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Beer

Drinking beer is ingrained in Australian culture. Although Fosters is promoted as an Australian beer overseas, it is rarely consumed by Australians in Australia, and is almost impossible to find. Beers are strongly regional and every state has its own brews: Coopers and West End in South Australia, Carlton and VB in Victoria, Tooheys in NSW, XXXX (pronounced "fourex") in Queensland, Boags and Cascade in Tasmania, and Swan in Western Australia. There are also local microbrew choices, which can be harder to find, but are often worth seeking out. A range of imported European and American bottled beers are available in all but the most basic pub.

 
The XXXX Brewery in Brisbane

Light (Lite) beer refers to lower alcoholic content, and not lower calories. It has around half the alcohol of full strength beer, and is taxed at a lower rate, meaning it is also cheaper than full strength beer.

Places to eat

 

 
Outdoor barbecues at Jackadder Lake, Woodlands, Western Australia. Similar facilities can be found in many parks across Australia.
 
Centre Place in Melbourne's CBD is lined with cafes

Money

The Australian currency is known as the dollar ($) which is divided into 100 cents (¢). The dollar is called 'the Australian dollar' usually written as 'AUD' or A$.

Coins come in denominations of 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, $1 and the tiny $2. They are rather similar to the size and shape of coins issues in the United Kingdom. Notes come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 (all in distinctive colours). $100 notes are rare and may be occasionally hard to use in shops. Australian notes are printed on plastic polymer rather than paper. If the total of a transaction is not a multiple of 5 cents the amount will be rounded to the nearest five cents if you are paying in cash. The exact amount will be charged if paying by card.

The dollar is not pegged to any other currency, and is highly traded on world foreign exchange markets, particularly by currency speculators. Its exchange value to other currencies can be quite volatile, and 1-2% changes in a day are reasonably regular occurrences.

The English language is universally spoken and understood in Australia. Nevertheless, as Australia is a global melting pot, particularly in the major cities, you will encounter cultures and hear languages from all around the world, and you will often find areas and suburbs that predominately reflect the language of their respective immigrant communities. Foreign languages are taught at school, but students rarely progress past the basics.

It is fairly rare to find signs in a second language, except in urban areas with a high population of Asian immigrants and students, where signs and restaurant menus in Vietnamese and Chinese are a common sight; and also around Cairns and the Gold Coast in Queensland where some signs (but not road signs) are written in Japanese, due to the large number of Japanese tourists. Some warning signs at beaches are written in several foreign languages.

Australia is huge but sparsely populated, and you can sometimes travel many hours before finding the next trace of civilisation, especially once you leave the south-eastern coastal fringe.

Almost all modern Australian maps, including street directories, use the Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA) as their grid reference, which is for all purposes identical to the WGS84 used by the GPS. You can locate most things on an Australian map or street directory if you just have the "GPS coordinates".

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