Written by Bethany Richards

With November comes one of the few sporting events where England actually has a chance of winning – The Ashes. The tour of Australia will pass through five different states, so if you are planning to go see England attempt to not embarrass themselves then you’ll need to know what’s what. Luckily for you, I have four tips from an Aussie to share.

  1. Don’t annoy the locals

A quick interview with an Australian citizen, Ms. Price, was all I needed to know that Aussies don’t have time for our irritating habits. It would seem we have a reputation for whinging. Once asked about the reception of Brits in Australia, Ms. Price said she brought the question to Friday night drinks where she was met with the term ‘whinging Poms!’ over and over again.

What is a ‘Pom’, I hear you ask? Well, it stands for ‘Prisoner of Mother England’ and is typically used to make fun of British people who come to Australia and don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Apparently, we have managed to build up a reputation of constantly complaining, so if you ever need help from a local then I suggest you try not to annoy them by moaning. They don’t like that.

  1. Be prepared

Needless to say, the climate in Australia is very different to that of Great Britain. To quote Ms. Price directly, “Suntan lotion and a hat are absolute musts as the summer months are brutal”. Sure, everyone wants to make their friends jealous and be tanned at Christmas but don’t go overboard. Heat stroke is dangerous, especially when mixed with drinking alcohol so you should take it easy. Not only would it make you extremely unwell, but would also stop you from enjoying the thing you actually came for – the cricket.

The Australian summer plays host to a number of natural disasters. With bushfires, flooding and tropical cyclones susceptible to occurring in the places where the Test matches are being held it is extremely important to keep up to date with the weather and follow local media for information.

When travelling in such a vast country, planning your journeys and activities thoroughly is essential. Going bushwalking or swimming in the Australian ocean should be on every bucket list out there, but they are high risk activities. Make sure you have a carefully thought out plan and know the right numbers to call in case of an emergency.

You can never be too prepared for when things go wrong. Buying travel insurance may not be the most exciting part of holiday prep, but it is the most crucial. Without insurance, things like hospital charges, ambulance fees and an emergency ticket home can be very expensive and gives you something extra to worry about.  

The last task to tick off your to-do list is getting a visa, and it’s incredibly easy to do so. You can get an eVisitor visa direct from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for free. There are sometimes conditions to be met before you are granted a visa so be sure to give yourself time for these if need be.

  1. Know the rules

Ever heard the phrase ‘the world doesn’t revolve around you’? I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard it from our parents at some point in our lives. As well as being a great way to shut down our arrogant teenage days, these six words perfectly summarise the way we should view travelling.

In each of the different states the Test matches are being held in, there are different rules to follow concerning alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. Believing the world revolves around you will only get you in trouble, so here are the laws you need to be aware of when travelling around Australia.

First up: alcohol. Enjoying a nice, cool cider whilst watching the cricket in the Australian summer sounds perfect right now but you have to be over 18 to do so. The drinking age is the same throughout Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales but there are slight differences between them. For example, Western Australia is the only state hosting the Ashes where a minor cannot drink at all, even when accompanied by a responsible adult. It’s not worth the risk as the maximum penalty for a minor drinking alcohol in Western Australia is a $2,000AUD fine, just in time for Christmas. The only accepted form of ID for tourists in Australia is a passport, so make sure you keep a copy of it in case you lose it on a night out – we all have that friend who might!

As a ground rule, it is an offence to possess an illegal drug in Australia. I’ve seen enough of those ‘Border Patrol’ TV shows to know they take drug offences very, very seriously. If you are caught possessing an illegal drug, the punishment is usually a hefty fine, imprisonment or both. The most severe sentence is in Queensland and is $570,000AUD and/or 25 years in prison – not exactly the dream holiday you had planned.

It’s important to remember that in Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales you can still be charged with possession even if the drugs aren’t yours; for example, if you’re holding them for a friend, or if you allow people to bring drugs into your car/home.

Another massive no-no is drink/drug driving, much like in the U.K. However, unlike over here, the offence to drive under the influence of drugs is not decided by the amount you have in your system but if any trace is found at all (except for Victoria). Ms. Price said, ‘Drink/drug driving laws are quite strict and well policed.’, so make sure you always have a way to get home if you have been drinking.

The smoking laws in Australia are very similar to our own, with the legal age to buy cigarettes being 18 in all states the Ashes is visiting. It is also against the law to smoke in enclosed public spaces and in a car if there is someone under 16 (Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales) or under 17 (Western Australia) with you.

  1. Be respectful

The strongest message Ms. Price put across is that Aussies just want us to be respectful. If you are travelling to watch the Ashes this winter then remember that it really just comes down to ‘good old-fashioned respect for the country you travel to and its people’, as put by Ms. Price. Aussie sport culture is very similar to our own, so it need not be said how important it is to allow people to enjoy the sport they came to watch.

Ms. Price also mentioned how travelling to Australia requires a ‘healthy dose of common sense’, especially when it comes to adapting to the different laws compared to the UK. Respecting the local laws and customs should ensure your 2017 Ashes trip will always be remembered for all the right reasons.

For more advice on travelling in Australia.