20 Interesting Facts About Australia
Australia officially has 6 states, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania. It also has 2 territories, the Northern Territory as well as Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Besides from being the 6th largest country in the world, with a population of 25.5 million people – there is also a large number of interesting facts about Australia you should know. I mean, did you know that the Great Victoria Desert in Australia is larger than the United Kingdom? Astounding, right? Well, from facts about the coast to Australia’s lakes and animals – this compilation of facts covers them all.
1. The majority of Australians live near the coast
It is true that the majority of Australians live near the coast. More specifically, according to statistics, about 85% of the population lives within 50 kilometres of the coast. The coastal areas in Australia are linked to national economy, industry, cultural identity, and arts. They contain recreational amenities that seem to be pretty attractive to Australians as well as internationals.
2. Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world
North West Tasmania is known to have the cleanest air in the world. The air is cleaned while it travels for kilometers over the ocean before arriving at the coast of Tasmania. However, when this air moves across Tasmania, the activities reducing air quality impact it as well.
3. Australia has more than 50 separate wine regions
Australia’s main vineyard produce is Shiraz and Chardonnay. These two make up to 44% of the total wine production. Moreover, the three major wine regions in Australia by production volume are South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria. The first two ones are known for their warmer climate varieties such as Shiraz, meanwhile Victoria is known for the cool climate variety, Pinot Noir.
4. Australia is home to Lake Hillier – a pink lake
Lake Hillier, located in Western Australia, is one of the world’s most famous pink lakes! What a sight to see! This lake is quite small, with a length of 600 meters and width of around 250 meters. Located just next to the Pacific Ocean makes the color-contrast truly satisfying to the eye. However, this one is not the only pink lake in Australia, nor in the world.
5. More than 80% of animals are unique to Australia
The wildlife of Australia can be found anywhere in the country, from zoos, parks, and all the way to the wild. Australia is a habitat to some of the most interesting wildlife in the world. It is one of the few countries where marsupials and egg laying mammals reside.
Marsupials are animals that carry their young ones in a pouch, such as kangaroos, wallabies, possums, and wombats. Whereas, egg laying mammals are rare animals, thus Australia and New Guinea are the only places in the world where you can find the platypus and the echidna.
6. Twelve of the best behaved convicts made Australia’s first police force
Australia’s first police force was made out of convicts. When crime began to rise with the pain of reduced rations throughout the colony, it was decided that the new settlement needed its own police force. This way, Governor Phillip created the Night Watch. Since there was little manpower available, the Governor decided to populate this police force with 12 of the best behaved convicts.
7. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest ecosystem in the world
Tourists love the Great Barrier Reef, and they are not the only ones! The Great Barrier Reef might as well be named as a natural gift to Australia. Located in the north-east coast of Australia, it contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, encompassing 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish, and 4,000 types of mollusc. There are also some 240 species of birds, a large variety of sponges, anemones, crustaceans, and more. In addition, this location is home to species such as the dugong and the large green turtle, which are threatened with extinction. The biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef is remarkable.
8. Australia enjoys one of the highest life expectancies in the world
The life expectancy in Australia is one of the highest in the world. More specifically, it ranks 5th out of 35 developed. The life expectancy of Australians has changed drastically over the past 80 years.
9. Seven of Australia’s universities are ranked in the top 100 world universities
Seven of Australia’s universities have been ranked in the top 100 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Starting from the University of Melbourne to the University of Queensland, Monash University, The Australian National University, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, and the University of Western Australia. They are all known for their academic excellence and are a destination for international students from all around the globe.
10. The longest fence in the world is located in Australia
The Dingo Fence, also known as the longest fence in the world, is located in south-east Australia with a length of 5,614 km (3,488 mi). It was finished in the year 1885 and was originally built to keep dingos away from fertile land. This fence is also longer than the Great Wall of China.
11. Australia was the second country in the world to give women the right to vote
New Zealand was the first nation to grant all adult women the right to vote in 1893. In 1894, the women in South Australia were granted the right to vote as well as stand for parliamentary elections. Afterwards, in 1899, women in Western Australia were granted the right. A few years later, in 1902, the Commonwealth Franchise Act gave all white women in Australia the right to vote. In addition, aboriginal women and men did not receive the right to vote until 1962.
12. Australians drive on the left side of the road
The open spaces and scenery make the driving experience in Australia one of a kind. However, you should keep in mind that Australians, just like the British, also drive on the left side of the road. The majority of vehicles in Australia have the steering wheel on the right side, and around 70% of Australian cars are automatic transmission.
13. Australia is home to some of the deadliest snakes in the world
Bites are quite rare in Australia and fatalities have been low in the last few years, due to the development of anti-venom. Some of the most dangerous snakes in Australia include, the Eastern brown snake, Western brown snake, Mainland tiger snake, Inland taipan, Coastal taipan, Mulga snake, and more.
14. The world’s longest straight section of train track in the world belongs to Indian Pacific
Indian Pacific is one of the world’s few transcontinental trains. It operates between Sydney, on the Pacific Ocean, and Perth, on the Indian Ocean. By the end of the train trip, you will have experienced a broad cross section of Australia. The train route has the longest straight stretch of train track, more specifically, a 478-kilometre (297 mi) stretch. Now, who wouldn’t want to try that?
15. The world’s oldest fossil was found in Australia
The Stromatolites from Archaean rocks in Western Australia are largely accepted to be the world’s oldest fossils. They are distinctive and look like layered rock formation. The oldest stromatolites are known to be 3.5 billion years old.
16. Australia has more than 10,000 beaches and to visit each of them would take over 27 years
There is a large number of beaches in Australia, and that is because Australia is surrounded by the ocean. The coastline stretches almost 50,000 kilometres and is linked by more than 10,000 beaches! So, if you wanted to visit a new beach in Australia every day, you would have to be prepared for a 27 year-long beach adventure! I’m in!
17. Australia claims the first usage of the term “selfie”
“Selfie” is a term widely used nowadays, but known to be first used by an Australian in September 2002. The term was used to describe a photograph, taken while drunk, in a forum posting on the website of ABC, the public broadcaster.
18. From 1788-1850, around 50,000 British criminals were banished to Australia
In the matter of 60 years, approximately 50,000 criminals were exiled from Great Britain to Australia. Criminals, according to the ruling classes in the 18th century, were inherently defective and this way, they could not be rehabilitated. Therefore, they were banished from Great Britain, far from the law-abiding citizens. Prisons were too expensive, therefore those who broke the law had to either be killed or banished.
19. Voting in elections is compulsory in Australia
Under federal electoral law, it is compulsory for all eligible Australians to vote in federal elections, by-elections, and referendums. In case of not voting, one will receive a letter from the Australian Electoral Commission, inquiring a valid and sufficient reason why, or payment of the $20 penalty for first time offenders. The penalty increases if you have previously paid a penalty or been convicted of this offence.
20. There is a mountain called Mount Disappointment in Australia
Yes, Mount Disappointment! Explorers Hume and Hovell named Mount Disappointment in the year 1824, when they discovered that Port Phillip Bay could not be viewed from the summit because of the dense tree growth. However, today, this mountain provides beautiful wildlife and space for recreation activities.