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If you’ve been wondering what are some Australian traditions then this is the post for you! There are loads of Australian traditions that we’ve embraced since moving to Australia. Some of these Aussie traditions are big, some are tiny and silly but they all form an important part of the Australian culture! 

You may assume Australia is going to be like the UK or US but Australia is a country like no other. Our Australia traditions are unique and plentiful! I really found that embracing our new Australian traditions helped us settle into our new home and create a life here.

Bringing these Australian family traditions into our lives has also helped our kids feel more Australian – it’s hard when kids feel left out of a culture because they don’t understand something. You take for granted that you know everything about your country of origin, but jokes and comments can easily go over your head when you first arrive in Australia because some of these traditions in Australia aren’t things you ever heard of before. 

Are you ready to discover some new Australian beliefs and traditions? Read on to learn about these unique traditions in Australia!  

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Aussie traditions| Australian traditions and customs to embrace in your new home

If you’ve been wondering what are some traditions in Australia or what traditions are celebrated in Australia, this is the post for you! 

Here are a few of my favourite traditions in Australia, in no particular order! 

Bunnings sausage sizzles

A Bunnings sausage sizzle has to be the most iconic of all the Australian traditions! It’s something so simple, yet it really is a great intro to the Australian culture. A sausage sizzle is a sausage in bread, with or without onions. Red sauce is optional! They sell them outside every Bunnings store and no visit to the DIY chain is possible without one (according to my kids – and our dog!).

I don’t think traditions for Australia get much more Aussie than this one. Bunnings itself is a national institution, but the Bunnings sausage sizzle is a national favourite. 

A Bunnings sausage sizzles - the best Australian tradition!

A Bunnings umbrella

Yes, it’s another Bunnings one! (This isn’t a sponsored post, I promise!)

A Bunnings umblrella isn’t a tradition as such but more like a way of life in Australia – I couldn’t mention Bunnings without recongising that 99% of the population owns at least one large Bunnings umbrella which we all pull out when it rains. We actually own FOUR of them in our household – you can never have too many! It sometimes feels like Bunnings sponsors storm season here. A Bunnings umbrella is a great price and they last for ages, and they’re BIG so can handle all of the rain we get here.

Do yourself a favour and pop into Bunnings when you arrive to buy a couple as you will need them, and they make you feel part of the community when you see that everybody has them up on the school run on rainy days (they’re one of the ultimate family traditions in Australia!) 

Doing the Tim Tam slam

One day I’ll record my kids doing the Tim Tam slam as a demo! Basically, this is a fun Australia tradition of drinking a hot drink through a Tim Tam (which is like a Penguin if you’re in the UK – only controversially I think Tim Tams are more superior). You bite off opposite corners of the chocolately biscuit and then suck your drink through it like a straw. My kids are pros at it. This is one of Australia’s traditions that kids will love to try!

Serving fairy bread at kids’ parties

Fairy bread is an Australian party food that is basically bread and butter with sprinkles scattered on. You aren’t allowed to host a kids’ birthday party without it (OK I might be exagerrrating but I’ve been to a LOT of kids’ parties with my three over the years and it has always been served as it’s just one of those traditions of Australia a bit like serving jelly and ice cream in the UK! I think it’s bleugh but the kids love it! 

Shortening every word possible and adding ‘o’ at the end

It’s not so much of an Australian tradition as it is an Australian habit or an Australian custom but Aussies shorten EVERYTHING here and then chuck an ‘o’ on the end of it. Think ‘servo’ for service station (petrol station), ‘arvo’ for afternoon, ‘relo’ for relative,’avo’ for avocado, ‘fisho’ for fish shop… you get the idea. It’s a tradition in Australia that always makes me laugh – my husband often comes home to tell me they’re selling fisho and avo at the servo this arvo!  

Vegemite on toast 

OK who am I kidding? I still buy Marmite for myself as I can’t bring myself to move over to Vegemite, but my daughter loves the stuff on toast and bread. It’s one of those Australia traditions you should try at least once – you may hate it (like with Marmite, you either love it or hate it) but til you’ve tried it don’t knock it. You can even make it into more of an Australia tradition by adding avocado to it as well! 

Going for walks to see the Christmas lights in t-shirts and shorts

This is an awesome Australian Christmas tradition of ours. Every year we walk around our suburb exploring all of the amazing Christmas light displays. It’s so warm (hot even) that sometimes we come home and jump straight in the pool after it for a night swim.

There is something so special about being out wearing short sleeves on a warm night – it puts me in holiday mode. I know a lot of people struggle with a hot Christmas and I do get it as it definitely feels different, but we have focused on creating our own new traditions. Australia offers a totally different Christmas experience – you just need to embrace what is on offer and stop comparing it to Christmasses in your country of origin. 

Read this post to learn lots of fascinating facts about Australia!

Commemorating ANZAC Day on 25th April every year

There are dawn services held all over the country for ANZAC Day. Even during lockdown in 2000 when we couldn’t gather to commemorate, everyone went out onto their doorsteps with candles at dawn to show respect to service men and women. It’s a lovely opportunity to pay tribute and give thanks to those who’ve served in wars past and present. I always go along to our school ANZAC Day service which is always very moving. 

Celebrating Australia Day on 26th January 

Australia Day is a public holiday and it’s an opportunity for a big celebration in Australia with lots of events taking place. It is a longstanding Australian tradition, but many (including myself) feel it would be better to move it to a new inclusive date where everyone can celebrate together. You can read more about Australia Day and whether we should celebrate it here. There are lots of Australia Day traditions including going to the beach, cooking a BBQ, playing cricket, going along to parades and festivals and watching Australia Day fireworks.   

Celebrating NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week is usually held in the first week (a Sunday to Sunday) of July that incorporates the second Friday. The event celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about Australia’s heritage. Learning about the history of our First Nations Peoples really helps you put Australian celebrations and traditions in perspective (especially Australia Day). 

Annual city festivals like Brisbane Festival and Sydney Festival

They sure know how to put on incredible family festivals in Australia. There are lots of big annual events in Australia, some of which culminate in huge firework displays at the end like Riverfire in Brisbane which is held in September as part of Brisbane Festival. There are education festivals like Science Festivals, garden festivals like the Carnival of Flowers, comedy festivals and so much more. Whichever city you move to, you’ll find a full programme of festivals and there are some great Australian traditions and celebrations to enjoy as part of these major events. 

New Year’s Eve fireworks x 2 (one for the kids and one for the grown ups)

New Year’s Eve in Australia is a family affair (it’s not so focused on going out and getting drunk as it used to be in the UK). The big cities usually put on one set of fireworks early so the kids can watch them before they go to bed and then they do them again at midnight. This means the whole family can enjoy the celebrations. The viewing areas are kept safe and alcohol-free too so you can relax and enjoy the evening without any dramas unfolding. Australia celebrations and traditions like this are so family friendly and inclusive – I love that events are build around families rather than excluding kids from these celebrations. 

Swimming outside at night at Christmas

This is one of my favourite Christmas traditions in Australia – swimming outside in the dark with the neon pool lights on watching bats fly overhead! It doesn’t feel like Christmas until we’ve been for a night swim! The kids absolutely LOVE it and it also cools them down a bit before getting into bed (which is helpful as summer can get really hot!) 

BBQs for Christmas dinner

It’s too hot to want to slave over a turkey and potatoes on Christmas Day, so there is nothing like the Aussie tradition of cooking a barbie on Christmas Day for the ultimate Aussie Christmas! Some people cook theirs at the beach. I like to cook our Christmas BBQ on our deck while watching the kids jump in and out of the pool. Bliss. 

Christmas in July

While we’re on the subject of Christmas, it’s important to mention one of my favourite Australia traditions – celebrating Christmas in July! I LOVE Christmas and now get to celebrate it twice in one year! The reason we celebrate Christmas in July in Australia is because it’s much cooler weather then so it’s the perfect time to cook up a roast and snuggle up indoors. It feels so Christmassy. And it gives us a highlight to look forward to half way through the year too.  

The State of Origin

I’m only adding this as it’s such a big thing here in Queensland – I really have no clue about footie, rugby or rubgy league (which I think are all different sports – please don’t ask me to explain any of them!)
 
The State of Origin series is an annual best-of-three rugby league match between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons. (Don’t forget, in Australia the colour maroon isn’t pronounced like it is in the UK – in Australia it’s pronounced ‘mah-r-own’.) Either way, the State of Origin is huge if you live in Queensland or New South Wales so I had to include it as an Australian tradition! 

Looking for a new hobby in Australia? Read this post all about Australian hobbies

Celebrating Oktoberfest 

Yes, even though we’re in Australia not Germany, we still get to celebrate the awesome German festival, Oktoberfest! Lost of cities in Australia run Oktoberfest events and I can confirm they’re a lot of fun!

Smashed avo on sourdough toast for breakfast

Breakfast in Australia isn’t just bacon and egg (although they do offer plenty of that here too). Smashed avocado on toast is a really popular (and yummy) breakfast tradition in Aus. 

Smashed avo on toast - an Australian tradition at breakfast

Carrying a water bottle everywhere

This is an Australia tradition that I’ve well and truly embraced – you need to carry a water bottle everywhere. It gets so hot in Australia and it’s really important to stay hydrated. Now we always travel with water bottles, even if we’re only going out to the shops for a quick trip. 

Carrying a hat everywhere

My kids aren’t allowed to leave the house without a hat! And at school, it’s no hat, no play. I’ve really embraced this Australia tradition and regularly wear a hat when I’m out and about on dog walks or the school run – you can never have too many hats (I seem to have swapped a habit for buying too many shoes to buying too many hats in Australia!) 

Putting a small gift in Christmas cards

This is a kids’ tradition in Australia – all of the school kids tend to put a small gift like a small candy cane, a sweet, some craft or a mini Christmas decoration in the envelope with their Christmas card. This usually means my kids end up with 30 candy canes each in the last few days of term!

We’re quite lazy (and my kids really don’t like writing out cards which is odd as I used to love doing it as a child) so I usually just buy them the big bags of candy canes to give out instead. Some kids really go to town and create individual pieces of craft for every child in their class (we have baubles on our Christmas tree with our kid’s names painted on, and I even have some wooden stars with their name burned into them – as I say, some people really make an effort for these little Christmas favours.) You can go as easy or extravagant as you like with these. 

Bring a plate

One of the most misunderstood Australian traditions which catches expats out is being asked to ‘bring a plate’ when invited to a BBQ. This doesn’t mean bring an empty plate to eat off – it means bring a plate of something to share. This could be snacks, cakes, salads etc. If in doubt, ask what sort of food they’d like you to bring! I’m not sure whether people really do often show up just carrying an empty plate, but at least now you know not to do that! 

Bring your own drinks

Another BBQ/party tradition in Australia is that you bring your own drinks with you. The host’s fridge is likely to be full, so it’s usually a good idea to go to a party with your own cool bag or cool box so you can keep your drinks cool. It’s also common to bring fold out chairs with you (I usually pack some in the car and can go and get them if we need them). It makes life so much easier for hosts when people come prepared. 

Getting your bags checked at the exit

This isn’t a favourite ‘Australia tradition’, but it is something that happens in all of the big shops so I thought I’d mention it. Bunnings, Target, KMart and the like ask to see your bags and receipt as you leave. It’s nothing personal – everyone just gets checked. It felt very strange to us when we first moved though so I thought it was worth including so you know to expect it!

Schoolies week

Schoolies Week is a three-week graduation fest celebrated by Year 12 school leavers. Basically, school kids who’ve finished go off on a holiday with their mates, usually somewhere fun like Byron Bay, the Gold Coast, Airlie Beach etc. They go out, have fun, hang out together and spend time at the beach. It’s chaos! If you’re planning a holiday, it is best to avoid going somewhere you know you’re going to have a lot of schoolies around as places can get busy and it can be noisier than usual.

I’ve actually been on holiday to Byron Bay and Noosa during Schoolies weeks. Both times, I was really impressed –  there were a lot of extra people around, and bars were busy but there was a solid police presence and the police were supporting the kids (and laughing with them) and it was just a great atmosphere. I even got asked for ID in a restaurant in Byron Bay as police popped in to check who was drinking (even though I was around 40 at the time) so I think there is a very responsible approach to the event here.

I think it’s a great tradition for kids in Australia (much better than my first holiday with my mates when I graduated high school as we went to Butlins Skegness!). 

Embrace the traditions of Australia!

There are so many awesome Australian traditions in this wonderful country. They can all feel a bit confusing and strange at first, but it’s important to welcome the differences and embrace your new way of life Down Under!

Welcome to Australia! What are your favourite Australian traditions?