1. Try to outdrink an old mate at the pub.
Unless you are from Russia or some other notoriously-known drinking country, don’t even try to outdrink an Aussie. Especially not the fair dinkum bloke with sun-wrinkled skin and an Acubra hat speaking what seems like an entirely different language with the bartender. He will crush you.
2. Order a “cheeseburger with ketchup only.”
There’s no better way to hold up the line at McDonald’s than trying to order a cheeseburger with ketchup only. Forget the fact that ketchup is actually called tomato sauce Down Under — that’s the least of your worries. The conversation will likely go something like this:
You: I’d like a cheeseburger with ketchup only.
Cashier: Pardon me, mate?
You: A cheeseburger with only tomato sauce.
Cashier: Soooo, just a bun with tomato sauce?
You: (Confused and slightly irritated) No, a burger with cheese and tomato sauce.
Cashier: So, just no meat, mate?
You should just give up at this point and understand that a “cheeseburger” is basically just a general term for sandwich (like “Coke” means “soda” in Georgia) and just scrape the mustard, onions, and pickles off with a napkin.
3. Move to the right side of the sidewalk to let someone pass.
You’re walking peacefully down the sidewalk when all of the sudden you’ve entered into a stressful game of chicken with the stranger walking towards you. Your heart is racing. Which way do I go?! Well, if you follow your instincts and veer right, you will almost always enter into that very awkward back and forth dance inevitably ending in a “Sorry, you go.” When Down Under, remember to veer left.
4. Mistake an Aussie for a Kiwi and vice versa.
It’ll be hard to pick it out at first, but after awhile you’ll figure out the subtle nuances between “chip” and “chup” and “six” and “sex.” But, before that happens, it’s best to stay clear of this sibling rivalry. Start with an open-ended “So where are you from?” until you get the hang of the accents.
5. Freak out over the spider hiding in your shoe.
Or the snake basking on the river bank near your bag. Or the shark swimming through the area in which you were just surfing. Or the dropbears. Adopting the “no worries” mentality of the Australians is the only way to save yourself from the embarrassment of shrieking like a teenage girl when you come face-to-face with their native wildlife.
6. Enter a roundabout to the right.
We all know someone who knows someone who did it. It’s late at night and your brain totally forgets that you are in the Outback, where people drive on the left side of the road, on the right side of the car. If the tale doesn’t end in any serious accidents, it will most definitely be lifelong ammo for your Aussie mates to make fun of your foreign ass.
7. Eat dinner before heading to “tea.”
So you’ve been invited over for afternoon tea around 6pm, eh? Show up with your belly full expecting a nice hot cup of Earl Grey, and you’ll be the evening’s punch line for sure. Tea is code for supper in the land of eternal sunshine.
8. Eat a giant spoonful of Vegemite.
There’s nothing more hilarious than watching someone who has never before tried Vegemite stick an entire spoonful straight into their mouth. Of course it’s disgusting like that, and of course the locals are going to let you do it anyways and laugh at you afterwards. Avoid this classic faux pas and remember to just spread a very thin layer on a piece of buttered toast to sample this Aussie favorite.
9. Get sunburnt straightaway.
There’s no easier way to pick a tourist than by their glowing red sunburnt skin. Welcome to Australia, where there is a hole in the ozone layer directly above you. You rarely see an Aussie with an uncomfortably red nose. The locals know to always slather on the sun cream before heading outside.
10. Underestimate the ocean.
Unless you have some dumb master plan to get a cute local surfer to save you from the rip current, beware of the ocean. Otherwise, lots of smirking locals will be shaking their heads at you as the lifeguard pulls you onto the shore completely out of breath and on the brink of tears. They did warn you not to swim over there, after all…
11. Misinterpret the Aussie language.
Never ask if they’re going to put another shrimp on the barbie. Don’t show up with a pair of panties when your mate asks you to pick him up a pair of thongs. And, just keep talking after someone replies “sweet as,” because they are not going to finish that thought.
12. Look left when crossing the street.
Not only will doing so instantly identify you as a tourist, it could also be a matter of life and death. When in doubt, just look both ways at least six times before crossing the street. That should keep you safe and off the pole bar of the next Hilux cruising past.
13. Underestimate the size of the country.
Go ahead and share your plans to “do” Sydney in a day and then just “pop down” to Melbourne with a local and watch them laugh. There is absolutely no way you can “pop” anywhere in Australia. Australia is about the same size as America. Crazy right?! It takes hours to fly from one main city to another.
14. Believe in dropbears.
Come on, people! Hasn’t this joke been around long enough to know they don’t exist?!