A is for Australia: Think Aussie with these 5 Tourist Tips

April 1st has finally rolled around bringing with it the start of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge . Good luck to all the participants – whether you’re a first timer and new to blogging like me or a seasoned blogger and Challenge champion. And a big thank you to the A to Z Challenge gods for giving my blog a shout out in their weekly wrap up  last night. It means much.

Living in this time zone, I guess I am one of the first cabs of the rank… so let the alphablogging games begin!

Australia is my homeland and I am an Aussie. Aussies tend to refer to Australia as the lucky country, with good reason. Leaving politics aside, Australia is truly blessed with natural beauty (and beauties), a terrific climate, unique killer wildlife (the beauties aren’t included in that statement) and wonderful freedoms. I am truly grateful to be living here.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were just over 500,000 visitor arrivals to our fair shores in January 2012, the majority of which were from New Zealand (75,000), China (77,200) United Kingdom (57,000) and United States of America (38,000).

If you have ever travelled to a country for the first time, you know that there’s a fine line between fitting in and looking so much at home that you are asked for directions by other tourists! No tourist wants to stand out with a big “T” on their forehead. So here’s my 5 tips on how to do Australia like an Aussie:

1.       Do your tanning on the beach – Australia is blessed with some of the most amazing beaches in the world. Crystal blue waters and soft white sand abound. If you are visiting a coastal city, do your tanning at the beach and not in a mid-city park. The only Aussies who wear a bikini in the park are those visiting a public swimming pool located there and those coming home after a big night on the town, having lost their clothes. Besides, you haven’t really experienced tanning until you have had sand in your cozzie (Aussie word for swimming costume) and crevices.

2.       A temperature of less than fifteen degrees Celsius does not a summer day make – Australia is blessed with amazing weather. Summers are hot and winters are temperate. However, to most Aussies a temperature of fifteen degrees does not constitute a day worthy of shorts and a tank top. Appropriate dress for fifteen degrees is jeans, a jumper and a neck scarf!

3.       Treat the possibility of a shark attack with the same caution as the possibility of a car accident   – most Aussies are acutely aware that there are killer sharks swimming in our oceans. This does not stop us from enjoying the surf. News of death by shark attack is rare and reports of shark attacks seem to be greatly exaggerated by overseas media.   

By contrast, treat the possibility of a crocodile attack seriously. For some reason, they particularly like the taste of European tourists.

 4.       Give everything a short, pithy nickname  – Aussies tend to shorten the name of everything and everyone. Any word with more than three syllables is too much to say after a few drinks. For example, ” McDonalds” becomes “Maccas” (you’ll probably really need to know that one after a few drinks), Barbeque becomes “Barby”, “Kimberley” becomes “Kimbo” and “Politicians” become “a waste of space” er… I mean “Pollies”.

5.       Savour all of our amazing food – Australians love to eat Aussie food. We love our  pizza, yiros, pad thai, and donner kebab. Any dish which contains pineapple is considered Australian even if it originated from another country.

Now that you have had a taste of my homeland I hope you’ll come on down. Follow these tips and you’ll be tourist savvy in no time.

[photo of the letter A from flikr - Leo Reynolds]