12 reasons you’ll fall in love with Australia
The happiest 6 weeks of my life were spent traveling the East Coast of Australia. As I begin preparing to head out traveling again, I’ve been thinking about why I fell in love with this country in the first place. It’s been my dream since I was 10 years old to backpack Australia and now that I’m doing it, I’ve fallen even more in love with this country. Here are 12 reasons why I think you’ll fall in love, too!
1. The Wildlife
Since Australia is isolated from all other continents, the wildlife is abundant and unique. You can find the loudest and brightest birds, dog-like dingos, the cutest fuzzy Koalas, and, of course, spiders on spiders on spiders.
2. The Beaches
There are so many beaches in Australia that if you visited a new one every single day, it would take you 27 years to see them all! Plus, Queensland is home to the world’s second most beautiful beach, Whitehaven Beach while Hyams Beach in NSW has the whitest sand in the entire world. Most of the Australian population lives near the coast, and as soon as you lay eyes on the shoreline it’s easy to see why.
3. The People
Aussies are the friendliest people! When I was traveling Hawaii last March, I briefly met and befriended two Australians. We stayed in touch and when I finally made the decision to head down under, they not only picked me up from the airport, but let me stay with them for two nights while I settled in! Since then, we’ve kept in touch with regular dinners and messages. I’ve found the rest of the Aussie population to be much the same: kindhearted and welcoming.
4. The Abundance of Backpackers
Listen closely as you walk down the street and you’ll hear languages from all over the world. Every place you visit in Australia, and I mean every place, is filled with world travelers and has a thriving a backpacker community. Head to a hostel event and you’ll never feel alone in Australia. There’s an Aussie song called, “We are one, but we are many,” that tells the history of the mixed heritage of Australia. It rings, “And from all the lands on earth we come. We’ll share a dream and sing with one voice, ‘I am, you are, we are Australian.’” As the song describes, Australia is a special country where all are welcome.
5. The Food
Fairy Bread, Sausage Rolls, Meat Pies, Vegemite, Tim Tams, Pavlova, Lamingtons, Golden Gaytimes, Weet-Bix, Goon, and Sausage Sizzles. Even just the names of Aussie foods make you smile! Although I still question the love for white bread with butter and sprinkles (Fairy Bread), you have to love the creativity behind it. Check out this Foodies Guide to eating your way through Australia for some must-try dishes!
6. The Slang
A few months before arriving down under, I followed Buzzfeed Australia on Facebook to learn a bit of slang and prepare myself for the onslaught of strange phrases. Nevertheless, I was underprepared to hear ‘Brekkie’, ‘Avo’, ‘Arvo’, ‘maggot’ and ‘Mate’ all in one sentence (“Hey mate, I was maggot last night, let’s get avo for brekkie in the arvo”). Check out these 30 fair dinkum Aussie slang terms for some essential definitions to help you get by when travelling Down Under. When in doubt, abbreviate everything and you’ll fit right in!
7. Budget Tourism
Australians can be a bit ‘tight’ when it comes to spending money, so most of the tourism attractions are geared towards budget travelers and backpackers. Capital cities such as Sydney and Melbourne can get expensive during peak seasons– and for good reason: they’re beautiful. If you’re looking for some cheaper options, make sure you travel the more remote areas around the country. The travel industry here makes it easy to get around the place: you can choose charter bus, campervan, driving, or flying!
8. The Money
I don’t mean how expensive everything is (because paying $15 for a pack of vegan cheese is just ridiculous), but the physical money itself is fascinating! It’s made out of plastic, is waterproof, and every note is a different size and color so it’s easy to tell them apart. The coins are also different sizes, but they don’t go in order of size and amount like the notes do.
9. Everything is BIG
From the Great Barrier Reef, to Uluru, to the oddly shaped statues across the country such as “The Big Banana,” “The Big Ram,” and “The Big Prawn,” Aussies really have a thing for BIG things. Unfortunately, the “BIG things” pattern also extends to spiders and snakes, which I pray you never run into.
10. Funny Names for Places
Unlike the lack of creativity for naming its large statues (see above), Australia does a fantastic job at naming places. Many have indigenous origins, while others just go along with Australia’s tendency to have weird names. With names like Wollongong, Mount Surprise, Little Ugly Creek, Bong Bong, Magnetic Island, Nowhere Else, Bald Knob, Humpybong, Coffin Bay Moolooloo, Banana, Woolloomooloo, Erskinville, Useless loop, and Bulahdelah, it’s easy to get a giggle from Australia’s unique town and landmark names.
11. The Weather
Within one day in Sydney, I went from tanning in the summer sun to dashing inside to get away from a horrifying hail storm with hail the size of golf balls! Being in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s summer comes as most countries head into Winter. If you’re like me and looking to avoid a year of sweaters and puffy jackets, head to Australia in mid-September to take advantage of their spring and experience the transition to summer. You’ll love the fact that nearly every day can be a beach day.
12. The Tours
I’ve taken tours to Moreton Island (near Brisbane), gone to surf camp, lived on a boat to tour the Whitsunday Islands, visited Fraser Island, and taken a tour to see waterfalls and the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. The best part about these tours was not only the beautiful places I had the privilege of experiencing, but the abundance of backpackers looking for friendly conversations. When I’ve traveled in the past, people tend to stick to themselves and who they are traveling with. On tours in Australia, even people traveling with a friend or significant other are open and excited to meet new people.
I have enjoyed every moment of my Australian Adventure and am excited to keep traveling the country to fall in love even more. Don’t take my word for it, head out on your own Aussie adventure and see first-hand why people from all over the world choose to spend a few weeks to a few years traveling Australia.
by April Maung
A Sydney-based journalist keen to walk the streets of Tokyo and explore Parisian cafes. Absolutely in love with cat videos and chocolate-filled donuts. Catch her on Instagram at @aprilyoon.