What Are Some Of Australia’s Favourite Hobbies And Pastimes?

When it comes to hobbies and pastimes, Australians have quite a few of them. One way or another, there’s always something we can do to fill our leisure time in Australia.

As someone who works a 9-5 office job, I cherish my free time. Usually around mid-week, I’d plan a few things I want to do on the weekend or after work the following week.

In this world, there are so many places to see and explore in our free time | Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

In this world, there are so many places to see and explore in our free time | Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth.

Depending on our personalities, each of us has our own ways of enjoying our spare time and time outside of work.

Many Australians are fond of hobbies and pastimes where we don’t have to think or plan too much, at least those of us who are laid-back. Often, we stay indoors when we have spare time on our hands and “take it easy”, as we like to say. A survey in 2011 shows 92% of Australians like to spend their leisure time watching TV and DVD (and more recently Netflix) at home, 2 out of 3 Australians surf the interwebs in their down time and 63% like reading.

Wherever I’ve worked over the last three years in Melbourne, my colleagues are big fans of TV series. Think current American TV series like Suits, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, as well as Aussie-made reality TV shows such as Masterchef, My Kitchen Rules and The Bachelor. Many mornings I’d come in to work and hear my colleagues chatting about a certain show as they wait for their computers to start up…and I have nothing to say because I don’t watch TV.

The more enthusiastic among us Australians prefer to spend our free time doing things that challenge us. We take up hobbies that let ourselves get lost in worlds we’ve never known. We enjoy the great outdoors: hiking, cycling, camping, admiring wild animals from a distance in the country and more. For instance, younger generation Australians are camping more and over half a million Aussies registered caravans and campervans in 2014.

When we enjoy our hobbies, we get lost in our own little worlds.

When we enjoy our hobbies, we get lost in our own little worlds.Water

After all, Australia is a country with fairly warm weather all year round (in metropolitan Melbourne winter temperatures average 13’C/55’F in the day) and so exploring vast Aussie terrains is ideal most part of the year. The other Saturday was a sunny and warm autumn day, and I took advantage and went for an 8km hike through bushland. Though the muscles in my rear end cramped halfway, I enjoyed the views.

Then there are Australians who like to spend their spare time being a part of something, being a part of something bigger together. Sport is almost like a religion in Melbourne. On weekends, stadiums hosting Australian Rules Footy (AFL) games in winter and cricket matches in summer are packed – easily a few million Aussies attend AFL and cricket matches each year Down Under. In Melbourne, there’s not forgetting countless art exhibitions and museums to visit and appreciate, to connect with and let our imaginations wander.

In the areas away from the city in Australia, offices and shops close right on five each day and only a handful of stores open on Sunday. So during time outside of work, what else is there to do but catch up with family and friends at home – hardly anywhere else to go, nothing else to do. Or perhaps go watch a movie in the city together.

It’s a fact that some hobbies and pastimes are more universal than others. We can go anywhere in the world, meet someone and they might have the same hobbies as us. But what we do in our spare time often depends on where we are at and where we want to go in life.

There’s no guessing where our hobbies that we love can take us.

There’s no guessing where our hobbies that we love can take us.

What we did for leisure back in the day was much different. In the early to mid 1900s, boomerang throwing was what Indigenous Australians did. With the passing of Aboriginal elders, this activity has been dying out over the years. But today in the town of La Parouse in the state of New South Wales, there are workshops on the first Sunday of each month teaching visitors this skill, basket weaving and Djaadjawaan dance, keeping traditional pastimes alive.

Often, we complain of not having enough time for our favourite hobbies. A study two years ago found Australians are finding it harder to achieve a work-life balance, working harder to keep their jobs. Maybe work really does demand we put in more hours at the office. Or perhaps it’s poor time management on our part. Or life throwing curveballs at us.

Outside of my day job, I spend most of my spare time writing. I write for this blog and am currently reworking the first draft of my first book…in between chores and procrastinating playing with my stuffed monkey Mr Wobbles. Occasionally I go out exploring the Aussie terrain; two or three times a month I catch up with friends. I wouldn’t have it any other way or have more interests outside of work. Just as we can work too hard at the office, we can play too much and stretch ourselves too thin in our down time. As philosopher Josef Pipier said:

“Leisure is only possible when we are at one with ourselves. We tend to overwork as a means of self-escape, as a way of trying to justify our existence.”

Enjoy our down time, feel at peace with ourselves.

Enjoy our down time, feel at peace with ourselves.

Sometimes, we might take our free time or even hobbies for granted and forget to have fun, leaving us empty inside. For some of us, our hobbies might be what we are passionate about and give us a sense of purpose. That is what writing is to me and I’ll always sit down eager to write my book…but two hours later sigh in frustration at the little bit of progress I’ve made. Then again, writing is more than just a hobby to me… Nevertheless, when it comes to winding down outside of our day-to-day routines, it’s always important to not take this time too seriously altogether. Fact is we win some and we lose some when it comes to play and either way, it’s not the end of the world.

In Australia, there’s a phrase and mantra that goes, “work harder, play harder”. It roughly means: work so we can pay the bills, and play more than we work so we can live life to the fullest. Maybe I should stop making play become work, take writing a little less seriously.

After all, when it comes to taking things easy, having fun is the most important thing.

What are some of your (country’s) hobbies and pastimes?

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230 thoughts on “What Are Some Of Australia’s Favourite Hobbies And Pastimes?

  1. I’m surprised to read about the stats of how Australians like to spend their leisure time watching TV and DVD! I rather be outside than inside. Though I do spend a lot of time inside during the weekdays, but I don’t watch TV so much (except PBS special programs). 🙂

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    • I too would rather be outside than inside when time and my body permits. But like you, when I do stay home, I don’t spend it in front of the TV – much rather read a book, write or play around with photos on my computer. So hard for me to stop once I start editing photos 😀

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  2. My ideal day would be spent reading books and having conversations with friends over hot cups of tea, and some more 🙂 Not sure if these qualify as hobbies, for I almost survive on them:)
    I am sure writing is much more than a hobby for you, Mabel 🙂

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    • That sounds like such a relaxing day for you. I would love one of those days…every single day 😀 You are right, writing is more than just a hobby for me. It’s a way I can comfortably express myself 🙂

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  3. I think one famous hobby for the uk would be hiking. People hike so much here, there are outdoor shops everywhere ! 🙂 It was interesting to read a bit more about Australian’s hobby. I would have thought that the beach would be the favourite hobby of most Australians :p

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    • I didn’t know people in the UK like to hike! Then again, that part of the world has lots of scenic towns and countrysides, so perhaps that is why. Australians certainly love beaches but to be honest, I think a lot of the beaches here look the same!

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  4. I was pleased to read that more than half of the surveyed Australians like reading in their spare time. I do too! Where I live, it is mild weather most of the year so we are lucky to enjoy a lot of activities outdoors through all the seasons. I really like walking. I know a lot of people here like camping too, which you’ve mentioned is popular in Australia too. I want to visit and go for a walk with you one day 🙂

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    • Looks like Canada and Australia have quite a bit in common. Good to hear you get to enjoy four seasons all year round comfortably. I like walking too, and if I’m feeling up for it a walk in the bushlands is my ideal kind of day. It would be an honour to walk with you one day, Christy. You inspire me so much with your writing and publications 🙂

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  5. 92% Australians like to spend their weekends watching TV, but again the stat that 63% of them love reading, sound pretty good. Hobbies are extremely personal and what looks interesting to one, might be boring to another. It looks that the Australians have a diverse sort of choices; from sports to camping. Sometimes, it really becomes hard to balance work and life and I prefer spending the weekends peacefully at home (that seldom happens, though, sigh) 😀

    Writing is my hobby, like you, it’s more than a hobby actually… 🙂
    By the way, congrats on your upcoming book…I wish you all the best with it… 🙂

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  6. Liebe Mabel schönen Sonntag wünsche ich dir ja die Pferde haben wir auf unserer Wanderung gesehen sind wirklich schön guten Start in die neue Woche Klaus in Freundschaft

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    • Good to hear you enjoyed the horses on your hike, Klaus. With summer coming up in your part of the world, maybe you will get the chance to get out and hike more Best wishes for the week 🙂

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  7. Love your pics, looks like a lovely bush walk & glad to hear you get away from the laptop occasionally. I love writing & reading but find it can be a bit isolating so i make sure I mix in plenty of time with friends & family & lots of physical activity (maybe a bit too much, judging by the achy knees). Now my son’s an independent adult, I feel I have so much more freedom & time to pursue my many & varied interests – gotta live life to the full, although as you say, it’s important to find a balance.

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    • Such a great point that you raise, that writing and reading can be lonely and too much of both, we may lose touch with reality around us. Too good of anything isn’t good for us. Good to hear you are making the most of your time, Maamej. A bit of this, a bit of that. We don’t have to necessarily love what we do in our down time so long as we have fun – and I hope you are.

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      • Well one thing I enjoy doing is checking out al the blogs, but I haven’t been able to do that much lately – nice to get back in touch with what everyone’s doing 🙂

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  8. I’m not much for TV, don’t have one hooked up in my house, but I find it interesting so many Aussies do. But even more intriguing…so many read! Really? I’m wondering if the survey used meant “books” or “email.”

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  9. I’m guessing it depends on the time of year as to what we do in our spare time, Mabel, but for me, it’s usually spent writing. I also love walking, especially with Toby, and we’ve had some great adventures. 😀

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  10. Great post Mabel. Hobbies do help us to break the monotony of our routine. Going out on the weekends to see different places is nice, but sometimes the weather doesn’t permit it. I like the idea of workshops to keep traditional passtimes alive. Writing of course is an enjoyable hobby.

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    • So true. Hobbies are activities that look forward to and make our week a little brighter. True that the weather can get in the way of our plans outdoors. But staying indoors isn’t always that bad – for me, I like writing and sorting and editing photos on days in.

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