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What To Expect From An Ozzie Christmas?

If you’re coming from the Northern Hemisphere and have never had a Southern Hemisphere Christmas before prepare yourself for a few shocks! Because on the 25th of December things in Australia are done in a slightly different manner!

Aussie Christmas Traditions

Australians keep most of the traditions of the Northern Hemispher ie Christmas trees, decorations, stockings, gifts, carols, and cards with snow and mistletoe but they mix them with traditional summertime activities like BBQs, the beach and the great outdoors!

The main Christmas difference you will experience is the weather! Christmas day in Australia is very hot and so sitting around the table over several courses of Xmas dinner is out of the question!


Although Aussies are very social people, don’t expect to spend hours around a table eating. There’s too much to do outside and so sometimes a yummy Aussie barbeque might be served at lunch time or even brunch (breakfast and lunch around 11am) so that the rest of the day can be spent enjoying the weather and doing outside activities and games.

If you want to know what to bring to a meal your favourite salad can never go wrong but and Aussies will appreciate trying a traditional dish or food from your home country.  Whatever the Christmas meal may be you can rest assured there will always be Pavalova for dessert! The Pavalova is an Aussie tradition (Stolen from their NZ neighbours some might say!) Topped with cream and kiwifruit this is something not to be missed!

Christmas Tree

In Australia there are 2! The traditional pine needle one called 'Christmas Bush', which is a native Australian tree with small green leaves and cream coloured flowers.

How does Santa get to Australia?

In Australia, traditionally we open ALL our presents on the morning of the 25th (unlike in Europe which is normally the night of the 24th) Some kids are lucky enough to open ONE present before they go to bed before Santa arrives. Santa’s sleigh doesn’t get pulled by reindeer – o no! In Australia he gets pulled by six white boomers (Kangaroos) or for those on the coast he arrives in a surf boat or even on a surfboard! He’s also dressed a bit cooler to suit the climate and he might even be wearing a Akubra Hat and thongs (Aussie slang for flip flops)

What to do with Kids for Christmas in Australia?

Bring Santa to your motorhome

If you’re travelling with young kids who are wondering how Santa will find them in a campervan, you could try this little trick of leaving Santas footprints!

How to make Santa footprints...

  1. Put on some gumbees (Aussie slang for Wellington boots)
  2. Carefully sprinkle flour around the gumbee at each step to represent the steps Santa would have taken in his boots when leaving his presents (up the steps and inside the cabin of your motorhome) You’ll get footprint that look like Santa’s brought in a dusting of snow from the North Pole. Kids love it!


Take the kids to a special event

Australians like to get out and celebrate and Christmas’s in the parks, carols by candlelight, light shows and Santa Parades are very popular and a fun way to mingle with the locals!

Santa Parades

If you are in Australia at Christmas time a must do is an Aussie Style Santa Parade. Most towns and cities will have one. Check with the local information centre in your location. These are normally good value with fun floats and lolly scrambles and games for the kids. However remember to take your hat and sunscreen the sun could be out!
Spare a thought for poor Santa who has to spend all day in sun in his red suit and beard!
If you are in Adelaide  the Adelaide Christmas Pageant is the largest of its kind in the world, attracting crowds of over 400,000 people. It comprises a procession of floats, bands, clowns, dancing groups, and walking performers, all culminating in the arrival of Santa Claus.

Carols by candlelight

This is a tradition that started in Melbourne in 1938 and has since spread around Australia and the world.  The biggest carols by candlelight event is held by Vision Australia a charity for blind children and allows them to experience Xmas by sound. All proceeds from tickets to this event go to this cause. This event takes place at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. It’s televised nationwide and it has become a tradition for many Australians to watch the performance and there are many celebrities who get behind this. Check out all the info on this event here.

Here are some good links to events taking place at Xmas time for these major Australian cities


Alone at Christmas?

No kids and without a place to go or no one to spend Christmas with?  Here are some ideas that might shake that homesick feeling around Christmas time

  • Park up the motorhome at a Hostel and stay the night. Some hostels will put on a Christmas dinner or BBQ to bring everyone together. It’s a good excuse to socialise and make new friends for Christmas
  • Volunteer. You might prefer the feel good feeling that comes from helping out others not as fortunate as yourself. Check in with a volunteer organisation in your location.  There are many you can help out with around Xmas time check them out here
  • WWOOFING is a unique way to spend Xmas and a good way to spend Xmas with an Australian family in a rural environment
  • Work.  A bit boring but hey if you’re an opportunist you could always put your hand up for a few days work especially in the food and restaurant industry as there are lots of staff away at this time. Caterers and restaurants are often looking for extra fill in staff and hey at the end there is always a staff Xmas shout to enjoy with your new found friends/work colleagues!
  • In Bondi Beach? Special events for international tourists away from their families are held on Bondi Beach in Sydney

Major Sporting events

Two major sporting events traditionally commence on the day after Christmas Day in Australia. The Boxing Day Cricket Match. (this year against the West Indies) would be an excellent choice to experience this particular British tradition and the famous Sydney to Hobart Yacht race

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