What I Hate About Australia

What I Hate About Australia

Photo Credit: Flickr

Don’t get me wrong–I actually love Australia. I had an incredible time navigating the country and I wouldn’t give that up for anything. Read any of my other posts and you’ll see how much I truly love the place. However, having spent a full year there, I developed some reasons to hate Australia.

Spend enough time in any place and you’re bound to find some things that irk you.

Western Influence

When I left the States I was under the impression that I would be traveling through unknown territory, visiting untouched beaches and experiencing a way of life that I could never dream of. Unfortunately, for the most part, I was sorely mistaken. Australia has a very evident Western influence that I just wasn’t expecting. There are fast food restaurants on every corner, high-end stores in every city and most people know what Jersey Shore is (although, who doesn’t, these days). I had high hopes of coming to Australia, not only to learn things, but to share things! Maybe that’s just the American in me, but they already had those bases covered.

There Aren’t Any Aussies

Within the backpacking circuit, at least.

The first leg of my trip was up the east cost of Australia, from Sydney to Cairns. The only Aussies that I met either worked at the hostels or sat behind the counter at the bottle-shop. I met a lot of English (oh, so many English), Germans, Swedes and Canadians.

Everybody’s backpacking and none of them are Australian.

Everybody’s Doing It

This is my biggest gripe. There are heaps and heaps of backpackers. I thought I was going to be backpacking all by myself, hitch-hiking, getting stuck in the mud, experiencing things on my own and ending up in random places with random Aussies.

What I found, instead, is that I was making friends at every stop, taking showers regularly and ending up in strange places with strange English people! Americans are so focused on education and careers that none of us even think to go traveling, hence why you won’t find too many of us anywhere else in the world.

Apparently, lots of people travel. And a lot of them come here.

Bogens

OK, this might come off as a little racist or at least very non-PC, but let me explain.

Australians, as a whole, are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They are more than willing to go out of their way just to help a brother out, taking time out of their day to make sure I, a complete stranger, get myself sorted. They are a kind bunch who, more often than not, just want to lend a hand or say hello. Now, that being said, I’ve had more than a few run-ins with some far less than savory people. Sure, you’ll find people like this in any country, but the Australians bring a whole new level of intensity to it.

For no other reason than being in the right place at the wrong time, I’ve had beer bottles thrown at my head, been threatened to have someone “knock the teeth out of my skull,” or just had someone ready to “smash” me because they “didn’t like the way my friend was looking at them.”

Anybody who knows me will probably say, “Jeremy, you must have done something to provoke them.” Well, no, I didn’t. Whether it’s standing in line at the kebab shop or sitting at a table outside of work, there’s a certain type of Aussie who just wants to bash you.

The Women (Well, I Don’t Hate Them)

I think Americans have this idea that Aussie girls are wild and crazy sultresses who are just looking for a good time (or maybe it was just me, hoping). What I discovered was the exact opposite–they’re actually pretty tame!

My university was listed in the top ten party schools in America, so maybe I’m a bit disillusioned about what a “party” is but, to be honest, they just don’t stack up. Maybe others had a different experience (or maybe my best years are behind me!), but I’ve even had this conversation with other Aussies, and they’re the ones who can’t wait to get to Silicon Valley.

Money

The money in Australia is weird. It has see-through, plastic window panes in each bill, all of which are painted funny rainbow colors. The two dollar coins are smaller than the one dollar coins and the fifty-cent coins are bigger than the one dollar coins. On top of that, $50’s are exchanged like $20’s (USD) because everything is just so expensive. And everything at the store ends in ‘9’ but they don’t make one cent coins to provide me with my change.

I want my cent back!

Ease of Access

When I found out that Greyhound ran a hop-on-hop-off bus service I thought I had hit the transport jackpot! “This is amazing! I’ve found a hidden gem.”

False.

In actuality, Australia is just plain easy to travel. There are guided tours on every corner, ready to take you to the Blue Mountains or Kakadu National Park. Pay money, get on a bus, wait, get off. Pay more money, get on a boat, wait, get off. I haven’t had too many ‘real adventures,’ if you know what I mean. I’ve seen plenty of truly remarkable things, but how many life-changing, out-of-my-comfort-zone experiences have I had?

Not as many as I thought I would–because sometimes it feels like all I’m doing is moving from one place to another.

As always, discussion is welcomed, but please be respectful in the comments. Any offensive remarks will be deleted.


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80 Responses to What I Hate About Australia

  1. Natalie - Turkish travel May 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    See you have met us very strange English people then!! We are strange.I would much prefer to be Australian or American.

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 4:28 am #

      Well my guess is that a lot of Australians or Americans might say they’d rather be English!

      • Tanya January 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

        Ewwwww! Noooooo! Nobody wants to be a POM, even the English don’t want to be English!!!!

        PS… The biggest mistake you made while traveling here was doing the typical city to city backpacking BS. That’s not experiencing Australia, that’s playing it safe…. something Americans seem to be typical for!

        • Jeremy Foster January 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

          I would not say it was a mistake. It was my first time traveling like this, and it was an amazing experience. Are there things I might do differently, now that I’ve been “out there” for a little longer? Yes. But ultimately, my time in Australia was eye-opening and I fell in love with that beautiful country.

          Also, please be more respectful in the future. You’ve made some harsh generalizations.

        • hannah galpin July 12, 2015 at 12:38 am #

          Haha!

          Quite happy being English my self!

  2. Amanda Williams May 2, 2011 at 12:39 am #

    I’d say the thing I hated most about OZ was that everything was so expensive! When I was there (and now, too), the US doller and Australian dollar were pretty close in exchange rates. But things were WAY more expensive (especially food) in OZ than in the US.

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 4:29 am #

      See, I lucked out! When I went to Australia the exchange rate was in my favor, and when I left to NZ it was in my favor again! But you’re right, it’s super expensive and it really does add up.

    • Tanya January 5, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

      That’s because our minimum wage is double the US minimum!

      • Jeremy Foster January 5, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

        Yep, and everything evens out!

  3. 2girls1journey May 2, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    I totally agree with Amanda, OZ is absolutely expensive right now! We were supposed to go there instead of NZ, but their sky-rocketing dollar hits the tourists so badly. Btw, nice post Jeremy!

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 4:32 am #

      Thanks! I think it almost evens itself out because some things are even more expensive in New Zealand. The main issue seems to be with wages. Because they’re so low, every dollar becomes a little bit more valuable.

  4. Becs May 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Seriously, Australia is like the most American country outside the US. Even more so then Canada, I think!

    If you want to experience “real” Australia and meet real Aussies, I highly recommend the WHV.

    And the East Coast Backpackers Bullshit tour? Nothing new at all.

    I loved the “paper” money! It’s plastic, so you can swim with it and it won’t get ruined:-).

    • Anonymous May 3, 2011 at 4:29 am #

      Yeah, very American indeed. I was shocked. Luckily I didn’t have a time schedule so I got a Working Holiday Visa and spent a year there. The money is hilarious, but the New Zealand bills are even more ridiculous!

  5. Australian April 1, 2012 at 3:46 am #

    Time to write that blog “Why I hate whining American tourists!”

    • Jeremy April 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Haha fair play! I wish you would!

    • seppo April 18, 2014 at 3:03 am #

      Some Australian journalist does just that on an almost daily basis.

  6. Rich June 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    It’s generally spelt Bogans, not Bogens.

    And yeah, Australia has lots of them 🙁

    • Jeremy Foster July 25, 2012 at 12:22 am #

      Tough break. Thanks for the correction!

  7. flyingfraggle November 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Loved your post, very interesting to an Aussie who has done plenty of international travel. Have to say I’m glad Aussie women aren’t as party crazy as you heard, seeing as I’m one of them.

    Bogans have got a bad rap over the years. Generally in WA, they are described as those who are into V8 cars and AC/DC. Those unsavoury people you described unfortunately represent our rather large contingent of Australians with alcohol problems (bogans and non-bogans)…and sadly it is getting worse.

    As for a true Aussie outback adventure, to experience what I feel you were after, you really needed to follow the example of many others: buy a run-down two wheel drive camper van and take it into some of the remote areas like the Kimberley or Pilbara and attempt to drive it down some rarely used 4WD-only roads. Although that would be a dangerous and foolish thing to do, of course 🙂 Even the bitumen in one of those things can be enough of a challenge 🙂

    • Jeremy Foster November 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      Thanks for the comment. The bogan debate never seems to subside. It’s not a savory issue and it seems like there’s never a shortage of them.

      I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks in the outback of Australia. I roamed the empty desert, climbed mountains and hiked through forests. I spent more than a year in Australia and it was one of my favorite parts!

  8. Not an Aussie November 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Correction – both Australia and America are British/European…not American. Sorry – but this is one of the worst American biased slanders on Australia I have ever read.

    Typical really.

    I hate all the typically American fish and chip shops, and pie shops, and British comedy on the tv…sooooo American!!!!

    Pretty much everything you wrote about here is your lack of knowledge about Australia rather than anything to actually do with Australia itself. It’s “tourists” with opinions like yours that end up dying by swimming in crocodile infested river ways and “hitch-hiking” through the outback.

    And I’m not Australian. By the way.

    • Jeremy Foster November 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      Sorry, I don’t follow your argument…

      This isn’t a “slander piece,” either. It’s a list of just a few things I didn’t like about my experience in Australia! Go anywhere in the world, and there are bound to be things that irk you.

  9. TooTrue March 3, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Love this review. It’s all true. You’re right. Never mind the bogan replies (no surprises here)

  10. Caitlin Crawford August 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Absolutely spot on. Almost peed myself reading the blurb Australian money haha!

  11. Tim August 11, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Great information! I haven’t heard these insights from anyone else. Maybe the Aussie party girl thing comes from the way they party outside of their country. In any case, I’l be avoiding Australia for a while just because it’s so expensive.

    • Jeremy Foster August 22, 2013 at 4:27 am #

      Yeah, the prices were the hardest part, but if you’re working there, making the local wages (which are quite high), everything balances out.

      • Australian home owner December 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

        Only Norway was much more expensive in my travels. Now that the mining boom is over, those wages will plummet. The prices? Not so much. Australia will be the next Spain.

  12. rue November 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    My experience:
    -The bills are cool but everything is so OUTRAGEOUSLY EXPENSIVE!!!

    -At times you forget you’re on the other side of the planet (I felt like I was in the rural American south at times)

    -Customer service is bad

    -people are very rough, loud, in your face…. which is funny because it is the norm I guess so its seen as normal.

    – TOO MANY ENGLISH, OMG!!! it gets annoying after a while, I mean I want to meet aussies, not british people, If i wanna meet brits i’ll go to the UK!! it’s like spain, you go to spain thinking you’ll find this amazing mediterranean culture and all you meet is hordes and hordes and hordes and hordes and hordes of british!!!!

    • Jeremy Foster November 12, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

      I know what you mean, Rue! But I do love Australia, nonetheless.

      • James March 16, 2016 at 1:38 am #

        Why is the title of the article “Why I hate Australia”, if in the comments you’re just going to retract your statement and claim to love the country?

        Hate is a strong word and it seems like you just used it as click bait. With all respect, that’s quite pathetic.

    • Chris April 21, 2014 at 7:42 am #

      That’s a generalisation, but what you claim may be more prevalent in some states than in others. For example, in Melbourne customer service is generally quite good, the people are friendly (of course this also may depend on the suburb in which you live) and although I haven’t seen many Brits here at all, multiculturalism is a good thing- it has added colour and culture to (the otherwise mundane) country we live in.

    • Ben July 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

      – I found the price of filling a shopping basket in the US (west coast) to be about the same as in Melbourne, although this was a few years back when the AUD was worth a little less.

      – “rough, loud, in your face” people are everywhere rue. In the US their caps are backward and facial hair is fashioned to cover only part of the chin.

      – “Customer service is bad” In what area? It’s pretty patchy all over.

      – “f i wanna meet brits i’ll go to the UK!!” Be prepared to meet Aussies go to the UK.

  13. Chryse November 16, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    I love your thoughts of Australia. I am Australian, and I have tried to backpack through my own country but a lot of backpacking places won’t allow A’s to stay. One Bpckr place I stayed in the foreigners thought I was going to steal from them. We didn’t come by boat yesterday 😀

    You know what the best thing you could of done whilst over here, purchased a car or rented one and done your own journey. It is true that if you stick to the mainstream of travelling you will have an ordinary time, but if you went about it on your own with a vehicle and a tent, aah mr americana you would of had an extraordinary experience

    • Jeremy Foster January 5, 2014 at 3:05 am #

      I remember the first time I heard a receptionist deny an Aussie the ability to stay at their hostel. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. But the purpose of those hostels is to entertain travelers, and the reality is that some Aussies are known to take advantage and, frankly, they have the reputation for being a little less predictable. I can see valid points on both sides of the argument.

      That being said, renting a car is a great option, but I wasn’t even aware of the option until I had already arrived in Australia with a bus ticket in hand! I did spend some time, though, driving through the outback with my family, and that truly was, my friend, an extraordinary experience. Kudos!

  14. Chryse November 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    To just lastly add, I agree it is very expensive to live/be here, and
    we do have a lot of bogans, We definitely
    have been invaded by the British, a large part north of Perth in WA
    houses Brits mostly, they’ve bought most of the land, raising the benchmark with prices. I haven’t made up my mind if I detest this or not.

    I do miss the old Australia when Australia was Australia, I think I am
    travelled, wise and old enough to utter this. Australia is not
    Australia anymore and it’s just a pure fact, not progress at all. We Australians will be
    bred out in time to come and replaced by every other countries peoples
    by boat or plane money or no money, it’s just how it is, new comers even get to dictate in our workplace where we can place a xmas tree. It’s not the xmas tree that annoys me, it’s the hide of the immigrant dictating.

    The part I love about my own country is the landscapes and the places that I know to go to where there are no other people.

    • Australian home owner December 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      We stole this country from the aboriginals. Like most things stolen, we never valued it and are more than willing to sell it at a cheap price. Modern Australia is basically the southernmost state of China. The HKD has greater automony from the mainland than the AUD does. It would probably be more beneficial to become an official chinese SAR… Perth might get a train line then.

      • Chryse December 28, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

        I live in the now, not the past. I stole nothing, but value the indigenous as much the land 🙂

        • Australian home owner December 29, 2013 at 8:56 am #

          I’m sure you’ll value you them just as much when your new overlords change the banner to Chi-stralia 🙂
          (Don’t worry, its very ‘now’)

    • seppo April 18, 2014 at 3:09 am #

      I agree with you. THis place was the best in the world 20 years ago. Now it’s full of traffic, arrogant arseholes and it’s too expensive.

  15. Dianne Koneitzko November 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    Your appraisal of our money was hilarious. But I very much like it’s colourfulness.
    In terms of not finding many untouched places, crazy adventures and off-on-a-tangent hard to get to experiences I think it’s one of those make your own fun things. I’m Australian and I’ve experienced many of these sometimes by pure, spontaneous accident, sometimes because you just have to go exploring yourself. You have to refuse the safe, easy option and put yourself out of your comfort zone and into a situation where you meet the Aussie people and find the nooks and crannies worth finding. As a general rule, the locals won’t line up outside the hostel to meet you and take you around, that’s your job. The fun part comes when you do just that.

    • Jeremy Foster December 1, 2013 at 1:33 am #

      You’re absolutely right, and that’s something I’ve learned as I’ve traveled more. You really have to say no to the comfort and seek out the bizarre! Only then will you truly have adventures.

  16. Australian girl December 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    I’m australian hehehehehehehehehehe……..plus with the money you round off. So, $4.99 = $5, it’s quite easy really. I’m fine with spiders and “nopes” (I’m a girl! XD). It’s not always DESERT DESERT SHARK SCORPIANS, it’s really the opposite, only in the right dead center is derserts but they are small, have plants (lots in fact) and you can easily survive in one, for Aistralians like me that is.
    Ps. I like potatoes, not for eating, caring, I love caring for potatoes.

    • Jeremy Foster December 20, 2013 at 8:05 am #

      Good to know! I’ll send you a potato for your birthday.

  17. kym January 5, 2014 at 2:27 am #

    I was in America last month there prices are nearly the same it only seems cheaper because they don’t advertise the tax and you have to tip constantly. I love that Australia the price is fixed and you don’t have to worry about tipping.

    • Jeremy Foster January 5, 2014 at 2:59 am #

      That’s a really good point, Kym! Though prices have gone up in the past few years and I think, nowadays, they might be more similar than they once were. I’ve just returned to America after four years abroad and am shocked to see how much more expensive things are compared to when I left!

    • seppo April 18, 2014 at 3:07 am #

      Surely you jest. Melbourne and Sydney are both much more expensive than NYC. The cost of living in AUs must be 2-3x as high as the USA.

    • Ben July 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

      Tipping is such an awful custom. More and more tip jars and expectant wait staff here in Australia.

  18. Peter January 5, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    I don’t know what you were expecting culture-wise, but yes, Australia is a very Western culture, as are all English-speaking countries (and quite a few non-English-speaking ones, too). Sure, fast food is pretty ubiquitous – just as it is in Japan, Korea, France, Mexico, and so on. But if you look past the lowest common denominators of fast food and partying, you will notice many important differences between the US & Australia.

    Bigots are everywhere on Earth. It’s no different than the rednecks I’ve met in the US, or the anti-Semites I’ve met in Paris, or the many places in Japan that explicitly ban foreigners. I’ve spent 10 of the past 20 years in Australia, and I’ve never once had someone throw a beer bottle at me or threaten me because of how I was looking at them. I can’t help but think we’re only getting half the story here. I find your comment that “there’s a certain type of Aussie who just wants to bash you” more than a little prejudiced, since those people are everywhere on Earth, and there are just as many of that type in the US. Don’t let your limited experience paint an entire culture.

    And please don’t complain about how few Aussies there are (not true) and how “everybody’s doing it” when you are a non-Aussie doing the same – you are just adding to the problem you’re complaining about. There are (obviously) plenty of Australians here, but going on a touristy backpacking trip and complaining about no Aussies is like going to EuroDisney and complaining about no Parisians.

    As a side note, personally, I like the money. You can tell which notes are which at a quick glance, and they are more durable if they go through the wash. It’s easy to tell which coins are which with a quick feel in the pocket. We used to have 1 & 2 cent coins until the late ’80s, and I say good riddance – they’re a worthless nuisance. Pay with a debit card if you care that much about the penny.

    • Imogen June 18, 2015 at 11:28 am #

      Peter, well said!

  19. emma February 19, 2014 at 5:28 am #

    Hi Jeremy

    I’m glad you enjoyed your trip overall. I had no idea the backpacking circuit was so well set up here! I guess that kind of set-up doesn’t led itself to “getting off the beaten track”. Researching and planning your own trip takes a lot of time, but is more rewarding.

    I feel I must apologize for the bogans. I cringe every time I think of a tourist (or anyone really… xenophobia is a problem) interacting with one. At least you have the good sense not to assume all Australians are like that.

    It’s good that you ditched your preconceived notions about Australian women. I’m not quite sure what they were, but they sounded bad. But hey, if you admit you were wrong and you adjust your way of thinking, it can’t be held against you.

    • Jeremy Foster February 20, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

      Thanks, Emma! You’ve approached this article with entirely the right attitude and I’m glad you can understand where I’m coming from! Another lovely Aussie 🙂

  20. emma February 19, 2014 at 5:40 am #

    And wow I just read some of the comments below. Bogans can READ?!?!
    Seriously, lay off the guy. This isn’t an attack. There’s plenty of those.
    Heheheh yeah our currency looks like toy money. But it’s bright and colourful and it survives a round in the washing machine… it is pretty funny though! Things are way overpriced here, probably because wages are higher. I guess it balances out if you live here, but it must be tough on tourists.

    • Jeremy Foster February 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

      Hahahaha no comment 😉

      Once I started working in Australia, the ratio of wage to expense balanced itself out and things weren’t quite as expensive to me anymore! I’d love to go back, but I’ve already used my Working/Holiday visa 🙁

      • John Lane January 29, 2016 at 7:22 am #

        I hope you come back soon, I can’t wait to throw a bottle at you.

  21. vdl July 22, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    I found the post interesting and uninsulting. (yes I am an Aussie) but some of the comments following are offensive. Perhaps our bogans should team up with some of your gun slinging rednecks. I am proud to live in a country that doesn’t have shootings every second week in schools. The English and Aussies don’t need guns to protect us, we are more evolved. Back to boganville for me. Yeah maaate!

    • Jeremy Foster July 22, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

      Thanks. I didn’t think it was offensive either. You’re right about the comments, though. I shouldn’t have let them slide.

  22. Jules July 30, 2014 at 3:27 am #

    I just want to fill you in on my experiences with Americans. I’m an Aussie living in the Philippines. Unfortunately, the Filipinos have become pseudo Yanks! They speak with American accents, eat copious amounts of sugar, fat and salt, and worship basketball. All this is understandable as the Philippines was colonised by the US for around two hundred years.
    However, it is somewhat frustrating and annoying as an Aussie to find that there is no self raising flour for example! Why? Americans have never heard of it! Yes, they don’t bake the easy way folks. Americans still use cruddy shower curtains and insist on having the shitter right next to the shower! Why? Do they like to shit and shower at the same time? And while I’m on the subject of shitters, Americans love toilets that swirl your droppings around in the pan! Not like our Aussie crappers that flush from the sides in a civilised manner!
    Want to find a fabric store? Well Americans call that a dry goods store! Stupid me! I thought dry goods were things like rice, flour and sugar! So you might want a restaurant that serves a healthy meal such as fish and salad. Good thought but don’t take it seriously! Americans are catered to big time here and they just loooove sald dripping with either thousand island dressing or ranch. Watch the waitress load your table with ketchup, chilli sauce, mustard and just about any other crap. However, ask for balsamic vinegar or olive oil and pounds to peanuts it won’t be there!
    Don’t ask for an entre or you will get the main course! Americans still haven’t caught on to the fact that entre means entry to meal! Speaking of meals, you just have to try pulled pork! The stupid buggers get a perfectly good piece of pork and shred it until it looks like a regurgitated dog’s dinner.
    I have American friends here and get on well with them. They give me hell and I give it back in spades. It’s so easy because there’s so much to throw at them! By the way! Some of you Aussies are using American spelling! Why?

  23. Jules July 30, 2014 at 4:17 am #

    Ha ha! Good one! As one American said to me recently, “There’s America and then there’s the rest of the world”. Says it all!

  24. kris August 2, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    Good article. Spot on with bogans and the money. I was at the cbd tonight and two drunk guys, a caucasian and a part aboriginal spat on US marine who bought food at a mcdonalds chain. The white guy was so full crap talking trash saying Americans fucked the world up and the part aboriginal guy was only saying “I am gonna “smash” you even though your bigger than me”. All that talk nothing happened. I wish those marines beat the two bogans but then again it would only give them a bad rap. Good thing that huge dude just wiped off the spit and avoided a fight or the aussie bogans could have ended up wiping themselves off the floor.

  25. Lochie Rose September 20, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    I am from Australia and i strongly believe that if you want a good aussie experience you shouldn’t even touch the east coast because that’s where most people live and it’s not where you will find all the stereotypical stuff.
    You need to go into outback Alice springs way or up to remote places in Northern Territory cause it is very different up there, i think the east coast is very westernized, (my opinion, if you go down under, don’t go to Sydney.

    • Jeremy Foster September 23, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

      It’s incredibly beautiful along the east coast but, like you said, if you’re traveling and want a genuine Aussie experience, the east coast may not be the best place. There was no way to know that, though, before I actually did it!

      • erin February 4, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

        But like… what you saw *is* the genuine Aussie experience. It’s not what travel books or the media will have you believe to be the genuine Aussie experience, but it’s how 98% of us live. The vast majority of people in this country have spent very little time in what I think you are picturing as “genuine Australia”, because it’s a really damn long way away from everything.

        I agree with your point about bogans. We don’t like them either. Trust me.

        However:
        * our money is awesome (it’s waterproof and the colours make it easy to tell the different between each amount). Things sure are expensive – as an Australian, there’s really nowhere in the world you can travel that’s too far our of your price range – but a lot of factors influence that.
        * there aren’t any Aussie backpackers in Australia because a) we can afford to travel in our own country without hosteling (that’s not bragging – it’s just the case), b) a lot of hostels won’t actually take Australian guests, and c) we have a tendency to move far and wide away from our homes, so when we travel interstate we stay with friends and family
        * yeah, our women do indeed have standards & morals. Funnily enough, we hear the same thing about American girls, but know it’s probably not true
        * by “Western influences”, do you mean American? Because we’re a western country.

        There is SO much to see and do in this country, even on the east coast, but you need to get away from the cities. Better yet, come to WA. The state is huge, there’s barely anyone here, and you’re probably likely to get the kind of off-the-beaten-track, “true Australia” experience that you were chasing 🙂

        • Jeremy Foster February 12, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

          You know, I think this is the most accurate appraisal of my article, yet. I wrote this almost four years ago, after one of my first overseas trips, and as a more experienced traveler, and with much hindsight, I see immense validity in your points. Most importantly, you’ve responded in a respectful and cool-headed manner, so thank you.

          Having more experience with more foreign money since I wrote this article–yes, I agree. The money is actually awesome. I also learned, later, the reason why there are no Aussies traveling in Australia! I was stuck on the backpacker route (nothing inherently wrong with that), and there weren’t any Aussies because they were all in Asia and Canada! 😉

          The women? Yep, same could be said for ours. And by Western I meant American. Again, I was five years younger when I wrote this and I had a more limited view of the world. If I could rewrite this article again, I would, and I would do it differently. I would assess what I could have done better to get off the backpacker trail and find some truly unique experiences.

          What I love most about much of this blog is that it is a register of my growth over many years, and if one were to compare my articles from now to the articles from five years ago, there would be huge differences in perspective. Thanks for your input!

  26. Nate February 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    I realise I am late to the party Jeremy but interesting post. I am an Aussie now living in the US and I agree with everything you have written, apart from the money aspect. I love Australian notes as they are easily identifiable and are virtually indestructible. When I pay with cash in the US I often have to double check that I am handing out the correct change as it all looks the same. On top of that the $1 notes can pile up quite easily and bloat your wallet. I also had the opposite problem you did in the fact that when I go to pay a cashier with a $50 or $100 note, they often refuse them. I often am left wondering why they bother printing larger denominations if they wont accept them.

    Like someone else previously mentioned, wages are higher in Australia (median income is $75,000), so the cost of good are higher. That offers no comfort to tourists though and like one American tourists once told me in Cairns, Sydney makes NY look cheap.

    That aside I think you missed a couple of things off your list. One of my biggest pet peeves about home is the alcoholism (which is linked to the bogan) and alcohol fueled violence. I know when I left home there was a big movement to end the violence with a “just walk away” campaign” but have no idea if it has had any effect at all. I am envious when I go to a bar in the US and everyone acts so civilsed and respectful. Not something I experienced too much of in Perth but then again we do have a disproportionate amount of bogans due to the mining boom.

    American girls are awesome. Before I met my American wife I garnered a lot of attention of the local girls here. One friend joked that it was like shooting fish in a barrel and he was right. Obviously my accent helped but American girls are self confident and ambitious, they know what they want and don’t play as many games like the Aussie women. I come from Perth, so I don’t know if my perception of girls back home is skewed or not, I just find American girls to be more level headed.

    Another thing that irks me about home is that Aussies have a bit of a complex about their self-image. I notice whenever a celebrity visits Australia’s shores they always get the same question, “do you love Australia”. We ravage anyone who doesn’t seem to share our self-view. For example I can have a civilised debate with an American about a number of contentious topics such as the second amendment, tipping, or Americas work-life balance and not once is my nationality attacked. On the other hand I just need to read some of the replies from Australians on this topic and I can see some pretty tacky responses.

  27. Barry April 10, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    Im an Aussie. I lived in the us for years. Got sick of everyone in my pocket every 5 minutes for tips
    Glad we don’t do that crap here in OZ. As for Bogans mate let me enlighten you. They probably are the ones that wanna smack u in the teeth, but they are always the first to lend a hand, the first to offer to jump start ya car on a cold morning, the first to offer you a coffee, and Just real down to earth people keeping it real. If you want real Aussies in a true Aussie environment go to Tassie next time. But yeah back packing between cities is not where you will find edge of your seat type stuff. Venture into the real interior. Go Off the beaten track. Lastly I love our money. Yes it’s expensive in OZ but we can sleep at night knowing we will once again wake up in Paradise and live our dream all over again with big smiles on our dials because of where we are. Cheers.

    • Jeremy Scott Foster April 19, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

      Surely they are wonderful people, but unfortunately that wasn’t always my experience with them. That being said, I did spend two weeks in Tasmania and I loved it! Again, I love Australia, but there are just some things that I can’t necessarily get on board with.

  28. gabby May 4, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    Shut guys , I was traveling around aus at about 2007 , I had two kids 2 and 3 , our car broke down in gero WAS ,
    I met amazing people from every background and always tried to be good actually, always no matter what I insured that we inclosed the secret rigging to the washing machine that cost 4 bucks a wash to nothing , because we knew or ,anything else , I met different ppl from every nation , I can self rightesly exclaim no one ever left not pissed not fed or to my knowledge ……..shah not ok , I shared amazing nights with amazing people ,,,,no wait …. Before Facebook started the business of stolen moments , or was the next year coming to be something took the show , your in a country that all yous what you see is what you get , as extreme is this land also the peps , I know if old mate was pissing on my head ,,,,,,,, saying hey hey it’s raining love ,
    You would go bat shit whatever , because he took you for a fool ,
    Ask yourself why though you sat there long enough to even get wet lol

  29. louisa klimentos May 7, 2015 at 6:26 am #

    It was so nice of you to communicate with others through your blog even if you initially wrote this blog 5 years ago I hope one day the Australian dollar would drop in value ,so it will make it affordable for you to visit Australia.Jeremy ,you are really a gem and would love to see you come back.

    • Jeremy Scott Foster May 11, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

      Thank you for the kind words, Louisa! Especially on an article that most Australians don’t love. But thank you for taking the time to read all of the comments and to understand my point of view. I look forward to coming back one day, and I’m happy to know that you would have me 🙂

      • louisa klimentos August 26, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

        You are welcome to come to Australia any time and the best thing is if you make friends here,they will take good care of you.For example ,I had cousins from the UK visit Australia ,we took them all over Sydney ,Jenolan caves ,The Blue Mountains and Jervis Bay.We were only given a two day notice and initially they were going to be in Sydney for 2 days .We asked them if they can stay in Sydney for 1 week .So that is what they did and then they were off to cains to do the east coast of Australia.I tell you that we all took good care of them and made them feel welcommed.They had been to Cyprus to visit their relatives,but most didn’t bother with them.They had a ball with us and miss us so dearly.Some australian men do drink alot and an over ubundance of alcahol not only destroys one’s liver or kidney but affects the hormone level so badly,causing outragious agression.Your blog was not all that bad.I read blogs from the UK that stated Australia is so overrated and expensive,with a very bland history and bland scenery.They stated that there were better countries ,like New Zealand and south East Asia.They only ever seen the touristy places of the east Coast.So how can they judge?Atleast you generally loved Australia ,but expressed some of the things that concerned you.You are welcome to visit my family any time.God bless you ,regards louisa

        • Jeremy Scott Foster September 1, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

          Thanks, Louisa! I do genuinely love Australia, and for the most part, found the people to be extremely warm and inviting 🙂

  30. Imogen June 18, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    I am an Australian and I found this article rather interesting. It is a shame that you felt you didn’t get to experience the True Australia. I think we need to respect that the beauty about Australia is that you can travel an hour here or there in another direction and get a completely new experience. I think the hot tip for anyone travelling to Aus is to come with an open mind and to absorb different surroundings, like everyone else has said get off the beaten track and go explore. To me as an Australian, my favourite thing to do is to go down to a moderately quite beach (I’m not talking Bondi, if your going to Bondi you pretty much won’t meet any Aussies) with a group of mates, enjoy the sun have a couple of beers and go for a swim/surf – we are ultimate chillers, I’m a girl by the way… thats what we do… you want to have The Australian experience than just relax and enjoy the sun, you don’t need to compare it to anything else, cause lets face it, nothing compares. Haha sorry I am a very passionate Aussie, we do have our flaws but so does every country, we have bogans and we have many other things which i don’t want to get into because it’s a waste to be negative. We have beautiful beaches, we have great coffee and food, we have so much space if you venture out go to country towns and the outback (I haven’t been to the out-outback and I think I’m talking for most Aussies as well – this is kind of a tourist thing 😉 but its what we are known for) and we have beautiful people.

    I really hope you make it back one day so you can soak up the good stuff 🙂

    • Jeremy Scott Foster June 29, 2015 at 6:56 am #

      You make a good point, Imogen. Part of what makes Australia so wonderful is the diverse group of people who live and travel there. I had an amazing time in Australia, soaking up the sun on sleepy beaches, going surfing with a couple of mates and beers, and just enjoying life. But there were some downsides which, like you said, exist in every place on earth.

      I don’t mean to say that Australia is a bad place. Quite the contrary–I love it there. But, unfortunately, a few bad experiences were what shaped this article. I hope to make it back someday. Australia is a beautiful country and I can’t wait to be back among the laid-back Aussie vibe that I do love so much.

  31. Kell July 20, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

    Hrrrm.. sounds to me like you’re simply not a very adventurous backpacker… You got on tour buses? I live in Australia, I’m not Australian though I just grew up here (30 years), and I’ve been on some wild adventures with my backpack on and my thumb out.

    I don’t like Australia. I hate it here. I can’t wait to leave (I’m saving all my money to escape real soon) but its got some wild and wonderful and untouched areas to investigate and you can live cheap on the road if you’re smart. Did you go out to the desert and hang with some mob? Get a taste of the ‘third world’?

    Your post reads like you just weren’t up for travelling alone off the beaten track. If you didn’t find any Aussie backpackers/travellers, or meet any Indigenous mob you simply weren’t travelling in the right places.

    • Jeremy Scott Foster July 21, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

      Interesting that you hate it there. I was a first time backpacker in Australia and have since learned a lot. I hope you’ll read some of my more recent articles 🙂

  32. Firdha August 13, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    I know what you mean about bogans. One of them pulled my hair in the cbd because apparently I had flirted with her boyfriend previously. They are not pleasant people unless you are one of them

  33. Will October 5, 2015 at 12:27 am #

    Thank you. Maybe different nationalities have different opinions on Australia, but I felt pretty much the same as you did. It’s not a bad country, per se, but it’s so similar I feel like I could’ve gone to a different part of the states and done the same thing. I never felt like I was out of my element at times like I did in when I was in SE Asia right before, which is part of the reason I travelled. Still, I guess it’s a good place to work and have an ok time as a backpacker and saving some money to go somewhere more interesting. I don’t plant on staying the full year, but I’ll see how I feel come Christmas when it’s time to visit my family.

    • Louisa Klimentos October 7, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

      To Will,you needed to go up to the kimberleys, in Western Australia or the Outback of Northern territory.The Arnhem lands ,in the Northern territory have indigenous Aboriginal communities and you can learn alot from them about their culture .You have to get permission from the Aboriginal council to enter sacred ground.Most tourists tend to see the East Coast of Australia which is heavily commecialised.Even in South East Asia,has western influence .You need to get away from the cities and visit the villages.There is Western influence everywhere.It is what you put into your holiday that will make your holiday a wonderful one.Best of luck and please enjoy your stay here.It is all in your hands

  34. Luna February 21, 2016 at 4:46 am #

    The idea of Australian women being, quote, “wild and crazy sultresses” is absolute rubbish. How dare you sexualise and generalise my country’s women as if all they have is a high sex drive. It’s disgusting the fact you came here, to my country you so thoughtfully degrade, believing that every woman you meet is keen to take you on a nude bush walk to some remote waterhole and sleep with you. You are honestly a sexist imbecile.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. An Australia sub culture - Bogans. - Contented Traveller | Contented Traveller - May 11, 2015

    […] That’s not to say that bogans are not nice people. Most are really genuinely good blokes and sheila’s. These are the only group, where the use of the term sheila’s is acceptable as it is part of their dialect. Other bogans are just plain bogans in the not so nice sense. […]