Who doesn’t love a little adventure that blends with rich cultural heritage especially when it represents Australia’s heart and soul? The idea of exploring the vast open spaces and a mixture of green and brown land that stretches until the end of the horizon and be acquainted with Australia’s pioneering spirit and unique identity is itself very exciting.
Spoiler alert! Do you know that a lot of what you think you know about Aussie Outback may be mere myths or misconceptions, many of which are created by foreigners?
Many of those who haven’t set foot upon the land down under are privy to believing many myths and misconceptions about the Aussie Outback. If asked certain questions, you will hear some surprising or even funny answers.
Check out below for some of the top myths and misconceptions foreigners often have about the Aussie Outback!
1. Lethal Animals
It is a common misconception that visitors to Aussie Outback are constantly at risk of attack from the region’s wildlife. Yes, it is a known fact that Australia is home to many of the world’s deadliest animals including insects, reptiles and marine life. In reality, if you follow basic safety guidelines, those animals tend to leave you alone and pose little threat to your safety. In fact, what us humans are doing to those animals have resulted in them being classified as vulnerable or endangered. However, that does not mean that you should completely let down your guard especially out in the wild. Just keep an eye out and avoid close interaction with them by treating them with respect.
2. The living of Outback Aussies
Foreigners still envision the Outback Aussies as cowboys armed with guns, clad in denim clothes with hand-woven straw cowboy hats riding freely into the sunset of the scorching red dry bushland. Imagine Ned Kelly 1800s style.
Well, it’s time to set the record straight! Most Aussies flush to either the West Coast or East Coast of Australia with only a few left running cattle stations residing near raw nature. However, those who still live as true high country cowboys and cowgals won’t be caught out with guns blazing but they sure do pack on a rifle to keep their property safe.
3. Clockwise Flushing toilets
Thanks to the scene where Bart Simpson racks up $900 phone call to Australia to check on the direction of the water drains or the Michael Palin’s documentary Pole to Pole which referenced the spinning direction of hurricanes and cyclones, many have been left with the impression that the water in toilets and sinks spins in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere.
It’s time to debunk this misconception. It is not entirely false as this Coriolis effect is only noticeable over great distances or at high speeds such as hurricanes. In fact, whichever direction that the water drains in the toilet depends largely on the design on the sink!
4. All Aussies are Surfers
People around the world have a particular image and mood in mind when they think of Australian. While there is certainly accuracy to some degree, the image of all Aussies being shirtless watersports pro and ace-ing at surfing is false. The Aussies don’t surf to work every day.
There are a number of varying lifestyles even in the Outback and some other careers such as doctors, teachers, farmers, entrepreneurs - yea, we know what you’re thinking - Aussies are just like normal people? No way, dude! Well, despite what you may be thinking, hiking and ball games are relatively popular activities and there are some who don’t even know how to swim!
5. Kangaroos everywhere
Again, only holds some truth to a certain extent. It can be a daily occurrence to see kangaroos and wallabies (a smaller cousin of the roo) grazing the grass in the backyard of those that lived in a rural area or near the vast bushland. It is also common to see those that live in the Aussie Outback squeeze themselves into the kanga pouch or throw on a kanga saddle on one of the hopping grass grazers and ride him to work. Surprised? You should know by now that these are at most jokes. Nature is the home to the native animals anyway. So, if you stay near the wild, seeing them in the close range should not be a surprise. However, you won’t see a kangaroo running loose in the city centres.
6. Eternal sunshine
Dear foreigners, if you think that the Aussie Outback is forever summer, then you should pack your bags and head on straight to Charlotte Pass, New South Wales and other mountainous areas where there is guaranteed snowfall throughout winter.
In the southern cities of Australia, it has the classic four seasons whereas in northern Australia, it is common to experience only two seasons – wet and dry. In a rare occasion this year, the subtropical Sunshine State of Queensland – Gold Coast even woke up to a winter wonderland. Whatever season it is, one thing is for sure and that’s how Aussies are always passionate about food and nothing beats a good barbie no matter the weather, come rain, winter, or summer!
Let’s resolve the confusion once and for all as the Vegemite news spread beyond Australia. Not all Australians love Vegemite, let alone eat it every day or at every meal when there is bread. A “love it or hate it” condiment due to its strong acquired taste, many still refuse to try it. There is also a philosophy behind vegemite – less is more. Due to its strong flavour, Aussies don’t slather them generously on toast. If you do come across a jar of vegemite, we will still recommend that you give it a go! Who knows, you may end up at the “love it” category. Oh, and for those who are a little curious, vegemite does certainly go well with some good Aussie cheese!
8. A land of convicts
More than a century ago, hundreds of thousands of convicts were sent from England to Australia. There was a huge population issue back in England and petty crimes were regarded as an excuse to ship criminals off to Australia. So, off they went!
Given that these convicts were pretty much criminals, they weren’t set to roam about the street scot-free but rather to contribute to the society in a positive productive manner due to Australia’s need of labour to help with building projects.
Thanks to the Australian system which encourages rehabilitation, many strived to improve and eventually become much loved and valued members of the society. Modern Australia is now a multicultural country with a lovely blend of all people from diversified backgrounds.