Traveling in a fried-out Kombi
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie
I met a strange lady, she made me nervous
She took me in and gave me breakfast
And she said

Do you come from a land down under?
Where women glow and men plunder?
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover

Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six-foot-four and full of muscle
I said, "Do you speak-a my language?"
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich
And he said

I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover, yeah

Lyin' in a den in Bombay
With a slack jaw, and not much to say
I said to the man, "Are you trying to tempt me
Because I come from the land of plenty?"
And he said

Oh, you come from a land down under? (Ooh, yeah, yeah)
Where women glow and men plunder?
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover ('cause we are)

Living in a land down under
Where women glow and men plunder
(Can't you hear thunder) can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover

Living in a land down under
Where women glow and men plunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? (Ooh yeah)
Better run, you better take cover (we are)

Living in a land down under (ooh yeah)
Where women glow and men plunder
Can't you, can't you hear the thunder?
Better run, you better take cover

Living in a land down under (living in a land down under)
Where women glow and men plunder
Can't you, can't you hear the thunder?


Lyrics submitted by numb

Down Under Lyrics as written by Ronald Graham Strykert Colin James Hay

Lyrics Β© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Down Under song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

102 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +14
    General Comment

    LOL, as a qualified Australian, let me translate this one:

    • A VW Kombi van is the Australian poor man's road trip vehicle of choice. "Fried out" means that it's in really poor condition and overheating.

    • "Zombie" is marijuana, though some other people claim it's other drugs.

    • The thunder refers to both Australia's tropical storminess, and also to the awesomeness of the people/country (like footsteps, ie: we're coming! Better take cover!)

    • Vegemite is the national sandwich spread, made from yeast extract (beer scum, kind of). Usually only Australians can stand the taste (I eat it from the jar, haha), so eating a Vegemite sandwich is a good way to prove you're an Aussie (it's our secret "language" overseas).

    • To "Chunder", in Australian slang, is to puke. So, they're saying we get drunk and barf a lot, which...is true. Ahem.

    And of course, Australia is the land down under all the other countries. Hence, the land down under.

    braille16on December 24, 2009   Link
  • +6
    General Comment

    It's simple and to me it means a man missing home and finding it where he least expects it all around the globe through different people.

    Good on you for your Australian spirit, and I completely disagree with those from other countries that don't appreciate it. Think of songs that make you proud in your country, that's what this is to us Australians.

    Now, instead of this as our national anthem what about something like "Home Among the Gum Trees" which truly looks at Australia and what makes it so bloody good!

    gumtreebeachon October 09, 2008   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    Ok. Let me explain. I'm Australian so I know exactly what's going on.

    It's 'Kombi' not 'combie'. A Volkswagon Kombi is a minivan. It's fried-out because of the heat and it's probably overheating. Head full of Zombie refers to him being wasted on a head full of pot. The thunder I imagine is refering to the sound of the storms rolling over the hills, the smell of rain coming and the feeling you get before there's a big Aussie storm.

    This song rules. LONG LIVE AUSTRALIA.

    LeeHarveyon June 10, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    To GarmGarf, despite understanding where you are coming from... I must elaborate on Australian history just a little, as I get a little tired of people referring to Australians as convicts... during the late 18th & 19th centuries, large numbers of convicts were transported to the various Australian penal colonies by the British government. This was to establish a penal colony to alleviate pressure on their overburdened correctional facilities. Over the 80 years more than 165,000 convicts were transported to Australia. The number of convicts pales, however, compared to the immigrants who arrived in Australia in the 1851-1871 gold rush. In 1852 alone, 370,000 immigrants arrived in Australia and by 1871 the total population had trebled from 430,000 to 1.7 million people (the last convicts to be transported to Australia arrived in Western Australia in 1868).

    Many of the Convicts were sent to Australia for quite odd crimes. For example, Irish Catholics were transported for simply looking suspicious. Likewise, political reformers were transported for trying to form unions, suggesting politicians get paid & promoting the French revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality & fraternity.

    By today's standards, all of the Convicts sent to Australia had only committed trivial crimes. The serious crimes, such as rape, murder, or impersonating an Egyptian, were punished with the death penalty.

    Now, back to the song lyrics.... (sorry if this is annoying to some of you, but GarmGarf annoyed me.... I agree (and laughed) at both conflicting comments by BrandiYannes and i-think and agree with abmad on other issues... who cares where you're from, however, there is definitely a cultural reference that a lot of Australians can relate to in regards to this song. In saying that, it doesn't mean that if not explained, non-Australians wouldn't get it. That's absurd to think that... Now getting back to the song lyrics... check out this clip on youtube: youtube.com/watch. It will give you an insight into what the song is about.

    A combie is an old hippie van that a lot of young (and older) Australians used to travel around in to different parts of Australia - hence "on a hippie trail". Secondly, fried-out combie - anyone who has owned a combie will know that the engines used to always overheat due to the long hours on the road in the scorching heat... so, travelling in a fried-out combie, on a hippie trail, head full of zombie - believe me, this refers to being stoned on pot.... a strange lady, is just a freaky tarot reader who sits there and stares at people... she's just strange.. no need to analyse this.

    "Do you come from a land down under? Where women glow and men plunder?" - women who are tanned, gorgeous, the men who worked the land...

    "Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?" - this refers to the magnificent storms in Australia... You better run, you better take cover." - no need to analyse this.

    "Buying bread from a man in Brussels" - this is just them travelling around the world and meeting other Australians.

    "He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich" - I salute anyone who isn't Australian who likes Vegemite. Unless you've grown up on it, it really is disgusting, but to most Australians, we are fed this from birth basically, so the taste is delicious to us...

    "I come from a land down under" - because of where we're situated on the world map (not in the world)

    "Where beer does flow and men chunder" - the men like to drink, then they vomit (classy I know, but a reality - go to Germany, London etc... it's all the same).

    "Lying in a den in Bombay, with a slack jaw, and not much to say" - watch the clip. They're all off their head.. stoned on crack or something... hence the slack jaw.. they can't talk...

    I said to the man, "Are you trying to tempt me - despite it being a shoe in the video clip, they're referring to more drugs....

    Because I come from the land of plenty?" - we have plenty where we come from

    I hope that helps... I only registered so I could reply to these posts.... classic responses.... stay cool and be nice.... :D

    jules007on July 22, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I agree with LeeHarvey about everything, but he left somthing out. When he said "lying in a den in Bombay" He's referring to an oppieum den, wich reconfirms his comment that "head full of zombie" ment that he was wasted.

    Olexon May 21, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Listening to this song sends chills down my spine. This song and Khe Sahn. Both great Aussie songs.

    COBHATEBREEDERon August 20, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    l'm australian and l think as with most songs on this site, people read far too much into the lyrics. The lyrics are all pretty much straight forward. l will say though the only embarrassing thing about being aussie is every event involving an australian there's got to be some wanker screaming out aussie, aussie, aussie, oi, oi, oi. STOP IT! l'm thinking about starting a petition to make that illegal.

    sleepsyon March 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    And another thing...: the song is referred to as both "Land Down Under" and "Down Under" but is actually named "Down Under" which is what it is called on ITunes.

    gumtreebeachon October 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Well said abmad. Don't know if you love Australia more though, we love our country more than we love meat pie. :P

    vegemite0on0toaston May 05, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I'll have to agree with pishi, nejduharfel and BrandiYannes regarding the exclusive attitude some of the Australians have shown here. Foreign individuals can understand the lyrics of this song. Just because they may have never experienced the awe of Australian storms, doesn't mean that they can't comprehend the concept of it.

    I mean what do Australians have pride of to be so exclusive? That their ancestors were convicts? No, obviously, and the lyrics of this song convey this. Note how the only Australian character in the song who sings the chorus doesn't mention the men being plunderers. Only the other characters who sing the chorus do that (who know of only the Australian stereotypes). However, the Australian-Brussels guy does mention the excessive drinking habit of Australians, which apparently even some Australians admit is true - this plus the reference to Vegemite convey how the two Austrians believe they share a cultural connection and thus are amiable towards each other.

    Basically: foreigners love Australians because of the stereotypes; Australians love Austrians because of their cultural connections; but everyone loves Australia because of the the land's natural beauty, conveyed by the reference to thunderstorms in the chorus and their association with the Australian traveller. This is fundamentally what the song is about, in my opinion.

    Maybe this song is not about having pride in Australia because of being from the country, but just by being of the physical land which contains such beauties like the storms. If true, this meaning is echoed in the title of the song and the fact that Australia is never mentioned as a country in the lyrics but only as a land.

    However, I could just be over analysing a hunch, but that is at least better than saying: "OMG, I am from Australia and the foreigners can't understand the song like I can; it is my birthright!" People aren't amiable towards Australians because they are exclusive; the stereotype is that Australians are friendlily; welcoming. If the characters in this song saw some of the comments here then the protagonist would be one hungry Australian!

    Also I'm not sure how relevant the drug references are to the fundamental meaning of the song; maybe I missed something big there. Also I'm not so sure about the nuking theory, to be honest.

    (Note: the use of the term "foreign" is relative to Australia throughout this comment.)

    GarmGarfon June 17, 2009   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
When We Were Young
Blink-182
This is a sequel to 2001's "Reckless Abandon", and features the band looking back on their clumsy youth fondly.
Album art
Just A Little Lovin'
Dusty Springfield
I don't think it's necessarily about sex. It's about wanting to start the day with some love and affection. Maybe a warm cuddle. I'm not alone in interpreting it that way! For example: "'Just a Little Lovin’ is a timeless country song originally recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1954. The song, written by Eddie Miller and Jimmy Campbell, explores the delicate nuances of love and showcases Arnold’s emotive vocals. It delves into the universal theme of love and how even the smallest gesture of affection can have a profound impact on our lives." https://oldtimemusic.com/the-meaning-behind-the-song-just-a-little-lovin-by-eddy-arnold/
Album art
Zombie
Cranberries, The
"Zombie" is about the ethno-political conflict in Ireland. This is obvious if you know anything of the singer (Dolores O'Riordan)'s Irish heritage and understood the "1916" Easter Rising reference. "Another head hangs lowly Child is slowly taken And the violence caused such silence Who are we mistaken - Another mother's breaking Heart is taking over" Laments the Warrington bomb attacks in which two children were fatally injured on March 23rd, 1993. Twelve year old Tim Parry was taken off life support with permission from his mother after five days in the hospital, virtually braindead. "But you see it's not me It's not my family" References how people who are not directly involved with the violence feel about it. They are "zombies" without sympathy who refuse to take action while others suffer.
Album art
Indigo
Of Mice & Men
This track is about is about questioning why the sky would choose to be blue if it had the choice to be anything else, β€œblue also meaning sad,” states frontman Aaron Pauley. β€œIt's about comforting a loved one in a time of loss by telling them you feel blue, too.”
Album art
System
Mel And Kim
Just listening for the 784,654th time....and it's just perfect in every way. Just incredible. The only reason it was remade was to scoop up a boatload of money from a more modern and accepting audience. But it is a completely different song than the other one that sounds slapped together in a few takes without a thought for the meaning. This song captivates me still, after 50+ years. Takes me to the deep South and the poverty of some who lived thru truly hard times. And the powerful spirit of a poor young girl being abandoned to her future with only a red dress and her wits to keep her alive. She not only stayed alive, she turned her hard beginnings around, became self sufficient, successful and someone with respect for herself. She didn't let the naysayers and judgers stop her. She's the one sitting in the drivers seat at the end. So, not a song about a poor girl, but a song of hope and how you can rise up no matter how far down you started. There is a huge difference between a singer who simply belts out a song that is on a page in front of them, and someone who can convey an entire experience with their voice. Telling not just a story with words, but taking you inside it and making you feel like you are there, with their interpretation.