Read on as there’s much more to getting by in Australia than knowing how to cope with spiders, understanding traffic rules and being mad about vegemite.
While English is the official language of Australia, more than 300 languages are spoken throughout the country. This includes Mandarin, Italian, Arabic and Greek. You might also hear Aboriginal influences through words like boomerang and kangaroo.
Australians have our own unique slang and phrases. If you want to sound like an Aussie, get familiar with words like g’day (hello), ‘bloke’ (man) and barbie (barbeque). You may also come across some odd phrases and rhyming slang, where one part of a phrase is removed and replaced with a word that rhymes. For instance, “Captain Cook” means to have a look and “Bag of fruit” means a suit.
What exactly is Australian food? We may lay claim to many delicious food creations but our love for Aussie food ‘classics’ suggests that we prefer the simpler things in life. From avacado or vegemite on toast, lamingtons, meat pies to chicken parmigiana and pavlovas, these are the ultimate Aussie favourite eats.
Fortunately, these are not your only choices. Thanks to our multicultural society you can find almost any variety of food that you fancy in Australia. The whole country boasts world-standard restaurants and innovative cafes, offering a variety of cuisines such as Chinese, Thai, Japanese, French, African, Greek, Turkish, Italian and Mexican.
While meat is a core part of the Australian diet, many enjoy a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle so you'll almost always find a vegetarian option on any restaurant or café menu down under. Aussies have also broadened their healthy eating habits so increasingly specific dietary requirements such as Kosher, Halal, Gluten free, and Vegan are being catered for in supermarkets, restaurants and cafes.
Australians also have a love of the outdoors. Picnics, family barbeques, parties, a day at the beach and gatherings at the park are all essential to the Australian way of life. Most homes have a BBQ and BBQs are readily available in parks and beaches.
Sport is a huge part of the Australian way of life and a national fixation! Cricket, Australian Rules Football (AFL), Rugby League, Rugby Union, soccer, swimming, basketball and horse racing are among the most popular and enjoy a high level of participation at the grounds or via broadcast.
Nearly every Australian suburb and town boast top-class sporting facilities to provide an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active and strengthen social connections. Weekends are usually spent having a backyard ‘barbie’, playing cricket or Aussie Rules Footy with family and friends, where a cold beer is often a must.
Australia has a rich history of hosting major international sports events and world championships. There’s never a shortage of events on the sporting calendar with AFL, Melbourne Cup, Australian Tennis Open, Formula One Grand Prix and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race to keep sports fans happy.
Aussies tend to be casual and relaxed and are not very big on formal greetings. When meeting for the first time, generally Australians shake hands, smile and introduce themselves with their first names. They love their laid-back lifestyle and take their time with family and friends very seriously.
Giving and exchanging gifts with family, friends, neighbours and workmates on birthdays and Christmas is common. If you have been invited to someone’s home for a meal, it is polite to bring a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates for the hosts. Please be punctual as it is impolite if you are late by more than 15 minutes. If your delay is unavoidable, contact and inform your host ahead of time.
Australia has a generally temperate climate where most of the country receives more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. There are four seasons across most of the country and a wet and dry season in the tropical north. Mild winters and warm to hot summers are what attract most people to Australia especially those hoping to escape scorching heat, high humidity, dreary winters and unhealthy air quality.
Download your preferred weather app and use it to determine what you should wear and bring with you. In some Australian cities, you may experience four seasons in a day so it always helps to be prepared. A beautiful sunny day can quickly transform into a cold wet one so carrying an umbrella, sunglasses, hat and dressing in layers is a tried-and-true way to maximize your comfort in the outdoors.