I’m currently in Australia. The land down under is a place of extremes, with lush tropical jungles on one coast and barren desert on another. There are deadly spiders and snakes but also cute koalas and kangaroos. You’ll find some of the most beautiful coral in the world here but also deadly jellyfish and sharks. It’s an interesting country. Just how interesting? Well, here are some fun facts I dug up on Australia before I went:
One third of Australia is desert.
Australia has the lowest precipitation of the world’s inhabited continents.
There are 1,500 species of Australian spiders.
Australia has over 6,000 species of flies, about 4,000 species of ants, and about 350 species of termites.
Australia has the world’s largest population of wild single-hump camels.
There are more than 100 million sheep in Australia.
Australia only has 20 million people.
Australia has the world’s largest cattle ranch. At 30,028 square kilometers, it’s almost the size of Belgium.
90% of Australians live on a coast.
Australians from Queensland are called “banana benders.”
People from Western Australia are called “sand gropers.”
People from New South Wales are called “cockroaches.”
The Australian Alps, or Snowy Mountains as they’re also known, receive more snow than Switzerland.
Melbourne has the second-largest Greek population in the world.
The roof of the Sydney Opera House weighs more than 161,000 tons.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest organic construction on earth.
Yulara, the Aboriginal name of the Ayers Rock Resort, means “weeping.” (Which, given their history with whites, is not surprising.)
“Kangaroo” means “I don’t understand what you’re saying” in one Aboriginal language.
Eric Bana is Australian.
So is the guy that plays Jason Stackhouse in True Blood.
Australia has the lowest population density in the world—two people per square kilometer.
Australia’s coastline stretches almost 50,000 kilometers and has over 10,000 beaches.
Australia produces 95% of the world’s precious opals and 99% of its black opals.
With 25.4 million heads of cattle, Australia is the world’s largest exporter of beef.
There are an estimated 40 million kangaroos in Australia.
Kangaroo is delicious, just don’t overcook it!
Scientists think that Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for more than 50,000 years.
No one is really sure how Aboriginal people came to Australia, but it was most likely via boats from Indonesia.
Aboriginal and Western concepts of time are very different. For Aboriginal people, “now” has just always been.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. The only continent drier is Antarctica.
Australia was founded by English convicts.
Aboriginal people now only make up 1.5% of the population.
There are no Tasmanian full-blooded Aboriginal people left.
It used to be legal to hunt and kill Aboriginal people.
Sydney is Australia’s largest city, with over four million people, while the capital city of Canberra only has around 300,000.
Melbourne has the largest remaining tram public transport system in the world.
Australia is three times larger than the largest island (Greenland) in the world.
The first meeting of the Australian Labor Party was held under a gum tree in Queensland.
Uluru (Ayers Rock) is over eight kilometers in circumference.
Australians call the English “pommies” from the initials POME on convicts’ uniforms, which stood for “Prisoner of Mother England.”
The name “Kylie” comes from the Aboriginal word for boomerang.
In 1967, Prime Minister Harold Holt just disappeared. No one really knows what happened to him, but most people think he drowned while swimming.
The first Australian-born governor general was Jewish.
So was the commander of Australian troops in World War One.
Out of the top 25 deadliest snakes in the world, 20 are found in Australia.
The deadliest jellyfish in the world is found off the Australian coast.
The Sydney funnel-web spider is considered to be the world’s most deadly spider. It can kill you in less than two hours. The only animals without immunity to the funnel-web’s venom are humans and monkeys.
Vegemite is made from yeast extract and is common around Australia. It’s also one of the grossest things I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.
For more information about Australia, including more facts, figures, things to do, and places to see, read these other articles on my site: