By Vicky Anscombe on 01 July 2015

Us Brits like to think we know our Aussie counterparts well - but we've spoken to a few Antipodeans who have lived or worked with Brits Down Under, and it seems we're not quite as switched on as we'd make out.

Here is some advice for Brits heading to Australia for the first time - ignore these hints at your peril.

  • People don’t actually drink Fosters. The top three popular beer brands are XXXX Gold, VB and Carlton Draught, but micro brews are abundant and very popular.
  • It's not just about beers and BBQs; there are plenty of health-conscious (hipster-friendly) cities, such as Melbourne, where good food is taken seriously. A lot of restaurants offer gluten free options - there are even paleo restaurants and organic bakeries.
  • Two words - drop bears. This is a popular prank locals like to play on tourists; the 'drop bear' is a fictitious, carnivorous mammal which likes to 'drop' on people's heads and cause them grave injuries. Unwitting tourists have been told that smearing Vegemite behind their ears or wetting themselves will discourage the drop bears.
  • However, don't be fooled into thinking that koalas are adorable, loving grey sweethearts. They're capable of being pretty vicious.

Koala sign

  • Pubs are called hotels and are usually a lot bigger, newer and less cosy than in the UK. While you might find a pub that serves a pint (568ml), you’ll more typically be asking for a schooner (425ml) or a middy (285ml), also referred to in some states as a handle or a pot.
  • People freak out about great white sharks, but they should be paying more attention to what else is in the water with them; the box jellyfish has killed more people in Australia than stonefish, sharks and crocodiles combined.
  • We have a few things in common with the UK - some of our shopping centres and restaurants also play classical music in their car parks to deter teenagers from hanging around at night.
  • Your local off-licence is called ‘Bottle-O’ here. Most Bottle-O’s have walk-in fridges and there’s also some with drive-through service. The section of department stores that sells sheets, towels and bed linen is called the 'Manchester department'. 
  • Thin polo necked sweaters are called 'spencers'.
  • Surprisingly, Aussies don’t actually see kangaroos on an everyday basis or keep them as pets.
  • It's not perennially hot. It can get colder than you’d expect, and there are popular ski resorts for the Aussie and New Zealand winter.

Snowy Australia

  • Saying 'G'day' or 'G'day, mate', unless you're an Aussie, sounds horribly patronising.
  • If you get called a 'pommie', relax - it's not that offensive. Seriously, don't worry about it.
  • Many beaches in Sydney have 'free' open-air swimming pools, so if you’re a nervous ocean swimmer, this provides a more comfortable option.
  • Weekend brunching is big, with a variety of tasting menus and different options available which go beyond the typical greasy spoon fry-up.

Australian fry-up

  • If you're living in a small area, you'll do well not to make many enemies! With a relatively small population, it is important to get along with everyone, since you never know when your paths may cross again.
  • We're not all called Bruce. Or Sheila.
  • Australian chocolate is just as good as British chocolate, if not better. You've just got to eat a few Tim Tams and accept that we offer a superior product.

Tim Tam

  • Football is called 'soccer' here and, while rugby union, rugby league and AFL are the most popular sports (depending on which state you’re in), soccer has seen a rise in popularity in recent years.
  • Aussies don't actively try to get tans - melanoma rates in Australia are so high that to try and tan would be incredibly stupid. 

Photo: Shutterstock and Flickr, with thanks to JoyJulian BerryJimmy Harris and Richard, enjoy my life!

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