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13 Places You’ve Probably Been Mispronouncing

13 Places You’ve Probably Been Mispronouncing

From Ozenkadnook to Ubirr, Xantippe to Woolgoolga, Australia is full of places that are difficult to pronounce. Even our capital cities are commonly mispronounced by visitors – how many times have you corrected someone (or held back the urge) who gushes about how much they love “Mel-BOURNE” or “Bris-BANE”  (pronounced Melb’n and Brisb’n, respectively)?

Of course, this situation is often flipped on its head when Australians are abroad. Suddenly we’re the ones stumbling over our words – recognising the agonising look of a person’s mind ticking over as they question whether to gently correct you so you know for next time or leave that shred of your dignity in tact and ignore your mistake.

Let us help you avoid that moment. We’ve collated a list of commonly mispronounced places in the world with a helpful guide how to say them with certainty so you seem as clever and worldly as we know you are. You’re welcome.


Not: Bang-kok


Not: Bo-log-na, Baloney (that’s an American lunch meat)


Not: Guad-a-la-jara (all J’s in Spanish sound like H’s – it’s why Spanish speakers will often write “jajaja” not “hahaha”)

Dunedin-final-Megan Simpson
(Photo Megan Simpson)

Not: DUN-e-din

(Photo: Luz Adriana Villa)

Not: Co-LUM-bia, like the sports wear or US university city.


Not: Carns, Cans, Carn

Des-Moines-final-Phil Roeder
(Photo: Phil Roeder)

Not: Des Moines (basically just take away the S’s)


Not: N’Awlins, New Or-LEANs


Not: Oax-aca, or however else one pronounces such a jumble of letters


Not: Foo-ket, Foo-kit


Not: Rake-javik


Not: Ver-sails

Nice-final-Kristoffer-TrolleV2Not: Nice

Now you know, so get out there and talk with confidence. Book your next adventure with Qantas. 

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