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6 Australian Myths and Stereotypes: Fact or Fiction?

This article is sponsored by Campus Melbourne

Australia: A sunburnt land full of surf, sand, sun, snakes and spiders—or is it? 

Whether you’re about to make the move or you’ve already been here for a while, you might be wondering just what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to living in Australia.

To get an insider’s perspective, we spoke to current international student and Campus Melbourne resident, Mallika Vaddi. 

Read on to find out the truth about some common Australian stereotypes and myths.

Australia is full of dangerous animals!

While it’s true that Australia is home to an enormous array of creatures, some of which can pose a threat, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter them in any major cities.

“I haven’t seen any snakes, spiders and other dangerous animals in and around the city,” Mallika says. 

Outside of built-up areas, however, it’s good to be conscious of your surroundings. With Aussie icons like the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, showcasing a very wild side of Australia, such as swimming with sharks and wrangling crocodiles, you might think encounters with animals like this are a regular occurrence. While you’ll definitely see warning signs for both of these creatures in certain locations across the country, you can avoid any potentially dangerous situations by swimming at patrolled beaches and proceeding with caution around typical crocodile habitats (particularly around the Northern Territory and ‘Croc Country’ in Queensland). 

It’s a good idea to brush up on your wildlife safety if you plan to spend time camping, hiking or otherwise enjoying the great outdoors!

Verdict: False ❌

Australians love Vegemite

When it comes to iconic Australian things, Vegemite has to be at the top of the list.

Vegemite is a yeast-based spread that has a strong, salty flavour. It’s similar to other spreads like Marmite from the UK and Cenovis from Switzerland. 

But is this food really a favourite among Aussies? Absolutely, explains Mallika, who has met many people who enjoy the spread!

While you’re here, you’ll probably be offered some to try. Our tip: try it on a slice of toast with lots of butter, and don’t be tempted to eat a spoonful from the jar! 

Verdict: True ✔️

Australia has the best coffee in the world

If you ask any Aussie, they’ll be sure to tell you that the country is home to the world’s best coffee. But is it really that good?

While not a coffee-lover, Mallika confirms this is true, adding, “I have friends who say that Australia has some of the best coffee in the world!”

The country’s coffee culture is another gift of its multicultural roots. Around 80 years ago, the country welcomed a large number of Italian migrants, who brought espresso machines and European-style cafe culture with them. 

Over time, this evolved and merged with other cultures and traditions to become the uniquely Australian experience we enjoy today! 

Melbourne is widely considered the home of the best coffee in the country, if not the world. While you’re here, make sure you get out and sample some amazing cafes and coffees for yourself!

Verdict: True ✔️

Australians use a lot of slang

You probably know a few stereotypical Australian phrases already, like ‘g’day’, short for good day, or ‘no worries’, which means ‘everything is good’. But will you really hear people talking like this? Mallika says you will!

It’s true that Aussies love to use slang, so you can expect to learn some interesting words during your time here! Common slang that is helpful to know includes ‘arvo’ for afternoon, ‘brekkie’ for breakfast and ‘mobile’ for cell phone. 

Don’t be afraid to ask someone what a word or phrase means if you don’t understand. Australians love sharing their culture with others and will likely be thrilled to teach you something new!

Verdict: True ✔️

Australia is always hot and humid

It’s hard to think of Australian stereotypes that don’t involve warm weather. From long days at the beach to sweltering under the outback sun, it seems like heat is an inescapable part of the Australian experience. But, Mallika adds, this isn’t always the case.

“It depends on each season,” she explains. “Winters are extremely cold in Melbourne, spring is pleasant, and summer gets extremely hot!”

The climate varies widely in this vast country. Some areas experience snowfall, while others don’t have distinctive periods of summer, spring, autumn and winter, instead splitting their year into wet and dry seasons. Make sure to research your chosen city in Australia before arriving to ensure you’re packing the right clothes for the climate.

Verdict: False ❌

Australians are friendly and welcoming

If there’s one thing Aussies are proud of, it’s our global reputation for being friendly and good-natured. Thankfully, Mallika confirms this is true!

“They are warm and welcoming,” she explains. 

Mateship is an important part of the country’s cultural identity, as is the ideal of egalitarianism, which means everyone should be treated equally and given a ‘fair go’.

With a strong history of multiculturalism, diversity is celebrated and embraced here, too. Altogether, this makes Australia a place where everyone is welcome and anyone can feel at home. 

Verdict: True ✔️