You know the drill. You love travelling but it can bring some inevitably awkward moments. We think it’s even part of the fun sometimes. But when you hit Australia’s golden shores, there’s plenty of fun to be had without having to contend with our crazy place names.
So rather than stumbling your way through mispronounced syllables and awkward social situations, we’ve pulled together this handy guide so you know your Oodnadatta from your Woolloomooloo like a real Strine-speaking local!
Kata Tjuta (kah-tah choor-ta) – Northern Territory
Mystical and beautiful as this Outback must-do is, there’s no denying the name has tripped-up plenty of well-intentioned travellers in its time. And that’s a long time: Also known as The Olgas, Kata Tjuta’s history stretches far, far back into the Dreamtime.
Oodnadatta (OOd-nu-dada) – South Australia
What do a roadhouse painted pink and a crater on Mars have in common? Oodnadatta! The Pink Roadhouse is easier to visit than outer-space, so pop in to get a taste of life in a real outback town.
Coolangatta (KOOl-ang-atta) – Queensland
Leave the mayhem of Surfers and make your way to ‘Cooly’ before grabbing a board and hitting the waves or chillaxing on the beach. The GC is up for plenty of #funinthesun however you like it.
Woolloomooloo (Wool-UH-ma-loo) – New South Wales
The biggest difficulty you’ll have with pronouncing Woolloomooloo? Knowing when to stop saying all those double letters without getting caught in an endless feedback loop. Don’t stress, just approach it like a lackadaisical Australian and shorten it to Woolly Mammoth (although you may get lost if you do that).
Boulia (Bool–eya) – Queensland
Home to THE major event on the camel racing circuit (yep, it’s really a thing), Boulia even plays host to its very own phenomena—the Min Min lights.
Coober Pedy (Kooh-BAH Pee-di) – South Australia
You could easily imagine Tom Hardy riding shotgun Mad Max-style across Coober Pedy’s lunar landscapes but this South Australian town is most famous for its opal treasures lying below the surface. Say it like you live there by dropping the r and rolling the words together.
Ubirr (O-beer-ee) – Northern Territory
Generally speaking, Australians are an uncomplicated people. What you see is what you get… But there are exceptions to every good rule (because why not), and the Northern Territory region of Ubirr is case in point. Asking for directions? Make like you’re ordering a frothie at your local (pub) and you’ll be right as rain. Hit up the amaze-balls rock art when you get there, too.
Cooinda (Ca-lin-duh) – Northern Territory
Oh it looked so easy at first glance. That silent—and actually nonexistent— L trips up even the most Aussie-fied among us. Another beautiful Northern Territory spot, Cooinda will win your heart, even if it twists your tongue.
Quorn (Kworn) – South Australia
Once you’re done with the Flinders Ranges, Quorn will welcome you with open arms. Don’t forget the ‘w’ or you may find yourself with unwanted cobs (of corn, that is)!
Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya Hill – South Australia
Holding the dubious title of longest single word place name in Australia, we can’t actually help you this one. If you need to get here, best point at your map.
Goondiwindi (Gunda-windy) – Queensland
It’s Gunda (be) windy is a true blue Queensland town, and if you haven’t gotten the hint yet, we don’t really enunciate our double ’oo’ combos.
Woop Woop (Whup Whup) – Western Australia
Not really so hard to say but never was a town name more accurate. Colloquially, it means the middle of nowhere and since it was abandoned in 1984, this deserted town really is.
Dunedoo (Dunny-doo) – New South Wales
Funny, because dunny = a word for toilet in Australia.
Innaloo (In-a-lew) – Western Australia
Refer above; Loo=another word for toilet. Clearly, we love a good toilet joke!
Nockatunga (knock-AH-toong-ah) – Queensland
Not much going on here really except livestock farming, but if you can say Nockatunga three times and click your heels together, you’ll be a dinky-di (it means genuine) Aussie in no time.
Coonabarabran (koon-uh-barra-bran) – New South Wales
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice we like place names with lots and lots of double letters. Why use one, when you can use two?