A land of sunny beaches, rugged outback, and friendly locals, Australia is the ideal destination for many travelers. While most people have the experience of a lifetime in the Land Down Under, there are a few things to be aware of that could possibly ruin your trip if you’re not careful.

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Australia is unlike any other country, so there are certain protocols to follow when it comes to safety, laws, and getting the best value for your money. There are a lot of silly mistakes that rookies tend to make in Australia, but the good news is they’re all totally avoidable! Keep reading to find out what mistakes you should avoid making in Australia.

10 Hiking Alone In The Outback

There are some countries where long walks into the wilderness by yourself are safe enough if you know what you’re doing. Australia is not one of those countries.

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Even if you are a seasoned camper, the Australian outback is much harsher than most foreigners realize. While beautiful and a sight that you will remember forever, it’s best tackled with backup in case something goes wrong. As The Culture Trippoints out, you’ll be facing an unfamiliar landscape, threatening weather, and animals that really can kill you. Plus, the country is so large that there might not be another human around for miles.

9 Thinking Things Will Cost The Same As They Do In The U.S.

There are plenty of reasons to visit Australia, but the cost factor isn’t one of them. When you’re planning a trip Down Under, make sure you budget ahead because Australia is incredibly expensive by U.S. standards.

On average, you’ll spend around $30 per meal when eating out. That doesn’t include drinks, and free refills aren’t a thing. Cocktails are also much more expensive than they are in other countries. But the good news is you won’t have to tip in most places. The cost of living is high but so are the wages.

8 Underestimating The Size Of The Country

People tend to imagine Australia as being quite a small country. In reality, it’s almost the same size as the United States. Remember this when planning your trip. Jumping from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef to Uluru in three days just isn’t going to happen.

It’s a mistake to try and see everything at once when you’re in Australia for the first time, especially if you’re only in the country for a few weeks. You’re better off exploring a few places in-depth rather than hopping from location to location, spending hours traveling in between, and being too exhausted to enjoy any of it.

7 Swimming Beyond The Red And Yellow Flags

Australia has a reputation as a breeding ground of horrific creatures that can kill you with one bite. It’s really not as bad as the rumors make it seem, but you do still need to exercise caution. You’re unlikely to run into poisonous snakes and spiders in the cities. At the beach, however, there is sometimes a risk of coming into contact with sharks and other dangerous sea creatures.

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Luckily, Australian lifeguards are well aware of the risks and patrol the beaches religiously. All you have to do is swim between the flags which mark the safest area of the water. If you swim beyond the flags, you are at greater risk of sea creatures and dangerous water.

6 Not Being Sun Smart

If there’s one thing that people always underestimate when they visit Australia, it’s the power of the sun. The ozone layer over Australia is thinned, which means more UV radiation can reach the earth. According to the Cancer Council of Australia, two in three Aussies will get a skin cancer diagnosis by the time they reach 70 years of age.

It is super important to be sun smart while in Australia. This means slathering on sunscreen that is SPF30+ strength and making sure it’s water-resistant. Also, be sure to wear a hat and protect the top of your scalp.

5 Expecting It To Beach Weather All The Time

While it can get extremely hot in Australia, you don’t want to make the mistake of believing that the weather is hot all the time. Aussie summers last from December to March, with the hot weather lingering a little on either side. The weather is typically mild in spring and autumn, but in winter, the temperatures do drop.

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Being such a large country, Australia has different climates depending on where you are, from the tropical north to the south that reflects a Mediterranean climate. Research on what the weather will be during your visit and pack accordingly!

4 Trying To Cuddle A Wild Koala

Koalas and kangaroos are Australian icons. Many tourists arrive Down Under wanting to get up close and personal with these furry creatures, but this isn’t a good idea if you happen upon them in the wild. Both koalas and kangaroos can be vicious when they feel threatened, like any animal trying to protect itself. Both have sharp claws that you’ll want to avoid.

If you really want to cuddle these creatures, head to a local wildlife park where you can feed them pre-approved food. The animals in the wildlife parks are much more used to human contact and are generally safer.

3 Neglecting All The Other Amazing Beaches For Bondi

Bondi Beach is the most famous beach in Australia. It does boast sublime views of the ocean and has pristine white sands, but so do plenty of other beaches in the country. And unlike Bondi, they won’t be packed with tourists.

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While Bondi is still worth a visit, if you really want to experience a relaxing day at the beach in true Aussie style, head to a lesser-known beach where you’ll have much more room to yourself. Some of the most beautiful beaches in the country are located in Queensland and along the New South Wales coast.

2 Booking A Flight With A Quick Layover

Most foreigners don’t appreciate what it’s like to make the flight to Australia until they’ve done it. Because of this, many people book connecting flights with quick layovers, hoping to get to Australia as quickly as possible. This is a mistake.

After a 13+ hour flight to your layover destination, you’ll probably be in the mood for a good rest before you have to get on yet another long flight to reach Australia, which will sometimes be more than eight or nine hours. It’s better to take it slow so you don’t get overwhelmed with the insane amount of traveling that’s required.

1 Not Realizing How Strict Custom Laws Are

Aussies are known for being easy-going, and for the most part, that stereotype tends to ring true. But there are a few things that Australians are really strict on, and that’s custom and quarantine laws. The flora and fauna of Australia are incredibly unique, so customs officials are very particular about what is allowed to come into the country.

In general, you’ll have to declare things like spices, fur, leather, honey products, juice, meat, nuts, pet food, seeds, seashells, and a range of other items. It’s better to check up on the laws than to have your belongings confiscated at the airport.

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