1) Be aware, everything can kill you– The top ten most deadly species on the planet are all located in Australia. The list is filled with many deadly snakes, but also includes some spiders, an octopus and the killer cone snail. The killer cone snail’s harpoon can penetrate a wet suit and contains enough venom to kill 10 people. Watch where you step, sit, swim and sleep. It’s all going to kill you. If that wasn’t enough…Great White Shark!
2) Pay for the economy plus upgrade– Being cheap, it usually hurts me to pay for the upgrade, but on this flight, it’s totally worth it. It’s a 16 hour flight from LAX to MEL (Melbourne) and sitting in the middle seat next to a 600lb man can be daunting, but if you don’t even have the extra leg room, you might just jump out of the plane before it lands. It’s worth every penny; I promise. If you can afford first class, it’s obviously the best option.
3) See all the animals!- Even the ones that might kill you are totally worth viewing. Australia has some of the most diverse animal species on the planet and everything thrives. The Sydney zoo is lovely and has great exhibits on native Australian species. You can see wallabies in the wild in Queensland and go to kangaroo petting zoos and feed kangaroos by hand all over Australia. If you go to Phillip Island near Melbourne, you can see penguins! You can’t hug a koala in New South Wales, so don’t try, you might go to jail. Good news though, you can hug one in Queensland on your way to the Great Barrier Reef.
4) Don’t try to speak Australian- The Australian accent is great to listen to and who doesn’t swoon over Hugh Jackman or Chris Hemsworth’s ability to speak words. Australians also make all of their words super cute sounding. For example, footie is rugby, brekkie is breakfast, sickie is sick day and champers is champagne. All of this sounds perfectly acceptable when an Australian is saying it, but as an American, don’t try! You’ll sound ridiculous referring to breakfast as brekkie and you’ll feel even more ridiculous when an Australian looks at you confused at your terribly awkward American accent. Stick to what you know.
5) Don’t eat vegemite – Unfortunately, salty yeast paste is not appealing to the American pallet. Stick with Nutella on your toast.
6) Don’t expect everyone to love you- As is with most countries in the world, Australians are not terribly impressed with Americans. Because of sensational news, Australians are exposed to all of our school shootings, terror attacks and gross misuse of police authority. If you are confronted about why the US doesn’t have stricter gun laws or why there are 5 guns for every person in the US, it is best to be respectful and not get into a heated debate. You are a guest in someone else’s country. No need to wave your American flag the entire time you are visiting or debate popular opinion.
7) Go to the Great Barrier Reef- It is reported that the Great Barrier Reef is vanishing and could possibly be non-existent within 20 years. Go see it all now; it’s something you can’t miss in your lifetime. Scuba dive or snorkel and see all the fish, coral, sharks, turtles, and sea cucumbers you can squeeze in during your trip. If you have time, take a plane or helicopter and fly over parts of the reef to really understand the enormity and beauty of it all.
8) Have so much fun!- Good news! Australia was originally populated by criminals. They don’t take themselves terribly seriously, and they are very good at drinking and partying and having a great time. Although, they might disagree with our political agendas, they are more than happy to have a drink with you and watch some footie at a bar. Perhaps if we adopted a more Australian approach to guns, we’d fear criminals less and drink beer with them more.
9) Don’t go to sleep when you arrive- Unless you have sleeping skills like me that allow you to sleep 15-16 hours straight, you should force yourself to stay awake until it is actually bedtime. If your plane arrives midday, try your hardest to stay awake until at least 7:00 PM. This will help with the jet lag. Don’t take a nap for just an hour. You won’t wake up.
10) Go to the BEACHES- I always thought Hawaii had the best beaches, but I changed my mind quickly after visiting Australia. Australia has tons of beaches, and they are all beautiful and great for surfing and other water sports. Visit as many as you can.