Myths and misinformation constitute the biggest barriers towards true understanding of any country. Like any country, Australia is not immune to its share of myths. It is country brimming with myriad delights for the traveller. Don’t let common myths get in your way of experiencing Australia to the fullest.
1. Driving is Difficult
There is excellent road infrastructure. Signposts and speed limits are also clearly displayed. Connecting towns are provisioned for travelers and fuel is readily available. Car rental companies provide 24-hour roadside assistance. The excellent GPS system ensures you won’t lose your way.
2. Kangaroos Roam the Streets
The occasional kangaroo or wombat may cross the road, but mostly you’ll find them in zoos and reserves. You may also occasionally see koalas, seals, and penguins on beachside roads. However, roads don’t teem with kangaroos, causing accidents and killing people.
3. The Country Scenery is Dry and Brown
Australia is the perfect country for postcard pictures. Rich, green tropical rainforests vie with the azure blue of oceans. The white sands of uncrowded beaches vie with the rich colors of the outback. Each region takes on different hues based on the season. Australia is nothing if not colourful!
4. It’s Easy to Get Lost
Even in the outback regions, routes are provided so tourists don’t get lost. Talk to locals and follow signs to avoid dangers and stay safe. Protect yourself against sunburn for additional safety.
5. Traveling to Australia is Hugely Expensive
The best things about Australia are free: beaches, open spaces, parks, many campsites, museums, free theatre, seasonal festivals, and so on. Obtain a value card or opt for package tours, get a rail pass, and use the free transport in major cities. Meals cost less than $12 for one at cheap eateries.
6. Aussies Eat Strange Food
Australia is considered an exotic country, causing the belief that Australians eat weird stuff. Aussies eat regular food just like anyone else, but menus differ based on the availability of seasonal produce. Also, many Australian fruits and vegetables don’t grow anywhere else, which makes Australian cuisine a little unique.
7. Australians Look Like Country Bumpkins
Australians are laid-back, they love beer, and definitely have a casual approach to clothing and to life. They do speak with a typical Australian accent that’s sometimes hard to understand. However, there are plenty of city folks who are as slick as you may desire. Only farmers dress in farm hats and slouchy overalls.
8. Australia is a Dangerous Country
It has its share of wild creatures, poisonous snakes, poisonous jellyfish, and huge crocodiles. However, if you follow safety regulations, there’s no danger. It’s not as though these creatures are waiting to attack you. Mostly wild creatures don’t leave remote places and don’t attack unless threatened.
9. All Aborigines Live in the Bush
You’ll be surprised to know that the highest population of indigenous Australians lives in Sydney. Of the total indigenous population, 31% live in major cities. Very few of these people actually live in the bush anymore, except those few groups who prefer an older way of life.
10. Only Black-Skinned People are Indigenous in Australia
This is wrong: Aboriginality depends on one’s degree of ancestry. According to the Australian government, a person is classified as indigenous if they have an aboriginal ancestor. Australians do not like discussion of genetics or color, so don’t bring it up.
11. Australia is Always Sunny
So many people believe that Australia is all about sunny weather that they bring only shorts and t-shirts! The country is vast and experiences diverse weather. Winters are chilly in most places while NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania see snow and ice. Only NT and Queensland enjoy year-round tropical weather.
12. Australia is a Small Country
It’s actually the sixth largest country in the world! It’s 50% larger than Europe. It’s the smallest country in terms of population density, considering there are only two people for every square kilometre.
13. Australia’s Culture is Similar to that of the UK
Australia is a multicultural hub, with 6 million immigrants since 1945. About 266 languages are spoken. Everything from the cuisine and the culture to holidays and clothing reflects this multiculturalism.
14. Camping in Australia is Dangerous
There’s a myth that koala bears drop down from trees on camper’s heads. This is not true. Koalas are shy creatures that stay away unless you threaten them. Camping is safe. It’s well-regulated, with many national parks and camp grounds throughout the continent.
15. The Majority of Australians Live in the Outback
90% of the population lives in urban areas, with only 10% living in the outback. Vast areas of Australia are unpopulated, with vast deserts, rainforests, and mountain ranges totally empty of people.