That means it’s time to brush up on your Aussie cultural knowledge! If you’re new to Australia, Australia Day doesn’t really go down like the 4th of July – while we’re patriotic, we’re a little less “broadcast-a-parade-on-national-television” and a little more “test-how-much-meat-we-can-cook-on-a-BBQ-while-submerged-in-a-baby-pool (don’t put your barbie in the baby pool).”
We Aussie’s tend to see just how comfortable we can make ourselves while turning sausages all day in the sun – so it’s safe to say that Australia Day is all about kicking back under the summer sun, enjoying a beer or two and having a big BBQ with all your mates. But if you’re new to the country and want to immerse yourself in true blue Aussie culture, here is a certified* bucket list of things you need to do to initiate yourself into Australian life.
Don’t make that face at me. Just do it. Vegemite is the backbone of Australia (if you thought it was agricultural products, you thought wrong) and you can’t really say you visited Australia if you didn’t try our most beloved breakfast/lunch/dinner condiment. Vegemite gets a bad rap because most people think you have to spread it on thick like Nutella – shovelling salt into your mouth like you do with chocolate-hazelnut spread may not have the same endorphin hit. You need to be sparing with Vegemite, spread some finely over your toast with a bit of butter. Hugh Jackman shows you how here:
Possibly one of the worst beers ever to be brewed in Australian history, it’s not likely you’ll get out of the country without one of us telling you to try it. Fun fact: Quentin Tarantino loves it and they just released his very own “Quentin Taran-tinny” VB can – so there you go, it’s not just for Aussies. The good news? It’s pretty cheap, meaning you and your mates can grab a slab and sit in the sun of an afternoon flipping burger patties to your hearts content.
Australia is the only country in the world that eats the animals on its coat of arms. While foreigners might think that Kangaroos are cute and cuddly creatures, they’re quite the opposite. In Australia they are a bit of a pest, so we thought we’d give it a go on the barbie. Turns out the meat is really good for you – Kangaroos have virtually no fat, so their meat is lean and nutritious. I would suggest trying a Kanga Banger (that’s a sausage) or a Kangaroo patty if you’re curious to try it. It’s pretty good!
Fun fact: Rottnest island in WA was named buy a Dutch explorer who thought that the Quokkas were rats. Rottnest = rat’s nest. Head on over to Rottnest Island and find one of these little guys – they are tame, especially if you’ve got food (they are herbivores so just gather up some grass or leaves). They are a vulnerable species so be careful with them, and make sure you approach them carefully – they are animals, so remember to be gentle and hopefully they will repay you with a selfie like these ones 😉
A lot of international students say that learning English can be quite difficult due to our many meanings for words that sound the same (e.g. “there”, “their”, “they’re”) – so I can’t imagine how they feel coming to Australia and realising that in the time our beautiful island country has been isolated from other continents of the world we decided to go ahead and make our own language. Here is a little intro to a very long list of words we have shortened out of pure laziness 😉
Any form of sport played on grass or on the sand qualifies as a true blue bloody good time. Grab your esky, your thongs (if you don’t know what these are, see above), your sausage sangers, your sunnies and a cricket bat and head down to the beach. No doubt there will be a few games happening so it’s all in good fun if they overlap and you all get into a patriotic tussle over who can bowl the fastest.
If you’re new to the Island nation, you might be a little taken aback by the hoards of Aussie’s who drape themselves in Australian* flag sarongs, hats, fake tattoos, sunnies, bandannas and thongs. These are pretty cheap at any Dollar shop or Kmart if you’re keen to get in on the action. The best part? There’s no limit to how much you can wear at any given moment of the day, the more you’ve got on, the better. Most of us tend to leave our flags on our cars for months after the day. Get amongst it.
Pavlova is an Aussie go-to when it comes to food on Australia Day. It’s an awesome fruity meringue-y cake of sunshine and happiness, and if your mum or dad can pull off a good Pavlova we’re all coming to your house. It’s been such a popular tradition in Australia that somewhere down the line we decided to just start telling people we invented it. I guarantee you there are still thousands of Aussie’s out there that think we created this fruity white lump of pure joy – but we didn’t. If the name didn’t give it away, it’s named after a Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. Ssh! If you listen close you can hear the sound of Australian hearts breaking all over the country. Russian or not, we’ve made this dessert as Aussie as a rusted ute tray – so give it a go!
I really can’t stress this enough – there is only one way to do Australia Day, and that’s to set your patriotism status to sun-singed, true-blue, lamb-lovin’, Aussie battler. If you’re not into the Australia Day hype, that’s cool, just sit back and watch everyone act like silly sausages all day and soak up some sun – it’s a public holiday after all!