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Things that may surprise you in Australia

Think you’ve heard a lot about Australia? Well, here is some information that might surprise you! 

This article was written by Stephanie, an IHD resident studying a Bachelor of Creative Arts and Industries (Communication). She has a flair for fashion, fun and meeting new people.

Australia, it’s a very beautiful country with stunning landscapes, lovely beaches and easy-going locals. Sydney Opera House, Great Barrier Reef, UGG Boots and of course kangaroos and koala bears are the well-known tourist attractions in Australia. Wanting to travel to Australia or study in Australia? There are a few things that might differ from your country you should know!

I was surprised with the price of milk when I first stepped into Coles. I then compared the price of the milk and water. Surprisingly, the bottled water is more expensive than milk. Australians are paying $3 for a litre of Mount Franklin and $8 for a litre Voss, while milk sits beneath $2 a litre.

Secondly, normal business hours are from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays and 8 pm on weekends. Most of the stores close really early except for Coles and Woolworths, supermarkets in Australia will close at 10 pm or 11 pm. No chance for late shopping!

Thirdly, bugs are everywhere! Australia is all about flora and fauna. So, if you want to stay in Australia for a long time, first of all, you have to learn to not be afraid of insects and animals like cockroaches, lizards, rats, termites, wasps and spiders. They are literally everywhere, even in your household.

Fourthly, Australia’s climate changes significantly throughout the eight states and territories. There are 4 seasons in most of the states and wet and dry seasons in the Northern Territory. Have you heard of the saying ‘4 seasons in a day’? Melbourne is pretty famous for their unpredictable weather. You can wake up in a very cold temperature, around 20 to 23 degrees Celsius, and then it will turn to 39 degrees Celsius in the afternoon and back to 13 degrees Celsius in the night. In the southern part of Australia, Tasmania has an average temperature of 17 to 23 degrees Celsius in summer and 3 to 11 degrees Celsius in winter. On the opposite side, the northern part of Australia, Darwin is like summer all the time, an average temperature of 31 to 34 degrees Celsius.

Macc-what? Barbie? Arvo? You will likely hear this a lot from the locals. Australians love shortening words! It is very easy, yet it can be a bit difficult for me as an international student and the abbreviation does not sound the same as the original words. For example, Maccas for MacDonalds, Barbie for barbeque, Arvo for the afternoon, Woolies for Woolworths and lots more!

You think Australia is all about western colonisation? You are wrong! There are beautiful indigenous people in Australia especially in the Northern Territory, who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They are descended from a group who lived in Australia and surrounding islands prior to British colonisation. Where you’re from is never a problem for them, whether you have dark or light skin, everyone can live and work together in the same community. Not only that, you can find a lot of souvenir shops selling their beautiful traditional art and crafts. Other than kangaroos and koala bears, their art and craft is one of the most symbolic items in Australia.

Next, the rent is per week, not per month! The long-term rental in Australia is calculated by week, not by month. This amount might seem extremely huge for international students from eastern countries because of currency and exchange. Based on the data from the website of “Flatmate”, Sydneysiders paid the highest room rate, average $289 per week for a single room in a shared unit. Continue with Darwin, costing $225 per week on average. Melbourne is the third expensive, costing $216 per week on average. Sydney, Darwin and Melbourne were ranked the top 3 expensive room rates and were followed by cities such as the Gold Coast, Canberra, Wollongong and Brisbane. Geelong has the lowest room rate which only cost $153 per week.

Last but not least, Australians love their coffee! You can search it on Google - many articles will have mentioned that Australian coffee is one of the best in the world. The coffee business is serious here. Most Australians will be holding a cup of coffee every morning walking into the classroom or workplace. Even for someone like me who did not like to drink coffee, I found myself addicted too!

Except for the terrifying bugs, Australia is a beautiful country that attracts a large number of travellers every year. Australia, the 13th most expensive country in the world (Sassall, 2018), is still a good country to work and travel by internationals holding a working holiday visa! 

- Stephanie