This guide is an attempt to help a visitor to Australia to find tourists in Australia. Note that it is not an identification guide, although where appropriate some useful identification aids are suggested. The main purpose is to provide a brief indication of range and abundance of tourists in the Australian continent. Note also that this guide is not intended to be comprehensive. Rather we have concentrated on common and easily seen tourists. A careful observer may find many more types of tourist than those listed below.
The guide is arranged by nationality. It is hoped that this will act as an efficient key index, helping readers locate quickly and easily their favourite type of tourist. For each nationality we provide an idea of range, abundance and special behaviour patterns, where appropriate. Following each guide entry we include some key identification aids.
Australian . Generally common and widespread, locally rare . Never underestimate the difficulty of finding Australian tourists in Australia at certain times of the year. There is no doubt that they are generally widespread and common in most parts of the continent, but they are not always the majority species present. Young and immature Australian tourists can be very hard to find at times, especially inland. In contrast, fully mature Australia tourists participate in a spectacular annual migration from the south and east, becoming abundant in the tropical north for most of the winter months (May to September). Northern migration starts in mid to late April, with the main concentration surging into north Queensland and the Northern Territory during May and early June. More generally, the key to finding Australian tourists is always water. Check waterfalls, rivers and of course beaches. Those in search of young tourists should not stray far from coastal southern Australia and rarely far from major urban centres. In general the key time of year for Australian tourists is from 26th December until early February. At this time they can be found almost anywhere, from the remote south-west of Tasmania to the Tanami Desert and they will be very common throughout the south. Easter is the other key time. At this time of year look for them within 600km of a major city and often further from water then normal (Flinders Ranges in South Australia for example). Key identification aids: Any vehicle towing a caravan, any vehicle towing or carrying a boat, any fully-equipped 4wd vehicle, any bus that looks like it is lived in, generally anyone making a lot of noise.
British . Common and seasonally very common, mainly south and east . British tourists (mostly of the majority subspecies pom ) are generally easy to find in Australia, although there is a very healthy feral population in Australia, so always take care when claiming to have found genuine British tourists. British tourists do not like the heat and are rarely found in the hotter and remoter parts of the continent. They are seasonally very common on the east coast and Sydney and can easily be seen in these areas between June and September, especially areas such as the Whitsunday Islands and Cape Tribulation. The majority of this seasonal influx are juvenile and immature tourists and are travelling on unbelievably low budgets. Although normally only winter visitors, good numbers can be resident for up to one year and can be found almost anywhere on the continent, but usually near the coast. Year long British tourists are particularly fond of circuiting the continent in a clockwise direction. Key identification aids: Any old Holden on the East coast, any vehicle broken down by the side of the road, anyone looking badly burnt.
German . Very common, locally abundant, present all year . As in most parts of the planet, German tourists are extremely easy to find and identify throughout the year. They are particularly abundant in the north and centre of Australia, especially during the dry season, rarely venturing to either the east or west coasts. Around the Darwin/Kakadu area and Alice Springs/Uluru their numbers can be absolutely spectacular from April through to October, peaking in July and August. German tourists have a particular liking for national parks and anything that is signposted from a highway by a brown sign, so following brown signposts is an incredibly successful means of locating them. Most German tourists are young, but juvenile and immature tourists are fairly rare. Unlike other nationalities it is quite common to see German tourists travelling with newly hatched young. Although generally keen to travel privately and separately it is not uncommon to find entire camping grounds in the Northen Territory occupied by independent pairs of German tourists in rental 4wd motor vans. Finding German tourists in the tamer and more urban parts of Australia can be more challenging, but a thorough search of almost any of the major cities at any time of the year is very likely to reap rewards. Key identification aids: Any Brits-Australia rental vehicle (if in doubt apply the wave test: wave at driver, if they don't respond then they are German), any other extremely expensive rental vehicle, anyone in the Northern Territory May-September, anyone playing a didgeridoo in a campground.
Swedish . Fairly common, widespread, seasonal . Like British tourists, Swedish tourists are most common in the Australian winter months and are fairly widespread throughout the continent. They are probably more common in the north and west than British tourists as the latter have often run out of money before they get there. Swedish tourists are almost exclusively young, with juveniles not uncommon. Pairs of immature females are common, particularly on the east coast and are much sought after. Key identification aids: Any fairly old Holden in the Northern Territory, any pair of women in a youth hostel in Far North Queensland, anyone very scantily dressed in the outback.
Swiss . Uncommon, seasonal but regular . The best way of finding Swiss tourists is to carefully check groups of German tourists. Identification is not easy, but persistence will be rewarded. Like German tourists, Swiss tourists are normally young (but not immature) and travelling independently in rental 4wd vehicles. They are more seasonal than German tourists (fairly strictly May to September). While also concentrating in the centre and Northern Territory, Swiss tourists are more likely to travel to Western Australia and the east coast, and can even be seen in quite civilised places such as Adelaide. Key identification aids: Very difficult: check fairly expensive rental vehicles other than Brits-Australia, note - wave test may fail with Swiss drivers also. Only diagnostic test is to accuse tourist of being German.
Irish . Generally uncommon, mainly south and east . Irish tourists are not very easy to find in Australia, but much of what applies to the finding of British tourists also applies except on a much smaller scale. They are very rare in the centre and fairly uncommon in the north and west. The cities of the south have quite high feral populations so regard any reports of Irish tourists with a healthy degree of scepticism. Key identification aids: Not easy. Anyone looking even more burnt than a British tourist. Check groups of British tourists as these often cohabit and occasionally interbreed.
American . Uncommon to rare . Perhaps surprisingly, American tourists are relatively rare in Australia and those seeking them are strongly suggested to try other places such as Western Europe. American tourists are most commonly mature to extremely mature and unlikely to be travelling independently. Check for them on tour groups and package excursions. Good places to look include Sydney, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef. American tourists are very likely to use air transport so those that simply want to quickly see an odd American tourist would be best off hanging around in airport terminals and hotels. Occasional pairs of mature American tourists can be found almost anywhere in the continent, but you need to have a great deal of patience and a healthy amount of luck to find them in this manner. Key identification aids: Unmistakeable. Usually heard long before seen.
Japanese . Fairly common, locally abundant, extremely patchy . Finding Japanese tourists in Australia presents the competent observer with no difficulty, however local knowledge is essential. At most times of year they can be found in major cities but visits are often for very short periods. There are a few extremely famous and reliable spots to find Japanese tourists, due to a common five day tour of Australia - Sydney, Cairns (Great Barrier Reef), Darwin (Kakadu), Uluru and Philip Island. Sightings of Japanese tourists are virtually guaranteed at these locations. Check organised tours and search air-conditioned buses for most rapid success. Japanses tourists usually travel in large family groups and a wide range of ages can be observed, from very young to mature. Immature Japanese tourists are increasingly travelling to Australia, often in groups of three to four, and can be found in May to September in most popular tourist locations. A most notable phenomenon, and well worth seeking, is that of the lone Japanese motor cyclist. These cyclists are fairly common on major highways in the centre and north (particularly dry season), and not uncommon on some of the remoter outback tracks. Key identification aids: Again, quite unmistakeable. Anyone whose face is totally obscured by a camera or camcorder, anyone golfing in Queensland, anyone travelling solo in the centre, anyone travelling solo on motorbike, anyone travelling solo on bicycle, anyone with unbelievably minimal luggage.
New Zealand Uncommon to rare. Tourists from New Zealand are less common than the geographic proximity would suggest. There is however a very healthy feral population and claims of sightings of a genuine New Zealand tourist may need extensive taxonomic testing before full acceptance. Try the major southern cities and don't bother to even look in the centre or the north. Those urgently seeking a New Zealand tourist should try London, or maybe even New Zealand. Key identification aids: Easily identified by call - check vowel sounds. Visually hard to separate from others.
Other tourists Other tourists can be found in small numbers throughout the year in Australia. Try for French in coastal areas, cities and hotels (less commonly campgrounds), Italian or Greek in south coast cities (but beware - most Australian cities have enormous feral populations), Canadian (not common but well worth searching for, easily identified by prominent maple ensignas). Those who urgently seek unusual tourists should try searching alternative tour groups. Any bus or minibus bearing a slogan such as Outback sunset billy-tea budget coast-to-coast wilderness eco safaris will almost certainly turn up something special such as a Dane, a South African, a Brazilian, a Belgian or a South Korean. These buses all have at least one German (often female), three British and one very talkative American, so they are worth seeking out. Other unusual tourists can be found on organised excursions, and trips to the Great Barrier Reef are highly recommended in this regard.
Experience The author has spent a number of years in various parts of Australia, never of course as a tourist, but always as a keen observer and student of the land, the environment and the people. He normally drove around in a 1980 blue Toyota Corolla and is of completely indeterminate nationality.