12 ways Australians prove they live in an upside down world

2017-05-18 06:00
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“G’day mate. Fancy taking the ute to the billabong this arvo for some bevvies and a barbie?”

Conversing with an Australian can be a difficult feat, even when we are engaging about the things we have in common like sports and sunny skies, it sounds as if we are chatting to someone speaking a completely different language.  

Australians are the kings and queens of abbreviations; it’s pretty much a national pastime and they’ve “blessed” the English vocabulary with a variety of creative new names and sayings including the word “selfie”! Take the opening sentence for example, in true Aussie (yet another abbreviation- see what we mean) fashion a simple invitation to pack up the bakkie and head to the lake for some beers and a braai, has morphed itself into a colourful and imaginary language that leaves us non-Australians feeling like we stepped into wonderland.

We know that they like to tease South Africans about our peculiarities (especially after we have beaten them at rugby or cricket) so we decided it was high time we returned the favour and brought some of their ‘stranger things’ into the light - because a trip to Oz will make you feel like you are in the Upside Down rather than Down Under.

Here are top 12 most confusing Australian-like things:

1. Barbies

No, no not those blonde-haired American dolls, when an Australian invites you over for a ‘barbie’ they usually mean a barbecue or as it is traditionally known in SA, a braai. So take along your meat and salads, and prepare for a sausage sizzling feast.

2. Kangaroo meat

And at this ‘barbie’ don’t be surprised to find kangaroo meat on the menu, the Australians love them some kanga.

3. Fairy bread

A delicacy of choice, mostly among Australian children is fairy bread, which is white bread spread with butter or margarine and covered with sprinkles. Definitely wonderland!

4. Vegemite

While there is a few passionate South African marmite fans, in Australia vegemite is almost a religion as it is loved so much. The spread is made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives, and is enjoyed on toast, sandwiches, crumpets and crackers.

5. “She’ll be right”

No ladies, this is not a proclamation by men that you are always right, it is a sort of saying that Australians use to comfort others. It gives off the connotation that whatever is wrong will right itself with time. For example, if your laptop has broken: “She’ll be right, mate”.

6. Thongs

Sisqo’s ‘Thong Song’ is probably going through your mind right now but in Australia those lyrics meansomething totally different to the rest of the world. Australian thongs are actually sandals or as South Africans call them - flip flops or slops.

7. Footy

When we hear ‘footy’ we automatically think the speaker is talking about soccer but in Australia it refers to Australian Rules Football. So make sure you ask for clarification before you join your new friends to watch or play in a game.

8. Drinking out of silver bags

Here in South Africa we have our papsak and box wine but in Australia they take it one step further by drinking out of large silver bags called goonbags. It’s usually cheaper than bottled wine and has the desired effect faster.

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9. Drinking out of their shoes

The ‘shoey’ ritual is when a drinker either removes their own shoe or uses a friend’s shoe and uses it as a vessel to drink beer out of it - for some they enjoy the taste while for others it is seen as a good luck tradition. It became popular worldwide when Formula One racer, Daniel Ricciardo, drank out of his shoe after winning a race. 

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10.  Shortened words like G’day (good day), doona (duvet), servo (service or petrol station) and tinny (beer cans/tins)

We’ve warned you, Australians love to abbreviate their words; the list of the quirky slang is virtually endless and growing daily. The Australians are so obsessed with shortening words that even their national airline – QANTAS – is an abbreviation. Qantas is an acronym of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (also nicknamed “The Flying Kangaroo”).

11. Getting food at Maccas

Craving a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder? Well if you are looking for a McDonalds, you might come out short but if you look out for the trademark yellow arches, you will come across ‘Maccas.’ Even an international corporation couldn’t fight the Australian’s need to abbreviate and in 2013 they officially renamed themselves to Maccas in Aussie-land.

12. “How ya goin’?”

This is a popular form of greeting in Australia, almost akin to ‘how are you’ but with a unique Australian spin to it.

Experience these crazy quirks or find some new ones that we did not pick up on by booking a trip to Australia through Qantas.

To book your adventure, make qantas.com your next destination.