What the heck is a Barkie Boat? Bluey Slang Translated for all Non Aussie Parents

We’ve all discovered by now that Bluey is by far one of the best children’s programs to come into our lives. It’s witty and cheeky and you can actually sit down and watch it with your kids without wanting to stick a fork in your eye, unlike some of the other questionable shows on TV ( JJ, you bald-headed weirdo, I’m talking to you. And don’t even get me started on that little turd Caillou). 

Anyhoo, Bluey wins ALL the children’s programs awards in our books and it’s not just Aussie parents who agree. Families across the globe watch the show and, of course, this brings up a lot of questions.

Photo: Facebook

The Blue Heelers are true blue and, while we may not bat an eyelid when they speak, our American parents are left blinking, squinting, and Googling things like “what is wackadoo” just to keep up with the Bluey slang. 

Plenty of parents have shared their confusion over some of the phrases on TikTok and in private Bluey Facebook pages. One mum has even shared a list of 20+ Bluey slang words that make absolutely no sense to her, even though her kids use these phrases often. 

Bluey Slang explained
One American mum shared a list of the words/phrases on Bluey that confused her. Source: Facebook

So, we decided to lend a helping hand and play Translator. Behold, Bluey phrases translated, from Aussie slang to American for your Bluey-watching pleasure. #You’reWelcome

Let’s start with the basics: 

Phrases that we hear every day, like “good on ya,” “how ya going”, “she’ll come good”, “let’s motor” and “just banging it on”.  

To us, these are just regular sentences. But not for all parents. So, for any Americans playing along at home, these phrases mean:

  • Good on ya – Good for you.
  • How ya goin’ – How are you doing?
  • She’ll come good – She will be fine.
  • Let’s motor – Let’s get going. 
  • Just banging it on – Faking it, or making it sound worse than it is. 

Next, we have common everyday words that I imagine are not so common in America.

Such as morning tea, tomato sauce, takeaway, dunny, rockmelon and windscreen.  

All of these things are common everywhere, not just in Australia, but we just have different words for them. You see: 

  • Morning tea means “recess” or “morning break”
  • Tomato sauce is ketchup
  • Takeaway is takeout
  • Dunny is washroom. 
  • Rockmelon is cantelope
  • Windscreen is windshield
  • Pass the parcel is pass the present

Let’s keep going, shall we?

The tricky McTrickster words

Moving into trickier territory, we discover words like dobber, squibs and dodgy. 

  • Squibs – Whinger (or Whiner) 
  • Dobber – A tattletale 
  • Dodgy – Sketchy or “not right” 
  • Sat-Nav – Satellite navigation system. Just shortened. Because shortening things is easier. 
  • Hammy – Hamstring… again, shorter is just easier
  • Pavlova – This isn’t really that tricky TBH but I guess maybe Pavlova doesn’t exist in America. Basically, it’s a dessert with meringue, cream, and fruit. Yum. 

mum central

Next, we get the Aussie-as words

These are fun. Ready? 

  • Higgledy piggledy– Confused? That’s what it means. Confused. 
  • Verandah Santa – Verandah is like a front porch or patio (or veranda, without the H). Australian Santa uses the Verandah, not the chimney to bring the gifts. 
  • Grey nomads – These are retirees who take their camper vans around Australia. Old People Who Live in Caravans doesn’t have the same ring. 
  • Lilli pillies – These are shrubs. I thought they were everywhere but turns out, they are Australian. 
  • Poinciana tree – Again, another botanical reference. Poinciana trees are big in Brisbane. They have bright red or orange flowers and are sometimes called Flame Trees. So, if you hear Flame Tree in an episode, you’ll know what they are talking about. 
  • Love heart – A heart shape. So basically, just a heart. But we call it love heart. Because that’s sweeter. 
  • Torch mouse – I’d never heard of this game before Bluey so not sure if it’s made up or not, but, basically, it’s a game Bluey and Bingo play that involves chasing a torch (flashlight). I suppose the equivalent would be Flashlight Tag. 
  • Barkie boats – Barkie boats are little boats made out of bark that you float down a drain or creek. Like a tree branch boat. Or a stick boat.
  • Budgie – Yes, this is a bird. But…it’s also a shortened version of the term “budgie smugglers” which are teeny tiny swimmers, also known as Speedos in other parts of the word. 
  • Bin chicken – This is also a bird. Not a bathing suit. It’s slang for an Australian Ibis, which is weird and lanky and known to skulk around bins looking for food. Which in Australia, are garbage cans. So a lanky, weird bird that hangs around garbage cans in Australia is called a bin chicken. 
  • Sausages on bread – Yep. Basically, a hot dog in a bun, but not a hot dog in a bun. Because it’s on bread. 
  • And, finally, wackadoo – Wackadoo means crazy or wacky but in a good way. “Having a wacko time”, for example, means having a really fun time. 

So there you are… Bluey slang explained. Any questions??


Check out our other Bluey-related stories as well as our Bluey party ideas (pavlova optional). 

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.


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