker (a software engineering manager) said “you can’t drive to alaska; can you?”. Yep…I just told him that I’d ignore he ever asked me that.

  7. aj

    actually i use all the words you said we dont use at all.. lol.. and i know quite a few people who use them actually.. :P

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