It’s been almost 3 years since I first boarded a plane bound for Down Under with little more than a 35l backpack strapped to me!
I’m not sure that I anything I now own was part of the original contents I crammed into that bag, but I fear probably not! Toiletries have been used up, clothes have broken and electronics have been replaced.
Plus, it was all a bit of guesswork as I really had no idea what I’d be doing over here or how long I’d be staying.
Oh the benefits of hindsight!
Now I know exactly what I’d bring and I’m not just talking about the obligatory sun cream, sunhat, flip flops and bikinis.
Here’s 10 crucial things to pack for Australia… but they won’t fit in your suitcase!
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#10 An Open Mind About Distance
Yeah, yeah everyone knows Australia is huge, but do you really know how huge!
Seriously this country is massive.
On top of a world map, try placing your fingers the width of Australia apart and then transfer your fingers, that distance apart, to Europe – yeah see, literally bigger than Europe!
As such, bringing an open mind about distance to Australia will help you acclimatise better.
Nobody here thinks anything of driving 3+ hours to work and seriously, a 2-hour trip to the supermarket is common in many parts of this enormous land!
#9 Beer Goggles
Australian’s love their beer – there is no denying it, so make sure you bring a hungry appetite for it, when you come Down Under.
And whatever you do, don’t turn up and ask for a Fosters – Australia’s most famous export beer is considered filth here and nobody drinks it!
4X Gold is the common tipple for many, otherwise a VB will do.
Increasingly however, craft beer is taking off in Australia, so it’s great to sample lots of different small brewery ales and ciders from around the country if you can.
One of the best?
4 Pines Kolsch brewed in Manly, New South Wales or otherwise good old Cooper is always a safe bet…. cheers!
#8 A Relaxed Attitude to the English Language
All that Aussie slang is enough to drive anyone crazy, so make sure you bring a relaxed attitude to the English language when you come Down Under.
Expect almost every word to get shortened here and to have an ‘o’ at the end of it, including your name.
Just to get you adjusted, here are a few examples: arvo, devo, defo, righto, servo, ambo, which mean afternoon, devastated, definitely, right you are, service station and paramedic respectively.
Grin and bear it if English is your first language, good luck if it isn’t!
5 PACKING ITEMS FOR AUSTRALIA YOU CAN FIT IN YOUR SUITCASE!
#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!
#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national parks! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strolling, I love mine.
#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together.
#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!
#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.
#7 An Inclination for Healthy Food
With all the pies they eat in Australia, if you like clean eating, then you’ve come to the right place!
Ok, so a lot of the food here is fatty and fairly unhealthy, but, if you do like healthy eating then paleo, vegan and gluten-free diets are big in Australia and plenty of cafes and restaurants cater for these sorts requirements too.
Loads of amazing fresh, tropical fruits are available too and the avocados (avos – see #9) are to die for!
#6 A Sense of Humour
Australians are, in general, jokers and a lot of the banter they have between themselves is to do with giving each other a hard time.
Unbelievably, if someone makes a joke at your expense, it’s probably a compliment in Australia!
Make sure you take it as such and don’t forget to bring a sense of humour with you – you’ll fit in with the locals much better all round if you do.
#5 A Fearless Approach to Animals
With all those crazy critters around, you’ve got to have nerves of steel to come Down Under.
From sharks to spiders, stingrays to snakes, cassowaries to crocs almost everything in Australia is trying to kill you.
Even common birds, such as magpies, turn into killers during mating seasons and commonly swoop people occasionally splitting their head open or poking out their eye!
I’m not joking – a ‘no fear’ approach is a must if you ever want to leave the house here!
#4 A Love of Old School Sports
Who would ever have guessed that someone under the age of 60 could want to watch cricket?
Well my friends, not just watch, but chat, love, fantasise and pontificate about it.
Yes, unbelievable as it sounds, the old man’s game of cricket is seriously hot stuff in Australia and followed avidly by young and old alike.
Also high on the cool list are bowls (yes the old man game where heavy balls are thrown onto an immaculate lawn) and fishing which is similarly popular.
Madness I know, but your best to come prepared for these sort of things, mostly to make sure you don’t offend anyone!
#3 An Enjoyment of Early Mornings
If the idea that ‘the early bird catches the worm’ sounds like hell to you, then get ready – Australia has a seriously early morning culture!
People here think nothing of rising at 5am and getting the day off to a cracking start.
Breakfasts are often a large meal – many people go out for it, even on a week day – and often, in small towns, you’ll find the beach more crowded at 6am – with dog walkers, runners and yoga stretchers – than at 6pm!
Outside of the cities, evenings here can be quiet and tame, so you may want to revise packing your party pants if you’re venturing out beyond Sydney or Melbourne!
#2 An Exemplary Knowledge of Coffee
If you thought you knew about coffee before you came to Australia, then think again!
Caffeinated drinks make up a whole new language group here and if you don’t know what a double-shot skinny ristretto flat white is, then you’re no one!
Just to get you up to speed – a cappuccino has a lot of foam and chocolate on top, latte is served in a glass with a bit of foam and a flat white is just a shot of coffee with hot milk.
Ristretto is the first 2/3’s of the espresso shot of coffee, so that some of the bitterness is left out.
Don’t even get me started on the caramel undertones and grinding conditions!
#1 A Life of No Worries
Australian’s most famous mantra is something that may take a little getting used to.
Yes, life is pretty laid back here, so start adjusting to less stress and to people often answering ‘no worries’ to any query or request you may have. Beware, it’s catching too.
Forgotten to bring something to Australia that doesn’t go in your suitcase?
No worries mate!
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