G – GOONIES aka GOON SACKS
Two- or five-litre sacks of wine that backpackers drink because it’s cheap. The hangover is blinding, pleading, prayer-inducing horror but, as Fabian points out, like all Australian wine, it is excellent value for money.
H – HITCHHIKING
Hitchhiking is still possible in Australia but backpackers do occasionally go missing. Ivan Milat, aka The Backpacker Murderer, picked up hitchhikers, tortured and killed them, then buried them in Belanglo state forest. Dolly’s daughter says there are probably lots of places to bury someone in a forest.
I – IMMIGRATION OFFICERS
The Australian government is not known for going easy on illegal immigrants, or tourists overstaying their visas. Recently a young Irish traveller who had overstayed by 30 months was told that he was being deported - with three immigration officials as travelling companions to make sure he got home - and he was paying for all four tickets.
J – JELLY FISH, BOX
Found in the waters off Queensland and Northern Territory, these are lethal - and as the name suggests, box-shaped - jelly fish. Best to ask around locally before going for a swim - or buying Tupperware. Also BLUEBOTTLE JELLYFISH aka the Portuguese Man o’ War. Mainly found off the East Coast. Fabian says this is not actually a jellyfish but belongs to the phylum cnidaria, though pointing this out to any of the 10,000 people who get stung by it each year will probably just get you slapped.
K – KANGAROOS
Kangaroos are solid animals which, upon impact, will do even more damage to your car than an emu. Don't drive at dawn, dusk, at night, or at any time during the day. Found throughout Australia so there's no avoiding them.
L – LONG GRASS
Long grass makes an excellent hiding place for any animal intent on ruining your day. Some of the more hygiene-conscientious snakes use it as dental floss if they get a bit of tourist stuck between their teeth. If you haven't guessed already, shoes are a must in Oz.
Introduction | A-F | G-L | M-S | T-Z