15 Australian Facts You Need To Know Before Visiting!
Australia is a vast country, and is one of the largest countries in the southern hemisphere. If you’re thinking of a trip to the land down under, find out some facts about the incredible country right here.
Despite being the 6th largest country in the world, the country only has a population of approximately 24million. This makes it 52nd in terms of world population rankings, and it is also one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world too with only 2.6 people per sq. km.
Mainland Australia’s coastline is over 25,000km, with the majority of its population living in coastal cities, particularly towards the south of the country. With coasts on the Tasman Sea, Solomon Sea, Coral Sea, Arafura Sea, Torres Sea and of course the Pacific Ocean, it really puts it into perspective just how large this country is.
3. The Beaches
With such a long coastline, there are of course many beaches, and Australia boasts over 10,000! Famed worldwide for its coral reefs, great surfing waves, sunshine and incredible but sometimes deadly sea-life, you could visit a new beach every day for over 27 years.
4. The Great Barrier Reef
Off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia, the world famous Great Barrier Reef is located in the appropriately named Coral Sea. The largest living thing in the world, and visible from space, this 2300km long eco-system made from coral supports a large variety of sea creatures, and is dated to be around 20,000 years old.
Marsupials are a class of mammals that can only be found in Australasia and South America, and are found most prevalently in Australia, where there are the largest. Australian marsupials include kangaroos, which actually outnumber the human population in the country, koalas, Tasmanian devils, wombats, wallabies and bandicoots.
Another creature that you may not automatically associate with Australia is the camel, but the country actually boasts the largest feral population of the creatures. Imported by the British from India and Afghanistan in the 19th Century as a means of transport, they were realised into the wild in the 20th century when motorised transport became available, and have been breeding in the wild ever since.
Australia has a bit of a reputation when it comes to deadly reptiles (we’re looking at you crocodiles!), but amongst their 140 or so snake species, the top ten deadliest snakes can also be found in Australia, including the brown snake, copperhead and the charmingly named common death adder. Every year around 3,000 people are bitten, but the anti-venom is so effective nowadays that only 1 or 2 cases prove fatal.
8. Harold Holt
Harold Holt was the 17th Australian prime minister, but he’s not so much known for his time in government, but rather for his mysterious and unsolved disappearance in 1967. Known for taking sea swims, he went missing off the coast of Victoria in December of that year and his body was never recovered despite the largest search mission in Australian history.
9. Hungry Jacks
Chances are that you might not have heard of Hungry Jacks, but it is in fact what the global chain Burger King is called in Australia. This was due to the fact that when Burger King wanted to open their franchises in Australia, the name was already trademarked so thus they were forced to choose a different one.
10. Highway 1
With such vast distances, it is hardly surprising that Australia is home to the world's longest national highway, Highway 1. Round about 14,500 km in length, it circumnavigates the entire country, connecting all of the mainland state capitals together, often between some of the most isolated spots in the southern hemisphere.
It may come as a surprise that Australia actually has over 8000 islands within its maritime borders, in and around its lengthy coastline. The largest island to the south of the country, Tasmania, has to be the most famous of them, but there are many other fairly large and inhabited islands too.
12. Burning Mountain
Mount Wingen in Western Australia is commonly known as the Burning Mountain for a reason. Some 30m below the surface, a smouldering coal fire has been burning incredible for around 6000 years making it the world’s oldest coal seam fire.
13. Golden Coin
Giving a whole new meaning to the term pocket change, the most valuable legal tender coin in the world is a US$1 million coin from Australia. Since it weighs 1,000 kg and is 99.99% pure gold, it is worth almost US$45 million. Good luck trying to steal that hefty coin though!
14. Lake Hillier
Lake Hillier can be found in the south of Australia on the largest of its Recherche Archipelago islands. What makes this salt water lake particularly interesting is its incredible pink hue. This is thanks to a tiny organism that permanently colours the lake water.
15. The Beer
The average Australian drinks 110litres of beer annually, which is the 4th most in the world. The oldest still-operating brewery was founded in 1824 in Tasmania, but it is undoubtedly Fosters that is one of Australia’s best-known beers and exports.