A touch of Australia in Hong Kong

To mark Australia Day, here is a collection of Aussie things I found in Hong Kong during my trip: it is a surprisingly long list, that just gets more and more bizarre.

The easiest to find was Australian beer: a six pack of Fosters will set you back $48.90 HKD, or just under $7 AUD. Even at that price I won’t drink it!

Fosters: ewwwwww!

The same supermarket had a wider selection of beers, including Crown Larger, which was $24.80 HKD for two stubbies, or $1.70 AUD a bottle. That’s cheaper than back in Australia!

Beer selection at the supermarket

Some other stores had an even wider variety of beer, at a Park n’ Shop supermarket in Ma On Shan I found Victoria Bitter in the beer aisle, along with a selection of Boags and James Squire brews. No Coopers unfortunately…

If you want to pretend you are back in Australia while drinking your beer, then ‘Ned Kelly’s Last Stand’ restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui is the place to go. On the menu they had a variety of standard pub fare such as chicken parmas and steak sandwiches, but the advert out the front for live jazz had me somewhat confused – when was the last time you saw the two mixed back home?

'Ned Kelly's Last Stand' theme restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui

To complete your Aussie look, you can grab some new threads from one of a half dozen Cotton On clothing stores. This one was in Mongkok: I stumbled upon a second store in Tsim Sha Tsui. That $199 HKD jacket in the doorway works out to be $27 AUD.

Cotton On store in Mongkok

Still on clothing, if you want the surfer look instead, the Quicksilver store in Macau is the place to go. Finding a beach to bum around on is a more difficult task in the urban jungle of Hong Kong.

Quicksilver store in Macau

While in Macau, you can also swing past the Boost Juice Bar at the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel food court.

A smiling Western face at a Boost Juice store

Back in Hong Kong, keep your eye out when travelling on public transport. The early trams in the MTR Light Rail fleet were built in Melbourne, at Comeng’s Dandenong factory.

Comeng logo on the doorstop of a Phase 1 LRV

In addition, the original MTR train fleet was refurbished by Goninan, an Australian firm based in Newcastle, NSW. The work itself was done in Hong Kong, at the Kowloon Bay depot between 1998 and 2001.

'Goninan Quality' badge in a MTR M-train EMU

If you feel the need to call a friend back home, just pull out your Next G mobile phone. In Hong Kong it is offered by mobile operator ‘1010’: a brand of CSL New World Mobility Group, of which Telstra owns a 76.4% share.

Advert for 'Next G' in Hong Kong

Once you get off the phone, you can also still get an Australian university degree: the University of Ballarat has a campus in Hong Kong. I found it alongside the Nathan Road entrance to Jordan MTR station.

University of Ballarat in Hong Kong

Feeling peckish? In Melbourne there is a chain of Asian bakeries called ‘Breadtop’ (FYI Maxims has much nicer cakes…). Meanwhile in Hong Kong there is a chain called BreadTalk with a virtually identical logo and store layout.

BreadTalk: did Breadtop steal the concept, because they look very much alike!

Worried about your tax affairs back home? In Hong Kong you would be better off, the tax rates are as follows:

  • No GST
  • No capital gains tax
  • Maximum personal tax rate of 20%

In addition, the ATO is just a clothing store, not a bogeyman trying to steal your precious dollars.

No relation to the Australian 'ATO'!

What to do with all that spare cash? Lee Kwon Hobbies stocks a number of model trains to remind you of home: they have a Trainorama 49 class loco and a box of Columbia Models NOFF ore wagons in their window display. To go with them, the store also had a number of other Australian RTR locos in HO scale inside.

Australian RTR model trains in a Hong Kong hobby shop window

The final Australian thing I found was the most bizarre: a plastic shopping bag from Spotlight.

Shopping bag from Spotlight, in a Hong Kong restaurant

Spotlight doesn’t have any stores outside Australia, yet I managed to see one of their bags on the floor of a restaurant in Ma On Shan, a suburb of Hong Kong. How did it get all the way over there?

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4 Responses to A touch of Australia in Hong Kong

  1. juno says:

    there used to be a spotlight at the megabox in kowloon bay. it closed in 2010 after 3 years.

  2. wongm says:

    Thanks for that Juno – I found a video on Youtube featuring a tour of the store. It looks like like their stores in Australia, at least back when I was young enough to be dragged around the shops by Mum!

  3. Andrew says:

    Very interesting and observant Marcus. I’ve been looking at your pages as I’m travelling to HK on 1 Oct. It’s interesting what little bits of Australia you can find overseas. I have a picture of a trolley bus in St Petersburg with a great big Fosters billboard on the roof of a building behind it. I also have some video of a trip to London back in 1990 with a Ford Falcon that was specially shipped over there to film an ad about how “world class” the Falcon was. (You can form you own opinion of that). Also on the same trip I spotted a Westbus coach on the streets of London – but I think Westbus no longer exists here, so you wouldn’t recognise it these days. Also the freight company TNT is quite prevalent in Europe with its Orange and White trucks, originally being an Australian company.

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