Aussie actress Margot Robbie caused a stir recently when she made some less-than-complimentary remarks about her home country. In the August Vanity Fair profile of Robbie by Rich Cohen, Robbie referred to Australia as “America 50 years ago” and as being “sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people.”
But Australia doesn’t need to — and shouldn’t — be compared to America or any other country for that matter. It’s rich in unique culture, history and humour — and needs no comparison.
So what makes Australia so special and different from the rest of the world? This list is a pretty good starting point.
1. There’s a weekend dedicated to tuna
Every year in Port Lincoln there’s an entire weekend dedicated to paying homage to tuna: Tunarama. The Championship Tuna Toss is particularly popular — probably because it involves launching a tuna as far as humanly possible. Who doesn’t love throwing fish around? In fact, former Olympic hammer thrower Sean Carlin holds the record of 37.23 metres.
2. The Beer Can Regatta is recycling at its best
Australians may have a rep for drinking more than they should, but they’re nothing if not resourceful because boats are being made from beer cans every year. In Darwin, the Beer Can Regatta entails building a boat or some type of floating contraption using beer cans, milk bottles or plastic wine bottles.
3. It’s a great place for young people
For one, you can actually survive by working at McDonald’s because the minimum wage is pretty reasonable. And this fact would likely have contributed to the The Global Youth Wellbeing Index ranking Australia as the best country for young people.
4. Elvis is not just reserved for Vegas
There are a lot of serious things that make Australia a special place: female empowerment, fair wages, an unparalleled public health care system, excellent social security and rapid improvement in treatment for those suffering from mental health issues for starters, but there are also some fun points that make this such a unique country. A perfect example is the Parkes Elvis Festival, which sees the population of the tiny town of Parkes, NSW, triple in size in January of each year as visitors and Elvis impersonators attend the largest gathering of the year: the Elvis Festival. Who’d have thought?
5. Kangaroos outnumber humans
It’s pretty hard to believe, but according to according to OneKind.org there are more kangaroos than humans in Australia. Ummm, we know there are a lot of kangaroos but do you believe this one?
6. Australians love a good laugh…
…and Aussie politicians make a very soft and particularly satisfying target.
But they’re pretty amusing in their own right too. Once, ex-PM Kevin Rudd referred to China as “trying to rat-fuck us.” More recently, ex-PM Tony Abbott boiled the war in Syria down to a case of “baddies vs. baddies.” Hilarity and maybe a touch of embarrassment (but not much) ensued.
7. Australia has the best kind of football
Yes, Australians even do football differently (and dare we say better). Aussie-rules football is a unique spectacle of speed and skill that originated in Australia. Played by two teams of 18 players on cricket fields, the game is a mixture between football (as the Americans know it) and rugby (teams run, kick and handball the ball towards their goals). The aim? It’s essentially to kick goals and finish the match with the highest point tally.
8. Who needs Starbucks?
Starbucks has shut down entirely in Australia due to lack of interest in its products because Australians prefer the real deal, made with freshly roasted and ground coffee beans by a trained and passionate barista. This is mostly thanks to Italian and Greek immigrants, who introduced Australia to espresso and espresso-based drinks many years ago.