I’ve been living in Australia for a few months now and I have to say, I like Australians but some things they do are darn right weird! Here are my top 10 weird things about Aussies!
1. They don’t lock their doors
I’ve been spending my time housesitting across Australia so I’ve been living in the local people’s houses. And it’s just bizarre that most people don’t lock their houses when they go out! One lady I house sat for didn’t even own any house keys! I mean it’s great that people are so trusting, but I just can’t get my head round it!
2. Lots of them walk around barefoot
This one is weird, but kind of cute. You see it in New Zealand too. You’ll see people walking down the street barefoot and people even doing the grocery shopping barefoot. I still double take whenever I see it but I kind of like it. Plus when my shoes broke, it meant I didn’t look like a total weirdo when I had to walk home barefoot!
3. They do their laundry with cold water
SO. WEIRD. Can’t get my head around this one. They only use cold water in the washing machine to wash their clothes. Most of their washing machines aren’t even connected to a hot water supply so you can’t even attempt to wash them in warm water! What’s that about?!
4. They aren’t fazed by deadly animals
Australians live amongst some of the world’s most deadliest animals. Deadly spiders, snakes, sharks, jellyfish and crocodiles. And none of it really bothers them!
During my first month of living in Brisbane I came face to face with a python. I freaked out so much I ran all the way home, even though passers by said ‘oh it’s only a python!’. I was living in Sydney during Sydney funnel-web spider season and was paranoid 24/7 I would come across one that I even started dreaming about them!
If you’re going to Australia it’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the deadly species here and where you can find them, so that you can recognise them and know how to avoid them!
Deadly species in Australia include:
Spiders – funnel webs and red backs. The Sydney Funnel Web spider is probably the most deadly spider in the world. It is only found around the Greater Sydney area and is active at night and especially after rain in the warm season. The males in particular are more active and love to hide in cool dark places such as in your shoes. They are aggressive and will bite it’s victim several times. Red backs (also known as the Australian Black Widow) are small (about 1cm) and are found throughout the country. Both are potentially deadly but antivenom is available.
Snake – the Taipan snake is the world’s most venomous snake and is found in the desert in Australia. Brown snakes and tiger snakes are also found in Australia and are highly venomous.
Great White Shark – this one is self explanatory I think.
Box Jellyfish – the most toxic animal on earth. It’s toxins can kill you within minutes. They are very hard to spot as they are transparent. Found mainly in Northern Australia from October-March.
Saltwater Crocodiles – ‘salties’ are very aggressive and are found mainly in Darwin in estuaries and the ocean.
Blue ringed Octopus – there is no known anti-venom for these highly venomous creatures that give a fatal sting.
5. They always shorten words and have a lot of strange expressions!
Aussies use a lot of slang words and they are forever using abbreviations and shortening words. English is my first language and sometimes I still get lost in translation with Aussies so I can’t imagine how foreigners must feel!
Here are some translations for Aussie slang:
thongs – flip-flops
eski – cool box used to keep food or drink (usually beers) cool. Eski is short for eskimo and was adopted by an Australian brand of portable coolers known as Esky.
mozzie – mosquito
servo – service station/garage.
stubby – a bottle of beer. A stubby holder is a material cover that keeps the beer cool and stops your hands getting cold when holding the beer.
tinny – can of beer
bottleo – bottle shop (alcohol store).
tradie – a tradesman.
arvo – afternoon
rego – registration plate
chook – chicken
brekky – breakfast
g’day – hello (short for good day)
rellies – relatives
barbie – barbeque.
Maccas – McDonalds. Even when you go to a McDonalds here the sign outside will often say Maccas!
manchester – bed linen
bogan – equivalent of a redneck, chav, ‘trailer trash’. Unrefined/unsophisticated person often of low social status.
Sometimes even if you haven’t heard the word before, you can guess what it is from the context (because they shorten everything)! For example: cuppa = cup of tea, avo = avocado, chokky bikkie = chocolate biscuit, eggs Benny = eggs Benedict, sickie = sick day. You get the gist!
As for the strange expressions Aussies have: you’ll hear “She’ll be right’ more times than you care to count. A phrase meaning that everything will be okay – reflecting the Australian laid-back attitude to everything.
And the infamous ‘Yeh, nah’. Meaning I understand your point of view, but I don’t really agree or care.
And you’ll notice everyone calls everyone mate even if you’ve never met them before! This shows how Aussies are quite informal and endearing with their language.
6. They swear ALL the time!
Australians are known as being a nation that swears a lot, whether they are happy or sad. They just swear all the time. If someone calls you the ‘c’ word here, it’s not an insult – it’s used in an affectionate way towards friends! My mouth literally dropped to the floor the first time my friend called me it as it’s such a bad word back home in the UK. And it’s not just the young Aussies that swear – even the older generation unreservedly use the ‘f’ word infront of strangers during normal conversations. It’s kind of weird if you’re not used to it.
7. They have a weird obsession with Vegemite
Vegemite is an Australian breakfast spread that Aussies are brought up eating. It is the Australian equivalent of British Marmite. It’s part of their everyday diet – you’ll find it in every Aussie home – and you’ll be very hard pressed to find an Aussie who doesn’t love it. It is most commonly eaten on toast with butter, but you can even buy Dairy Milk flavoured Vegemite chocolate bars! Non-Australians are generally not a fan of Vegemite and do not understand this obsession Aussies have with it.
8. They have lots of different ways to order a beer
Anywhere else in the world you go to the pub and you can either get a pint, half pint or a bottle of beer. Simple. In Australia however, things are a bit more complicated. Every Australian State has a different meaning for what the size of a beer glass is called!
They don’t actually drinks ‘pints’ often: they usually drink from a glass that is a little bit smaller than a regular UK pint size, which is 20 fl oz (568 mls) for reference.
15 fl oz (425 mls)
If you’re in the states of South Australia (eg: Adelaide) or Victoria (eg: Melbourne) a pint is 15 fl oz (425 mls).
All the other states however call this a ‘schooner‘.
10 fl oz (285 mls)
In NSW (eg: Sydney), WA (eg: Perth) and ACT (eg: Canberra), 10 fl oz (285 mls) is known as a ‘middy‘.
In Queensland (eg: Brisbane) and Victoria this is known as a ‘pot‘.
NT (eg: Darwin) call it a ‘handle‘.
In Tasmania it is known as a ‘ten‘.
And in South Australia this is referred to as a ‘schooner’.
Confusing right? If in doubt, just order a bottle of beer – you can’t go wrong there!
9. They eat kangaroo – their National Emblem!
No other nation in the world eats their National Emblem! Not all Aussies eat kangaroo though – half of them have never tried it and many people don’t agree with eating the animal on their Coat of Arms so refuse to eat it out of respect and patriotism. But a lot of them have eaten it.
Kangaroo was a staple meat for the indigenous Aboriginal Australians prior to European settlement. Nowadays it is not seen as a common meat to eat, but it is available at supermarkets, and many restaurants serve it as a gourmet item. Many tourists will try it when they are here as it is seen as exotic. Kangaroo is a healthy lean meat with a low fat percentage, and Australia exports kangaroo meat to several countries.
10. Cyclists wear spikes on their helmets
Initially I found this weird that people have spikes coming out of their helmets, but then when I saw and understood why – it made perfect sense. This doesn’t happen all year though. Only for around 4-6 weeks of the year (any time around spring – between July to November) when it is ‘magpie swooping season’. Magpie season can be a scary time to be in Australia! Male magpies and crows can get quite aggressive and protective during the breeding season. They will swoop and even attack people if they go near their nest and are deemed as a threat by the bird. It is done in a defensive manner to protect their nest but it sure is scary – especially as it will probably catch you off guard as you won’t be aware where the nests are!
In these areas there are signs warning of this behaviour. Pedestrians are encouraged to keep walking and cyclists are encouraged to wear spikes on their helmets so the birds won’t hit them. Several fatalities have been caused by cyclists swerving to avoid these magpies, so it is a serious matter. I even had one magpie who continually would swoop and keep hitting my dog! It was quite scary! To scare the birds off you can try to wave your arms and just keep walking/cycling. But it’s just best to avoid the area until swooping season is over if possible.
What about you, any other weird things Australians do that you’ve noticed? Drop me a comment below if you can think of any more!