Australian rules for incoming tourists: What not to do

For incoming tourists ✈️

If you're one of the lucky ones who have just booked a vacation or working holiday to Australia, congratulations!

You will now have access to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, epic landscapes and friendliest people. However, there are a few things you should know before arriving.

We spoke with a few of our oldest Uptown Pokies members and this is what they said. Here are the most important Australian rules for incoming tourists.

Don't jump in the ocean if you don't know how to swim

As we just said, Australia has a lot of beautiful beaches. But it's also home to some of the world's most dangerous rip tides, sharks and jellyfish. So unless you know how to swim, we suggest keeping your feet firmly on the sand! If you do know how to swim, never just visit a random beach. Stay between the flags and pay attention to warnings.

Never try and pat our wild animals

Koalas may look cute and cuddly. And kangaroos can appear very inquisitive and adorable. But take it from us, you should never try and pat our wild animals – even the prettiest ones are dangerous!

Koalas have a vicious little bite and kangaroos can easily tear skin with their sharp claws. Even the shy and funny-looking platypus has a venom-tipped spike that can fell a fully grown adult!

Just admire them from a safe distance and you'll have an unforgettable experience. Better yet, visit one of our wildlife parks and get to know our famous critters under supervision.

Don't confuse us with New Zealanders

Nope, Australians and New Zealanders aren't the same. We come from two completely different countries and have unique cultures. And don't even get us started on the Rugby rivalry! To confuse an "Aussie" and a "Kiwi" is probably the biggest mistake you could make while in Australia, so please don't do it!

Never, ever, ever order toast with Marmite

If you try and order Marmite on your toast for breakfast then be warned: you will be kicked out of our country!

Seriously though, Australia was built on Vegemite and it's not just a healthy spread... it's a national icon. Salty with an umami flavour, Vegemite is actually surprisingly versatile. We loved it as kids on rice and pasta, but you might prefer it on toast with avocado. Either way, it will make you smart, strong and easy on the eyes (just like the rest of Australia).

Don't drive on the right-hand side of the road

We drive on the left-hand side of the road in Australia, not the right. This can be confusing for some tourists, so be sure to pay attention when you're behind the wheel!

We also have a few other rules such as no cell phone use while driving and zero tolerance for drunk driving. So make sure you brush up on the rules before you get in the driver's seat. If in doubt, remember that you as the driver should always be next to the middle line.

Don't go hiking in the outback alone

The outback is a beautiful, breathtaking and peaceful place. But if you're unfamiliar with scorching hot temperatures, a distinct lack of drinking water and endless red sand, you shouldn't try to visit there alone. Even the hardiest adventurers have gotten lost and needed rescuing, so if you're intent on exploring the outback make sure you take a guide or at least tell someone where you are going.

Don't be offended by our swearing

Australians love to swear and we drop "F" and "S" bombs like they're going out of fashion.

Instead of being offended by our dirty mouths though, take our swearing with a grain of salt. We're not actually trying to be offensive; it’s just the way we communicate. The vast majority of us are after all descended from convicts, so it's probably to be expected. If you want to immediately build rapport with an Aussie, just swear back!

Don't feel obligated to tip

We're not like Canada or America or even Europe.

In Australia, we pay our workers a liveable wage which means those employed in the hospitality industry don't need to survive on tips. This means you shouldn't feel obligated to tip if you don't want to. That said, it's always nice to leave a little something for good service – we're sure your waiter or waitress won't say no!

Don't leave for a night on the town without bringing ID

One thing that kind of sucks about Australia is that you need to bring your ID with you whenever you go out on the town.

This mainly applies to larger cities, with almost every club, pub and bar scanning your ID as you go in the door, but it's best to be prepared just in case. Don't miss out on a fun night because you didn't bring your ID – we've all been there!

Don't litter

Australias are super proud of their country and we do everything possible to ensure that it remains clean.

As kids, we're taught to never litter and these habits stick with us as we grow older. We even have special days when everyone is encouraged to go outside and fill a bag with rubbish! Taking this into account, littering in Australia is a massive no-no. Just find a bin or take your trash with you. Whatever you do... don't leave it on the ground.

Always lookout for murderous drop bears

Last but not least: never forget about dangerous and murderous drop bears. This rarely-seen but often-felt animal is incredibly scary. And they love to drop down onto tourists from the trees and drag them back up into the branches.


Drop bears don't actually exist. It's an inside joke within Australia and you can expect to hear it a lot. So don't worry about these imaginary mammals, but do take all of these other tips into account on your trip Down Under!

Most of all though, have fun, stay safe and enjoy Australia.

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