Arguing with the Australian Stereotypes

Over my half year Australian adventure I was reading through different stereotypes related to this amazing country with a higher attention than before, and all of those reads have brought me to this post.

I’ll play a little MythBuster with you based on a couple assumptions I’ve heard, or on a couple I have personally come to Australia with:

  1. There are no spiders in Australia. Okay. There are. BUT you are not going to wake up every night to a huge hairy creature waiting for you in your bathroom. Most of the spiders I’ve seen so far were smaller than those I used to see in Europe and I have been to many rural places too. No hairy ones within 6 months. Let’s keep it this way.
  2. With the good comes the bad. In the land of kangaroos, I have so far encountered a total of 3 alive wild kangaroos on the mainland, which includes the Australian outback- the Northern Territories. AND about 50 during my one day trip to Kangaroo Island, so I think there is a reason behind that name. Plus about 200 dead ones… But, if someone tells you that you’ll see those bastards on every corner, don’t believe them, I think it’s all a big conspiracy to get us out here, and they have hid all the kangaroos on the Kangaroo Island. It’s always darkest before the dawn. Or under the lantern, as we say it in Polish.
  3. Australia is a HUGE country. I mean HUGE. Not everything in here wants to kill you, and not everything that do wants to kill you will be exactly where you are heading to. I think in NSW there are like 3 animals that are deadly to humans.
    1. Within last 50 years there was just one noted death from a spider bite. This is less than in the USA, which stays on avarage of 6,6 people per year.
    2. On average there are 1.1 fatal shark attacks per year in Australia- to give you a comparison, on average 98 people drowns each year, without shark’s help, and an average of 1200 people dies in car accidents every year. To add more into that argument, there are about 440 known species of sharks, out of which only 3 of them are responsible for unprovoked attacks on humans.
    3. Saltwater crocodiles live only in the Northern Australian waters, same with Irukandji and the box jellyfish.
  4. Winter is actually not that warm in Sydney and summers can get rainy so check the weather!
  5. Sydney is a huge metropolia with 3/4 of the state population living within the city boundaries, so do not believe the moment you land you’ll feel like on some kind of virgin land. It’s got a pretty big American city vibe.
  6. Aboriginals or Indigenous Australians are not savage tribes that live without electricity like hunter-gatherers- most of them lives amongs the white people within cities, but their tradition is still being passed from generation to generation, continuing to be the oldest one in the world.

I am definitely not saying here to not be cautious of swimming in the open ocean or when walking through a desert.

Nor I am saying that you’ll never see a big hairy spider when coming here.

But I read through a lot of comments of people saying ‘This country will never see me’ etc.

All I am saying is- do not let the above scare you. Australia is a beautiful country, with so much to offer.

Way more than we deserve.

Simply make sure you do your research. Know what you can meet during your vacation is NSW and what can be a danger to you when you go to Darwin. Know what places are safe and where to avoid swimming. Follow the signs, and know what to do in case an accident happens.

And most importantly- remember that wild animals are exactly that- wild. Do not approach or feed them, as it may cause harm to you or to others.

And be respectful- Australians (compared to Americans) do acknowledge it’s not their country and they come to traditional aboriginal sites with respect.

Approach Australia just like every other place you travel to.

It will be so worth it.

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