Our education in ordering coffee abroad started with our first trip to London. My husband didn't have much of a problem since he drinks his black. I on the other hand was surprised when I ordered coffee with cream and got a cup of coffee with whipped cream on top. I stirred it in and drank it. It wasn't too bad but the coffee itself was way stronger than we were used to.
Observing the locals is probably the best way to learn things. When I heard someone order coffee, white, I realized that was the way to order what I wanted. We eventually solved the problem of the strong coffee by ordering a pot of hot water as well to dilute the coffee.
Well on to Australia. Unless you order your coffee flat white, you will get something that resembles a latte with foamy milk. Coffee still comes a bit strong and more espresso than a regular brew.
Cappuccino is the way to go in Italy although in most cafes the locals are really into their espresso. We sat with our cappuccinos in Rome at a side walk table and watched through the door as locals who were often triple parked and blocking the road ran into the cafe, ordered their shot or double shot of espresso, stood at the counter and chucked it down, then ran out to move their car before they could be ticketed. Oh, and watch out for those cappuccinos on St. Mark's Square. They can get expensive. Read about them on another post of mine.
Probably the closest thing to ordering coffee that resembles what we get at home is to order an Americano. It's sometimes brewed or else it is espresso that is not nearly so strong. Get it "white" if you like cream in your coffee or ask for a little milk in it.
The safest way to get your coffee the way you like it is to find a Starbucks or a McDonald's. McCafes are popular everywhere and one of the best was in Singapore. Starbucks is popular in Tokyo but you'll have a harder time finding one in Australia. For some reason they don't seem to be as popular yet. I'm sure they're working on that, mate.