Here’s a few Do’s and Don’ts
We researched some trustworthy internet sites and came up with the list below which we are sure will help you enjoy your stay Down Under a little more.
Mind your P’s and Q’s
Australian culture is rooted in British culture with continued strong bonds between the countries to this day. This means manners are very important if your do not want to offend an Aussie.
• Adding a ‘please’ and a ‘thank you’ when communicating with Australians will get you far.
• Use cutlery like tongs and servers when handling food and never spit in public.
• Keep your nose clean – literally. Use a tissue to clean a runny nose.
• If you burp, cough or sneeze in public cover your mouth and apologise by saying ‘pardon me’.
• Get to know the lingo. It is quite different from South Africa’s way of talking but with our common historical British influence it shouldn’t be too hard. Aussies like to shorten words. Examples are words like ‘arvo’ meaning afternoon, ‘barbie’ is short for barbeque – when know it as a ‘braai’, a ‘bloke’ is a man or a guy, while ‘mate’ is a common way of addressing someone and ‘cuppa’ refers to a cup of coffee or tea.
And if you get invited to a barbie in the arvo and are asked to bring a ‘plate’ make sure there’s something on the plate! This is the South African term for ‘bring and braai’.
• Australians value the precept of a fair go: that what someone achieves in life should be a product of their talents, work and effort rather than their birth or favouritism.
• Get in touch with an Australian Settlement Service once you land in Australia. This is a non-profit humanitarian service which is there to assist foreigners in finding shops, recreation facilities and churches. The organization will help you with queries around public transport, finding a doctor or school.
• A heads-up! Many Aussies dress scantily at the beach – some even go nude – but this does not mean they have "low moral standards" and people from other countries can dress as they like.
• While Australia is generally a safe destination you should, as you do when you travel at home, be alert and take the same precautions with your personal safety and possessions.
• Slap on the sun-block. The Australian sun is very strong – stronger than what we are used to – even here in South Africa. Always wear a shirt, hat, sunglasses and SPF 30+ sunscreen lotion Make sure you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
• Be very careful when building a fire. When camping, use designated fireplaces and comply with road warning signs and total fire bans. If you must light a fire, always extinguish it completely with water.
• At beaches swim between the flags. Always swim between the red and yellow flags - they mark the safest place to swim on the beach. Lifesavers wearing red and yellow uniforms generally patrol beaches during the warmer months of October to April, but some of the most popular beaches are patrolled all-year round.
• Your hairdryer won’t fit on Australian plug sockets. Make sure you pack an adaptor in your hand luggage.
• No-one drinks Fosters beer. And only Queenslanders drink Castlemaine XXXX. With the rest of the country thinking they're a bit weird for doing so.
• Aussies love beetroot – on everything. One of the tourists posting on Traveller.com commented that, “Due to some freak aberration in the laws of nature, Australians have come to believe that putting huge slices of beetroot in sandwiches and burgers is not only OK, put practically mandatory. Until the UN gets round to issuing stringent sanctions over this, the only course of action available to visitors is extreme vigilance. ALWAYS ask for no beetroot, even if beetroot isn't mentioned in the ingredients on the menu.” Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
• You received an invite with the word BYO on it…. Essentially, this means you should bring your own drinks to a party.