I’m currently in Australia and the land down under is a land 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 and at 30,028 square kilometers, it is almost the same size as Belgium.
90% of Australians live on the 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 are 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 is Aborginee for, “I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
Eric Bana is Australian.
So is the guy that plays Jason Stackhouse in True Blood.
Australia has the lowest population density in the world at two people per square kilometer.
Australia’s coastline stretches almost 50,000 kilometers and has over 10,000 beaches.
Australia produces 95 per cent of the world’s precious opals and 99 per cent 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 Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for more than 50,000 years.
No one is really sure how Aborigines came to Australia. It was most likely via boats from Indonesia.
Aborigines have no concept of time like in the West. There is their “Dreamtime” and now. “Now” has sort of just always have been.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. The only continent drier is Antarctica.
Australia was founded by English convicts.
Aborigines, the indigenous people, now only make up 1.5 % of the population.
There are no Tasmanian full-blooded aboriginals left.
It used to be legal to hunt and kill Aborigines.
Sydney is the largest city with over 4 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 8 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’ is from the Aborigine 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 Australia coast.
The Sydney Funnelweb spider is considered to be the world’s most deadly spider. It can kill you in less than 2 hours. The only animals without immunity to the Funnelweb’s venom are humans and monkeys.
Vegemite is made from yeast extract and is common around Australia. It is 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, come over and visit my in depth section on Australia.