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Wait, Did You Notice that Thing in Australia?

During the time I lived in Sweden I blogged daily about places I’ve seen as well as peculiarities that are part of the Swedish lifestyle, little things that are taken for granted but can cause slight confusion for visitors or temporary expats. Did you know they had sleeping rooms at the office? Or that they have special recycling bins everywhere?!

Often, I find people are just slightly puzzled but do not pay too much attention for too long. I try to and share with you my quirky finds. This time around, I have looked closely at the Aussie way of things and here are some of my random findings.


Like in Sweden, the doorknob turn into the other direction of what I had been used to in Germany, meaning towards the door frame. They usually are brass door knobs with a little twist or knob for closing the door from the inside. So if you want the door locked, make sure you twist or push.


Have you noticed each toilet has s syringe disposal box? There are two reasons I can think for this. First, Australians do enjoy their drugs and trying heroine might not be a too uncommon thing. Second, diabetes is a widespread disease (especially among aboriginals) and disposing of them in this way is safer and more hygienic anyway.

More Toilets

Speaking of Toilets, have you ever been to a bush toilet? No? Well, you didn’t miss out. They are not the nicest places to be in. First, they are in the wild and therefore there is no working pipe system attached to the place of disposal. Instead, there is a huge basin underneath the cabins with bacteria that make the whole affair self-decomposing. There is toilet paper, though. But usually never soap. Or if there is, there might not be water. Check both before use! (I learned the hard way.)


A strange thing to notice, and I had to actually have it pointed out to me, but the next time you wash your dishes and chuck out the water, watch the direction of the receding water’s swirl. Which way does it turn? And then go to the other hemisphere and have a second look. You will notice that the directions are different. The magic of physics.


I love the feeling of grass, lying on it, walking through it and its fresh smell in the morning and after rainfalls. So I naturally noticed a difference when I came to Australia. It’s so different. They do have a European kind, with buckhorn and all, but mostly it is of this low and dense kind that feels as if you are walking on a sponge. Often it is indeed soaked with water – even on a warm day.


Australia is the driest continent in the world. Not surprisingly, it is also very hot. And it has this cliché sticking to it that it is quite unbearable and hot throughout the whole year. Living in Melbourne for a while, I can only laugh at that. It’s not. I arrived in the Australian summer and even then the otherwise hot outback had 15 degrees in the day. As always, it depends on the season and region. With Melbourne you can get everything in one day. Just saying.

Who of you has been to Australia? Did you see anything that you found slightly strange? Share your thoughts!


Profile photo of Annemarie Strehl

I think I was always made for foreign countries. At the age of 8 I started learning English and a lifelong language romance began. Seeing the country of Shakespeare for the first time 6 years later only set free what has always been lurking: the travel bug. I went off to live in England and Sweden for a little over half a year, travelling whenever I could while studying and working, all the while blogging about my experiences and interrogating my new international friends about their own cultures, daydreaming of finally visiting their foreign lands. This year I made the decision to stop dreaming and start living the dream. I made the bold plan to travel through Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia and Japan within 11 months, discovering as much as I could and keeping my budget stable through jobs on working holiday visas. Here I am now and already in the midst of blogging about my adventures and travel stories. There is always something happening and I'd love to share it with you. I hope you join me on my crazy ride. See ya!

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