This post is part viii of my (very lengthy) series on Moving to Australia. Use that link to read the overview post or use this link to see all of the posts in this series.

This is probably my favourite section to write about, because I froff Australian culture. The people are super easy going, everyone travels often, most people work to live rather than live to work, and everyone fancies a chat. Plus, I think Australian music is amazing, the festivals here are unreal, and the atmosphere is just so much less douchebaggy than America (looking at you, frat boys). Enjoy my Aussie music playlist, and some words about funny men, footy, and festivals.


One of the greatest ways to educate yourself on Aussie culture is to tune into Triple J, the incredibly popular, non-commercial music station. All you can find on the radio in the US is Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez and aggressive black rappers, but here you can listen to awesome indie and alternative artists, Australian and foreign, plus great emerging music. Every New Year, Triple J takes votes, assembles a list of the previous year’s Hottest 100 songs, and plays the results in a countdown on Australia Day (26 Jan). I strongly advise listening to last year’s playlist, or perhaps even tune in for this year’s!

An Aussie music playlist I made just for you

  • Ali Barter/ Far Away
  • Allday/ Claude Monet
  • Alpine/ Foolish
  • Angus & Julia Stone/ Heart Beats Slow
  • Boo Seeka/ Oh My
  • City Calm Down/ Son
  • Client Liaison/ Feed the Rhythm
  • Cloud Control/ Dojo Rising
  • DMA’s/ Timeless
  • Emma Louise/ Illuminate
  • Eves the Behaviour/ TV
  • Flight Facilities/ Down To Earth
  • Flume/ You Know
  • Gang of Youths/ Magnolia
  • Gypsy & The Cat/ Jona Vark
  • Holy Holy/ Impossible Like You
  • JOY./ Like Home
  • Julia Jacklin/ Coming of Age
  • The Jungle Giants/ She’s a Riot
  • Kita Alexander/ Like You Want To
  • Mansionair/ Hold Me Down
  • Owl Eyes/ Closure
  • Peking Duk/ Say My Name
  • RÜFÜS/ You Were Right
  • SAFIA/ Paranoia, Ghosts, and Other Sounds
  • Sticky Fingers/ Something Strange
  • Tame Impala/ Let it Happen
  • Tash Sultana/ Synergy
  • The Temper Trap/ Fader
  • Vera Blue/ Settle
  • Violent Soho/ Covered in Chrome
  • Wafia/ The Raid
  • #1 Dads/ So Soldier

Some laughs

Another one of the (many, many, many) things I love about Australian culture is the humour. Everyone just unapologetically mocks each other and no topic is really off limits. One of the most delightful humans of all time is Chris Lilley, beloved Australian comedian. Witness the magic in Summer Heights High—where he plays an eccentric high school drama teacher, a Polynesian year 7 student, and a posh female prep school exchange student, Ja’mie—or in We Can Be Heroes, where he plays an Asian scientist, a woman rolling across Australia, a local hero who saved children from a jumping castle, and the same prep school student, all vying for the Australian of
the Year award.

Two other amazing comedians, Hamish & Andy, have had several shows over the years and numerous podcastsWatch episodes of Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year and cry yourself to sleep with tears of laughter and joy.

Footy and other things I don’t understand

Well, it wouldn’t be a post about Australian culture without mentioning sport. There’s the remarkably boring cricket, a game so subdued that the players are able to wear cable-knit sweaters while playing. And there’s rugby, both rugby league and rugby union. People are actually really aggressive about which is better, but the distinction is totally lost on me. There is also, of course, soccer. Lastly, and certainly not least-ly, AFL. Aussie rules football is like rugby meets grid iron meets something else entirely. There are no pads or helmets and it’s alarmingly violent, but in a fun way. Going to the footy, like all outings in Australia, is just an excuse to get belligerently drunk and shout things at players like “#16 beats up his wife!”. That’s so offensive, I couldn’t have possibly made it up.

Australians are very passionate about their sport, but none more-so than Victorians, who take AFL so seriously it’s frightening (talking specifically about my boyfriend’s mother). AFL Grand Final Day is actually a public holiday in VIC (as is Melbourne Cup, which is a horse race.. what is this country?). With the massive MCG, a 100,000 people stadium in Melbourne, there is plenty of room for basically the whole country to spectate. Because I know nothing about anything and have no idea what’s happening, I just blindly support my boyfriend’s team, the West Coast Eagles from Perth (because his mother is from WA). I pretty much just make loud noises at the field when something appears to have happened, but I have a hat so I look official. Cal has been on the waiting list to be a clubmember of the MCG since he was born, and is just now at 24 receiving provisional membership status. In a few years, we will be given first grabs at Grand Final tickets, which we would otherwise never get our hands on, and get to experience the thunder of a full stadium. 

Out on the town

Australia has an unrivalled drinking culture that is present in every aspect of life. There is even a bar at my university, so you can sink beers before a lecture and it’s not even frowned upon (maybe by the professors, but who cares). I would never do that because I’m a very responsible student (wink). Every holiday is an excuse to get wildly drunk in front of all your family and friends, and I have seen way too many parents be the drunkest ones at the function. To be fair, I have also seen myself be the drunkest one at the function. (I once fell into a pool in a toga and flashed the entire extended family.)

Sydney has foul lockout laws, but Melbourne stays open late, my friends. The best place to lose track of the days and make poor life decisions is Revolver (Revs) on Chapel Street, conveniently located a short walking distance from my apartment when I was living in South Yarra. You can stay Friday night to Monday morning uninterrupted, and the music/lights combo makes you feel like you are having an acid flashback. It’s not uncommon to walk outside into the afternoon and be shocked because you thought it was still nighttime.

Music Festivals

A cornerstone of the Australian music scene. There are so many and they are so amazing, a truly wonderful experience that you simply can’t miss. Here are my personal favourites (minus Future,
that no longer exists, and Farmer & The Owl, that doesn’t run every year).

  • Beyond the Valley: New Years, 3 days camping, Gippsland (45min from Melbourne)
  • Field Day: New Years Day, 1 day, Sydney
  • Laneway: February, 1 day, Sydney, Melbourne, Fremantle, Adelaide, Brisbane
  • Groovin’ the Moo: April/May, 1 day, plays in a handful of “rural” cities i.e. Canberra (the nation’s capital is rural, yes), Bendigo (90 min from Melbourne), Oakbank (10 min from Adelaide), Maitland (NSW), Townsville (northern QLD)
  • Splendour in the Grass: July, 5 days camping, Byron Bay (northern NSW), the best of the best
  • Listen Out: September, 1 day, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane
  • Yours & Owls: October long weekend, 3 days camping, Wollongong (!!)