Skip To Content

    18 Mistakes Hollywood Has Made When It Comes To Portraying Australia

    Shrimp on the barbie? Nah, it's prawns.

    Recently, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to share the things Hollywood always gets wrong about Australia. Here are their responses!

    1. That everyone in Australia can surf.

    A man holding a surfboard and jogging out of the water
    Network 10

    brinsp

    Yeah, nah — not all of us grew up right next to a beach and learned how to surf. I'm guessing that people probably think this because when they picture Australia, they think beaches everywhere and anywhere, which is really not the case. Plus, it doesn't help that Aussie TV shows like Home & Away give that impression of a surfer lifestyle.

    2. And is super tanned and built like Chris Hemsworth.

    A closeup of Chris Hemsworth leaning out of a car window
    Tourism Australia / Via youtube.com

    —Abby Molloy

    Although we absolutely stan Chris Hemsworth, Australia is a huge melting pot of different cultures. A lot of our most popular celeb exports fit this bill though, so it's no wonder that Hollywood automatically assumes Australian = someone who looks like Margot Robbie or the Hemsworths. But, it's good to see a lot of POC representation in the form of actors like Keiynan Lonsdale, Chris Pang and Aisha Dee breaking that stereotype.

    3. That Australians love to drink Foster's beer.

    Fox, Flickr: Ted Thompson / Via Flickr: buffaloted

    pavlb

    Hollywood, you've been duped. Despite Foster's having the slogan "Australian for Beer", you'll be hard pressed to find any Aussies drinking it. Honestly, I have no idea where this stereotype started, but it's much more common to see someone sipping on a VB.

    4. That New Zealand is part of Australia.

    A map of Australia and New Zealand; there is an arrow indicting the distance between them
    Getty Images

    donnellaw2

    Look, Australia has a small habit of claiming things from New Zealand as our own (cough, Russell Crowe and pavlova, cough), which is where this perception probably started. But, that doesn't mean we're the same country! Plus, both Australia and New Zealand have their own separate Indigenous cultures and peoples, so it's important not to stick them into the same category.

    5. That every Australian must know each other, even though there's 25 million of us.

    A busy, crowded Australian beach
    Getty Images

    racheldiz

    "Yeah, of course I know Davo that lives in Sydney! We're best mates!" — said no Australian ever. But, to be fair, I'm sure Aussies do this when visiting other countries too.

    6. That the only cities that exist in Australia are Sydney and Melbourne.

    Flickr: Duluoz / Via Flickr: duluoz_cats, Flickr: Huangce / Via Flickr: huangce

    vincentxanguyen

    Sure, it's convenient for Hollywood to go down the Sydney/Melbourne route as they're the most well known, but this also plays into the stereotype that these are the only cities worth visiting in Australia. To put that into perspective, it would be like Australians only visiting New York or LA because they're the ones we see most in American TV shows and movies. Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth — they all exist and they're just as good, if not better, than Sydney and Melbourne.

    7. That there are spiders and other dangerous animals everywhere and anywhere.

    A spider in its web
    Till Strohmeier / Getty Images

    priyamack

    Okay, I think we've definitely had a hand in playing up this Hollywood myth of Australia being the land of nope thanks to all the dangerous snakes, spiders and animals that live here (it's not our fault, we just love to joke around with the rest of the world). But, in reality, all those dangerous animals? They're mostly in the bush or ocean, not in densely populated cities. So, we're not coming across them on a daily basis. Except magpies — yeah, come swooping season, it's really every person for themselves.

    8. That we actually say things like "put another shrimp on the barbie".

    Paul Hogan holding a prawn up in his hand
    Mojo Advertising / Via youtube.com

    monnie_hendo

    This is one cringey stereotype that people still think accurately represents Australia. First off, we call them prawns here in Oz, not shrimp. But, since this originated from a 1980s Tourism Australia ad made for the US — featuring one Paul Hogan a la before his Crocodile Dundee days — the terminology was switched up. And that's probably why Americans are still set on the idea of Australians chucking shrimp on the barbie.

    9. And that our entire vocabulary is made up of outdated slang that we don't even use.

    A shot from a Simpsons episode where Bart and Lisa are at a table; an Australian man says to them "I see you've played knifey-spoony before"
    Fox

    saskiarc

    Yes, our slang can be confusing. But, whenever an American or British show has an Australian character, they, of course, have to start spouting hilarious gibberish that literally no Australian would ever say.

    10. That different cities and states are only a short drive from each other.

    An image from the TV show "Lost" showing two characters driving round the Australian Outback
    ABC

    lucasmom19

    For some reason, Hollywood always makes the mistake of thinking everything in Australia is super close to each other. Like driving from Sydney to Melbourne? No biggie, that'll take an hour! In reality, it's more like over nine hours. Plus, the Outback? Yeah, not entirely close.

    11. Which, according to that logic, means that it wouldn't take you that long to drive from one side of Australia to the other.

    A map of Australia showing how that it would take 65 hours to travel from one end to the other
    Google Maps

    Hameda Nafiz

    They always misjudge the scale of Australia and how big it really is.

    12. That Australia doesn't get any snow.

    A picture of the Snowy Mountains in Australia
    Getty Images

    racheldiz

    Thanks to Hollywood, a lot of people probably don't realise that Australia isn't all sandy beach and hot weather — it does actually snow in certain regions! Places like the Snowy Mountains, the Australian alps and Tasmania all experience annual snowfall during the wintertime.

    13. And the entirety of our landscape is similar to the Outback — dry, dusty and hot.

    A picture taken at the Daintree Rainforest in Australia
    Getty Images

    aramanthe

    Surprise — Australia has snow AND an abundance of lush tropical and subtropical rainforests too. They're located right around the country and are just beautiful.

    14. That the entire population live in quaint, countryside towns.

    Sohan Judge / BuzzFeed

    philipn4226793a2

    If they're not showing Sydney or Melbourne, the other mistake Hollywood likes to perpetuate is that most Australians live out in some remote country town. And while a fair few of us do, Australia is actually one of the most urbanised countries in the world. Yep, we even beat out the US and China when it comes to how many of us choose to live in cities.

    15. And that in these towns, kangaroos would be skipping past daily and everyone is super chilled out.

    A closeup of a kangaroo looking at the camera
    Getty Images

    Julia Willing

    There's this concept that country towns in Australia sort of resemble something from the Wild West and are super deserted. But, there's plenty of them that have shopping malls, university campuses and definitely no kangaroos just bounding up and down the roads. They're bang on about people being chilled out though!

    16. That every Australian sounds like Steve Irwin or Crocodile Dundee.

    Justin Sullivan / Getty Images, 20th Century Fox

    Elias Jahshan

    Sure, there's definitely a lot of Steve Irwin or Crocodile Dundee-like accents out in the more rural areas, but we don't all sound this way — especially in the major cities! But, it seems like whenever there is an Australian character in an American movie or TV show, the accent gets nudged up to the extreme.

    17. Like seriously, we don't sound like that.

    Robert Downey Jr in "Natural Born Killers"
    Warner Bros

    zari133

    There have been some great attempts at the Australian accent, but there's also been a lot more terrible ones in Hollywood. Exaggerated vowels, Cockney inflections or making it sound generally over the top...it's a bit of a mess really and not at all how the average Australian actually speaks.

    18. And lastly, that the best way to eat Vegemite is to take a big spoonful of it.

    Warner Home Video

    kristenelizabethc2

    I feel like some Australian told a joke once in Hollywood and the myth of eating a spoonful of Vegemite was born. Like, Americans can not stop eating Vegemite this way and it's just all sorts of wrong. Vegemite is not like Nutella, it needs to be used sparingly, unless you're a seasoned pro because that stuff is SALTY. The proper Australian way to do it is to grab a piece of toast, apply a lot of butter, then spread a small amount of Vegemite on top. Voila!

    Note: Not all submissions are from BuzzFeed Community users.

    What other mistakes has Hollywood made when it comes to portraying Australia? Sound off in the comments below!

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form