When I first came to Australia four years ago, I was under the impression that I had arrived to the land of eternal sunshine and indefinite summer. And for the first 10 or so months it seemed as though I was right. The Australians were moaning when the mercury hit 25, and I thought “well, 25 degrees is a decent summer day in Norway, so I’m happy with that! Let’s go for a swim!”
What I learned then was that winter in Australia really was a thing. It actually existed. It might not be nordic-style cold, but after living with sometimes unbearable heat for ten months, your body gets used to it and anything under 20 degrees then becomes equivalent of minus 20 degrees.
Here are five utterly random things I discovered about winter in Australia. (Warning: This post may include a lot of exaggeration)
It’s not a process, it’s an overnight shock
One night you go to bed and its 25 degrees. It’s nice, its comfortable, you’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Life is pretty darn good. Then, overnight, there seems to be this earthly malfunction and it suddenly drops fifteen degrees and you wake up with a cold, a runny nose and frostbite.
2. The clothing situation becomes difficult
For more or less the entire duration of the year, you can wear a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, a skirt or perhaps you’re one of those who gets your grocery shopping done in your bikini. I admit I have been that person at Coles, several times. Then, when the cold hits you like a train in the dark of night, and you’re going to uni the next morning, the eternal girl-dilemma of “what to wear?!” is now extended from party-outfit to include day-time attire. Because you literally do not own a sweater, or a raincoat or even enclosed shoes. Solution? Make a poncho out of your beach towel and put socks in your thongs (read my Aussie slang guide for “thongs” explanation). There is no other way.
3. There are huge temperature differences within Australia
I used to live in Sydney. It was January, and the weather was as usual: nice. After a few months I went backpacking up the East Coast (yep, when in Rome). By the time the Australians started talking about how cold it was, I was in Cairns, where in fact, it wasn’t cold at_all. We were out snorkeling, walking in the park, hiking, swimming, and so forth. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. Winter? Come on!
Well. I then went back to Sydney (because I had spent all my money and needed to earn some), quickly learning that July in Cairns is NOT July in Sydney. Na’ah. Coming from a country so small (the size of the Great Barrier Reef more or less) I could not fathom how the differences within a country could be so huge! When I then googled it I learned that you can fit more or less all of Europe within Australia…. so then it kinda makes sense.
4. As I grow weaker, the surfers (and the surf) grow stronger
I really should not complain, coming from a place where it easily drops to minus 30 degrees and your eyebrows freeze while walking to school. But, I still do. I still complain. And when I walk on the beach to see all the surfers out “surfing the sick waves yeah man gnarly dude”, I can be nothing but impressed. Wetsuit or not, that is dedication.
I surf too. When the water is nice and I get a wee tan from splashing around Currumbin Beach for an hour or so. But surfing the king tide at Snapper Rocks in 13 degrees? I bow to you, o mighty long-haired surf dude.
5. Australians (periodically) love UGG boots
I’m not sure how to explain this… The UGG boots seems to be an accepted part of a human’s attire during the winter month in this country. It appears that this item of clothing is also unisex, and certain creatures of the male species embrace them too. The UGG boot is the Australian equivalent of Crocs, and is only accepted when worn by a selected fashionable (and unfashionable) few, and only during a few weeks of the year. I think I will write my PhD on the sociology of the UGG boot. Interesting…
But, at the end of the day, Australian winter really ain’t so bad. Because hey, its Australia! ♥♥♥