Motorhome hire Austraila – understanding the local lingo!

December 6, 2021

Woohoo it’s official!  After 18 long months of travel bans and borders opening and closing willy-nilly…interstate motorhome hire holidays in Australia are firmly back on the cards for 2022!

But the big question is…do you still remember how to converse with the locals?  Join us for a light-hearted journey around this big, beautiful country of ours, as we reintroduce you to colloquial lingo, state by state!

motorhome hire Australia

Let’s be honest, we Aussies enjoy a bit of travel.  Since gold rush times, our countrymen and women have been happy to up-stumps at the drop of an Akubra to ensure they’re grabbing life by the horns!  And nothing’s changed …albeit travel is a little more comfortable these days (if you’d like to see HOW comfortable, just check out our most popular motorhome hire models for exploring Australia!).

All that moving about has resulted in the Australian accent being almost identical across the country. (With a couple of exceptions – yes, we’re looking at you South Australia!) However, there are still some notable differences in which words are used for what. Try saying that 3 times fast!

So, before you hire that fabulous motorhome to head ‘over-borders’ on your big 2022 Australia road trip, here are a few pointers to help you assimilate. (Or at the very least be understood!)

What do I wear to the beach on my motorhome hire holiday in Australia?

One of the very best things about a motorhome hire holiday is the ability to pull up wherever you choose in various corners of Australia.  For a stroll along the beach, maybe, or a dip in the warm, blue ocean.  No need to find a changing room, a toilet, or a restaurant for lunch.  You are travelling in self-contained motorhome comfort and feeling SMUG! (Well, if you’re anything like us in any case…)

However…when you step into your roomy, spotlessly clean, perfectly private motorhome to change (SMUG!) what exactly should you call your swimming attire to be understood?

VIC: Togs

WA, NT, TAS and SA: Bathers

NSW: Cozzie (or sluggos in some parts of Sydney)

QLD: Swimmers

(By the way, we haven’t even touched on other swimwear choices such as boardies, rashies, trunks, budgie-smugglers… NB: if you’re not sure about that last one, just google our ex-PM Tony Abbot)

What do I drink on my motorhome hire holiday in Australia?

Picture this.  You’ve hired your dream motorhome and had a fabulous day exploring with ease ad comfort.  Now you are parked up in a lovely scenic spot for the night, relaxing in your camp chair and enjoying a spectacular sunset.  BUT – here’s Aussie lingo quiz question number two – if you were in the local pub, how would you order that drink in your hand? (Unless it’s bubbly, G&T, or another tipple of choice, that is…)

Ordering a beer around Australia.

Here’s how typical bar dialogue might go in, say, Cairns, Queensland.

Bar Tender:        “You right mate?”

Customer:           “Pot of XXXX Gold thanks, mate.”

Bartender:          “There ya go mate,”

Customer:           “Ta.”

motorhome hire Australia

What’s a ‘pot’ in Queensland? It sounds big…but it’s not.  It’s 285ml, which incidentally is the equivalent of asking for a ‘handle’ in the NT or a ‘ten’ in Tassie.  But there’s smaller. If you want to quickly wet your whistle, request a ‘glass’.  It sounds ambiguous…but it’s not.  It’s 200ml.

There is an even smaller measure of 140ml that’s known rather adorably as ‘a pony’ in most States. But this is rarely ordered because most Aussies wonder what the point would be.  Except in Victoria, where a pony is actually a pot.

Bit thirstier? Ask for a ‘schooner’ (pronounced skoo-ner).  Now that sounds like a standard measure…but it’s not.  It’s 425ml (or ¾ of a pint) in NSW, QLD and the NT.  But over in SA, a schooner is 285ml…aka a pot nearly everywhere else in Australia, except for NSW and WA, where it’s a ‘midi’. So, what do South Australians call a schooner? A ‘pint’, the same as in VIC. And their ‘glass’ becomes a ‘butcher’, incidentally. 

If you ask for a ‘pint’ anywhere else in the country, you get an imperial pint (568ml).  Except for in WA, where you’d ask for a ‘pot’, which, at 575ml is ever-so-slightly bigger than a pint…but who’s counting.  We know your next question. If a pint is called a pot in WA, what’s a pot (or 285ml glass of beer) called?  A ‘bobby’ of course!

Clear as mud?  Good, let’s move on. 

But before we do…if you prefer to pick up your beer in 24s from the ‘bottlo’, we’d better mention this little tag-on to save you a red face!

NSW: a case of beer

QLD, WA: a carton of beer

VIC, SA, and TAS: a slab of beer

Now, go forth and order beer with confidence! (PS: please drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive!)

What unique food names should I be aware of before my motorhome hire holiday Australia?

Glad you asked!  If you’ve hired a big family-sized motorhome hire for a family road trip with kids, it’s imperative to know how to order holiday treats.  You know what we’re talking about – those evil salty, carby, sugary snacks with zero or less nutritional value?  (What a relief that holiday calories don’t count!)

Around Australia, there are many foods unique to a particular region. From kitchener buns (a jam and cream doughnut) to frog cakes (a cupcake that looks like a frog).  Then you have foods that are the same, but with a different name; such as WA’s choc bombs (chocolate-topped ice cream). You’ll have to figure out whether to order a cheese toastie, a cheese jaffle or a cheese grill.  And luncheon meat!  Oh, luncheon meat, you curator of linguistic lawlessness!  One particular member of this moreish processed-meat family goes by the names of Poloney, Fritz, Devon, Belgium, and Bologna!

But today, for our case study, let’s take a look at the humble champion of the local chippy: the fried potato patty. Fully tested and approved by kids on motorhome hire holidays all around Australia. These salty, greasy, crunchy little discs of potato goodness stop backseat bickering in its tracks.  But how do you get your hands on them, if you arrive at the local takeaway and don’t know what they’re called? 

We’re here to help.

In Queensland, and NSW if you order ‘scallops’ at the takeaway shop, you will procure yourself the aforementioned fried potato patty.  A potato scallop, to be precise.  However, if you order a ‘scallop’ in Victoria, South Australia, or Tasmania, you will get yourself a seafood mollusk. (Which for most adults would be a bonus, we warrant you, but that’s not always the case with our younger motorhome hire holidaymakers.)  So, what do you ask for?  In Victoria, Tassie and the NT you must order ‘potato cakes’.  But ordering a potato scallop or a potato cake in SA may result in a blank stare – in this State, they’re ‘potato fritters’. Along with a tiny region of SW WA.  Simple!

We hope that this virtual trip around Australia has inspired you to hire a motorhome of your own and start discovering your own colloquial anomalies! 

When you’re ready, get in touch to book a motorhome or campervan hire with our friendly travel team.  Before you can say ‘Gallivanting Oz’, you’ll have hired your dream motorhome, and be heading out of the depot and into a fabulous adventure of your own! 

And you’ll know the lingo!

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