TL;DR I wish I’d known Australians don’t really banter. It’s a small talk culture.
It isn’t to say that Australians aren’t lovely, outgoing people – but, dear God, every conversation is horrifically skin-deep.
(Really, the weather again? Let me guess: hot and sunny. Hot and sunny? Hot and sunny. Greaaaaat. Brilliant.)
For my first three years in Australia, I operated on the assumption that Aussies were like southern English people: able to have a conversation, but very, very wary about over-sharing – or for regular people, sharing – any remote part of their inner lives with strangers, or even acquaintances or mates. And you know, fair enough.
However, I’ve come to realise that it’s fairly common for many Australians to actually go their entire lives without sharing their personalities at all. In conversation, you can’t talk about how you’re feeling, can’t ask how other people are feeling, can’t really indulge in nuance or wit, and generally speaking, you can’t ‘piss-take’: Aussies can’t take a joke or a tease.
You can, however, talk about the weather (see above), the footy (they call four different sports ‘football’, find the one that’s most popular in your area), purchasing and maintaining possessions (they like toys), property prices (250% increase in 20 years, average price in Sydney a cool A$1 million), or complaining about something (doesn’t really matter what it is, just complain).
Again, they’re not awful people, it’s just that if you’re easily bored by small talk and like to get to know people, it can be a hard thing to get used to.