Why do so many countries think that they’ve got the monopoly when it comes to things being done well? As Aussies, we know there are certain things which we fall down on (we’re not very good in the cold and we’ve never been able to embrace vegetarianism as a country - too many lush meat pies around), but let’s be honest. There are some things we do very, very well.
No, you fool - we’re not talking about the Bette Middler film (although that’s also really good, and well worth watching, preferably on a Sunday). We’re talking about soft, golden sands and crystal blue seas that most tourists have only dreamed of before they’ve seen ours. If you’re thinking of visiting us at some point, here are the top three beaches you’ve got to visit - Bondi Beach in Sydney, Lizard Island in Queensland and Byron Bay Beach in New South Wales.
Australia is a country almost completely encircled by beautiful, quiet beaches that are, as a rule, unspoiled by crowds - and they’re free to access.
Free outdoor pools
Just in case you’re not a huge fan of swimming in the open sea, most cities have free rock pools next to popular beaches. Our councils have their priorities straight - if there are no beaches in the city, many will have an artificial lagoon, so you don’t miss out on splashing around on a hot day.
If you’ve ever endured - sorry - enjoyed - a road trip in the UK, you’d better come down here and see what the fuss is about. We have a lot of roads, and they’re in good condition - so if you have the car, and the drive, you’re in the right place for an adventure. Once you get out of the cities and the towns, there’s very little traffic - just remember to always make sure you have plenty of water (and gas!) before you set off, and away you go.
Healthy fast food
We got involved with the whole brunch phenomenon, and suddenly eggs and guacamole on toast served with a helping of chilli-topped cream cheese became a thing. People are eating hummus at 11am because of us. And our food monopoly didn’t stop there.
Our healthy fast food is really taking off - it may be hard to come by in very rural regions, but most Australian cities and towns boast a great selection of take-away salad and juice bars as well fresh Thai and other healthy Asian foods.
You can’t miss the hipster Paleo and organic cafés that are popping up left right and centre, so you’ve got no excuse to ditch the diet while you’re on the go.
Outrageously good coffee
One of the most unique things about Australian coffee and our culture is that we have developed both an obsession for quality espresso coffee and the means to meet that obsession, even though we’re eons away from places generally thought of as ‘the home of coffee’ (France, Italy, etc).
Our love of coffee gadgets and our undying devotion to our flat whites means that we’re coffee connoisseurs; even Starbucks can’t touch us. In 2000, 84 new stores were opened in Australia; by 2008, 61 had shut because we all knew the coffee they were churning out wasn’t as great as the nectar made by our independent cafes and coffee shops.
The modern fiction known as ‘space’
Visitors can’t believe how lucky we are - they feel they can actually breathe here. We’re the same size as the USA, but we don’t have the USA’s population - so if you’re after vast empty spaces and the chance to walk for miles and miles without seeing another living soul, that’s us.
Yes, you’ll occasionally have to see one of the other 23 million Aussies living here, but if you want an isolated existence, here, you really can have one.
Properly delicious seafood
Fair enough, Japan - you have an obscene array of sushi (some of it looks a bit wild, even for us) and Spain’s got the edge when it comes to oily, salty, pickled sea produce. Which we also enjoy. If you’re after unpretentious, juicy seafood that’s exactly how you’d expect, come here.
You can get a bucket of prawns. You should try our salt and pepper squid. We have oysters on most of our menus. Oh, did we mention South Australia’s rock lobster and whiting? Like we said - we win this round.
Of course, you can scuba dive in Egypt and Thailand - but you haven’t lived unless you’ve hit the Great Barrier Reef, with unmissable sights such as the Cod Hole and the Heron Island Bommie.
But why stop there? Throw in Ningaloo Reef, the whale shark migration, the Yongala wreck off Townsville and the Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea. These are some of the most captivating, lush and colourful places on the planet (well, we think so), with azure seas and curious creatures who will often swim up to you to say hello.
We may not be number 1 in the world, but we're confident that we’re definitely up there when it comes to wine, and we also get the overall experience right.
Our wineries always put people at the heart of their business - most offer free tastings at their cellar doors, some arrange gigs in their front gardens and the on-site eateries serve high-class food to go with your tipple. We think we definitely have customer service down to a T - now we’re working on the wine itself.
Easy domestic flights
If you’re flying within Australia, you can take advantage of our relaxed laws and just breeze through the airport. There’s no passport control or 100ml liquids restrictions so no fumbling with tiny plastic bags, and domestic flights are remarkably frequent. Plus, there’s a degree of flexibility - if you arrive at the airport early, more often than not, you can jump on an earlier flight.