Today’s episode about famous things across the globe is about Australia, so we have asked our fellow travel blogger Ben of “Horizon Unknown” What is Australia famous for? This is what he came up with!
There are a number of things Australia is famous for. From deadly creatures to meat pies and golden beaches to Australian slang pretty much a whole new language.
Australia is often seen as one of those countries that are unique. As an Australian, it took me a fair bit of travel to realize some things are Australian.
It’s always interesting to hear what other countries think about Australia – some are true, and some not so much. Sure, there are some common culture shocks in Australia, but many of the great things about this great nation are well known.
Here are the 15 most well-known things about Australia. I’m pretty sure a few will surprise you as you read through this list.
15 Things Australia is famous for
#1 The Deadly animals (aren’t as bad as you think)
One of the most common comments I get is, “everything in Australia wants to kill you.”
Now I won’t lie and say venomous snakes and poisonous fish aren’t in Australia because that would be a lie.
The Eastern Brown Snake (2nd deadliest snake in the world) and the Funnel Web Spider (8th deadliest spider in the world) aren’t uncommon, but I’ve only seen a handful of each during 23 years of living in Australia.
To be fair, Australia is also home to the Inland Taipan, the deadliest snake in the world, but humans rarely come into contact with this species.
Crocodiles, jellyfish, sharks, and plenty more snakes and spiders can turn your beautiful day exploring Australia into a rush to the hospital.
It might be that I grew up always checking my shoes for something that might bite me or checking my hand placement before picking something up, but I don’t think Australia is that deadly.
Sure, they are out there, but encountering these deadly animals is few and far between.
#2 There are plenty of other iconic animals as well
Apart from dangerous animals, Australia is also known for its iconic animals.
You’ve probably heard of kangaroos, emus, wombats, and the platypus. These are the furry icons of Australia, whether they hop, waddle, strut, or swim, they all bring something unique to Australian wildlife.
Playing into the first point, some of these animals can also be dangerous.
Kangaroos are incredibly strong, and their kick can really hurt. Although the swimming platypus looks cute, they have stinging barbs under their arms for protection. Not to mention the “Great Emu War” of 1932 (there wasn’t actually a war, but it is an interesting part of Australian history).
#3 Vegemite Spread
Ah yes, vegemite. Not everyone is a fan of this vegetable flavored yeast extract and can you really blame them?
This savory spread is an acquired taste for sure, as even a thin layer can be too much for some.
Commonly spread on toast (though I have seen it go well with a variety of foods), it’s found in most kitchens throughout Australia ever since it was invented back in 1922.
So what does vegemite taste like? Well… it’s hard to describe. I’ve heard that it’s a “really intense soy sauce” and judging by the salty flavor, it’s not the worst way to put the taste down into words.
One thing to note, Vegemite isn’t nearly the same as marmite. You’re sure to raise a few eyebrows if you confuse the Australian national spread for the English version of marmite.
#4 Beaches are pretty amazing
Growing up on Australia’s east coast, there wasn’t a shortage of waves breaking on golden sands.
If you had to pick one image that springs to mind when Australia is mentioned, there’s a pretty good chance it’s of a beach with an endless blue horizon.
Plenty of Australia is surrounded by beaches, and most are safe to swim at. Some specific areas of the country are known for crocodiles and sharks infesting the waters.
As long as you swim where others are enjoying the surf or between the red and yellow flags (which indicates a lifeguard patrolled beach), you’ll be fine!
Bondi Beach (in Sydney) is one of Australia’s most well known stretches of golden sands and rolling surf. It’s easy to see why it’s a popular destination for Australians and tourists alike.
Enjoy the ocean – it’s one of Australia’s biggest drawcards and plenty of fun.
#5 The Outback
The Australian Outback is mostly empty, hot, and far from modern civilization. Yet, it’s still one of the most common things people associate with Australia.
Red sand covers the open plains that can reach 50C during summer. While not many people call the outback live in the Outback compared to the country’s coastline, plants and animals, call this Australian icon home.
The Australian Outback is huge, covering millions of square kilometers and stretching into three states and one province.
While it may be a source of great adventure, make sure you’re well equipped and aware of the risks of venturing into the red center of Australia.
#6 Australian foods are unique
From meat pies to a backyard BBQ, Australia has a lot of foods that aren’t totally unique to Australia but defines a lot of the iconic food you’ll see around.
Let’s start with pies. Being a tradesman back home, the typical “smoko” (that’s your first break at work) meal was a cheese and bacon pie with a “choccie” (chocolate) milk. Don’t worry. We will get to the typical slang Australians use in a little bit.
The variation of pies in Australia means there is something for every taste bud.
BBQ is an extremely common way to cook a great meal in Australia. But no, ”shrimp on the barbie” isn’t really a thing. For a start, we call them prawns.
A sausage sizzle, or snags, is a standard meal from a barbecue. If you’re ever by the hardware store called Bunnings, keep an eye out for their nation famous sausage sizzle.
#7 The Iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House
I can think of a few important structures, but one of the most famous things about Australia is the image of Sydney’s Opera House and the Harbor Bridge beside it.
Sydney Harbor Bridge – This giant metal arch stood 134 meters (440ft) above the water and took nine years to build. After a great view of Sydney, you can climb the bridge on a guided tour.
Sydney Opera House. Australia’s most recognizable performing arts building sits on Sydney Harbour. You can catch one of the shows regularly played within the white fins to see the inside.
#8 There is plenty of history in Australia
Historically, Australia’s history shaped the country into what it was today from ancient times, anywhere 70,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Australian Aboriginal’s traditions are one of the world’s best-preserved in the entire world. For example, the boomerang is traditionally a hunting weapon and is incredibly hard to throw well.
More recent times saw the history of the convicts. Between 1788 and 1868, around 162,000 people were transported from Britain and Ireland to penal colonies in Australia. By creating wooden buildings, ship sails, ropes, and a range of other tasks, convicts helped to shape the nation.
#9 Aboriginal People and Culture
As mentioned above, Australian Aboriginals have called this nation home for thousands of years. It’s safe to say the ancient culture of these people has helped shape the nation.
With sacred traditions and sites, the culture of the Aboriginal Australians can be seen in many ways. One of the most common items associated with aboriginal culture is the boomerang, a hunting weapon that is incredibly difficult to throw.
Australia’s natural icon, Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), is sacred to Australia’s indigenous population. This huge sandstone rock stands 863 meters tall. While climbing on the ancient site was common, it closed in November 2017 due to its importance to native Australian communities.
#10 Relaxed people
Australians are typically seen as relaxed and easygoing. Personally, I’m usually described that way, at least.
You’ll often hear “no worries” as a way to tell someone that there was little effort or issues in doing something. It’s widespread. I still say the phrase daily.
But being so chill is a trait most countries have about Australians.
No matter where you are, you’ll encounter relaxed and approachable people.
#11 We like to swear a lot
Yeah, we do. I love to swear, probably a little too much.
Swearing in Australia can have a lot of different meanings. To understand what is meant by a four-letter word, you need to pay attention to both tone and context.
The four-letter word can mean plenty of different things in Australia. It could be a threat, a sign of aggression, or a friendly term between two mates.
It all depends on those two things – context and tone. How a word is delivered is much more important than the word itself if you want to understand its meaning.
#12 We also like to drink a lot
Ah yes, Australia is no stranger to a beer or two or 15. We don’t need much of an excuse to have a drink.
The drinking culture in the nation is huge. Your 18th and 21st birthdays are usually the biggest get-togethers and often the end of the night will turn out to be a little messy.
If you’ve ever heard of the television show, Wheel of Fortune, Australians adapted that and mixed in the cheapest wine you’ll ever drink – goon.
Goon of Fortune is when you peg a 5-liter goon sack to a diamond-shaped close line that spins horizontally. Whoever the sack stops on has to have a massive drink or “skull” some. As you can imagine, this game can be over pretty quickly for some contestants.
#13 Slang is a different language
You’ve probably read a few words so far that you’re unsure what they meant, especially without an explanation.
Australian slang is our second language. Sometimes it can be confusing even for Australians to speak slang of different areas around the nation.
But here’s a basic rule to follow to get a basic understanding of a lot of slang words.
We like to abbreviate words. Usually, words will be shortened, and then a letter will be chucked on the end of the word to give it that classic Australian twist. Mayonnaise will almost always be known as “mayo,’ and a biscuit is often referred to as a “biccy.”
Sometimes, words don’t follow a rule. Crikey is one of Australia’s most known slang words, similar to wow or amazement. It was popularized due to a National hero, Steve Irwin, who adapted this word as his catchphrase.
#14 The Great Barrier Reef
The world’s largest coral reef of over 900 islands and 2,900 individual reefs, it’s a huge reason people from all over the world visit Australia. If you’re into scuba diving or snorkeling, a beautiful underwater world is waiting to be explored.
Due to rising global temperatures, climate change is threatening the life of this fragile ecosystem. Without a radical shift in the rising water temperatures, it’s uncertain how long this natural wonder will exist.
#15 We love our sports
Whether playing or watching, Australians love their sport.
Australia is home to a number of different codes of football. NRL, or National Rugby League (not to be confused with rugby), and AFL, or Australian Football League are two popular styles of footy.
Cricket is another sport many Australians watch constantly. Often with a beer and yelling obscenities at the T.V. screen.
A game of backyard cricket is a popular activity at gatherings of family and friends. If you play a friendly game of cricket or footy with Australians, it’s usually a great time and plenty of laughs.
So those are the 15 things Australia is famous for, from kangaroos to cricket and everything in between. Australia has plenty of well-known facts, history, and culture, but it also has more than its share of quirkiness. But that’s also why so many people love it, isn’t it?
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* Cover photo from Horizon Unknown
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