19 Things You Only Learn Living in Australia
If you're lucky enough to talk yourself into making the best decision of your life (i.e. moving to Australia) you'll quickly discover all the wonderfully weird things to love about this crazy place.
By Allie Metz
The more you know about a culture, the easier it will be to assimilate. Consider this list a starter pack to some of the things you'll learn while living Down Under. Some will surprise you, some will make you LOL, others will become part of your habits and daily vernacular without you even noticing it.
Coffee is life
Make no mistake. Coffee is serious business in Australia. Melbourne and Sydney fight over who does it better, but we’re the real winners in that battle. All of this caffeinated-fuelled pride makes it easy to find delicious bean juice everywhere you go. The flat white – a smooth, less foamy cousin to the cappuccino – is arguably the most common Aussie coffee choice. Get addicted.
FROSÉ is the ultimate adult slushie
One day you wake up and realise you have reached an age where drinking slushies is just no longer socially acceptable. But wait! Some genius has gifted society with an incredible invention that combines every adult’s favourite summer bev with the slushies of our childhood. Meet the Frosé. Your new bestie.
Christmas dinner is a BBQ on the beach
For people from the northern hemisphere, listening to Christmas music on a sunny day at the beach can have you like, “What?”. But the pleasure of seeing your Facebook feed fill up with pictures of friends back home trudging through rain and snow will make you forget how confused your seasonal brain is. So swap the eggnog for a beer and embrace a boardies-and-bikinis Christmas.
Christmas in July will give you all the feels
If you are one of those people that start decorating your tree on November 1st, don’t worry, you will still get a winter. As the temperature cools down and Australia heads into its cooler months (June – August) you’ll be fighting off the invitations for Christmas in July parties. You can even bring out your inner ski bunny by hitting the slopes in the creatively named Snowy Mountains.
A “Golden Gaytime” is suitable for all ages
If you someone asks you if you want to have a Golden Gaytime, the answer is yes. Trust us, the answer is always yes. Smooth, creamy ice cream dipped in a chocolate coating and then covered in delightful cookie crumbles – these bad boys will make you feel like a kid again. Best part? They cost like $2.
You can see some strange things when driving
Including strong kangaroos...
...and skiing 'roos?
Messing with road signs is illegal, people. Don’t even go there. Thankfully, you really don’t need to. Some cheeky buggers have already risked it all to create seriously silly road signs that make awesome Insta shots. Spotting these bad boys is even more fun when you’re on a road trip with your mates. First one to five wins!
Everything happens in the “arvo”
Aussie’s are famous for shortening words to create new words that are super fun to say. Arvo is a standout because it’s not immediately clear what it means. We’ll let you in on a little secret – it means “afternoon”. So if someone asks if you’re keen for arvo drinks, you are. And, before you ask, there is no “morvo” or “evo”…yet.
The response to “How ya’ goin’?” isn’t “By train.”
Aussies ask “how ya’ goin’?” to ask how you are. It doesn’t make sense when you break it down, but soon enough you’ll find yourself using it, too. The really fun bit (and potential rabbit hole opener) is that the true Aussie way to respond is not to. Just ask the same question back.
Nobody has shrimp on the barbie
We all know the saying. “Throw another shrimp on the Barbie, mate!” Turns out, not a thing. Well, barbies are definitely a thing. Shrimp? Not so much. They’re called prawns Down Under and it doesn’t matter if they are barbecued, fried, sautéed, whatever. Honey, just dish ‘em up.
Fosters is not Australian for Beer
We've heard the tagline a million times. Well, everyone outside of Australia has at least. Once you get here it won’t take long before you realise that craft brews are where it’s at. Fosters is actually pretty hard to find, so enjoy tasting your way around the emerging microbrew industry. It’s so worth it.
Surf’s good? Chuck a sickie!
If someone suggests that you “chuck a sickie”, trust me, they are not asking you to vom. Ew. It’s actually just a common way to say, “call in sick to work”. Trust us, when the sun’s shining and the surf is up, it is SO hard not to do it. Resist. Your mother taught you better than that.
“Footy” is the only sports word you need
In Europe there is one football (and basically no other sport matters). In Australia things are slightly more complicated. You have soccer, Rugby League, Rugby Union and AFL (Australian Rules Football) – yet all of these sports are also known simply as “footy.” How do people know which footy you’re referring to? Somehow they just know.
Speaking of footy…
Despite what you may be used to saying back home, here in Oz you shouldn't "root" for a team. How do we put this nicely? Let’s just say you should “support” your favourite footy team. That is the appropriate terminology. Just stick with that, trust us.
Hooroo is adult speak for see’ya!
It might sound like baby talk, or just mumbled nonsense, but actually it’s a real Aussie way to say farewell. You probably won’t hear this much in Sydney or Melbourne, but we’re sure you’ll get it a bit once you’re out of the big cities. Say it back. It’s fun!
Thongs are not sexy undies
This helpful knowledge may just save your bum from some seriously awkward situations (see what we did there?). Despite the delightful onomatopoeia of the word flip-flops, Aussies prefer to wear their thongs on their feet. Just go with it.
Everyone is your mate
This word is just everywhere. It’s like punctuation. There’s even a television channel called 7Mate. You don’t have to know someone to call them mate. Just be careful – it’s become so commonplace that people still use it even if they’re mad at you. Inflection is key.
Beetroot is the most popular condiment
She may not be the sexiest vegetable in the basket, but this curvy lady knows her way around a burger! And a salad… and a tart… and a soup… and a pizza (we said it)… or just roasted… Dude – she even makes a ridiculously yummy dip. You won’t even mind the stained fingers.
Tomato sauce is ketchup
…and vice versa? A few people use the terms interchangeably while others insist there is a difference (ketchup is thicker, spicier and has a hint of vinegar). Look, whichever term (or recipe) you prefer, it’s mandatory to pile it on your meat pies.
Avo on toast is everything
We don’t know how else to explain this one. Where there is toast, there is avocado. Get involved, because yum. So. Yum.