Australia, also often called ‘The Land Down Under, is one of the most fascinating places in the world. This country is unique in so many aspects, be it its physical location on the globe, its wildlife, or its weather. This place has only recently exploded in interest among tourists and scientists alike.
So without further ado, let’s dive into some amazing facts about Australia.
1. Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world area-wise. The next largest country in the world is India, which is less than half the size of Australia.
2. Due to the large size of the country, and the large uninhabited desert, Australia has one of the world’s lowest population densities, as it has a population of roughly 23 million.
3. Australia is one of the driest places on Earth, with most of its interior being a hot and uninhabitable desert. This is the reason close to 90% of the population lives in major cities and towns along the coast.
4. Despite the large central desert, due to Australia’s unique position in the Southern Hemisphere, the Australian Alps actually receive more snowfall than the mountains in Switzerland. Also, due to the physical location of Australia in the Southern Hemisphere, winter in Australia is around the month of June, while Christmas falls in summer, as it is summer in Australia in the month of December.
5. Out of the current population of Australia, close to half of its inhabitants were born outside of Australia or have parents that migrated to Australia. Previous to this mass migration which happened in the last few decades, the country was inhabited by the Aboriginal people, who now make up less than 20% of the Australian population.
6. While the current capital of Australia is Canberra, initially, Melbourne was the capital of Australia for twenty-six years, from 1901 to 1927.
7. The Great Barrier Reef, which is over 2000 km long, is the largest living thing on Earth. The Reef is an ecosystem that is said to be millions of years old, and it still houses sea creatures that have not evolved in over a million years. One of the greatest threats to the Great Barrier Reef is climate change, which is destroying its natural ecosystem, further compounded by pollution and tourism.
8. Due to being an island country, Australia is dotted with several beaches. In fact, it would take you over two decades to see all the beaches if you were to see them one day at a time.
9. Although Australia is surrounded by countries that fall in the ‘Ring of fire’, such as Papa New Guinea and New Zealand, where there are several active volcanoes; Australia is the only continent in the world that doesn’t have a single active volcano.
10. Due to the distant location of Australia, initially, criminals would be sent to this country as a way of ‘banishment’. This is why earlier; Australia was notorious for its criminal population. In fact, the very first police force was made up of the best-behaved criminals!
11. Sheep outnumber people 3 to 1, as Australia houses 6% of the world’s sheep population. It’s little wonder then that Australia is the largest wool-producing country in the world, producing nearly 25% of the world’s wool.
12. Although the kangaroo (National animal of Australia) and the Emu (National Bird of Australia) are widely found all over the country, they were chosen to feature on the Australian Coat of Arms to symbolize a forward moving and thinking nation, as neither animal can move backward easily.
13. In terms of being forward-thinking, Australia was the second country in the world to grant women the right to vote in 1902.
14. Unlike most countries, voting in Australia for all residential citizens over the age of 18 is compulsory by law, with strict fines being meted out to those who don’t cast their vote.
15. The platypus and echidnas, native to Australia, unlike any other mammal in the world, lay eggs rather than birth their young.
16. The Australian Emu, second to only the African ostrich, is the second-fastest flightless bird in the world, clocking in speeds of up to 45km/hr.
17. Kangaroos outnumber humans in Australia, to the extent that they are now being considered pests, and to help with this problem, kangaroo meat is widely eaten in the country.
18. Unlike a kangaroo, another marsupial that has a pouch not on its front but its back is the wombat. These super diggers have a pouch to carry their young that is on their lower back so that they don’t get any dirt into their pouch when they’re digging. Also, wombats’ poop is uniquely cube-shaped!
19. There’s a reason Australia is infamous for its large spiders and poisonous animals – seventeen of the world’s most poisonous snakes can be found in Australia. Similarly, the box jellyfish is one of the world’s most poisonous creatures, responsible for dozens of deaths a year. Even platypuses, one of the most harmless mammals home to Australia, have a venom-secreting gland at the back of their hind feet.
20. While the Great Wall of China might be the most well-known walled structure, Australia has the world’s longest fence, stretching 5600 km, which was made to keep dingoes (a type of dog), out of its fertile land.
21. Koala bears, which are abundantly found in Australia and are in fact marsupials and not bears, tend to sleep up to eighteen hours a day.
22. While koalas might be the most famous bear in Australia, it is the drop bear that tends to be the most infamous one. The drop bear is in fact fictional and was designed to scare and prank tourists as a bear that lurks in trees and then ‘drops down on unsuspecting tourists in Australia.
23. While the desert might be a clue to this, most people don’t know that Australia is home to ten times more camels than koalas, and has more camels than Egypt. In fact, Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia.
24. The didgeridoo, a long wind instrument, was developed by the Aboriginal people of Northern Australia and is a key instrument used in indigenous music. Although tourism and the Internet have made this instrument popular the world over, it is still used by Aboriginal people in cultural ceremonies.
25. The state of Tasmania is said to have the cleanest air in the world.
So, these were some incredible and amazing facts about Australia. There is so much more that we have yet to learn about Australia, but the more we know about it, the more we fall in love with this wondrous country!