I talk about Australia a lot! It is the country that I have spent the most consecutive amount of time in, besides my home country, Canada. Australia is a lot like Canada. The cultural differences weren’t as significant as when I travelled to places like Asia or North Africa. For this reason it was really easy for me to travel through Australia, work and enjoy all of its beauty. I didn’t have to worry about a language barrier and similar businesses from home were there to greet me. But what did I really love about Australia? There are so many great things about this country, but I will highlight my favourite parts to you, and hopefully you can one day enjoy them too!
I think it is required to start off my favourite things about Australia with their slang vocabulary. When I said that there wasn’t a language barrier, that wasn’t entirely accurate. I may speak English but it took me some time to understand the commonly used slang words that Aussies use. Once you get used to them they can be quite amusing and you catch yourself using them when you’ve been in the country long enough. Here are some examples!
Avo: Short for avocado. “I’m going to pick up an avo from the market.”
Arvo: This got me confused. It means afternoon? “I’m going to pick up an avo from the market this arvo.”
Bottle-o: A bottle store, or a liquor store.
Barby: I’m sure most people know that barby is short for barbeque. “Let’s fire up the barby this arvo and cook a roo steak.”
Sweet as: This can mean a variety of things like, sweet, awesome, okay. There are other examples of how adding ‘as’ into the sentence changes it. “It’s hot as out here” means it’s very hot out here.
Besides the slang used, another one of my favourite things about Australia is the coastline. I once heard that you could visit a new beach every day in Australia for 29 years. A quick google search tells me that this means there are 10,685 beaches! Now I don’t know about you but I could commit to 29 years of chasing beaches if I had the time and money.
With the beaches also came the wildlife. I was happy to find out that seeing wildlife in Australia wasn’t as rare as I thought it might be. I went to Stewart Island below Melbourne to see penguins coming out of the water at sunset. I also got to go on a special river to see crocodiles in the wild. The amount of force hearing the snap of their jaws was incredible! There are many koala sanctuaries you can visit if you don’t see a koala in the wild and I saw kangaroos EVERYWHERE, as well as wallabies. The only downside to the wildlife was that driving at night was hazardous because of the amount of roos that are hit on the roads.
Speaking of driving, the scenic road trips you can do in Australia are unbelievable! The most well-known one is probably the Great Ocean Road. The rocky cliffs and the beautiful beaches all make these drives absolutely incredible. Another drive most people attempt is the east coast from Cairns to Sydney. Though a lot of this drive is on freeways without any ocean views, the big and small coastline towns along the way are worth stopping in. Each has their own vibe and culture.
When doing these road trips make sure you stop in Australia’s National Parks. I have worked in a National Park back home in Canada, so I always have an appreciation for them when I’m abroad. A few examples of great Parks I went to while I was in Australia were Litchfield NP and Uluru-Kata Tjuta NP in Northern Territory and Blue Mountains NP in New South Wales! These are some of the most picturesque locations in Australia, and are definitely worth a visit.
You don’t have to be in a National Park in Australia to have good hiking. There are tons of hiking trails in Australia which was something I was very interested in. An Adelaide local took my friend and I on a hike up Mt. Lofty for a beautiful view of the city meeting the ocean. It was so hot that it certainly helped that there was a café on the top! There is a gorgeous coastal walk in Port Macquarie that is 9km one way. Just beware that this one passes a nude beach where I only ever saw old Aussie men. It’s still worth the walk as long as you avert your eyes!
I also loved the surfing in this country! Now I should make it clear that I didn’t successfully learn to surf in Australia. I learnt in Bali on significantly smaller waves. My one day of trying to surf in Australia-being my first attempt ever- led me to doing what my friends and I like to call ‘the scorpion’. Basically I fell over the front of the board and my ankle band pulled me underwater in a way that made my feet nearly touch the back of my head. I am not a flexible person and my back was out for the next month. But I still loved going to the beach and watching other people successfully surf while I healed!
Something I didn’t expect in Australia was the amount of vegetarian options that were available in most places. The best veggie burgers and sausages I have ever had were in Australia. There is a ‘fast food’ chain in the bigger cities called ‘Lord of The Fries’ which I highly recommend to people. It’s actually vegan and it sells everything from burgers, hot dogs and milkshakes! I am a pescatarian, so I can eat fish, but I was so happy to find that there were lots of vegetarian options while travelling. It made my trip so much easier! The only exception to this was travelling though tiny towns in the outback, where the only place to buy food was a gas station that sold chocolate, chips and meat pies.
As someone who worked while travelling Australia, another thing that I loved was the minimum wage. It is $17.70 per hour right now, which is $17.35 Canadian. This meant that as long as I was getting paid legally in Australia is was quite easy to work for a few months and save a lot of money for the rest of my travels!
Like many places, the cities were usually more expensive than the small towns. I grew up in a few different small towns in Canada, and have never been a city person, so this suited me. Regardless of this, the cities in Australia were still some of my favourite places to visit. They were so clean, accessible and the skylines were beautiful! Some of my best moments were walking through multiple parks in Sydney trying to find the best lookout point of the Opera House.
Australia is huge and this can be seen as a good and a bad thing. I have been to Australia twice now, having only seen Sydney on my first trip. It solidified my need to come again because I realised how much more there was to see. If you look at a map of Australia and the United States they are nearly the same size! I didn’t get to see all that I wanted to in the seven months I was there, but when looking at all my favourite things in this country, it makes the choice of going back in the future so much easier to make!