21 Things Locals Want you to Know Before Visiting Australia

I asked some locals what they wanted tourist to know before visiting their country!

Enjoy!

Daniela says:

1.“Australians are a bit like the British. They are definitely more aloof than southerners, and if you start a random conversation with a stranger they will find it odd. Once they realise you aren’t about to ask them for money or trying to pick them up they’ll likely be fine though.”

2.“Any suggestion that the Australian Government swooped in like tyrants and disarmed the unfortunate Australian population will usually not go down well. Apart from a grumpy minority, most Australians are very in favour of gun control and supported the Howard government in changing the gun laws following the Port Arthur Massacre. If a potential Prime Minister promised to reverse those changes they would be very unlikely to be elected.”

3.”You won’t be able to take any weapons into Australia. Even pepper spray is illegal.”

4.”Not all guys will look like the Hemsworth brothers, and not all women will look like Margot Robbie (Sorry! We wish we did too!)”

5.”If an Australian has spent time in the US, don’t ask them which country they prefer. It puts them in an awkward situation.”

6.”Servers in restaurants will be significantly less attentive than those in the US. They will take your order, your food will come, and if you need anything else you may have to try to catch their attention as they won’t check on you as frequently as they would in the US. That’s just how restaurants are run in Australia. If you complain about this level of service more likely than not the owner will side with staff rather than you. On the plus side, there is no obligation to tip.”

7.“What you see on the price tag is what you will pay, sales tax included.”

8.“The word entrée means appetizer in Australia. So if you order only an entrée from a menu you will be hungry! Look for Mains.”

9.“Restaurants won’t have free refills of anything other than water.”

10.“Many restaurants if not most won’t allow you to split bills, especially for large groups. Sorry but you’ll have to have to do math to work out how much everyone needs to chip in! (We hate it too!)”

11.”If you tease an Australian about having ancestors who were convicts and they get annoyed, it’s not out of shame. Australians who can actually  trace their ancestry back to the convicts are proud of it and it would actually be something to show off, to be related to some of the first settlers who were being punished for crimes that weren’t all that serious, and lived in very harsh conditions. If they’re annoyed it might be because you don’t appreciate how awesome they feel that is.”

Helena says:

12.”I think a lot of people don’t realise how expensive it is to travel and live here.”

13.”Killer animals isn’t really a thing here. Like everyday life doesn’t really involve coming across dangerous animals….”  

14. “We don’t all say g’day mate.”

15. “We don’t all surf or are mega tanned.”

16. “We don’t ride around in kangaroos pouches or have them as pets.”

17. “We don’t all like vegemite – haha.”

Emily says:

-”Gain some knowledge of the country you’re visiting is the big factor. Know what is & isn’t acceptable behaviour.”-

18.”If you’re planning on driving in a foreign country know the road rules, as so often tourists end up fatalities on our roads or cause accidents in general.”

19.”Be aware of our beaches, as they may be beautiful but can be deadly.”

20.”Oh and Don’t be rude.”

21.”Know how to say Please & Thankyou”

 

Drinking tip:Only 18 to drink.

australia-map

Map of Australia.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this article! Please feel free to give me more suggestions down in the comments or email, and I can add you to the list! 

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29 thoughts on “21 Things Locals Want you to Know Before Visiting Australia

  1. This was very interesting! I liked the fun ones, like the 16th one 😝 But it was interesting to learn that they’re proud of their ancestors. I’ve heard about that of the first European settlers being criminals and so, but that’s a whole different perspective! I bet it really was hard for them, freaking long trip and then harsh conditions. It really must have been hard!

    • Haha. I guess that’s not a bad thing. I never thought about them having to travel to get there. I mean it is an island, it just never struck me, oh yeah, they came from somewhere else and they traveled to get to what now Australia is.

    • I watched a documentary about some female convicts. One of them, Mary Wade, was arrested in Britain and sentenced to death aged 11 for stealing clothes from another child and selling them, but was lucky to have her sentence reduced to transportation to Australia instead (lucky!). She was freed eventually as most of them were once they’d done their time and ended up having 21 children or something, so she would have a fair few descendants! Others on board for her were sent to Australia for crimes such as prostitution and shoplifting, and they only had 5 convicts die during the voyage which was apparently doing quite well compared to some of the other ships.

  2. This is so interesting! It’s funny because I just recently traveled to Italy this year, and they are the same way when it comes to the restaurant gig – they take your order, bring your food, and basically ignore you the rest of the time being. You have to track them down and basically tug their sleeve to get their attention for a refill or the check. NOT like it is here. I get the tipping thing, but I feel other countries get you through taxing on bread and stuff. But hey, it sounds like Australians are way more alert, aware of their surroundings and cautious of others – which I find to be a good thing!

    • Yes! Same way in England! So hard to get the waiters/waitresses to pay attention to you. I would be happy to do away with the whole tipping thing. More less do it because you want to not because it’s almost mandatory. Then again they pay more attention to you. I do like how taxes are included in the price, I wish it was like that here in The States. I think we all have something to learn from each other.

    • Were you in Rome? We had the experience of the server just putting bread on the table, us assuming it was free, and then getting charged a heap for it (and it wasn’t even good bread!). I read in my guide book that some of the restaurants there do it and you need to tell them that you don’t want it or it will just be put there and you will be charged for it. I did and they looked pissed off for the rest of the evening 😀 Haven’t had that experience in Australia but all food there is slightly more expensive.

      • I know you were talking to Carissa, but I went to Rome and Venice in 2013, and I don’t think I had that problem. I am definitely going to pay attention and ask questions next time. Especially since here in the US if they put down in front of you it’s free haha and you can get more!

      • YES! That’s what they did at EVERY restaurant, especially in Rome and Venice. I feel they could just pick out the tourists by looking at us – no matter if you were in the tourist areas or not. And I literally had to tell one of our waiters “I know you’re going to charge me for that, and even if I don’t eat it…so you can take that away.” Not like here where you can ask for bread 20 times, it’s free, and get a drink refill without even asking. I think my husband and I kept aiming toward eateries that were just pick up and go after so many of those restaurants, haha!

        • We went to the same restaurant each night we were in Rome, and told them the second night we went there that we didn’t want it. You could tell they were pissed off about it too! And the relatives I were with only spoke German so I had to be the one that told them! I was paranoid they might spit in our food 😀

  3. aaaaaw <3 this makes me miss Australia and Australians so much! I used to live in Australia for 3 years. People started to call me Australian of the way I talked haha. I still got the accent a little bit, but not as much. nr 19 is so true! Australia has gorgeous beaches, but the nicest ones, you can't even swim in haha. This post made me happy <3 Than you!

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