Sydney, Australia

Ahh Sydney the warm and sunny capital of–New South Wales. That’s right, as everyone knows, Canberra is the capital of Australia, but no one’s ever actually been there so that could also be a made-up city.

Millions of tourists flock to the warm Sydney beaches annually, and more than a couple of them drown. So surf lifesaving is a huge deal here, so much so that it’s become a sport! Here are six contestants flattening out the sand before they lay face down in it and then run about 20 meters to dive for some flags, in the bizarre competition of beach flags.

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It’s as quirky as it looks but apparently is supposed to help you sprint on a beach.

The beaches aren’t quite downtown in Sydney but reachable by metro and bus–and if you’re bored the station operators leave their control panels open so you can maybe even control things to make your train show up faster.

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Just don’t make them crash.

Also, everyone knows that for a solid beach day you need to be well-fed, so you can stop by the popular supermarket chain Coles along the way.

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Serving both vegetarians and cannibalists.

Australian English is notably different from American English, which some linguists have recently taken time to research. I didn’t realize, though, that even movie titles are translated for better local context.

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My visit to the city happened to include Australia Day, which in a lot of respects is equivalent to the fourth of July in the US.2016-01-26 14.39.53

However, entertainingly for Americans, it actually celebrates the opposite of independence: January 26 was the day in 1788 when Britain proclaimed governance over the east coast of Australia, out of frustration for having lost their North American colonies just a few years earlier on July 4, 1776.

It’s also a controversial day within the country in that Australia, like the United States, was previously settled by people that were also similarly pushed aside by European settlers.

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With so much excitement going on it’s always a good idea to get out and enjoy the Blue Mountains just outside the city.

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Even if it means bending a few street signs along the way.

And farther north along the coast lies the hippy town of Byron Bay, where sights like this campervan seem more common than normal cars.

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