Mistakes people make when travelling to Australia for the first time, by locals

Mistakes people make when travelling to Australia for the first time, by locals
Mistakes people make when travelling to Australia for the first time, by locals

As someone who grew up in Australia and worked in tourism, I have seen many visitors make the same mistakes.
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I am a true Australian who has been fortunate enough to work in travel and tourism promoting Australia to international visitors. For many years I attended international conferences, gave talks at universities and conducted seminars about Australia.

Tourism is a vital part of Australia’s economy, expected to generate $265.5 billion this year, but it’s also an incredible way to introduce travellers to all the country has to offer.

Unfortunately, throughout my work in the industry, I have seen visitors repeatedly have the same misconceptions about Australia and make similar mistakes.

Here are the five most common mistakes I see when tourists visit the country for the first time.

Underestimating the size of Australia

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world and the only country that occupies an entire continent, yet many travelers want to explore the entire continent in a short vacation.

When tourists try to do too much in one trip, they end up spending more time in airports than enjoying the sights.

Focusing on Sydney and ignoring other parts of Australia

I recommend exploring other areas outside of Sydney as well.
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When most people hear Australia, the first thing they think of is Sydney. However, I believe Sydney doesn’t have the depth and culture of other Australian cities.

For example, if you travel to Sydney, you will probably meet a lot of other tourists. For a true Australian experience, I recommend exploring other cities like Melbourne. After all, it hasn’t been named one of the most liveable cities in the world for nothing.

Although I am biased, I believe that my hometown of Melbourne has far more to offer tourists and is always the surprise hit for every visitor I speak to. Here tourists can expect many festivals and events throughout the year, a vibrant café culture, a famous art scene and friendly people.

I also recommend taking a trip to the Outback before leaving Australia. Although it occupies 81% of the country, few people visit this vast, uninhabited region full of diverse wildlife and natural wonders like the stunning pink lakes. The crystal clear skies are also magical for stargazing at night.

A visit to Uluru is also a must as it offers interesting insights into our history and indigenous culture.

I think it’s always hot in Australia

What most tourists don’t know is that it’s not always hot in Australia. In the southern half of Australia, winter is cold and in some mountainous regions it snows.

Many tourists arrive unprepared in the middle of winter and are forced to buy warmer clothes because summer in the Northern Hemisphere is winter Down Under.

The good news is that if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you can take advantage of winter sales in your home country before your Australian vacation.

However, in warm weather it is important to use sunscreen. The sun in Australia is brighter than anywhere else I have been and it is easy to get sunburnt.

Even my Texan wife puts lotion on her skin – and she is used to the sun and extreme heat.

Not getting to know the local cuisine

I always recommend visitors to try local dishes such as vegemite on toast.
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Australia has a wide variety of excellent food on offer and tourists do themselves a disservice by not trying the local cuisine.

For a true Australian experience, I recommend trying a meat pie at a sporting event, a “parma” (also known as chicken parmesan) at the pub and, of course, Vegemite on toast.

Excessive paranoia about deadly animals

When I worked in tourism, many potential travelers asked me how I survived all the deadly animals in Australia. Although Australia is known for its deadly snakes, sharks and spiders, I have never seen any of them outside of a zoo.

In fact, many animals are afraid of humans and avoid large cities and places where people are present.

Of course, tourists should always be cautious around wild animals. However, the chances of encountering a deadly animal are quite low.

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