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?

Desta Cullen
A Sunshine Coast native (via Belize and the US), Desta’s a freelance writer, editor and digital content kid with a serious case of wanderlust. Her work has been published on ABC Radio National, Tourism Queensland’s Hello Sunshine Blog, Peppermint Magazine, and the now defunct Jmag, among others. With a heart full of ambition and a head full of dreams, she recently said goodbye to her full-time gig covering all things health, beauty, culture and food at lifestyle publication, The Urban List, to go hard at the freelance life. Oh, and then there’s the very important business of making her dogs Insta-famous… #itsarufflife.