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With the correct research, planning and a lot of sunscreen, traveling around Australia is relatively safe and easy. As this beautiful continent is no stranger to tourism, you’ll easily find plenty of information online to help plan your trip. The infrastructure is also pretty travel-friendly in terms of local tourist information, public transport and accommodation.
Although Australia delivers on the beautiful climate, weather and natural beauty most tourists hope to see, there is much more to it than first meets the eye. Below, I’ve compiled a helpful list of ten things you probably don’t know about traveling around Australia.
1. It’s bigger then you think
Australia is often thought of as being a small country but in reality, if you compare the land size of Australia to the U.S., Australia is only slightly smaller at 7,692 square kilometers. However, the population is much smaller compared to the massive land size, with only 24.6 million people residing in the country. 85% of the population lives within a 50km of coastline, with vast empty areas in the middle as much of the country is inhospitable. Get ready for long travel times!
2. The middle is a whole load of nothingness
If you’re planning to road trip through the middle of Australia then prepare yourself for a lot of driving. Parts of the country are completely inhospitable, and you need to prepare to visit them. Distances in Australia are long and the destinations to get supplies are few and far between, so make sure you stock up and plan accordingly. A trip from Melbourne to world famous Ayers rock is over 2,000KM, roughly 25 hours of driving!
3. Get ready for Australian slang
You probably already know that English is the native language spoken throughout Australia. However, the slang words you might hear as you speak to the natives in Australia will differ greatly from anything you’ll hear throughout the rest of the English speaking world. Did you know, for example, that ‘bathers’ means swimsuit, ‘no wuckas’ is another way of saying no worries, and if someone says ‘rapt’ that means they’re very happy?
These words are only a small sample of the odd terminology you will hear during your travels. Some might seem self-explanatory when heard in the context of a good Aussie conversation over a cold frothy (beer), but some Australian slang phrases sound like another language to those who aren’t in the know. I recommend you research some Australian slang words before you head down under.
4. Different kinds of Summer
If you’re traveling around different cities in Australia, it’s important to remember that some regions experience different kinds of summer than others. In Brisbane (even during the typical months of summer in Australia) you can expect to experience colder weather that requires light knitwear and layers – remember the sun will still be strong though. Perth, on the other hand, offers travelers the more typical warm and humid climate expected in Australia. If you’re lucky enough to be heading over to Darwin too, you can most likely expect a warm climate all year round.
Wherever you’re heading during the months of summer in Oz, don’t forget to take all of the usual holiday safety precautions such as wearing sun cream and resting in the shade when in direct sun.
5. They Don’t Drink Fosters
The only place Fosters seems to be popular is outside of Australia. If you go into a bar in Australia and order a Foster’s you’ll be met with some strange looks. It’s widely unpopular and almost unheard of in some parts of the countries. It’s actually brewed under license in Britain, the biggest international market for the beer. So what do Australians actually drink? Much like the rest of the world, beer preferences change depending on where you are. In Queensland, they’re fond of XXXX Gold while around Adelaide and South Australia, Coopers is popular.
6. You’ll disconnect from the world a little more
Many places in Australia don’t get a mobile or Wi-Fi connection. In places where a connection is available, you might find it to be a little slower and a lot more expensive than you’re used to paying. With so much natural beauty around, you’ll hardly even notice though. Sit back, embrace the lack of connection and use the downtime to recharge and reflect. If you need Wi-Fi to keep in touch with families, add stops at reputable internet cafes to your travel itinerary and schedule video chats with loved ones.
7. The wages are higher
If you’re planning on traveling without working in Australia, you might wonder why the average national wage rate matters to you. However, this higher rate of the minimum wage means that tipping service staff isn’t usually the done thing in Australia. All service charges are included with your bill, and you don’t need to add any more money on top of that to leave a tip.
8. There’s snow?!
Although Australia is typically associated with beautiful, dry, weather, some parts of Australia are prone to a little snow. In fact, the Australian Alps actually receive more snowfall than the Swiss Alps between the months of June and December. The Australian Alps mountain range covers approximately 650km between New South Wales and Victoria, offering travelers a unique experience that reaches way beyond what is expected from traveling this unique continent.
Most people head to Australia to experience the world-famous beaches, enjoyable climate, and endless natural beauty. However, this culturally lavish continent offers travelers an endless raft of unexpected and hidden beauty.
9. Made in Australia
Over 80% of Australia’s plants, mammals, and reptile are endemic to the country, meaning they can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Some of the more famous animals include the koala, kangaroo, dingo, platypus, and wallaby. It’s a whole lot of cuteness down under, and the country offers many opportunities to see the wildlife. Come face to face with Kangaroos and Wallabies in Namadgi and Kosciuszko National Park, or watch a paradise of Penguin parade in Phillip Island Nature Park. Yes, it’s real, and it’s as adorable as you’re imagining.
10. And Not Everything is Trying to Kill You
If there’s anything people think of when it comes to Australia is that everything wants to kill you. I actually know people who refuse to visit the country because of this stereotype. While the country does have its fair share of venomous countries, the amount of related death is shockingly low. There’s only one death from snakebite every year, and that’s normally from someone who tried to pick up the snake and then didn’t get treatment after. Snakes only bite if they feel threatened! Further to that, There hasn’t been a spider-related death since 1979. Admittedly, the box jellyfish can be intimidating but you’re not actually allowed to swim where they are. And lastly, there are no more shark-related deaths than any other country with an extensive coastline. Don’t let Australia’s creatures scare you off – it’s a beautiful country with so much to see