Dating in Australia is a bit like driving through the outback.

Sometimes it feels like everything’s going by very slowly, and there aren’t always clear road signs. You might feel a little lost. This is because, in Australia, there aren’t formal dating rules like in some cultures.  Australians aren’t big on rules – unless it’s Aussie Rules Football. This makes for a pretty fun and flexible dating culture, which forces people to get to know one another.

We’ve answered some common questions from international students to help you navigate the Australian dating scene.

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What marks the beginning of a relationship?

In a lot of cultures, the first or second date can mark the beginning a relationship. But in Australia, you’ll probably find yourself doing a lot of ‘couply’ activities before the relationship starts.

A very average Aussie relationship might go something like this: You meet at work or school, and you talk and get to know each other. The first time you hang out, it’s probably not on a formal date. One of you might suggest going out with a group of friends, or choose something that you both have a mutual interest in. From there, if you both enjoy the relationship, you’ll start seeing more and more of each other.

This gives you some room to get to know each other before you make up your minds.

Ok, but how do I approach someone in the first place?

Firstly, it doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl, anyone can approach anyone.

The main thing to remember is that we don’t have a huge pick-up culture here. Generally, people will want to know someone a little bit before they agree to share contact details or hang out somewhere.  Starting with ‘you seem nice, want to get coffee?’ might be a bit direct. Try to have at least one decent conversation before you ask to see more of someone.

Where do I take someone on a date?

This totally depends on what kind of people you are.

If you’d like to keep it casual, suggest getting a coffee somewhere you both probably know. Otherwise, group dates and movies are an easy way to get to know someone without too much pressure.

If you’re younger, a dinner date might seem a little formal. But if you’re feeling mature and confident enough to sit across the table with someone for an hour or more – go for it.

Who pays?

As a general rule, whoever suggested the outing should at least, offer to pay first. But it’s becoming more common to split payments on dates – especially when you’re both students – so don’t be alarmed if your date wants to chip in as well.

Australians seem to use Facebook a lot, is it important?

We do love Facebook. There are more Australians with Facebook accounts than without. It’s a useful intermediary in a culture that stresses getting to know people first, and sending someone a friend request is a nice way of saying that you’d like to do just that.

We hope you’re now feeling a little more prepared to enter the world of Australian dating. Good luck.