5 Skills to Learn Before You Visit Australia

For a lot of travelers around the world, Australia represents a once-in-a-lifetime destination — a bucket list item worthy of years of planning. And the truth is that it rarely disappoints. Australia consistently lives up to travelers’ expectations, which is why it rarely disappears from “best vacation spot” or “most visited destination” lists.

With all of that said though, to make the absolute most of your time in Australia you might want to spend some time preparing yourself to enjoy some of the destination’s most enjoyable activities. Australia — to travelers at least — is a land of adventure and amusement. And in many cases you’ll need a foundation of skill or understanding to get the most out of some of the most noteworthy activities. So in this piece we’re going to identify some skills you should learn before you head down under.

1) Scuba Diving

In a past post on ‘Getting The Most Out of a Getaway to Australia’ you may have seen coral reefs listed among the top attractions people tend to be seeking out. And it remains true that Australia is home to some of the most sensational reefs — and by extension best scuba diving spots — in the world. However, as you may well know, scuba diving isn’t something you can merely head out and try if you aren’t first certified to do so. Now, you can of course learn while you’re in Australia (there are plenty of scuba schools), or opt for snorkeling if you’d rather keep it simple. But the reefs are truly some of Australia’s greatest attractions, and learning to dive ahead of time frees you up to enjoy them.

2) Surfing

Surfing is somewhat similar to scuba diving, in that you can’t simply go out and surf if you don’t first take the time to learn how. And again, you can learn while you’re in Australia, but you may be better served by taking some lessons closer to home so that you can really enjoy the surf once you’re on your trip.

Australia simply offers some of the best surf spots on the planet, and as is conveyed clearly by Urban List’s look at different beaches, there are options throughout much of the country. Whether you hit Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast, Kirra on the Gold Coast, Narrabeen in New South Wales, or any number of other spots, you’ll be in for a dream-like surfing opportunity.

3) Off Road Driving

Much of the focus of Australia travel guides tends to be on the East Coast and the cities, beaches, and even islands that exist all along it. The West of Australia is far less populated and in many places far less developed. But for more adventurous travelers, that only makes it all the more intriguing to explore.

One of the best ways to do so is by renting an off-road vehicle or 4×4 so that you can truly have an adventure in some of the more wild terrain on Earth. But you’ll want to be confident handling vehicles like these, and doing it away from paved concrete roads. So if you have the opportunity to do some off-road driving before your trip, it might pay off by making you feel comfortable taking a 4×4 tour somewhere in the West.

4) Poker

Not all of Australia’s thrills exist outside, and one thing a lot of travelers ultimately enjoy is that the big cities in the country have legal, high-end casinos. Naturally these are major attractions to tourists (particularly from places like the U.S. without many legal gaming opportunities), and they can make for nice little luxurious breaks from the outdoor adventure. To get the most out of casinos like the Crown Melbourne or The Star Sydney though, we recommend taking some time to learn your way around the game of poker.

This is actually easy enough to do. You can read about game variations and how betting works just about anywhere, and there’s a downloadable guide to poker hands by Poker.org that serves as a handy study guide for nailing down more of the basics. From there, you can practice for free with any of a number of apps and hone your skills. Of course, you don’t have to focus on poker at the casinos. But most who know what they’re doing at the table will agree that it’s usually the most fun!

5) Coffee Tasting

Another activity of sorts that has nothing to do with the outdoors is coffee tasting. This may sound bizarre to those who haven’t read up on Australia too much just yet, but the simple fact of the matter is that the coffee scene throughout the country has caught on in a big way, particularly with travelers. Indeed, as an ABC overview of Australia coffee culture put it, the world has gotten “hooked” on it all.

That same overview traces a fascinating history that has led to Australia having some of the best coffee and most pleasant cafés in the world — to the point that other countries are striving to imitate both. For a traveler, the coffee culture is one aspect of Australia that can be enjoyed without preparation or practice. However, there’s also something to be said for knowing your coffee so that you can fully appreciate what you’re getting. Taking the time to learn a bit about the beverage, figure out how to recognize tastes and differences, and so on, will enrich your experience at the Australian cafés.


You can of course be a little bit more spontaneous about a trip to Australia as well, and still have an incredible time. Aim for some of this preparation though, and you’ll be in good shape to enjoy some of the best the country has to offer.

Stay gold.

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