In some ways, Australia is similar to the United States and the United Kingdom. But in many other ways, it’s totally different and may make you feel like you’ve landed on another planet! There are a few things that take some getting used to for foreigners in Australia, and if they're not careful, a few classic mistakes that tourists tend to make on their first visit.
Avoiding the standard mistakes that travelers in Australia make is pretty easy! It comes down to common sense and research. Keep reading to find out what 10 mistakes rookies tend to make their first time in Australia that you can avoid!
10 Only Visiting The Tourist Hotspots
Like any other country, Australia has endless sights to see beyond the most famous ones. It’s a mistake to travel all the way Down Under and only visit the places that are crawling with tourists. For example, there are so many fantastic beaches in Australia besides the famous Bondi, and those won’t be packed to the brim with people.
Do your research and include stops in your itinerary that are off the beaten track. Australia has lots of amazing surprises for those who are willing to look for them
9 Not Taking The Sun Seriously
One of the biggest mistakes a tourist in Australia can make is not taking the sun seriously. There’s a reason they call it a sunburnt country! The sun in Australia is just stronger than it is in other countries. Sitting by the pool all day in the Mediterranean might leave you with a gorgeous tan, but doing so in Australia will probably leave you red and blistering.
Skin cancer is a huge killer in Australia, and even though you’re not likely to do that much damage on one visit, it’s still something to be aware of. Follow the Aussie rule and “slip, slop, slap” that sunscreen on.
8 Trying To Do Too Much In Too Little Time
The thing that most foreigners don’t realize about Australia is that it’s a huge country. As far as landmass goes, it nearly reaches the size of the US, even if it has only a fraction of the population. Saying you want to see all of Australia on one two-week trip is like saying you want to see all of the US on a two-week trip. Not going to happen!
Rather than rushing through the destinations and attractions, it’s better to take your time. Maybe stick to the eastern coast, seeing Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, and do other parts of the country the next time.
7 Being Terrified Of Insects, Crocodiles, And Snakes
Nothing can stop you from having a good time like fear can! If you believe the stereotypes about Australia, you probably think that you have to be on guard for your life during your visit, lest you get eaten by a crocodile or some kind of gigantic bug. Don’t let that fear stop you from having fun! It’s just not realistic.
While there are things that can kill you in Australia, just like there are in every other country, they’re not generally walking around the city centers waiting to pounce!
6 Going To A Zoo Over A Wildlife Park
If you are interested in seeing the native animals when you visit Australia, make sure you opt for a wildlife park over a zoo. You’ll find wildlife parks on the outskirts of the major cities and in rural areas. Generally, animals like kangaroos and emus are allowed to roam free rather than being confined in cages in these kinds of parks.
Also, remember to check out the other Australian animals besides the famous kangaroos and koalas. Look out for the burrowing wombat, the swimming platypus, and the porcupine-like echidna!
5 Not Brushing Up On Any Aussie Slang
A lot of people think that because Australia is an English-speaking country, they don’t need to learn any new vocab before traveling there. But depending on where you’re going in Australia, you may need to brush up non some Aussie slang.
Locals will still understand you if you speak regular British or American English, but you might not be able to understand them. It’s just a little easier to know what’s going on if you understand words like “brekky” (breakfast) and “thongs” (flip-flops). There are lots of websites online where you can learn some Aussie slang for free! Margot Robbie even teaches a crash-course on Aussie slang on YouTube.
4 Underestimating How Expensive Everything Is
One of the main differences between Australia and the United States is the tipping culture. Generally, Australians don’t tip because servers don’t rely on tips to make ends meet. The average wage in Australia is higher than that in America, which means that the cost of living is higher as well.
In most cases, things like food, accommodation, transport, and entertainment will be more expensive in Australia than you were expecting. Also, don’t forget to account for the currency difference! But the good news is you won’t be expected to leave a tip at the end of your meal.
3 Not Taking Customs Laws Seriously
Australia is an easy-going country until it comes to protecting the local ecosystem and wildlife. Then it becomes very strict! Oz is notorious for its strict customs laws and the harsh penalties it imposes when you break these laws. To stay out of a lot of trouble, make sure that you always follow the rules.
You’ll be told what goods to declare at the airport before you even leave the plane. That includes fruit and vegetables, food hampers, and anything made with straw or bark. Just be honest and declare everything and you won’t get into any trouble!
2 Forgetting To Learn About Indigenous Culture
Today, Australia is an incredibly multicultural country with a culture that has been influenced by nations right around the world. You’ll get to experience a lot of these influences Down Under, but don’t forget to explore and learn about the culture of the first people to set foot on the land: the Indigenous Australians.
You can see Aboriginal artwork throughout the art galleries and museums of the country, but there are also specific cultural centers in each city that specialize in teaching people about the culture of the Indigenous people.
1 Not Trying Classic Australian Foods
You can get pretty much any food you want while in Australia. But it’s a mistake to visit and not try classic Aussie foods while you’ve got the chance to! Even if they’re not to your taste, it’s part of the experience to at least taste some quintessentially Australian dishes.
Yes, this means trying vegemite! It’s not as bad as it looks as long as you have it with lots of bread and butter. Also be sure to try fairy bread, Tim Tams, snags from the barbie, burgers with the lot, lamingtons and pavlova.