T – TAIPAN SNAKE
Apparently the Taipan is fifty-times more deadly than the cobra. Fortunately, at almost two-metres long you'll easily spot it before you tread on it.
U – UTES
Utility vehicles, aka Pick-ups. Tough enough for the sheep station, smart enough for church on Sunday. Also found in the outback, possibly with a drunk driver at the wheel. All Utes must, by law, have a large red dog sitting happily in the flatbed, its tongue flapping in the wind.
V – VEGEMITE
Highly addictive. Travellers leaving Australia can be overheard in the airport wondering if they can get it in the supermarket back home. The overweight charge on their luggage is the ten-gallon jar of it they bought just in case they can’t.
W – WHITE TIP SPIDERS
Another spider. Curious one too. If bitten, your skin starts to rot, then heals by itself. A few years later the same patch of skin will start to rot again. There is no cure.
X – XXXX
Beer is beer in Australia, but how you drink it depends on which state you’re in. There are no pints. In New South Wales a 'schooner' is a large glass, and a 'middie' is a smaller glass, but in Victoria, a schooner is called a 'pot'. Better just order a jug. A ‘tinnie’ is a can of beer. A ‘stubbie’ is a bottle of beer, but, according to Amy, ‘stubbies’ is also the name given to the very tight, very short shorts worn by construction workers. Order your beer very carefully.
Y – YAKKA
Work. Hard yakka... you get the picture. If you are arriving in Australia from a trip cross Asia, you might find it alarmingly expensive. Your daily budget in Vietnam will just about cover your dorm bed in Sydney. Despite the recent fall in inflation rates, says Amy, the Australian dollar still loses about half its value with each step you take away from the ATM.
Z – ZUMSTEIN, ZILLMERE, ZILZIE
In fact, any place name in Australia. When confronted by Aboriginal place names like Wollongong, Woolloomoloo and Woolloongabba, the British colonials went for a very literal approach to naming places, The Great Sandy Desert being a particularly descriptive example, which is why you might want to think twice about South Australia’s Rotten Bay, and Victoria’s Mount Buggery.
Despite all this, says Gareth, it’s a testament to how nice Australia is that you can’t throw a cricket bat without hitting a Pom on holiday, and only a very small number of the six million tourists who descend on Australia every year end up having to check the small print on their health insurance (usually those that are stupid enough to go wandering barefoot through the Blue Mountains), and if you follow my friends’ advice, that should be enough to avoid spending your trip only conversing with medical professionals.
Australians are almost genetically-programmed to enjoy themselves (possibly because they know each day might be their last), and you’re going to have an alarming amount of fun while you’re there.
If you find yourself not having fun, chances are you’ve just been bitten by something and are in a coma.
Introduction | A-F | G-L | M-S | T-Z