Understanding Australian Slang – A Backpacker’s Guide

Hostel guests chatting with each other practicing Aussie slang

G’day, mate! If you’re planning a trip to the Gold Coast and staying at Budds in Surfers Hostel, getting acquainted with Australian slang will enhance your experience and help you feel more at home. Australian slang, or “Strine,” can be a bit bewildering at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it’s an essential part of the local culture.

Here’s a guide to some common Aussie slang and tips for navigating any potential issues you might encounter.


Potential Issues with Australian Slang

Matcha is powdered green tea leaves that are carefully whisked with hot water using a bamboo whisk, known as a “Chasen.” The process begins with sifting the matcha powder to remove any clumps. Then, a small amount of the sifted matcha is placed into a tea bowl, or “chawan.” Hot water (typically just below boiling) is added, and the mixture is whisked vigorously in a “W” motion until it becomes frothy and smooth. The result is a vibrant green tea with a rich, creamy texture and a slightly sweet, vegetal flavour. This traditional method of preparing matcha enhances its flavour and nutritional benefits.

Drone view looking back to Main Beach and Surfers Paradise from the ocean
Sourced: Pinterest

1. Misunderstandings

Australian slang can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. Words that mean one thing in your home country might have a completely different meaning in Australia. For example, if someone offers you a “biscuit,” they’re referring to what Americans would call a “cookie.”

2. Offensive Terms

Some slang terms might be offensive or inappropriate in certain contexts. Words like “bogan” can be used humorously among friends but might not be well-received if used inappropriately or towards strangers.

3. Regional Variations

Slang can vary significantly between different parts of Australia. A term commonly used in Sydney might not be as prevalent in the Gold Coast, and vice versa. It’s important to be adaptable and pay attention to the local vernacular.

4. Rapid Speech

Australians tend to speak quickly and use contractions, which can make it difficult to follow a conversation, especially when slang is involved. Don’t hesitate to ask someone to repeat themselves or explain a term if you’re unsure.


Embracing Australian Slang at Budds in Surfers Hostel

Budds in Surfers staff and hostel guests smiling for small group photo
Sourced: Budds in Surfers

Staying at Budds in Surfers Hostel provides a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and practice using Australian slang. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Listen and Learn

Spend time listening to how locals speak. Pay attention to the context in which certain slang terms are used. This will help you understand their meanings and how to use them appropriately.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Don’t be afraid to use slang terms in your conversations. The more you practice, the more natural it will become. Locals will appreciate your efforts to speak their lingo and may even help you learn more.

3. Ask Questions

If you hear a term you don’t understand, ask someone to explain it. Australians are generally friendly and happy to share their culture with newcomers.

4. Enjoy the Experience

Using Australian slang is a fun way to connect with the local culture. Embrace the quirks and enjoy the playful nature of the language.


Tips for Learning Australian Slang

Closeup of person's hand writing on pad

1. Watch Australian TV Shows and Movies

Immerse yourself in Australian media. Shows like “Neighbours,” “Home and Away,” and movies like “Crocodile Dundee” or “The Castle” can provide valuable context and examples of slang in everyday use.

2. Listen to Australian Music and Podcasts

Music and podcasts are great ways to hear slang in context. Artists like Midnight Oil or podcasts like “Hamish & Andy” can give you a feel for the rhythm and usage of Australian English.

3. Engage with Locals

Strike up conversations with locals wherever you go. Most Australians are friendly and happy to chat, giving you plenty of opportunities to practice and pick up new slang terms

4. Use Language Apps and Guides

Consider using language apps or guides specifically designed for learning Australian slang. These resources can offer structured ways to learn and remember new words and phrases.

5. Keep a Slang Journal

As you encounter new slang terms, write them down along with their meanings and context. Reviewing this journal regularly can help reinforce your learning.


Budds in Surfers Aussie Slang Guide

Map of Australia with G'day Mate flag
Sourced: Canva

1. Greetings and Common Phrases

  • G’day: Hello
  • Mate: Friend
  • How ya going?: How are you?
  • Cheers: Thank you or goodbye
  • No worries: No problem or you’re welcome
  • Arvo: Afternoon
  • Brekkie: Breakfast
  • Barbie: Barbecue

2. Everyday Items

  • Esky: Cooler or ice chest
  • Servo: Service station or gas station
  • Bottle-O: Liquor store
  • Maccas: McDonald’s
  • Thongs: Flip-flops
  • Bogan: Someone uncultured or unsophisticated (often used humorously)

3. Describing People and Places:

  • Bloke: Man
  • Sheila: Woman
  • Ripper: Great or excellent
  • Fair dinkum: Genuine or real
  • Strewth: Exclamation of surprise
  • Footy: Football (can refer to Australian Rules Football or Rugby)

4. Expressions and Idioms

  • Flat out like a lizard drinking: Very busy
  • Going off like a frog in a sock: Very excited or energetic
  • Have a yarn: Have a chat
  • Spit the dummy: Throw a tantrum
  • Suss it out: Investigate or check it out


Understanding and using Australian slang can enhance your travel experience and help you feel more connected to the local culture while staying at Budds in Surfers Hostel. While there may be some initial challenges, the effort to learn and use slang will be rewarding and appreciated by the locals. So, grab your thongs, head to the nearest bottle-o, and have a ripper time exploring the Gold Coast (and it’s Bucket List Activities). Cheers, mate!

If you’re travelling to the Gold Coast, book your accommodation with the Best Hostel in Australia 2024, Budds in Surfers hostel – your adventure starts here!