Australian stereotypes – separating fact from fiction

When Australia reopened its doors to visitors from overseas, it was a sign that the world really was returning to normal. After all, Australia had some of the toughest restrictions during 2020/21.  

A nation that is on most people’s travel bucket lists, Australia has a certain mystique. Part of that is because it is so remote from the rest of the world – whether you’re visiting from Europe, North America or even most of Asia, you’ll be facing at least one and possibly two long haul flights to reach the land down under. Australia is like a little world of its own, and probably has more national stereotypes than any other country. Here, we take a look at some of the most popular and separate fact from fiction. 

Everything wants to kill you 

This popular trope sounds reasonable. 21 of the 25 most venomous snakes are in Australia, plus the famous funnel neck and red back spiders. But let’s put this into context. The nation has two or three snake-related deaths per year (compared with almost 500 in South Africa). Australia’s last confirmed death from a spider bite was in 1979. The truth is, you’re statistically more likely to be killed by a horse than by all the nation’s venomous creatures put together.   

Betting on flies on a wall 

The adage goes that if Australians see two flies crawling up a wall, they’ll start to bet on the winner. Again, there’s some truth behind the stereotype. Around 35 percent of Australian adults gamble at least once per month, compared with 25 percent of Americans and 32 percent of British, so it’s fair to say that betting is popular. There are casinos in all the big cities, including the famous Adelaide Casino, the Crown Sydney and Sky City Darwin. But of course, most gambling these days takes place online, so you might wonder what is the best online casino in Australia. That’s not an easy one to answer, as online casinos are prohibited in Australia itself. However, thousands of Australians use offshore providers that are licensed in other countries.  

Everyone surfs and has a beach bod 

The majority of Australians would greet this one with “if only” – like most of the western world. Australia has an obesity crisis. In fact, 29 percent of the population is obese, compared with 36 percent in the USA and just 28 percent in the UK. What’s more, only 10 percent of Australians know how to surf. The fact that more than 85 percent of Australians live within 50 Km of the sea explains why the beach is nevertheless an important part of Australian culture. 

Kangaroos hop around everywhere 

This final cliché might sound the most ridiculous, but it is probably closer to the truth than any of the others. You won’t see ’roos in the big cities, but as soon as you are out in the suburbs or exploring Australia’s unpaved roads as you head inland, you’ll soon see plenty of them around. And yes, Australians call bull bars roo bars for a reason!