Most cities in Australia will offer you tourist-friendly brochures upon arrival. However, if you want to see how a true Aussie experiences summer, you might want to look beyond the hop-on, hop-off tours. Spoiler: it’s not spent cuddling koalas for a quick picture or wandering around the Sydney Opera House. Check out our list for how to live like a local when you visit Australia.
Head to The Snowy Mountains
You might not believe it, but Australia receives an average of 3 meters of snow annually. Snowy Mountain, south of Sydney, is one of the best areas to experience it. Even if you visit Australia in the summer, the Snowy Mountain is worth a visit. There are stunning lakes and hikes as well as horseback riding.
If you’re looking for a casual walk, why not try climbing to the highest point of Australia? You can catch a ski lift up to 1900m, and from there it is just an easy 45 minutes stroll to the top, where you won’t even break a sweat. At the top you can see for miles, which makes for some beautiful pictures.
In the valleys of the Snowy Mountains are many regions where wild horses—otherwise known “brumbies”—are cared for. During the colonization of Australia, the settlers used brumbies to help claim property. There are numerous opportunities to jump in the saddle and see these rare creatures.
Grab a Drink and Head for Barefoot Bowls.
You may have heard that Australians love their sports. This one, however, isn’t physically demanding—it’s more like a get-together for a laugh and a beer. Barefoot bowls were originally reserved for senior citizens. However, in recent years they’ve become the summer activity of choice for many young Aussie’s as well.
Most bowls clubs will have designated “drop-in” periods that you and some friends can pop in for a few games. Just slip off your shoes, grab a drink (at prices from the 1970s) and enjoy some friendly competition.
Have A Weekend Barbie on A Grassy Knoll with the Locals
No matter the season or the temperature, locals always flock to Bondi Beach. Though locals may complain that it’s brimming with people and overpriced coffees, they don’t let that stop them from enjoying the miles of sand and waves. And if you visit Australia, you definitely shouldn’t let that stop you, either!
Near Bondi Beach, there are several spaces to set up a true Aussie BBQ. If you head down the northern endpoint of the beach, there is a grassy knoll where you can fire up a coin-operated gas barbecue. You will discover a huge congregation of locals here every weekend, eating, drinking, and watching the sunsets. It’s a great chance to chat with a cheery local and come by some insider knowledge.
And, of course, always be sure to exercise caution when lighting up a gas barbecue in the park (or else you might be jumping on that plane home a bit early!).
Head to The Park for A Movie
In the summer, there’s nothing like heading to an open-air movie. Numerous Australian cities offer these in the summer, but the variety of the locations is what makes them especially unique. Sit back on the grass of the Royal Botanic Gardens or take in the sunset while at the rooftop cinemas.
We recommend bringing a beanbag or picnic rug to get comfy. Drop by the local supermarket on your way and pick up some movie snacks and a drink, or grab a bite to eat from the food trucks surrounding the movie.
Watch the Aus Open with The Locals
January in Melbourne is all about the Australian Open. Everyone gets involved and if you visit Australia then, you can’t do anything without hearing about it. Tickets for the main courts are often quite expensive, so live like a local and grab a ground pass. This pass enables you to visit all the outdoor courts for a fraction of the price of the main tickets.
Early on during the tournament you can watch the likes of Andy Rodicck, Lleyton Hewitt & Roger Federer on the outer courts. You can also enjoy the festivities from the lawn, where you will discover beautiful gardens and a giant screen situated to watch the games. As the days progress, you might find the Aussies’ spirit rubbing off on you, and before you know it, you will be cheering along with some of your new best mates.
Go Cliffside for A Few Kms
The coastal track from Coogee to Bondi is a picturesque pleasure. Most of the walkway consists of cliffside pathways. Not only will the 6km trail help you burn off the extra pavlova, lattes and seafood, it’s full of rock pools, hidden beaches, parks and picnic stops to enjoy along the way. Finish off your walk with a true Aussie lunch: fish and chips on the beach. Just don’t forget the tomato sauce!
Australia is a playground for those who love the outdoors, from the beaches, to the rainforests, to enjoying a picnic along the Coogee trail. And, if hiking isn’t your jam, you can hang with the locals around town for drinks, desserts, and plenty of sports, movies, and arts events. Ditch the tour bus and find out what locals get up to.