Australia is the only continent covered by a single country with truly unique landscapes, natural wonders and extraordinary experiences for travellers.
Here are a list of facts that you may not know about Australian animals, culture, people and iconic landmarks in preparation for your visit to Australia.
- There are three times as many sheep than people living in Australia
- The Australian Emu – a large, flightless bird – can run as fast as 45km/h (28mph)
- Platypus are highly poisonous, and have enough poison to kill a dog or make a human seriously ill
- Wombat poo is shaped like a cube!
- The Box Jellyfish – which is found in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef – is responsible for more deaths than snakes, sharks and saltwater crocodiles combined
- The record jump recorded by a kangaroo is a whopping 9 metres (30 feet) in a single leap!
- Two native Australian animals, Platypus and Echidnas, are the only two mammals in the world that lay eggs to give birth
- Koalas sleep for about 20 hours per day
- Tasmanian Devils have the strongest bite per body size of any mammal
- There are 4 different species of kangaroo in Australia, with the Red Kangaroo being the largest. The largest Big Red ever seen was 2.1m tall (6ft 9in) and weighed 91kgs (200lbs)!
- The Australian Thorny Devil is one of the longest-lived lizards of its size in the world, with a lifespan of up to 20 years
- The Kangaroo and Emu were chosen to be the two animals on the Australian Coat of Arms because they can’t walk backwards, reflecting a forward-thinking culture
- 17 of the world’s most poisonous snakes can be found in Australia
- Australia is home to around 1,500 types of spiders, 4,000 types of ants and 350 types of termites
- While Kangaroos are considered a national icon, with over 40 million estimated throughout the country, they can also be considered a pest in some locations and are sometimes culled
- Australia has a larger population of camels than Egypt
- Voting in elections in Australia is compulsory (you don’t have a choice) for everyone 18 years of age and over, with an initial fine of $72 issued for non-voters. Despite this, only around 81% of eligible Aussie voters cast their vote
- Australia was the second country in the world to grant women the right to vote; this occurred in 1894
- In 2005, the government issued a ban on saying the word ‘mate’ at Parliament House. The ban lasted 24 hours before it was overturned
- Swimming at public beaches in Australia during the day was made illegal for 64 years
- The legal drinking age in Australia is 18 years old
- Australia officially became a federation in 1901
- Australia’s first police force was made up of 12 convicts who were judged to be the best behaved
- 49% of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was born overseas and moved to Australia
- Someone from Sydney is typically referred to as a Sydney-sider
- A person from Melbourne is called a Melbournian
- Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke once held the Guiness World Record for the fastest beer sculling, downing 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds (he recreated the legendary feat at the SCG in January 2017)
- Despite being a massive continent, 90% of Australia’s population live on the coast due to the majority of the interior being a vast desert
- Australia’s Aboriginal people are estimated to have lived here for roughly 50,000 years, yet they now make up only 1.5% of the total population
- The average Australian will eat the equivalent of 18 full cows and 90 full sheep in his or her lifetime
- After Athens, Melbourne has the world’s largest Greek population
- Australia has one of the world’s lowest population densities – it’s size is only a bit smaller than the USA, yet the population is only around 23 million, as opposed to 313 million in the United States.
- The average Australian drinks 83 litres of beer per year
- In Aboriginal culture, women are not permitted to play the didgeridoo
AUSTRALIAN CITIES & NATURAL ATTRACTIONS
- Australia is the driest of any continent on earth other than Antarctica
- The Great Barrier Reef is regarded as the world’s largest living organism, and is often listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World
- Australia is the only continent covered by a single country
- The highest mountain in Australia is Mt Kosciuszko, which stands 2228m high. Australia as a whole is a fairly flat country, with relatively few mountain ranges given its size.
- The Daintree Rainforest, found in tropical north Queensland, is the country’s largest and covers around 1,200 square kilometres
- The Aussie state of Tasmania has the world’s cleanest air
- While mining is one of Australia’s biggest industries, more land is covered by pubs than mines
- Uluru (Ayers Rock) is known as the largest monolith in the world and is over 8km wide at its widest point
- Australia is home to the world’s largest cattle ranch – which is bigger than the entire country of Belgium
- Australia is the 6th largest country in the world in terms of land area
- Australia’s dingo fence is longer than the Great Wall of China
- The Nullarbor Plain is home to the longest straight road in the world, at 146km long
- Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano
- The termite mounds that can be found in Australia are the tallest animal-made structures on Earth
- Melbourne has the largest public tram system in the world
- The Gold Coast has the world’s largest canal system, which is larger than those of both Venice and Amsterdam combined
- Canberra was built specifically to be Australia’s capital city as both Sydney and Melbourne had reasons for being denied
1. THE AVERAGE AUSSIE DRINKS 96 LITERS OF BEER PER YEAR
In addition to Goon (the iconic cask wine), the Aussies also enjoy having a beer or two. On average they drink 96 liters of beer per year!
2. HIGHWAY 1 IS THE LONGEST NATIONAL HIGHWAY IN THE WORLD
It’s about 14 500 kilometers and circumnavigates the country. Now that’s one epic road trip!
3. THERE ARE MORE KANGAROOS THAN PEOPLE
Some data reports that the total population of Kangaroos is almost 50 million now. Back in 2016, there were almost 45 million Kangaroos, which means that there are more Kangaroos in Australia than people!
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4. . THE DROP BEAR WAS CREATED TO SCARE TOURISTS
The Drop Bear is an imaginary animal that’s supposed to be a predatory version of the Koala. It was created by the Aussies to scare away tourists! But you can rest assure, the drop bear will not jump down from the trees and attack you.
5. AUSTRALIA HAS THE SECOND-HIGHEST HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX
One thing the Aussies can pride themselves is the fact that they’re ranking high in the human development index. This index measures various things such as equality, lifespan, welfare etc. Australia comes in at second place, just after Norway.
6. AND THEY LOVE VEGEMITE
What is vegemite you might ask? It’s one of those Australian foods that you have to try at least once in your life. Vegemite is a thick spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives.
The Aussies usually put the spread on sandwiches, toast, crumpets and cracker biscuits as well as a filling for pastries.
Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald / Shutterstock.com
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7. MELBOURNE HAS THE LARGEST GREEK POPULATION OUTSIDE OF GREECE
This is quite an interesting fact about Australia, especially for greeks. In Melbourne, there are an estimated 162 000 people that claim Greek ancestry.
8. THERE’S A MOUNTAIN NAMED “MT. DISAPPOINTMENT”
An 800-meter high mountain that was named by the explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell in 1824. The mountain got its name because of the disappointing view from the top. The explorers expected to see Port Philipp Bay from the top, but a large number of trees prevented this.
9. AUSTRALIA’S DINGO FENCE IS LONGER THAN THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
The Great Wall of China is famous around the world, and it’s truly spectacular, but did you know that Australia’s dingo fence is actually longer? The national dingo fence measures 5600 kilometers.
10. SOME OF THE WORLD’S DEADLIEST ANIMALS LIVE HERE
Yes, Australia is home to the deadliest spider, the deadliest snake, the deadliest octopus, the deadliest fish and so on. But despite this, very few people are actually killed by these highly venomous animals. From the year 2000 and 2013, more people were even killed by horses than Australia’s deadliest animals combined.
The Deadliest Snake – Photo: Shutterstock
11. AUSTRALIA WAS INHABITED FOR AT LEAST 50 000 YEARS BEFORE THE BRITISH CAME
The Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for at least 50 000 years. They’re generally considered to have the oldest living culture on Earth.
12. AUSTRALIA HAS OVER 10 000 BEACHES
If you visited one beach a day, it would take about 27 years to explore 10 000 beaches. No wonder that surfing and other water and beach activities are so popular!
Here’s the famous Bondi Beach. Photo: Shutterstock
13. IT’S THE 6TH LARGEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
Some people don’t think of the land down under as one of the largest countries in the world, but the total area is a massive 2.9 million square miles or 7 692 000 km². That’s just slightly smaller than the continental U.S.
However, Australia is one of the least densely populated countries with only 3 people per square kilometer.
14. THE AUSTRALIAN ALPS RECEIVE MORE SNOW THAN SWITZERLAND
Probably one of the more surprising facts about Australia. Because it’s one of the aridest countries in the world and is generally known for the sun and heat. But the Australian Alps are bigger than Switzerland, so it’s not that surprising after all.
The Australian Alps are part of the Great Dividing Range, the series of mountains, hills, and highlands that runs about 3,000 kilometers (1,900 mi) from northern Queensland, through New South Wales, and into the northern part of Victoria.
15. HOME TO THE LARGEST LIVING STRUCTURE ON EARTH – THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
While some scientists declared the Great Barrier Reef dead back in 2016, the world’s largest coral reef is still alive, even though it needs to be protected from pollution and other problems that the world’s oceans are facing.
Another cool fact is that the Great Barrier Reef is so large that it’s visible from space!
5 X FUN FACTS ABOUT AUSTRALIA
- There are 8 sheep for every person
- A fish that was discovered in 2015 was named “Blue Bastard”
- The Hawaii pizza is the most popular pizza in the land down under
- Australia has their own version of football (Australian Rules Football)
- There’s a pink lake – Lake Hillier
5 X AUSTRALIA FACTS FOR KIDS
- The Kangaroo is the national animal of Australia
- Home to a larger population of camels than Egypt
- Sydney is the largest city, but it’s not the capital.
- Wombat poo is square/cube-shaped so they don’t roll away. This makes it easier for them to mark their territory.
- The name ‘Australia’ comes from the Latin word ‘australis’, meaning southern
GENERAL FACTS ABOUT AUSTRALIA
Here’s some more general information about Australia, such as total population, the official language, highest mountain, currency, time zone, biggest cities etc.
- Total Population: 24,970,200.
- Capital: Canberra.
- Biggest City: Sydney.
- Highest Mountain: Mount Kosciuszko
- Land area: 7,692,024 km2.
- Biggest Lake: Lake Eyre (salt) and Lake Mackay (freshwater)
- National Day: 26 January (Australia Day)
- Government: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
- Prime minister: Scott Morrison
- Currency: Australian dollar (AUD).
- Official language: English.
- Member of Nato: No.
- National song: “Advance Australia Fair”
- Official website: www.australia.gov.au
- Time zone: from UTC +8 to UTC +10:30
- Country Number/Prefix: +61
- Country Code: AU.
FLAG OF AUSTRALIA
Did you know this about the Australian flag?
- Union Jack illustrates the link with the British.
- Southern Cross Constellation (5 stars) which is commonly seen over southern hemisphere and clearly seen visible at night sky.
- Seven pointed Commonwealth Star: it is also known as Star of Federation which symbolizes the original states of Australia.
As you might notice, it’s a huge country, and the biggest cities are located on the east coast.
- Gold Coast-Tweed Heads
- Sunshine Coast
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