Wednesday, September 24, 2014


There are some things in Australia that just confuse me. The first time I tried to plug something into an outlet, I turned it on and nothing happened. Frustrated, I unplugged and re-plugged it in about 10 times before deciding it was a bad outlet and moving on to the next one. Same thing. I was just about to call the front desk (this was when we first got here and were staying at the hotel...seems like a lifetime ago) when I spotted a little switch above the outlet. I flipped it, and sure enough, it worked. At first I thought this might be a feature unique to the hotel, but all the outlets I have seen since have to be "turned on" like this. Here's a picture of an outlet in our apartment, switched on. 
I've gotten used to turning on and off the outlets, but am still confused about the purpose behind it? If any Australians are reading this: can I just leave them switched on all the time or will I blow up my apartment if I do that? 

Secondly, and I think this is a European thing as I remember seeing it there too, there are two buttons to flush the toilet. It looks like this 
I've quickly figured out other countries are much more stringent about their water consumption than we are in America, so I assume this is a water saving feature. Apparently one is a half flush and one is a full flush. It seems totally disgusting to me, so I exclusively use the full flush. Enough said. 

By far the strangest feature of our apartment is the dishwasher. Prize to anyone that can spot it in our kitchen: 

Bottom right drawer. That's right. We have what's called a "dish drawer". Needless to say, it's not very big, but it's much better than hand washing everything. 
It's a pretty cool space-saving measure in an apartment that would probably otherwise exclude a dishwasher! 


  1. In answer to your question, you can leave power points switched on if you want. Turning them off is for safety in the case of say, a child sticking a fork into the outlet. I'm pretty sure the US is one of the only countries that doesn't have them - I was quite surprised not to see switches when I was there (although I did notice this in some Euro countries too). I think one of the reasons for this is that US power lines only run at about 120V whereas in most countries they run at 240V so there is more cause for safety. Turning off the switch also saves a tiny bit of electricity.
    The dual flush is an Aussie invention but I've noticed it overseas too (esp. Asia). Quite often if you do a number one you don't need a full flush so yeah as you pointed out its a water saving measure -
    I haven't seen a drawer dishwasher before so that's probably just your posh apartment. :)

  2. Ya, I've never seen outlet switches before in America or Europe! It does make sense though now that I think about it, especially with the differences in voltage. I don't think I'll ever get used to the dual flush system!! And I think the dish drawer is a pretty new concept, but a great idea for our tiny apartment!!

  3. If you don't turn off the empty outlet (power point) all the electricity runs out and piles up on the floor; gets very messy after a few days!



Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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