Sure, Australia’s known for kangaroo hunting, hangover-inducing boxed wine, and 20+ varieties of malted choccie bickies (look it up).
But, unbeknownst to many, Australians also have a reputation for being health-conscious, eco-conscious, and pioneers of some of the greatest wellness trends in the Western world.
We already went into how Melbourne is a vegan wonderland, with a greater range of plant-based food options than most cities I’ve been to. But that’s not all Australia has going for it. Other cities, like Sydney and Byron Bay, also have lots of vegan options.
And most Australians I’ve come across embody healthy lifestyle practices in a way that I just haven’t seen among other people. One of their own even coined the term “activewear”!
I’m unsure of the extent to which societal conditioning has stimulated this phenomenon–or whether I’m biased living in the wellness mecca that is Melbourne. But I do know that regardless of whether or not Australia’s holistic bent is limited to the major cities, the country exhibits an approach to health that should be recognized. They are a great source of inspiration for how individuals, their communities, and their governments can raise awareness and increase accessibility of health-focused regimens.
Here are just a few of the reasons why Australia’s wellness scene is one to admire:
1. Australians don’t drive everywhere–even if they live in “the country.” Public transportation is easily accessible and encouraged. Sure, people who live really rurally may need a car, but most everyone, from the city to the far outer suburbs, has some transportation options and takes advantage of them.
2. The infrastructure supports cycling, and there are bike-sharing initiatives everywhere. There are also “biker brekkies” and other initiatives to promote riding versus driving. Bike lanes exist on nearly every road, helmets and bike lights are mandatory, and some forms of transportation even allow bikes on board.
3. Healthcare is subsidized and includes mental health care treatment. Not only does the Australian government cover most public health expenses–they also cover psychological care (from consultations to medications).
4. Integrative remedies are accepted and sometimes also covered by insurance. Holistic medical practices like acupuncture, massage therapy, and naturopathy are not quite as taboo as they are in the States, and they are even covered by some Australian insurance plans.
5. Australia has very few chain and fast food restaurants. Local produce and independent shops/restaurants take priority. There seems to be a general sentiment that mom & pop establishments are preferable (and I agree!) Typically, they have better, healthier food (and support the local, small-scale economy).
6. If you’re looking to snag Instagram’s latest superfood trend, Australia’s got it. They basically invented avo toast. They jumped on matcha, charcoal, turmeric, and acai before they were cool. Even their pancakes and lattes are wholesome.
7. Community parks and gardens are all over the place, in both big cities and small towns. In fact, many Australian cities have mandatory laws to provide “green spaces.” But that’s not all–it’s quite common for these green spaces to have communal veggie patches, compost piles, and/or fitness equipment. So you can take a stroll to your local park, do some pull-ups, pick some veggies, and drop off your used coffee grounds all in one go.
To top this all off, Australians are generally very active, with constantly sunny weather encouraging time outdoors. They also have tons of fresh produce available year round (especially in the north), so “clean eating” is almost a given.
If they have this much clout in the health scene already, I can only imagine what will happen as the country gains more international recognition and wellness becomes more generally accepted by the mainstream. I can’t wait to see how Australia’s health and wellness ethos develops as time goes on.
If you’re looking for a wellness getaway, perhaps it’s time to plan a trip! Have you experienced the wellness wonderland that is Australia?
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