The Australia of today is a world centre, well up with the best the rest of the planet has to offer and no longer isolated by its remoteness. Recently, politicians and top business people have been suggesting that some of the stereotypes about the country â especially those fed to visitors â are either tired or even just plain wrong and out of date.
Fifty years ago, you could hardly get a decent meal outside the main cities, but that's way different now. So forget ideas of 'bush tucker' and having to eat weird creatures to survive; regional and rural Australia has long since discovered how to cook and serve fantastic fresh food at least as well as the rest of the world.
Likewise, you will find it increasingly hard to find a 'traditional' Aussie pub (or hotel, as most of them were confusingly called) â and you'll likely be disappointed if you do find one. The raw, hard spit-'n'-sawdust image has pretty much disappeared, along with the types who used to hang out there â you'll rarely see any Aussie any more with a hat-full of corks to keep the flies away.
One or two iconic pubs survive (there's one in Birdsville, for example: the most isolated spot in all of Queensland), but even here the beer is less exciting than it should be and in these days you'll see well-dressed patrons, many of them sipping great Aussie wines instead.
Visually, few images have been punted to the outside world in the last 40 years as much as Sydney's much vaunted Opera House. One famous Aussie once described it as âan Olivetti portable typewriter filled with oyster shellsâ and for many people it actually spoils the otherwise fantastic view of Sydney's magnificent harbour.
And the fantastically expensive guided tour is a brief canter round the inside, a moment to stand on the stage and a peek inside a dressing room â if you're lucky and no-one is rehearsing or performing!
Another enduring visual image is the muscled surfer and his impossibly blonde babe friend, frolicking in the shallows.
Of course there is great surfing (apparently some of the best in the world) at spots right round the Australian coast, but don't think (or worry) that surfing is all there is. Nowadays, visitors are more likely to be out boating, which is in any case safer than putting yourself in line to be 'taken' by a shark!
And few if any Australians will be sunbathing, having discovered the benefits of serious sunscreens and the downside of melanomas. Stay in the shade if you don't want to burn!