It’s time for another instalment of our ‘Quirks of…’ series. This time we’re looking at the weird and wonderful aspects of the land down under – Australia Quirks.
Australia was somewhere I had wanted to visit since I was little. It was a magical places, so far away filled with strange animals and places I’d heard about on travel programs. In actual fact it is a strange mix of England and America with a little something extra (I supposed you’d call it Australian) thrown in.
Anyway, onto the Australia quirks:-
The most obvious quirk of Australia – the lovable kangaroo! The strange, bouncing giant rat-like creatures are brilliant. We know many an Australian farmer would consider them a pest but we loved seeing them bouncing through the fields. We weren’t so fond of them crossing the road in front of us
No alcohol in supermarkets
This is a strange one for us Brits, as the supermarket is the best place to buy alcohol from. But strict laws dating back to the Temperance movement of the 19th Century, prevent alcohol being sold in the same area as other products, if the sale of alcohol isn’t the primary purpose. So there are lots of bottle shops instead.
BURGER KING IS NOT BURGER KING
Whilst we try to avoid fast food when travelling, sometimes you just need a burger and chips. As it’s veggie options are better we ate at Burger King several times in Australia. However, despite all the branding being identical, it’s called ‘Hungry Jacks’, not Burger King. It turns out it’s because when BK expanded into Australia, the name had already been taken by takeaway place in Adelaide.
This is primarily based on the trains in NSW. They are awesome! Not only are they double-decker which in itself is pretty cool, but they have movable seat backs. This means that you can change the way your chair is facing or create groups of four seats. We need these in the UK.
We were only fortunate enough to see the grey, furry rear-end of these cuties. But the shy,
eucalyptus loving ‘bear’ (which is actually a marsupial) isn’t found anywhere else on the planet. So definitely an Australia quirk.
Pubs – bottleshops-TAB combo
In the UK we go to the pub for a drink. If there’s a TV with some footy on that’s great, but generally we don’t expect much. In Australia they seem to have this weird pub-betting shop-off licence combo going on. As well as a bar, there are betting machines and an on-going lottery called Keno. In addition there is a conjoined bottle shop where you buy your alcohol to take home!
Rounding-up of prices
We’ve come across similar things in other countries, but it’s still strange to us Brits. If a shopping bill comes to £12.87, you should pay £12.87. However as the smallest coin is a 5 cent, this would be rounded down to £12.85 in Australia.
Place names (aboriginal heritage)
Europeans first landed in the 17th century and the British “invaded” in the late 18th Century. The Australia we know and see today is dominated by the white descendants of European immigrants. Fortunately many places have retained their Aboriginal heritage in their names. Places such as Woy-Woy and Yamba.
Australia’s infamous ‘big things’ date back to the 1960’s. There is at least one in every state but the majority are located around the Sunshine Coast. They don’t really serve any real purpose other than being a tourist drawing gimmick. We visited the Big Banana near Coffs Harbour and the Big Mango just outside Bowen, Queensland. Others include the big pineapple, the big macadamia nut, the big cow, the big mower, the big pelican and the big shell.
Greeting – How you going?
I never got used to this. Say hello to anybody from the bar man to the supermarket cashier and they will greet you with the phrase: ‘how you going?’. This just doesn’t make sense and I never knew how to respond!
Have you been to Oz? Did you come across any Australian quirks that we’ve missed? Get in touch in the comments below.