Every nation has its stereotypes, but there definitely seem to be more associated with Australia than any other, and actor Paul Hogan is responsible for most of them! Back in the late 20th century, he was the face of Australia for the rest of the world. After the Crocodile Dundee series of movies, he went on to feature in a range of promotional materials for the Australia Tourist Board.
30 years on, however, the cliched outdoor lifestyle is as outdated as Mick Dundee’s attitudes. Let’s take a look at how habits have changed and what are the most popular pastimes among Australians in 2023.
The New Gaming Capital of the World
If you thought people in America or Japan were crazy about gaming, you’ve not seen the state of play in Australia. A recent study by researchers at Gold Coast’s Bond University concluded that Australians prefer playing video games to anything else.
For the first time, gaming has entered the top three pastimes for Australians. And interestingly, it is one that is enjoyed quite evenly across all age groups. The average age of the Australian gamer is 35 and although there is some drop off among older citizens, still 40 percent of 85 to 94 year olds say they are gamers. Of course, there are games and there are games. Some are specifically designed with more mature players in mind, as we will see in the next section.
Australian Casino Gambling Transfers to Cyberspace
One thing that hasn’t changed is the Australian fondness for a bet. Australians wager around $30 billion per year, half of which is spent on slot games – or pokies as they are commonly known. Since 2020, there has been a significant shift from feeding coins into physical gaming machines in Australia to finding the best online casinos in Australia and playing from a laptop or smartphone instead.
The why of the matter is a little more difficult to chase down, and actually comes down to a combination of factors. The main one is changing with the times. Australians are typically early adopters of new tech so have taken to online casinos in the same way as they have adopted online banking. There is also the fact that some have trust issues with the land-based alternatives due to all the recent bad press.
From Beach Bums to Beer Guts
Max Langridge’s “Englishman abroad” anecdotes about living amid tanned, toned surfer dudes and gym bros when he moved to Bondi beach certainly fits our stereotypical image of Australians. More than 85 percent of Australians live near the coast, so what else is there to do? That is approximately where the logic breaks down. The answer is there is plenty else to do – in fact, only about one in 10 Australians own a surfboard. Compare that with the four in 10 who own a game console, and you can see the way the wind is blowing.
Interestingly, our previous point about casino gaming is one that is getting plenty of attention from lawmakers and regulators who are keen to reduce gambling and “clear up” Australia’s image. Yet health professionals believe they are missing the point. Two thirds of Australians are overweight as are one in four kids. Less than seven percent eat a healthy diet. Several authorities on the topic have suggested that this is what lawmakers should be focusing on instead of obsessing over how much grown adults choose to feed into the pokies.