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Fun Facts About Australia

Updated on January 18, 2015

Australia's Unusual Facts

There's a lot more to Australia than just beaches, emus, koalas boomerangs and saying "G'day".

These fun facts about Australia show a little more about the unique geography, climate, people,wildlife and culture of the land down under.

This lens was proudly brought to you by football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars.

Goanna, totem of the Wiradjuri people
Goanna, totem of the Wiradjuri people | Source

It's a Pretty Big Place

A lot of visitors to Australia are surprised by how big the country really is. It's actually the sixth largest country in the world and has a land mass very similar to that of the mainland of the USA. Australia covers over 7,600,000 square kilometres while the USA covers just over 7,800,000 square kilometres.

Due to it's size the country has many varied climate regions, from deserts to snow capped mountains and tropical rainforests.

The country is also the worlds largest island. This isolation from other continents (yes, the country is a continent as well) has resulted in the evolution of many unique species of flora and fauna. The worlds fastest growing trees, the Australian Eucalyptus and the unusual creature called the platypus are prime examples.

Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden Cars

Reader's Digest  - Australia the Beautiful
Reader's Digest - Australia the Beautiful

Experience all of Australia's dramatic contrasts, from ancient, misty forests to prehistoric canyons, from pristine lakes to majestic peaks, and from sophisticated cities to some of the world's greatest wilderness areas.

 

Australian Snow Fields Receive More Snow Than Switzerland

Surprised? Every winter the Australian Alps have more snow cover than Switzerland. The Alps (or "Snowy Mountains")are part of the Great Dividing Range on the eastern side of the country. The Great Dividing Range stretches over 3,500 kilometers and runs from north to south through the states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

The snowfields are an important feature for Australian tourism. When it's summer in the northen hemisphere, it's winter in Australia. The snowfields are an important part of the local tourism industry. Thousands of visitors from the Northen Hemisphere come to enjoy the skiing and other winter activities on the Aussie snowfields.

The Worlds Largest Cattle Station (or Ranch)

The Anna Creek cattle station in the South Australian Outback is by far the largest working cattle station (ranch) in the world. It covers a huge area of some 34,000 square kilometres. This makes the station bigger than the country of Belgium. By comparison, the largest ranch in the USA is around 6,000 square kilometres.

The ranch has a carrying capacity of 16,000 head of cattle but due to the extended drought in Australia this has currently been reduced to less than 2,000 head.

Australia's Outback is Perfect for Stargazers

Due to it's low humidity and the absence of artificial light sources and pollution, the Australian outback is among the best places in the world for astronomers. To the naked eye the sky appears to be ablaze with countless stars.

Astronomers are greeted with a clear view of the stars, planets and constellations. The centre of the Milky Way is directly over head while the rest of the galaxy stretches north to south. The three brightest stars in the sky, Canopus, Alpha Centauri and Sirius and the nearest galaxies of the Magellanic clouds are prominent features of the outback skies.

Orion Nebula
Orion Nebula | Source

The Tasmanian Devil is Not Just a Cartoon Character

The Tasmanian Devil is the largest known carnivorous marsupial living in the world today. They exist in the world only in the island state of Tasmania, having become extinct in the mainland over 400 years ago. Since the 1990s the survival of the devil has been threatened by a disease which causes facial tumours. In 2008 they were declared endangered.

The Tasmanian Devil is a small black marsupial, about the size of a small dog but more muscular. They will hunt other small animals but are opportunistic feeders and often feed on carrion. Their fur is usually black but may exhibit small white patches. They make a range of sounds including high pitched screeches. When alarmed, they can produce an unpleasant odour more pungent than a skunk. When feeding, they will consume all parts of the carcass, leaving little trace of meat, bone or internal organs.

Research is continuing to look for a cure for "devil facial tumour" that currently threatens the species. Healthy populations are being protected by removal of diseased animals and two "clean" insurance populations have been established. The cancer like disease is contagious and it is believed low genetic diversity in the species has contributed to a lack of immunity.

Australia has a Climate of Extremes

Due to the diversity of climates across the country extreme weather conditons are not unusual. There can be a lot of variation from the coastal regions, the deserts of central Australia, the Snowy Mountains of New South wales and Victoria, the temperate rural areas and the tropical areas to the North of the country.

Temperatures in the desert areas have been recorded above 51 C (123 F) and at the other extreme the mountain snowfields have been as low as -23 F (-9 F).

Australia is considered to be the driest continent with more than 70% of the land mass receiving less than 500mm (20 inches) of rain per year. The largest desert, the "Great Victoria Desert" is one and a half times the size of the UK. The country is currently experiencing one of it's longest droughts in living memory.

Tropical cyclones are common in the northern coastal areas during the summer wet season.

IMAX Presents: Australia - Land Beyond Time
IMAX Presents: Australia - Land Beyond Time

Australia, the world's largest island and smallest continent is an exotic, intriguing land shaped by its isolation from all other lands. With thousand of miles of red desert sand dunes that characterize its famous Outback and lush coastal rainforests rich with unique wild life, Australia is a place of extremes. Australia- Land Beyond Time takes viewers on a breathtaking journey back in time to witness the birth and evolution of a mysterious land that harbors remnants of Earth s earliest life and many of it s strangest creatures that exist nowhere else on the planet.

 

Koalas as Cuddly As They Look

Home to The Biggest Crocodiles

The Salt Water Crocodile is the worlds largest reptile. They can be found living in the northern coastal regions of Australia. They normally grow to around 4 metres in length but have been recorded up to 7 metres (23 feet).

Like all crocodilians they are very effective carnivores and hunt by stealth. Crocodiles are considered to be more aggressive than alligators. "Salties" as they are known will attack humans if given the opportunity.

They are a protected species but they will be removed from an area if they considered to be danger to humans.

Why is Australia Called "The Lucky Country"?

During the it's pioneering years Australia was seen to be a land of opportunity for newcomers to the country. Large temperate areas were ideal for farmers. Discoveries of rich mineral deposits promised riches for thousands of miners who travelled to Australia from all countries.

Today the mining industry still makes up a large part of the country's GDP. Australia is the worlds largest exporter of iron ore and the largest producer of bauxite from which aluminium is extracted. The country also has the largest deposits of zinc, silver and zircon. Australia produces around 10% of the world's gold resources and 40% of uranium.

Australia For Dummies
Australia For Dummies

From the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef to glorious, cities like Sydney, this guide helps you find the Australian adventures that are right for you, whether you’d like to cuddle a koala, explore a shipwreck, or climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It gives you the scoop on:

Where to spot all kinds of wildlife, including kangaroos, platypuses, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, wombats, marsupials, and man-eating crocodiles

The best places to take a beach walk or a bushwalk, where you’ll wind beneath dripping tree ferns and pounding cascades

The best places to experience Aboriginal culture and find Aboriginal arts and crafts

 

Looking For Something Uniquely Australian? Try a Platypus!

A Town Named "Batmania"

At least that is what it used to be called. When first settled in 1835 this area around the Yarra River region of Victoria was named after one of it's first settlers, John Batman. Between the years 1835 and 1837 the area was also known as Bearbrass, Bareport, Bareheap, Barehurp and Bareberp. In March of 1937, the town was officially named in honour of the British Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne.

The later mining boom in the areas around Melbourne resulted in the town growing rapidy. At the time of the country's federation in 1901 the Federal capital was situated in Melbourne until it could be relocated to new parliamentary headquarters which were to be built at Canberra. The Canberra construction was not completed until 1927, so for 26 years Melbourne was the capital of Australia.

Personally, I think "Batmania" would make a great name for a capital city.

Southbank, Yarra River, and Flinders Walk, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Southbank, Yarra River, and Flinders Walk, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | Source

Australia has Over 6,000 Species of Flies

6000 species of fly, with of course the house fly being the most common, followed closely by the larger blowfly of various types, otherwise known as the "blowie". This is the reason for the now famous "Aussie Salute", a quick flick of the hand across the face to discharge the annoying little insects.

The Aussie salute, as well as the flies, is noticed more in regional areas of the country. Flies are prevalent in the cities as well but many of them prefer the quieter more laid back country lifestyle.

Flies have also been credited with affecting Aussie fashion. Up until the 1960s the Australian Cork hat worn as a fly deterrant achieved almost iconic status.

The fly has also had an influence on the cuisine of Australians. Due to the problems associated with keeping flies off meat, jerky, salami and other hung sausage meats never really took off. This resulted in oils and brine solutions becoming the preferred forms of preserving meat.

The Largest Wild Population of Single Humped Camels

Not just the largest population of wild single humped camels (dromedaries), they are the only herds of dromedaries in the world exhibiting wild behaviour. Today's Australian camels are the feral descendants of the camels brought to Australia since the 1840s.

Camels were originally imported for their obvious use as transport animals, especially in the more arid regions of the country. Eventually this led to a camel breeding industry and for a period the beasts were highly valued.

With the advent of more efficient forms of mechanical transport in the 1900s, the value of camels plummetted and many of them were simply abandoned by breeders and handlers who could no longer afford to keep them.

Today the feral camels are thriving in the outback conditions and although considered a pest it has not yet become clear how much of a danger they may be to native flora and fauna. The camels feed on vegetation that is disliked by native animals and their large padded feet do not contribute to soil erosion. It has been suggested that camels may have filled the biological niche once populated by the extinct diprotodon, a large herbivorous marsupial. The population of feral camels is estimated to be around 1,000,000 animals.

There is now an emerging export market for Australian camels where some are used as breeding stock for Arabian racing camels. The meat of wild camels is also considered to be a delicacy in some countries.

What do you know about Australia?

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    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 3 years ago

      Australia has always fascinated me! I can never pass up a chance to read about it! Someday perhaps I will finally get to go there, but in the mean time I thoroughly enjoyed my journey there in your beautiful lens!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      I've always wanted to visit Australia, maybe one day I will.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      This is a GREAT lens. I love it. I'm an American geographer and have always been very fascinated by Australia, even though I've never left North America.

    • profile image

      campervan_man 4 years ago

      6,000 species of flies! That makes sense, some places in the outback are so loud with the swams of them that you need the earplug-fly to be able to hear yourself think.

    • profile image

      Thenewolder 4 years ago

      Great information! I read and study for a while.

    • shelleymax profile image

      shelleymax 4 years ago

      I loved all the info you put in here... I live just over the ditch (New Zealand) and i was amazed at how much info i didn't know about oz...never knew there are so many feral camels and that the tasmanian devil had cancer growths which are contagious. Thanks i really enjoyed reading your lens

    • profile image

      RennyCross 4 years ago

      Well.What i like best is that Canberra celebrates Balloon Festival !

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      More after reading through your great lens. Thanks for the wealth of information. Still hoping I'll make it to Australia some day.

    • mimarlou profile image

      mimarlou 4 years ago

      lovely lens, I have learned a lot of new things from you despite living here for more than four years now! The marsupials are the most amazing creatures, the wombat's back-to-front pouch is practical for the little diggers!

    • StevenCousley profile image
      Author

      Steven Cousley 4 years ago from Young, NSW, Australia

      @anonymous: It can vary a lot. It's a big country and most of it can be considered "outback"

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      what is the climate like in the outback

    • theallin1writer profile image

      theallin1writer 4 years ago

      I want to visit Australia :)

    • Cassidy Wadsworth profile image

      Cassidy Wadsworth 5 years ago

      I had no idea Australia has camels. Cool!

    • profile image

      petekruze 5 years ago

      COOL

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Loved your fun facts about Australia. My sister-in-law & hubby just spent 3 weeks in your lovely country. I'll have to quiz her on these fun facts to see what she learned while there. :-)

    • ferginarg lm profile image

      ferginarg lm 5 years ago

      I know that like New Zealand the Aussies have an Australian haka, but it's usually performed when it's their turn to buy the beer, it's accompanied with lots of pocket slapping and chants of "I forgot my wallet". From a Kiwi to an Aussie, thanks I really enjoyed reading about one of my favorite countries (seriously)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I like your lens.

    • FunMoneyBusiness profile image

      Sharyn Read 5 years ago from ... either in the kitchen or at my laptop...

      Most people don't realize the land mass is a similar size to the US! :)

    • Anwarart profile image

      Anwarart 5 years ago

      Neat lens! I had no idea about the snow. Australia is a pretty awesome place!

    • CircusRunaway profile image

      CircusRunaway 5 years ago

      nice lens :)

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      information packed lens on australia. it is really fascinating. ~blessed~

    • profile image

      nsixx99 5 years ago

      These are some very fun facts, I hope one day I get to visit Australia!

    • cdcraftee profile image

      Christine Larsen 5 years ago from South Australia

      Happy Australia Day Steven,

      Avagoodoneandon'tforgetheAerogard!

      Christine

    • sherridan profile image

      sherridan 5 years ago

      What a fun lens! More snow than Switzerland; cattle ranch bigger than Belgium; and wild camels! Fascinating.

    • profile image

      andyrew912 5 years ago

      Great article about Australia with some facts I had no idea about. I just recently created a new lens touching on some Australia slang so check it out give me some extra words to add!

      http://www.squidoo.com/australian-slang

    • StevenCousley profile image
      Author

      Steven Cousley 5 years ago from Young, NSW, Australia

      @GeorgeKrooglik: Thanks for pointing that out. I've just learned the "z" spelling has been adopted since 1997. I was still spelling it they way I learned in school.

      Even old timers like me can learn new things. :)

    • profile image

      GeorgeKrooglik 5 years ago

      Noticed an important typo on this site about Australia's tallest mountain....correct spelling is Kosciuszko rather than Kosciusko ( the z was left out ) . Sorry to sound pedantic .

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      my cousin went to australia in 2003 and was there for 6 months. I know that they have spiders as big as an adult hand and their bird population is very large!

    • safereview profile image

      Bob 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Really nice lens with loads of information. I really enjoyed it. Thanks.

    • profile image

      isles21 5 years ago

      I've always wanted to visit Australia. That star photo was amazing; I would love to stare at the night sky there. Good lens.

    • alexandradouglas profile image

      Alexandra Douglas 5 years ago from Florida

      You make me want to visit sooner than later!

    • tcorbs profile image

      tcorbs 5 years ago

      Really nice lens! Love Australia

    • nadjaiskeniskie profile image

      nadjaiskeniskie 5 years ago

      Australia is a great place - except some parts of it are about 5 miles away from the sun. Geez it is hot sometimes.

    • suneclipsea profile image

      suneclipsea 5 years ago

      I know that Australia is not the end of the world...Coz I live in New Zealand :)

    • profile image

      ScamsOfTheHeart 5 years ago

      What a great collection of facts about Australia!

    • SidneyMorgan LM profile image

      SidneyMorgan LM 6 years ago

      You have compiled loads of information into one lens. Great WORK :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice job mate, a good random collection of Oz trivia.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      What an odd lot of information. I knew some of it, but you surprised me on other bits. Fun reading. Blessed by a squid angel and featured on You've Been Blessed.

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 6 years ago

      Great lens! Great destination!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 6 years ago from Connecticut

      Australia is oneofthe places in the world that I most want to visit. Cheers on a great lens!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Fantastic lens! I would love to go stargazing in the Outback, seems like you'd be able to see a lot you wouldn't see elsewhere in the world.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Enjoyed learning more about Australia through this lens. I'd love to visit the land down-under someday! :)

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 6 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      What do I know? Hmm, I already knew most of the facts presented here in this great lens. I also know that us Aussies are fantastic people!

    • profile image

      promotional-coupons-codes 6 years ago

      Never heard that Australia receives more snow than Switzerland. Great Lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lens and info. A must read for anyone wanting to visit.

    • profile image

      MelbourneBotox 6 years ago

      Certainly enjoyed, there are countless lovely places to go in Australia, too many to name

      Melbourne botox

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lens well presented, thanks for sharing facts about Australia.

      pest control Sydney

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

      great lens

    • deyanis profile image

      deyanis 6 years ago from Oz

      I was looking for an Australian-theme lens on this very special day for all Australians, and I found your lens. Wow, I never knew there are so many interesting facts about this beautiful country; the fact that Australia snow fields receive more snow than Switzerland is unbelievable. --- Blessed ---

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Awesome! Featured on "A Trip Around the World" and *Squidoo Angel Blessed*! =D

    • Geekgurl profile image

      Kimberly Hiller 6 years ago from Chicago

      I never knew some of the information about Australia. Thanks for the interesting facts. I hope I can study there next year. I am currently applying to grad schools programs.

    • SidneyMorgan LM profile image

      SidneyMorgan LM 6 years ago

      I say this is a lot ... but the things I learn on Squidoo. First, largest population of single hump camels? The largest crocodiles in the world? Over 6,000 types of flies? There are maybe things I don't want to know... Either way very informative and great job on your lens but wow!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Really Great and useful information about Australia. Thanks for sharing here. Well i have some information about Interesting facts about Australia. You may like to see this : http://www.australiavoyage.net/

    • profile image

      kristain77 7 years ago

      Really Great and useful information about Australia. Thanks for sharing here. Well i have some information about Interesting facts about Australia. You may like to see this : http://www.australiavoyage.net/

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I know I love Australia. Does that count as something I know? lol

      I enjoyed your page and despite all the research I have done this sure surprised me. nice work. Nikki (Traveller in Oz

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Great lens and can confirm Wombat poo is cubicle! Check out my lens for sydney climate: http://www.squidoo.com/sydney-weather

    • Fat-Kate profile image

      Fat-Kate 7 years ago

      Really nice lens! 5stars

      what do you think of my new one about Byron Bay?

      https://hubpages.com/travel/ByronBayNSW

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      Great lens. Lots of info that I (a fellow Aussie) didn't know.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      i didn't know there were camels in Australia. Thanks for the fun facts on Australia.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I knew nothing about Australia until I read your lens. I think it would have been a better place than Canada to have the Olympics as you say, 'Australian Snow Fields Receive More Snow Than Switzerland'. :) 5*s and fav. this great lens!

    • profile image

      MikLint 7 years ago

      Yes love it mate! Learned a lot new things about Australia. Would love to visit once, seems great there, except for those flies :)

    • profile image

      londoner31 7 years ago

      Great lens !! Could not believe a while ago there are camels in Australia...

      See my lens about Uluru and Northern Territory : http://www.squidoo.com/ulurutours.

      I keep an eye on your posts :)

    • StevenCousley profile image
      Author

      Steven Cousley 7 years ago from Young, NSW, Australia

      @norma-holt: I will try to please. :)

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Great lens and even I learned something. Laughed out loud in parts and that cubicle poo - ouch. Wonder what shape their bowels are. Top marks and keep them coming.

      Norma

    • dc64 lm profile image

      dc64 lm 8 years ago

      I didn't know parts of Australia got so much snow, or that the climate was so extreme. Love the photos.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Excellent lens and some interesting facts

    • MattTaylor LM profile image

      MattTaylor LM 8 years ago

      6k different kinds of flies and 1M camels? Crikey! :)

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Welcome to The Totally Awesome Lenses Group.

      Lizzy

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Fantastic lens! Australia is actually one country I would absolutely love to visit! Loved the camel picture LOL And this gal knows that koala's are not bears,even though most do refer to them as koala bears - Kathy

    • TheBookGarden1 profile image

      TheBookGarden1 8 years ago

      6000 species of fly??? Maybe you should just list the good things if you want to attract visitors! ;)

      Nicely put together!