10 Things About Australia That Are More Than Just Spiders and Waltzing Matilda

March 23, 2020

Think you know everything about Australia? It’s an incredibly large, diverse country… and it will constantly surprise you.

1. The Australian Alps get more snow than the Swiss Alps

While ‘Switzerland’ brings to mind great towering, craggy alps covered in snow, and Australia all sand, sea, and sun-bronzed bodies, it’s not strictly true. The Australian Alps run between Victoria and NSW, and get more snow each year than the Swiss Alps. This means winter is a skiing and snowboarding paradise for anyone who loves a Bluebird day on pow.

2. 90% of people live along the coast

When you think about this, it makes sense. The lifestyle, beaches and living is easy along the edges of Australia. Even outside of the big centres, there are small towns all the way along the coast. But the interior of Australia is a vast desert. While the Aboriginals survived using desert plants, bugs and were incredibly tough to survive in that environment, most people struggle to live in such an isolated, hot, and challenging environment.

3. Like wine? Australia might be your soul country

Aussie has more than 60 wine regions that produce more than 1.35 trillion bottles of vino each year. While you probably know about the great bold Aussie Red, there are also Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay and even some lovely gentle Pinot Noirs. There are many vineyards in the south-east regions, so a road trip from Sydney or Melbourne means a lot of cellar doors and a boot full of booze. Don’t despair if you’re on the west coast though, Perth has some fab vineyards around too.

4. The longest straight section of train track is in Australia

Take a train trip between Perth and Sydney on the Indian Pacific train. It winds through the Blue Mountains, the isolated Broken Hill, stops off at Adelaide, then continues through Kalgoorie, reaching Perth after a short four-day, three night, 4352km journey.

This is no clattery, clunky train, with fine foods, wines and the kind of scenery you’ll see nowhere else in the world.

5. Australia has the most unusual animals on earth

When the world was one big land mass, Australia broke away very early on. This allowed species to grow in a way that no other country had experienced. From kangaroos, quokkas and koalas, to snakes, parrots and wombats, the wildlife here is unique. Tasmanian devils and platypus are incredibly unique creatures—and 80% of the animals in Oz are only found there.

6. Uluru is 2.5km underground

The sacred Uluru sits in the middle of Australia. Protected by the Aboriginal tribes Anangu, Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara, this rock is a UNESCO World Heritage site, both as a cultural and a natural wonder. As well as the beautiful 348m of red rock above-ground, there is also about 2.5km of rock underground, connecting it to the Olgas. This 600 million year old piece of natural wonder is 430km from Alice Springs but is worth it for the sunset and the eerie feelings; Aboriginals believe their ancestral beings reside in the rock, making it sacred and incredibly special.

7. If you visited a new beach every day, you’d take 27 years to see all of Australia’s beaches

More than 10,000 idyllic, clean, beaches line Australia’s coastline. And it’s a huge coastline, at 25,760km long. If you’re a surfer, SUP’er or a lover of long walks on the beach, you’re definitely in the right place.

8. Australia and New Zealand are frenemies

Since you’re a Kiwi, you probably know that Australia and NZ are best friends but also bitter enemies. They keep trying to steal Kiwi classics like pavlova, Lorde, and Crowded House. Every year, every cricket or rugby game, the competition between the countries heats up, with accusations of foul play or forward passes at every opportunity. What you may not know is that once, an Aussie tried to sell NZ on eBay.

9. Australia Day is when the World Championships for cockroach racing is held

A glamour event, this Brisbane event celebrates the best of Australia—a good sense of humour and a few beersies. Roaches are placed in the centre of a large circle and the roach who scuttles to the edge first, wins. Entrants can BYO or buy a pre-trained cockroach. You can make bets on this prestigious race, which is unsurprising- Australians spend more money on gambling than any other country in the world.

10. Australia is an interesting place

  • Australia is experiencing a man drought, with about 100,000 more women than men
  • It’s predicted that in 2063, average annual wages will be more than $222,000 and average house price will be around $2.5 million.
  • The most common ‘Australianism’ is the phrase ‘no worries’. 74% of people use this phrase. This narrowly takes out the top place, with ‘arvo’ sliding in at 73%.
  • Togs are togs in Queensland, in NSW they’re ‘cossies’, and in Vic they’re ‘bathers’.
  • 27% of Australians were born outside of Australia, and 46% of households have at least one parent born outside of Australia.
  • Currently, a quarter of Australians have a university degree. That’s expected to rise to about a third for Gen Y, and then Gen Z it’s predicted to go to about 50%.
  • Western Australia grows more in two days than Tassie does in a year (500 people). Seems like Tasmania might be the place to move to!

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