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Bruce Highway | © Phil Whitehouse/Wikimedia Commons
Bruce Highway | © Phil Whitehouse/Wikimedia Commons
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Can You Pronounce These Australian Town Names?

Picture of Tom Smith
Updated: 16 October 2017
Australia is a weird, wild and wonderful place – and its tongue-twisting town names are no exception. From scorching Central Australia to chilly Tasmania, read on to learn how to pronounce these place names that even native Australians struggle to wrap their mouth around.

Deniliquin

Pronounced: Duh-nill-a-kwin

This town in the Riverina region of New South Wales neighbours the world’s largest red gum forest, and hosts a festival each Spring that’s sensibly abbreviated to the Deni Ute Muster.

Deniliquin Ute Muster | © Vzute/Wikimedia Commons
Deniliquin Ute Muster | © Vzute/Wikimedia Commons

Woolloomooloo

Pronounced: Wool-uh-muh-loo

There’s a very simple way to remember how to spell the name of this fashionable inner-city Sydney suburb: cow-toilet-sheep-toilet.

Woolloomooloo | © Alpha/Flickr
Woolloomooloo | © Alpha/Flickr

Nyngan

Pronounced: Nin-gun

This tiny sheep-shearing town smack bang in the centre of New South Wales has a fun name to pronounce, and belongs to a shire with an even better moniker: Bogan, Australian-English for an unrefined gentleman.

Oodnadatta

Pronounced: Ood-nuh-dadda

The minuscule township of 300 people located 1000km north of Adelaide is basically a pink roadhouse surrounded by Mars-like landscape as far as the eye can see.

Coober Pedy

Pronounced: Coo-buh Pee-dee

The opal capital of the world is hardly visible above ground – it’s so hot in Central Australia that most residents live in underground ‘dugouts’ to escape the heat.

Goondiwindi

Pronounced: Gun-duh-windy

Three hours’ drive inland from Brisbane along the NSW-Queensland border lies a classic country town of 6000 residents, whose name literally means ‘duck poo’ in the local Aboriginal language.

Goondiwindi | © Aussie mobs/Flickr
Goondiwindi | © Aussie mobs/Flickr

Wunghnu

Pronounced: Wun-yoo

In the Goulburn Valley 200km north of Melbourne is a tiny town with a great sense of humour: a mural on a water tower welcomes visitors to the world’s smallest sheep station, riffing on the town’s name, pronounced ‘one ewe’.

Waaia

Pronounced: Way-eye

This former railway town not far from Wunghnu is only 400 strong but still organises an annual tractor pull to raise funds for local community groups.

Moe

Pronounced: Moh-wee

This large town in the Latrobe Valley in eastern Victoria isn’t named after the bartender in the Simpsons or the member of the Three Stooges with a bowl cut – in fact, it’s pronounced altogether differently.

Mudgeeraba

Pronounced: Mug-ruh-bah

The name of this historic 19th Century village in the Gold Coast Hinterland comes from an Indigenous expression meaning, politely, ‘place of infant’s excrement’.

Liawenee

Pronounced: Lye-a-wee-nee

The name of this fishing village in central Tasmania comes from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘frigid’ – that’s a pretty accurate label for a place with a maximum summer temperature that’s colder than Brisbane’s winter climate.

Gingin

Pronounced: Jin-jin

An hour north of Perth in Western Australia sits a town whose name sounds like a stuttered drink order.

Xantippe

Pronounced: Zan-tip-ee

The only place name in Australia beginning with X owes its name either to philosopher Socrates’ wife, or an Aboriginal word meaning ‘looking for water from a deeper well’, the favoured local explanation.