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Today marks exactly a year since I packed my bags and made the move to the Land Down Under. Having traveled to Australia before, I felt like I knew a lot about Australia and that I wasn’t going to come across too many surprises. Little did I know… Here is my list of discoveries, unique Australian experiences and a few things I have had to get used to since moving here.

1. The weather varies dramatically across the country. The temperature rarely drops below 20°C in Queensland, yet it is always much colder in Melbourne and Sydney, even in the summer.

2.  Australians really do love their BBQs. Everyone has a BBQ at their house and if you are ever invited for dinner, lunch, and sometimes even breakfast, your food will inevitably be cooked on the barbie.

3. Camping is the favourite vacation activity in Australia. From rich to poor, from CEOs to university students, everyone loves a good camping trip.

Australia-7408

4. They put beetroot and eggs on their burgers and use sandwich bread instead of sausage buns. Oh and they call sausages – snags.

Australian burger

5. They call breakfast – brekky, afternoon – arvo, registration – rego, friend – mate, flip-flops – thongs, bathing suit – togs, juice boxes – popers, mosquitoes – mozzies, pick up van – ute, and generally shorten most words in one way or another.

6. They think that the more they shorten someone’s name the more they like them. Lauren becomes Loz, Vincent – Vinny, Catherine – Caz, etc. Don’t worry, I still go by Ox or Oxy, so not much has changed there!

7.  They have a plural form for “you”, which is “youse”. I can’t bring myself to use this one…and I don’t think I will ever want to.

8. Australians are far more interested in sports than politics, in fact many treat politics and politicians as a complete joke. Although if Tony Abbot had to go head to head against Rob Ford, Ford would definitely win in being the most ridiculous politician out there!

9. It is very common and completely normal to have 5 different kinds of birds, a family of bats and a possum living in your backyard. The noises freak me out on a daily basis. Try skyping with me, you’ll hear what I mean.

Possum, Australia

10. It is perfectly normal to go to the zoo to check out kangaroos, emus and crocodiles and follow that up with a trip to a local restaurant where you can eat the above mentioned kangaroos, emus and crocodiles. Kangaroo meat is actually very delicious and has become a staple food in our household. Sorry Roo.

11. They order beer in a schooner instead of a pint. Ps. A schooner is actually about 3/4 of a pint. What a rip off!

Australia Beer-sizes

12. The sun here is really intense. Sometimes all you need is 15 mins without sunscreen and you’ll come out looking red as a lobster. So they all talk about “Slip Slop Slap” which is apparently a sun protection campaign that ran back in the 1980s encouraging Australians to protect themselves from the sun. “Slip on a shirt, Slop on the 30+ sunscreen, Slap on a hat” is apparently the gist of it.

13. No one tips for anything here. Sweeeeeeet! Although, I still feel guilty every time I don’t. And then I remember that I’m already paying 1.5 times more for everything than I would back home…and the guilt goes away.

14. Most prices in Australia end in .99 or .49, yet a 1 cent coin does not exist meaning you will never actually get your change back.

15. No one actually drinks Fosters here, and they laugh at the foreigners that do. VB is pretty popular though, but it’s cheap and not that great. James Squire is what the cool kids are into. I stick to cider…

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About Australia: Here is my list of discoveries, unique Australian experiences and a few things I have had to get used to since moving here.

Have you been to Australia? Do you live in Australia? What “only in Australia” things would you add to the list?