Around the World in Houston: Discover Australia & New Zealand

around-the-world-in-houston-australia-new-zealand
Australia Day BBQ | Photo courtesy of the Australian American Chamber of Commerce Houston

With a labyrinth of cultures represented in every nook and cranny of town, Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America. To celebrate this world-class melting pot, we’ll be exploring a new region of the globe through a Houston lens each week, from annual festivals and museums to restaurants and cultural experiences. Join the journey with our Around the World in Houston series.

With the Australian outback, tropical rainforests and mountains, and the volcanoes and fjords of New Zealand, Oceania’s landscape could not be more different from this city’s. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little taste of the far-flung island cultures right here in Houston.

Annual Festivals & Cultural Events

  • Anzac Day – The Australia–New Zealand Society of Texas (Tanzot) commemorates Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance, with an annual service.
  • Australia / Waitangi Day – Tanzot also hosts yearly celebrations for Australia Day and New Zealand’s Waitangi Day, which commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Australia Day at MFAH – Celebrate Australia Day (The official national holiday is on January 26) with a cultural afternoon at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, featuring talks about archaeology, a didgeridoo music performance, and art-making activities to spark curiosity about Australian culture, history, and art.

Museums & Cultural Organizations

  • Australian Chamber of Commerce – Founded in 1988, this organization’s goal is to grow the business and economic relations between Australia and Texas and other parts of the Southwest. Houston events begin every year with Australia week activities focused on celebrating Australian culture, industry, and Australia-U.S. trade. Mix, mingle, and network at events like the monthly Sundowner socials, young professional mixers, business lunches, and Australia Day celebrations.
  • Booker Lowe Gallery – Booker-Lowe showcases Aboriginal art, offering a look into Australia’s internationally-acclaimed indigenous art through hard-to-score original artworks, master paintings, collectibles, carvings, and fine art prints.
  • Oceania Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – “Oceanic” refers to native cultures of Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific islands, as the ocean has shaped these peoples and their art. The collection houses works of art fashioned from wood, plant fibers, stone, and ritual art adorned with paint, feathers, and shells.
  • Tanzot – The Australia and New Zealand Society of Texas – This volunteer group strives to make it easy for people to connect in Houston. Look out for monthly ladies luncheons and restaurant, trivia and pub nights, book clubs, golf groups, Australia and Waitangi Day celebration, Melbourne Cup events, and Halloween and Christmas parties.

Australian Food & Drink

Restaurants & Bars

  • Platypus Brewing – You’ll find Texan heart and Australian soul at this neighborhood brewery, where the suds are crafted with rare Australian hops. Raise a glass to Down Under with The Ranga red ale, the Australian mango and passion fruit-infused Troppo, and a light and fruity Australian Ale dubbed the “Bobby Dazzler.” The brainchild of two Aussie blokes and a Texas gal, the brewery also rocks Australian comfort foods like traditional meat pies, sausage rolls, Australian ale-battered fish n’ chips, and the legendary Aussie sweet, lamington sponge cake.
  • Queen Vic Pub – Pork sausage rolls, fish & chips, and braized lamb shepherd’s pie are all on the menu at this neighborhood pub; as are plenty of other pints.
  • Sammy’s Wild Game Grill – Kangaroo burgers are just one of the exotic eats offered with this wild game grill. Add on fresh-cut fries and look out for seasonal meats like ostrich and alligator.

Grocery Stores & Bakeries

  • British Isles – The Aussie meat pie is a practically an icon in the land of Oz; and while it’s not exactly Australian-bred, this import shop offers frozen meat pies that can provide that little taste of home. You’ll also find goods like Marmite, Vegemite, beetroot, sausage rolls, macadamia sweets, and biscuits.
  • Goodwood’s – Over in the Woodlands, this British goods shop offers things like pastry-wrapped sausage rolls, minced pies, and Vegemite.
  • Pete’s Fine Meats Find exotic meats and bushfood like ostrich burgers, emu kabobs, and kangaroo filets at this family-run landmark butcher shop and deli.
  • World Market – With multiple Houston locations, you can hit up World Market to find specialty Aussie treats, including Arnott’s Tim-Tams, Marmite and Vegemite, and Violet Crumbles.

Other Notables

  • Houston Lonestars Australian Football Club – Aussies, Kiwis, and anyone looking to get together for fun and exercise can check out this footy (Australia rules football) club.
  • Houston Shooting Stars Netball Club – This netball club welcomes all players who would love to see the sport continue to grow in the USA. The group trains at the new British International School of Houston in Katy every Saturday from 10:30am to noon.
  • Houston Athletic Rugby Club – Formed in 1998 by the merger of the Houston Hurricanes, Houston Rugby Football Club, and the Houston Old Boys Rugby Football Club, this club strives to promote rugby in the Houston area.
  • Houston Cricket League – A popular sport across Australasia, cricket can be experienced through this local club, which was organized to further the sport of cricket in Houston and surrounding areas, with activities for both youth and adults.

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