Great Barrier Reef, Queensland © Georges Antoni, Tourism Australia
A handy guide to the Australian lifestyle
In Australia, we do things a bit differently. So live a little bit Aussie on your next trip with this handy guide to understanding the Australian way of life.
Australia is an incredibly diverse country, and is home to so many different wonderful cultures and communities. But there is something truly unique that links everyone together here – a one-of-a-kind shared spirit and attitude that is the Australian way of life.
From laid-back attitudes to a serious love of nature and sports, here’s what you need to know about the Australian lifestyle.
A “no worries” attitude
There’s something Aussies are known the world over for, and that’s their easy-going, friendly attitude. Of course food, events, art and history are all vital parts of the Australian culture, but what really distinguishes an Aussie is his or her laid-back outlook on life. It’s the way friends turn up unannounced for a catch-up (but always with a six-pack of beer in hand). It’s the reason you’ll hear the words “no worries, mate” exchanged between strangers on the street. Most of all, it’s about putting aside stress to appreciate the good things in life that are right in front of you.
A spirit of friendship
For Aussies, a stranger is just a mate you haven’t met yet. Mateship is the beating heart of the Australian spirit – it’s practically a national trait. Aussies pride themselves on being good friends and neighbours, and not just to people they know. They tend to greet everyone from the mail carrier to the cab driver with a “g’day” or “how ya going?”. For Australians, this emphasis on mateship creates a cheery, welcoming attitude, and one that says anyone can be a mate.
And who says friends need to be human? With neighbours like fairy penguins, koalas and wallabies, animals are great mates, and our unique wildlife is part of what drives Australians’ enthusiasm for environmentalism and sustainability.
A love of being outdoors
From the red sands of Uluru to the clear blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef and the flora- and fauna-rich rainforests, Australia is blessed with some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world – so it comes as no surprise that Australians love to be outdoors. This passion for nature runs deep through Australia’s veins, and is anchored in the foundations of the country's history; a respectful connection with the earth has been central to Aboriginal culture for more than 50,000 years.
Seasonal wildlife means you can swim with whale sharks one month and manta rays the next. But locals are eager to explore their own backyards, too. Sydneysiders enjoy ocean swims at sunrise, Canberrans take weekend bike rides around the lake, and Perth’s King Park is the local’s favourite for a picnic.
A rich and diverse cultural history
Australia’s history heavily influences its lifestyle today, and Australia’s first and oldest stories belong to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Their diverse languages, philosophies and histories form the oldest surviving culture on earth, one that stretches back millennia.
Get an introduction to the traditional Aboriginal way of life with a Dreamtime Southern X tour in Sydney, or move to the beat at Dance Rites, Australia's national Indigenous dance competition held at the Sydney Opera House.
Australia’s multiculturalism and diversity continues to grow as people from around the world have settled into the country’s buzzing cities and breezy regional towns. Today, Australia’s rich assortment of backgrounds, cultures and communities influences everything from the food we eat to the celebrations we share.
Coming together over food and drink
Whether wining or dining, celebrating with friends, family and the broader community around a shared table is an integral part of the Australian culture.
The options for experiencing Australian cuisine are endless. From café breakfasts to ocean-side lunches and fine dining, Australian cuisine blends fresh native ingredients with influences from all over the world to create something totally unique. Taking inspiration from the native surroundings runs true for many of Australia’s tasty tipples, too. With thousands of wineries located throughout 65 beautiful wine regions, and a boom in artisan distilleries and craft breweries, many Australians are using native botanicals to create wine, beer and spirits that reflect their surroundings.
Sharing a meal or a drink with a group of mates and an amazing backdrop – whether enjoying pan-Asian flavours down a Melbourne laneway or indulging in a Greek share plate on one of the country’s many, many beaches – is true Aussie style.
Making the most of the coastline
What do you get when you pair a nature-loving lifestyle with so much dazzling coastline? A thriving beach culture, of course. Australians find countless ways to kick off their shoes and enjoy their many beautiful beaches, be it surfing, fishing, kayaking, picnicking, sharing an impromptu game of beach cricket or just soaking up some sunshine.
You can find elements of this beach culture even when Aussies are away from the waves. For decades, this culture has influenced everything from Australian music to children’s television programs.
The spirit of the outback
Jessica Mauboy, Australian singer and actress
"A very little known fact is that a quarter of all land in Australia – like the amazing Kakadu National Park – is managed by Aboriginal land Trusts. The Aboriginal rangers that manage and protect these beautiful and vast pieces of land are our great unsung heroes."
It’s not just about the beaches in Australia, though. The Australian outback is home to an array of different landscapes, countless natural wonders and deep connections to Aboriginal culture and communities. Because a sense of adventure and love of outdoors feed the Australian lifestyle, you’ll find plenty of Aussies outside the cities taking in the fresh air and clear night skies of Australia’s regional communities and stunning outback.
Hike through the MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory, with its ancient mountain ranges and refreshing water hole, to get a feel for why the outback is so vital to Australia’s lifestyle.
A passionate sporting culture
Australia’s lifestyle is laidback, sure, but there’s nothing that excites an Aussie more than sport. Australia’s sporting culture has been passed through generations, making for a population deeply invested in cricket, rugby, Australian Rules Football, soccer, tennis and more. Locals pour into pubs for rugby games, spend all day in the sun at cricket matches, and use golden beaches as fields for casual games.
Coming together to celebrate events
Australia has an exciting calendar of events and festivals, where locals and tourists alike gather to celebrate food, sport, art or culture. Australia hosts a huge number of world-renowned sporting events like the Australian Open tennis tournament and Sydney to Hobart yacht race. When it comes to food, the Western Australia Gourmet Escape is a highlight, while Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebrates our diversity and sees people come together from all over the world.
Of course, Australia’s sense of humour has hatched more than a few quirky events. If you’re up for some Aussie fun, celebrate outback culture in Queensland with the Boulia Camel Races, or head to Alice Springs for the Henley on Todd Regatta to watch dry river bed racing.