5 Things You Shouldn't Do In Australia
|Land of Plenty|
So you’ve decided to visit the Land of Plenty. You’ve packed a suitcase full of First Aid equipment, read up on the slang, and gotten all the “Down Under” jokes out of your system (hopefully). Now what? It’s difficult to prepare for a place renowned for it’s intoxicatingly laid-back blokes and sheilas. And even more difficult to prepare for the dangerous creatures that stalk the lands and hide in the waters. Websites bombard visitors with thousands of images “helping” differentiate between a poisonous snake and a “good” snake. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Just flip it over and check it’s belly, that’s always a dead give-away.
Whether you’re dining in the rich, multicultural areas of Melbourne, excavating in the high and dry opal-infested depths of Coober Pedy, or taking a dip with Australia’s own Bay Watch girls at Surfer’s Paradise, there are five things every tourist should keep in mind before walking through customs. And these won’t be found on the government’s website.
So, here we go, from least to most dangerous:
5. Don’t underestimate our ants.
You think our spiders are bad, wait till you meet our ants. Like the women, it’s the pretty ones you should look out for. Even if they’re not poisonous, the bite will hurt long after it’s received. Take the jack jumper ant for example. Getting creative with a magnifying glass won’t be a smart move, as their name was adopted due to their unusual jumping behaviour when agitated. These bad boys are known to hunt wasps! How badass is that? Jack jumper ants sting their unfortunate victims with venom that is one of the most powerful in the insect world. Symptoms of the stings include swelling, fever, and blistering. Apparently these little buggers have caused more deaths in Tasmania than spiders, snakes and sharks. Combined. Although most often found in Tasmania, don’t be surprised to see a few jumping around other areas of Australia. So keep your sandwiches off the ground and your sweets in tight wrappers.
4. Don’t open an umbrella on a snake.
They don’t mind rain as much as they mind umbrellas. Poisonous or not, snakes are less than charming when they’re rearing to swallow you whole. And if you’re coming to Australia, prepare yourself mentally for the possibility of running into one. Or three. If you’re like most of us and don’t have savoury feelings towards Medusa’s locks, you may be prone to using obscure defense tactics when “cornered” by one. Unlikely as it is that you’ll remain calm, the best advice to give someone in such a situation is to, well, remain calm. More often than not, snakes will just slither away. Intimidation tactics tend to work almost never. Always. Still, if seeing a snake slithering through a bush ain’t your thing, there’s always New Zealand.
3. Don’t stand up too quickly next to a kangaroo.
It’s like shoving your ear in Mike Tyson’s face. There will only be one outcome. Although the probability of encountering a wild kangaroo may be miniscule, those kept in zoos and wildlife parks were not raised as pets. All interactions with the ‘roos must accord with park regulations. The old saying, “it’s more scared of you than you are of it” does not apply here. Don’t take their little paws for granted, those tiny balls of fury will knock you out, and before you know it, you’ll be famous on YouTube for all the wrong reasons. Kangaroos can be pretty temperamental, so avoid using as transportation unless trained by a professional. No sudden movements, and if they want to eat your shirt, let them.
2. Don’t take photos of kids in Australia.
No matter how blonde they are. You heard me, China. Your creepy intentions may be honorable, but that sort of thing is illegal here these days. We understand the novelty. Really, we do. But there are some things you need to ask permission for. In English. You don’t want an angry mother coming down on you because you want to show Beijing that blue eyes are real.
1. Don’t criticise our beer.
There you have it. An unconventional list, but useful enough to consider before your travels. And don’t forget: Wear sunscreen. Don’t smoke in public places. Don’t spit on public property. Don’t regurgitate your meal in food establishments. And please, please keep all bodily squeaks and pops to a minimum.
See you soon!
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