13 Misconceptions Americans Hold About Australia

Friday, 27 March 2020
A few weeks back we tackled 13 Misconceptions Australians Hold About Americans. So naturally, it's only fair we address the reverse. Whilst, albeit, the misconceptions towards Americans lean in a more negative tone, this list will show that Aussie stereotypes are not without fault. We're putting some of the most common misconceptions to the test and finding out just how true they are. 

1. There's a Really High Chance You're Going to Die Whilst in Australia

We've got funnel web spiders, redback spiders, brown snakes, magpies, great white sharks, saltwater crocs, sea snakes, blue-ringed octopus, platypus, box jellyfish and the list goes on. So naturally, you're going to die if you visit Australia. FALSE!

There are definitely some dangerous animals here in Australia, and if you're not careful, the sun will probably kill you too, but it's not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. We've tackled this topic before on our post Is Australia Really That Deadly? So if you're curious what your odds of survival are, go check it out. 

2. Everyone Is Blonde And Surfs All The Time
Growing up, any time Australia was shown on TV, it was always gorgeous blonde surfer dudes. Even Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen totally played into this stereotype with their movie Our Lips Are Sealed

But Australia has an incredibly diverse population and most the Aussies I know, don't know how to surf. Don't get me wrong, there are many beautiful people here in Australia, but it's not limited to blonde surfers. Chances are, you're not gonna land a Hemsworth. 

3. They Ride Kangaroos To Work
Not sure why, but I frequently get asked if I ride a kangaroo to work. I'm sure most people are just taking the piss, but there are a few snuck in there that are dead serious. Other crazy questions that get asked, "do Australians have electricity?"; "Is everywhere the desert?"; "Do people just like live in tents or something?".

I think I may know where this misconception came from. When Americans are shown photos of Australia its either surfers and the beach or the Outback with heaps of roos and no civilisation. So naturally, they just assume it's not there. I know when I hear people talk, it's like they talk about Melbourne and Sydney being like separate entities from the rest of Australia. But honestly, who knows. 

4. Everyone Has A Pet Koala
Just like riding a roo to work, pet koalas are a frequent misconception. Again I think this stereotype falls back to images of Australia that are shown worldwide. Think back to the recent bush fires, a lot of the photos being spread around the internet were of people helping koalas and other wildlife. It would be an easy leap to assume that koalas are just everywhere. 

Sadly, we do not have pet koalas. Although I'm sure, Archer would love to have a koala best friend to keep him company during the day. 

5. Australia And New Zealand Are The Same Country
That and Australians and Kiwis have the same accent. Y'all come on. That's like saying someone from California has the same accent as a New Yorkers. They're the same but also drastically different. I'm going to take a stab in the dark and assume this misconception stems from the similarities in the accent, ANZAC forces, and that both countries are islands. 

6. Australians Are Welcoming As
Australians are a pretty friendly bunch...unless you want to stay in their country. Immigrating to Australia is definitely a challenge. It's widely known that Australia really isn't keen on immigration. The visa standards are strict as, the visa prices are ridiculously expensive, so unless you're planning to come on a Working Holiday or Tourist Visa long term stays in Australia can be a major struggle. 

7. They're All A Bunch Of Convicts
So back in the day, the British monarch decided it would be a fantastic idea to ship all the convicts and criminals to the remote island that is Australia. There they would serve out their time, and Britain wouldn't have to deal with their mishaps anymore. But y'all... get this... some of the most common crimes were petty theft, stealing clothes, and stealing food. You know basic necessities to live. 

Whilst some data shows that 1 in 5 Australians can trace lineage back to the convicts (I'm looking at you Stolen generation policies for this high prevalence), assuming all Australians came from criminals completely negates Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders... you know the original owners of the land. You're missing out on some deep, rich culture with this assumption. 

8. Fosters... It's Australian For Beer
Growing up in America, there were constantly commercials for Fosters Beer on TV. With the brilliant slogan, "Fosters it's Australian for beer" so why wouldn't Americans think that all Australian's drink Fosters?

It wasn't until I moved here that I realised Fosters was, in fact, NOT Australian for beer. If you're in Australia and ask for Fosters, you'll be laughed out of the pub. Stick to VB, Coopers, Carlton Draught, XXXX, etc. and no one will know you're an American tourist. 

9. Everyone Gets Hella Drunk And Fights Each Other
Australians do love their beer. Sh*t Australians just bloody like drinking. They also, for some unknown reason, really enjoy a good pub brawl. Yup... this one is unfortunately pretty dang true. 

Suburbs in Sydney have had to give restrictions reducing the hours pubs and bars can stay open. In Melbourne suburbs, be prepared to have your ID scanned and your picture taken. This way, if you cause any issues, you're not only banned from that bar... chances are your banned from all the bars in that area. So maybe don't be a d*ck and fight randos at the pub?

10. Everyone Is Racist
Maybe it's just a white people thing, but there is the stereotype that Australians are hella racist. Again, this one sadly has some truth. Unlike the closeted American racists, Australians are pretty blatantly racist. You don't look Australian, be prepared to have some racist thing spat towards you. You don't sound Australian, you're still not safe from the racist statements. 

To be fair, if you pass as Australian, you're going to have a much easier time whilst in Australia. If you're a tourist, you'll probably be met with a slightly different attitude than if you're an immigrant. This is definitely an area where Australians could use some growth. 

11. Nobody Wears Shoes, Regardless of Where They're Going
This one... semi-true. Especially during the summer and if you're near a beach. Aussies do not wear footwear. In the supermarket, she'll be right. At the petrol station, who needs bloody shoes, mate?! No shoes, no shirt, no bloody problem. 

I must confess, it was a weird thing to witness going into a supermarket in metropolitan Melbourne with no beaches or water to be found, and people were shopping without shoes. That would get you kicked out of the shops in the States. But not here. Fun summer tip. If your house doesn't have cooling, take a trip down to the bottle shop, forgo the shoes, and stand in their fridges for a bit. You'll survive summer no problem that way. 

12. They're Always Throwin' a Shrimp on the Barbie
If you wanna quickly regret your trip to Australia, make sure you tell an Aussie to throw another shrimp on the barbie. You will quickly be met with the following: 

A. It's prawns; and 
B. They aren't typically thrown on the barbie. 

I'm pretty sure this one originated from an old commercial in the States, but it sure has stuck throughout the years. This misconception is false. 

13. You Can Easily Travel the Entire Country in a 2 Week Holiday
Y'all, Australia is big! Could you travel all of the US in 2 weeks? Nope, not going to happen. I'm not even sure you could drive non-stop and see the majority of Australia. Flying from Melbourne to Perth (east coast to west coast) will take you about 4 hours. The distance from Melbourne to Syndey is similar to the distance from San Diego to San Francisco. Going from place to place will take some time. If you only have two weeks to spend in Australia, less is more. Pick a city or two and really explore that city. There is so much to do and see here you don't want to feel rushed. 

Were you guilty of believing any of these misconceptions? What are some misconceptions foreigners hold about your country? Share them in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay curious


  1. This was a really interesting post. I'll admit that I've had several of these misconceptions. They're just so common out there. One of the biggest I had was that Australia was the land of beautiful death. LOL

    1. Before I moved here I was guilty of some as well! I blame all the images I was shown of Australia growing up and lack of research lol

  2. I am from Sweden, and there are a lot of misconceptions about Swedes as well - most of them really REALLY funny! :D

  3. Love how you explained each point! I guess there will ALWAYS be misconceptions, where it was either installed during their upbringing or influences or simply not enough are educated. I do feel when people have experienced a new country their views always change. Keep up the work!!

  4. I, as an American, an honestly say that I never thought any of these things about Australia. I can't imagine anyone would think that some of these are true.

    1. I wish I could say that people didn't genuinely believe these but I still frequently get asked some of these when I go back to the US and the people asking are dead serious

  5. Love this post, thank you for making me smile and your honesty!

  6. hahaha that is a great list of misconceptions that Americans have about Australia. While I don't hold any of those, I definitely know people here in the States that do, haha.

  7. This is such an interesting read. Misconceptions are prevalent so this article helps alot in squashing them.

  8. oh wow, such great information. i didnt know a lot of this. i have always wanted to visit. i really hope to one day.

  9. Hahahah! Such a cool post! Wouldn't it be too cool to have koala as a pet!

  10. This was quite enlightening! I don't think I held any of these assumptions but that's because I hadn't thought about Aussies or the country much. Thanks for broadening my perspective.

  11. Some of these are pretty funny and ridiculous for people to actually believe. It's fun to see what perceptions of different countries are--and to enjoy them as entertaining and not fact!

  12. "They ride kangaroos to work"....why can't I stop laughing at that, huh?

  13. Love these! My sister lived in Australia for a bit and said koalas were actually nasty and not nice creatures. Is that true?

    1. They can be quite feral. I definitely wouldn't try to cuddle one in the wild. They're riddled with disease as well