Topics include Transportation, Dining Scene, For Foreign Visitors & more!
Australians speak easily to you in pubs and restaurants and enjoy a brew or a nice glass of wine with foreigners. Mostly all of the restaurants are BYO which allows you to bring in your own bottle of wine to save some money. They definitely make you feel welcome!
Australia is a sporting country and sport plays a huge role in the national psyche. In rugby there is a long standing rivalry between NSW and QLD, especially around state of origin time (a major rugby league series played between the two states) if you happen to be in either state during the games try to wear the state colours (light blue - NSW, Maroon - QLD), the locals will appreciate the effort. Equally NSW and VIC are old rivals in all sports.
Beach culture is also an important part of the Australian way of life. With a huge percentage of the population living within a short drive of the beach, and with some of the best beaches in the world, Aussies love the ocean.
Australians also love to gamble. Some say Aussies would bet on two flies crawling up a wall. In major cities you will usually be able to find a casino, in some states devices like poker machines known as "one armed bandits" are very common and popular in pubs and more particularly clubs. If you're in Australia on the 25th April, Anzac Day, keep your eyes open for Two-up Schools. It's a game of chance where a couple of pennies are tossed in the air and the onlookers bet on the result. In NSW at least it's illegal any day but Anzac Day. In more remote areas, you might find unusual races you can bet on, perhaps cane toads or cockroaches. If it can move you can organise a race for betting..
Australians tend to be rather forthright. They generally say what they mean, without a lot of dancing tactfully around a subject. This mixes in with the sense of humour, which can be very deadpan, so it can be difficult to detect when someone is joking. Teasing is a common way of testing someone, and then of letting you know you've been accepted. Australians in general don't take themselves too seriously, and are quick to poke fun at themselves and others, but it's not meant to cause offence. Just have a laugh and you'll get on just fine. Particularly common for teasing is sporting events. Especially if you're from the UK. Just give it back as much as you get it and have a laugh, it's all meant in fun.
..oh and if someone insists you try vegemite, don't try to be polite if you don't like it. Odds on, they'll be expecting a reaction, Aussies know very well that foreign visitors don't tend to like it. If you don't like it lay it on thick, perhaps even act like you've been poisoned. They'll love it, but you'll never hear the end of it either!
On the other hand, an authentically delicious Australian food is Tim Tams, a chocolate covered biscuit. If a foreign visitor wants to see something interesting, they could request to see it eaten the "proper way"...as a Tim Tam Slam!
As Australians drive on the left, other kinds of traffic is left sided too. This includes walkways and swimming pool lanes. This also means in all cases, escalators included, etiquette calls for slower traffic on the left and faster passing traffic on the right.
Australians share slang with many other cultures, and a quick Google search will reveal many Aussie slang dictionaries. Mozzie for mosquito, barbie for barbeque and sunnies for sunglasses are pretty easy to figure out. Long-winded phrases like "driving the porcelain bus " are easy enough to ask at the time. Below are a few words that are not so obvious and may be of use when travelling (particularly for backpackers). For info on Australia Slang - see link below.
Thongs = flipflops, rubber footwear with a strap between the toes
Pants/ daks= trousers
Underpants / underdaks/ undies= underwear
Singlet = tank top
Bathers/ swimmers/ togs/ cozzie/ boardies/ speedos = swimming costume
Esky = insulated/cool food box
Lollies = sweets, candy
Chook = chicken
Grog/p*ss/plonk/goon/turps/coldie = various alcohol
Bottle Shop/ Bottl'o = for take-away alcohol
Slab or carton = pack of 24 beers
Tallie/Longneck = large bottle of beer
Stubbie/Grenade/throwdown= small bottle of beer
Tinnie = can of beer (or small aluminium boat)
Pint/Schooner = large glass of beer
Pot/Middie = small glass of beer (pot is also marijuana)
Shout = your turn to buy a round of drinks
Waterhole = pub
Durry /Fag /Rollie= cigarette
Snag = sausage (also 'Sensitive New Age Guy")
Sanger = sandwich
Chuck/chunder/spew = vomit
Runs/trots-=diarrhoea (trots are also horse races)
Chemist = pharmacy
Crook = sick
Ocker /yobbo = stereotypical unsophisticated Australian person (or their accent)
'Arvo = short for afternoon
Smoko = smoke or coffee breakPash = long passionate kiss
Box/idiot box = television
Doona = duvet, quilt or warm bedcover
Ta = thank you
Bloke = man
Sheila = woman
Dunny = toilet
Ute = (utility vehicle) tray back vehicle, pick up truck
Pokie = poker machine, slot machine