83 Fascinating, Fun and Interesting facts about Australia

uluru base walk

Looking for super interesting facts about Australia? You are in for a treat! 

Australia is a fascinating country. It’s home to some of the most interesting species in the world and has a strong historical background (that is often forgotten). There is a lot to learn about Oz and this is why we selected these amazing facts about Australia.

In this article, you will discover a list of fun facts about Australia and interesting Australia facts about the culture, history and animals.

So, are you ready to be mind blown? Let’s get started!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you! As an Airbnb Associate, I may earn when you book through these links.

Most interesting facts about Australia

Table of Contents

Trivia and Fun Facts about Australia

Looking for Trivia facts about Australia? This part of the article is for you! There are so many funny things to know about this wonderful country! We’ve selected 14 amazing fun facts about Australia. Discover them just below!

Melbourne used to be called Batmania

melbourne sky line

Melbourne was founded in 1835 by John Batman. At the time, he named the city after himself which is why it was shortly named Batmania. Less than a year later, the city was renamed after the then British Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne.

Swimming at public beaches during the day used to be illegal in Australia

Relaxing on the beach in Mission Beach

Up until 1902/1903, swimming at a public beach was prohibited during the day. This was a matter of public decency. The ban on public daylight bathing was fully lifted in 1903.

Australia’s first police force was made of 12 convicts

The first men who were sent to Australia by the British empire were convicts. By the time the Australian society started to require a police force, the human resources were still mainly made of convicts. Residents without criminal backgrounds were a minority.

At the time, Australia was governed by Governor Phillip who made the decision of appointing the 12 best-behaved convicts as the “Night watch” which was the first police force in Australia.

Australia is the only country in the world who lost a Prime Minister

Although this is extremely sad, the irony of the situation makes it one of the best Australia fun facts in this article.

In 1967, Harold Holt (Australia’s Prime Minister) drowned near Portsea in Victoria.

He was spending the weekend in his holiday home in Portsea and decided to go swimming in a place notorious for its currents. He was caught in a rip and disappeared at sea. Unfortunately, his body was never found.

The search for Holt is still known to this day as the largest search in Australian history.

Although many heads of governments died everywhere in the world, Australia is the only country who actually lost a Prime Minister.

Australia is the only country in the world where the Queen’s birthday is a public holiday (it’s not even the case in the UK)

Queen Elizabeth II has two birthdays. The first one (the real one) is on the 21st of April. Her second birthday is the one where celebrations are held. It’s on the second Saturday of June (which is a way better date for celebrations as the weather is usually better in the UK at this time of the year).

In the UK, The Queen’s birthday is celebrated but it’s not a public holiday. Australia is the only country in the world where the Queen’s birthday is a public holiday. This is on the second Monday of June.

More land is covered by pubs than mines in Australia

Mining is one of the most important industries in Australia. It takes up a lot of lands especially in mining towns like Kalgoorlie or Coober Pedy. Yet, it only takes up 10 million hectares which is 0.01% of the land.

In comparison, pubs cover more land in Australia than mines.

It would take you 27 years to see them all if you were to visit one a day

Whitehaven beach in the Whitsundays

There are more than 10,600 beaches in Australia which means that if you were to visit one a day, it would take you 27 years to see them all.

Amongst there most noticeable ones, you will find:

Brisbane hosts the annual world championship of cockroach racing

Yep, this is a thing! Cockroach racing is a club gambling activity which started at the Story Bridge Hotel in Brisbane in 1982. Since then, Brisbane hosts the annual world championship of cockroach racing on Australia day (26th of January).

There are 3 times more sheep than people in Australia

hinterland byron bay

In 2017/2018, there were 75 million sheep in Australia which is 3 times more than the population of Australia. This number went a bit down since but it’s still over the double!

An Australian man once tried to sell New Zealand on eBay

In 2006, the Australian comedian Issac Butterfield tried to sell New Zealand on eBay. The starting price was $0.01. The auction went up to $3,000 before being closed down by eBay.

After that, he created a Gofundme campaign for the same purpose. Of course, he didn’t actually sell New Zealand but did raise a lot of funds that he then gave to 2 charities.

Canberra was built for the sole purpose of being the capital because Sydney and Melbourne kept arguing over the title

Parliament house in canberra

In 1901, Australia became a federation which means it was time to choose a capital city. Melbourne and Sydney started arguing over the title. So much so that it was decided a new city would be created with the sole purpose of being the Australian capital. 

The state of New South Wales gave a bit of land which became the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Canberra was built.

Canberra was placed inland so the MPs wouldn’t go surfing

The main reason for placing Canberra where it is was to be halfway between Sydney and Melbourne. However, this could have been on the coast as well especially since most Australians live on the coast.

However, it was decided otherwise so the members of parliament wouldn’t go to the beach surfing all the time. Therefore, the best place was to build Canberra inland!

Although Australia is home to some of the deadliest animals on earth, what really scares the Australians is the Australian magpies

There are all sorts of dangerous animals in Australia. Crocodiles, brown snakes, redback spiders… you name it. That said, if you ask an Australian what animal really scares them, they are likely to say the magpies! 

These medium-size black and white birds are known to be quite aggressive and chase you! If you live in Australia, you will definitely agree with that. If you’ve never been, you will understand this statement as soon as you see them for the first time.

The former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, once set a world record for downing 1.4 litres (2.5 pints) of beer in 11 seconds

In 1954 Bob Hawke skolled a yard of ale (2.5 pints / 1.4 litres) in 11 seconds. It was, then, a world record. 

Drinking a yard glass full of beer is a traditional pub game in the UK and Bob Hawke set the record while he was studying in Oxford. He served as Prime Minister later on, from 1983 to 1991.

Interesting facts about Australia

In this section, you will discover 11 interesting facts about Australia.

Australia’s head of state is the Queen of England

Australia was once a British Colony. Although it became completely independent from the UK in 1901, it’s still considered a constitutional monarchy, part of the Commonwealth.

Therefore the Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II. That having been said, she has little to no political power and is absolutely not involved in running the day-to-day matters. Her representative, the Governor-General is taking care of those things. According to the Australian government website, here is how it works:

Under the Australian Constitution, executive power is exercised by the Governor‑General as the Queen’s representative. The Governor-General is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister of Australia. The Prime Minister is Head of Government.

Australia is home to the longest living civilisation. Aboriginal people have lived here for over 50,000 years.

rock art in kakadu

According to a DNA study carried out by the University of Cambridge, Australian Aboriginal People have been there for 58,000 years. Making it the oldest civilisation still alive!

This is pretty exceptional especially since the climate conditions in Australia have always been pretty hostile.

The native-Australian people are extraordinary people and we have a lot to learn from them!

Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world

Due to its remote location and lack of polluting industries, Tasmania is blessed to have the cleanest air in the world. If we want to be exact, Cape Grim Peninsula (North West of Tasmania) is the place where the air is the cleanest as it’s where the station that measures it is located. 

This station that measures the quality of air has been installed in 1972.

Quick fun fact about that, the air is so clean that some shops even sell it in bottles! Just in case you want to bring back some fresh and clean air!

Melbourne has the largest tram system in the world

With 250km of tram tracks, Melbourne has the largest tram system in the world. Trams are the main public transport medium in the city. Whether you live there, visiting for a day or spending a weekend in Melbourne, you will take the tram at some point.

Australia is the largest exporter of coal in the world

Still to this day, coal is one of the main sources of electricity generation in the world. Although China and India produce more coal. Most of it is used for domestic consumption and they don’t export much of it. Australia, on the other hand, produces way more coal than needed for their own needs which is why they can export. Australia exports more coal than any other country in the world, making it the largest exporter of coal in the world.

Australia produces some of the best wine in the world. There are 60 designated regions in Australia. Altogether, over 1.35 trillion bottles are produced per year.

Yarra valley in australia
Photo credit: Canva Pro

When we think of wine countries, France and Italy are the first ones that come to mind. They are indeed the most famous ones, however, Australia has a lot going on when it comes to wine.

There are 60 designated wine regions in Australia. The most famous are the Barossa Valley, Yarra Valley and Hunter Valley.

Australia is one of the largest exporters of wine in the world

Out of the 1.35 trillion bottles produced every year, 800 million are exported. You can find Australian wine everywhere in the world. 

Australia has some of the oldest grapevines in the world

Australia’s climates are as hostile as beneficial. Every single species that was brought to Australia took their roots way more than expected. This is why there are so many rabbits, camels and toads! 

Some of the grapevines were brought to Australia in the 1800s. Unfortunately, these same vines were destroyed in Europe by the phylloxera which means that now, Australia is the only place where you can find them.

Melbourne is Australia’s capital of coffee

If there is one thing Melbourne does better than any other city in Australia, that’s coffee.

In 1840, Italians started to emigrate to Australia. A lot of them chose Melbourne as their base, especially Carlton (which is now known as the Italian quarter). They brought to Melbourne the coffee culture. Since then, coffee became one of the most important aspects of the Melbournian culture. You can find cafes everywhere in the city and if there is one thing people in Melbourne don’t kid with, that’s their coffee!

Australians spend more money on gambling than any other nation (per capita)

You may not expect this one but Australians are big gamblers! Over 12 million dollars are lost a year at Pokies and 5 million in casinos. According to recent numbers, Australian lose $1,200 per year to gambling, making them the biggest gamblers in the world.

Australia is home to the longest straight section of track train in the world (Indian Pacific)

The longest train journey in the world is the Trans Siberian however when it comes to amazing train journeys, Australia has a lot going on as well.

The longest train journey in Australia is the Indian Pacific. It goes from Sydney (NSW) to Perth (WA) and includes the world’s longest straight stretch of railway track. This part is 478km long and goes across the Nullarbor Plain, between Port Augusta (SA) and Kalgoorlie (WA).

Altogether, it takes between 70 and 75 hours to complete the entire journey on the Indian Pacific (4,352 km).

The Great Ocean Road is the world’s largest war memorial

Great ocean road 2 day itinerary sign

The Great Ocean Road is one of the best road trips in Australia. 6.6 million tourists visit the GOR each year. Yet, most of them don’t know that it is, in effect, the world’s largest war memorial!

The construction of the Great Ocean Road started just after WWI, in 1919. However, the project of a road that would be both a tourist attraction and would make Regional Victoria more accessible was already there for a couple of decades. At the end of the war, the chairman of the Country Roads Board, Mr W Calde contacted the state war council with a proposal. 

At the time, most servicemen were still not repatriated and would be unemployed once they’d get back. Mr Calde offered to fund the repatriation and give jobs to these men if they would build the Great Ocean Road.

It took 13 years for the Great Ocean Road to be completed but on the 26th of November 1932, it was finally inaugurated! 

History facts about Australia

The history of Australia is one of the most underrated aspects of the country. Yet, there is so much to know about it! In this section, we’ve selected amazing historical facts about Australia.

The first European country who landed in Australia was the Netherlands.

You may think that the Brits were the first Europeans to step a foot in Australia but they weren’t! The first European exploration of Australia was ordered by the Netherlands. In 1606, the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon arrived in Cape York. A few months later, Spanish explorer Luís Vaz de Torres sailed through the Torres Strait islands.

Captain Cook arrived in Australia in 1770

British navigators only came to Australia 164 years after the Dutch! While no other European country had really claimed the land. Captain Cook immediately claimed Australia for the throne of England, when he landed in 1770. He and his men were the first Europeans to encounter the east coast of Australia. This place is now called Botany Bay.

Australia became a federation in 1901

Up until 1901, Australia as we know it didn’t exist. Each (now known as) state was a self-governing British colony. 

The process of federation took years to achieve. It was meant to enable the six colonies of Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia to be separated from the British crown and united to create the federation of Australia.

It was completed on the 1st of January 1901.

As you may know, each state in Australia has its own laws as well as federal laws. This is why. Each state kept its ability to be self-governed to a certain extend.

Australia was the second country in the world to grant women the right to vote. This was in 1894.

New Zealand was the first country in the world to allow women to vote. Australia did so in 1894, making it the second country in the world to grant it. At the time, Australia wasn’t a federation yet. Only South Australia granted women’s suffrage in 1894.

Nowadays, we all think it’s normal but this was pretty exceptional at the time!

To give you an idea of how other countries did, here are some dates:

  • United-Kingdom: 1918
  • France: 1944
  • Switzerland: 1971
  • Saudi Arabia: 2015

The black box (flight recorder) was invented in Australia

The flight data recorder (black box) and cockpit voice recorder were invented by the Australian Scientist David Warren. He was living in Melbourne at the time. Warren passed away in 2010.

Melbourne was the richest city in the world during the Victorian Gold Rush

Up until the late 1860s, Sydney was the biggest and richest city in Australia. In 1851, the discovery of gold in the state of Victoria changes everything. People came from all over the world to search for it. This is known as the Victorian Gold Rush. In less than 2 decades, Melbourne didn’t only become the most populous city in Australia but was nothing else than the richest city in the world. 

If you are interested in learning more about that, make sure to go on a day trip from Melbourne to Daylesford. You can still search for gold there and discover this gold rush heritage.

Almost half a million Australians volunteered during WWI

A lot of people think of the first World War as a conflict that was mainly contained in Europe. If most of the battles were indeed in Europe, this doesn’t mean that the men who were fighting there all were. Between 1914 and 1918, 416,809 Australians volunteered to go to war.

This may not seem to be a huge number compared to the millions who fought for France or Germany but on the Australian scale, it was enormous! At the time, there were only 5 million people in Australia which means that 10% of the population went to war. This was 39% of the male population.

60,000 Australians died during World War I including 8,141 during the Gallipoli battle.

1.5 million of British came to Australia under the Ten Pound Immigration Scheme

In the 70s, people in the UK were offered to participate in a new immigration scheme for Australia. Basically, the government would take care of everything and would even re-built their houses and find them the same job if they would go. The only thing people had to do was to pay 10 pounds. 

Over 1.5 million people seized the opportunity. Entire neighbourhoods were reconstructed. People were encouraged to convince their relatives and friends.

These migrants are now referred to as Ten Pound Poms.

Geography facts about Australia

If there is one thing that is absolutely fascinating about Oz, it’s its geography. In this section, you will discover fantastic geography facts about Australia.

Melbourne was the capital of Australia for 26 years

As previously mentioned, Australia became a federation in 1901 and the government decided to build a brand new capital city, Canberra. However, this process took quite a bit of time. 26 years to be exact!

Canberra was finished and officially became the capital in 1927. Up until then, Melbourne acted as the interim capital.

Sydney, with more than 5 million inhabitants, is the biggest city in Australia

sydney harbour bridge

There are more than 5 million people living in Sydney which makes it the biggest city in Australia. Melbourne has a bit less than 5 million inhabitants. Between the two of them, Melbourne and Sydney are home to 40% of the Australian population

85% of Australians live on the coast

Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world. 85% of the population lives less than 50km off the coast. This creates an impressive contrast as it’s a huge country where most of the lands are not inhabited and few of them have a very high density.

Melbourne is home to the largest population of Greeks outside of Greece

Melbourne is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world so it’s not a surprised to find a lot of greeks. However, you may be surprised to know that it is home to the largest Greek population outside of Greece itself. The Greek immigration started during the Victorian gold rush. Today, there are 400,000 people with Greek heritage Australia.

Australia is the driest continent on earth (except for Antarctica)

Breakaways in south australia

The desert covers 35% of Australia. It receives barely any rain. In total, 70% of the mainland receives less than 500 millimetres of rain annually. This is considered arid or semi-arid. Except for Antarctica, no other continent in the world receives so little rain, making Australia the driest continent on Earth.

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living organism in the world

great barrier reef scenic flight

The Great Barrier Reef is made of coral. This living organism is essential to the protection of the coast and most marine species. There are so many interesting facts to know about the Great Barrier Reef but if you can only remember one that would be this one. It stretches over 2,300 km which makes it the largest living organism in the world!

Uluru is the largest monolith in the world

Views of Uluru

A monolith is an archaeological term describing a large single upright block of stone. There are many examples of monoliths in the world but the most famous and biggest one is Uluru. It’s 348 metres high and occupies an area of 3.33 sq km.

Located in the red centre, Uluru is also one of the most famous landmarks in Australia.

Australia is the 6th largest country in the world

Australia is 7 692 024 km2, making it the 6th largest country in the world after Russia, Canada, the USA, China and Brazil. Altogether, it represents 5% of the world’s land area.

To put it into perspective, Australia is 10 times bigger than France or the American state of Texas.

Australia’s population is only 25 million

There are 25,687,041 inhabitants in Australia (as of June 2020). This is pretty unusual, especially knowing the size of the country. The density of population is only 3.2 per square kilometre, which is one of the lowest densities in the world. 

To give you an idea, it’s 36/km2 in the USA and 275/km2 in the UK.

Australia is home to the largest cattle ranch in the world (that alone is as big as than Sicily).

Waggoner Ranch is the largest cattle ranch in the world. It includes over 6 million acres of land and 160,000 head of cattle. The ranch is located in Anna Creek Station in South Australia. It’s 2h30 away from Coober Pedy.

To give you a good idea of its size, the ranch alone is as big as the Italian island of Sicily which is the largest island in the Mediterranean sea.

The dog fence is the largest man-made landmark in Australia

dog fence coober pedy

The Dog Fence (or Dingo Fence) was built in the 1880s. It is meant to keep away from the dingoes from the farms and protect the sheep. It goes from Queensland to South Australia and is 5,614 km long. This is (from far) the largest man-made landmark in Australia and one of the longest structures in the world. 

If you ever go on a road trip from Adelaide to Uluru, make sure to stop at the Breakaways, near Coober Pedy. It’s an excellent place to see it.

Australia is the largest country in the Southern Hemisphere

We mentioned before that Brazil was slightly larger than Australia so you might expect it to be the largest country in the Southern Hemisphere, however, the equator goes through Brazil which means that part of it is in the Northern Hemisphere. Although Brazil is largely in the Southern Hemisphere, this area is not quite as large as Australia.

Australia is the largest country without land borders

This one will probably not surprise you but Australia is the largest country without land borders. The second-largest would be New Zealand and it is 20 times smaller than Australia.

The highest mountain in Australia is Mount Kosciuszko. It’s 2,228 m high.

Most of the highest mountains in Australia are located in the Snowy Mountains and the Australian Alps. Mount Kosciuszko, in New South Wales, is the highest. It’s 2,228 metres high. The second highest is also located in the Snowy Mountains and is called Mount Townsend (2,209m)

The longest river in Australia is 2,508 km long. It’s called the Murray River.

The Murray River is from far the longest one in Australia. Especially since it’s 1,000 km longer than the second one, Murrumbidgee River.

Its source is in the Australian Alps in Victoria. It goes through the entire state of Victoria to South Australia and down to the Murray Mouth near Victor Harbor.

Five of its tributaries are also within the 6 longest rivers in Australia. This should give you a good idea of how big the Murray River is.

65% of the population lives in New South Wales

With 7.95 million residents, New South Wales is the most populous state in Australia. 65% of the population in NSW lives in Greater Sydney.

Western Australia is the largest state in the country

Western Australia covers an area of 2.5 million square kilometres. Not only does it make it the largest state in Australia but it’s also the second-largest country subdivision in the world (the first one being Russia’s Sakha Republic).

To give you a bit of a scale of reference, WA is approximatively:

  • 2.7 times bigger than South Australia
  • 3.2 times bigger than New South Wales
  • 1.5 times bigger than Queensland
  • 1.9 times bigger than Northern Territory
  • 12 times bigger than Victoria
  • 38 times bigger than Tasmania

The Australian Alps receive more snowfall than Switzerland

This one is definitely one of the most surprising facts about Australia in this list. According to several documentaries, some parts of the Australian Alps receive more snow than Switzerland.

The Snowy Mountains, in New South Wales, also receive an impressive quantity of snow each year.

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world

Lake McKenzie water and sand on Fraser Island

Located on the coast of Queensland, near Hervey Bay and Noosa, Fraser Island (K’Gari) is the largest sand island in the world. It’s 123 kilometres long and 22km wide.

As a traveller, you can visit Fraser Island whenever you want. Please note that you will need a 4WD vehicle to do so as the roads are made of sand. The main highway on the island is the 77-mile beach.

There are 8,222 islands in Australia

Best holiday rentals in Airlie Beach

We previously mentioned that there were over 10,000 beaches in Australia. Well, guess what? Australia also boasts 8,222 islands! 

They are located all around the country, from the Torres Strait to sub-Antarctic latitudes. Some of these islands are open to visitors and easily accessible, others are very remote and not suitable for tourists.

The most famous islands in Australia are the Whitsundays. This archipelago of 74 islands includes famous honeymoon destinations such as Hamilton Island, Daydream Island or Hayman Island. They are the most visited place in Australia.

Other famous names are Kangaroo Island, Phillip Island, Magnetic Island and Rottnest Island.

There are 10 deserts in Australia

uluru base walk

As Australia is the driest continent on the planet, it’s only normal that it boasts many deserts. Here is the list of the 10 Australian deserts:

  • Great Victoria Desert (348,750sq.km)
  • Great Sandy Desert (267,250sq.km)
  • Tanami Desert (184,500sq.km)
  • Simpson Desert (176,500sq.km)
  • Gibson Desert (156,000sq.km)
  • Little Sandy Desert (111,500sq.km)
  • Strzelecki Desert (80,250sq.km)
  • Sturt Stony Desert (29,750sq.km)
  • Tirari Desert (15,250sq.km)
  • Pedirka Desert (1250sq. km)

Australia is home to 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites

kakadu cruise

There are 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Australia. 12 of these sites are natural sites. Only 2 countries in the world have more natural UNESCO sites. They are China (14) and the USA (12 as well).

Here is the list of the UNESCO sites in Australia:

  1. Great Barrier Reef (1981)
  2. Kakadu National Park (1981)
  3. Willandra Lakes Region (1981)
  4. Lord Howe Island Group (1982)
  5. Tasmanian Wilderness (1982)
  6. Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (1986)
  7. Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park (1987)
  8. Wet Tropics of Queensland (1988)
  9. Shark Bay (1991)
  10. Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (1992)
  11. Fraser Island (1992)
  12. Heard and McDonald Islands (1997)
  13. Macquarie Island (1997)
  14. Greater Blue Mountains Area (2000)
  15. Purnululu National Park (2003)
  16. Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens (2004)
  17. Sydney Opera House (2007)
  18. Australian Convict Sites (2010)
  19. Ningaloo Reef (2011)
  20. Budj Bim Cultural Landscape (2019)

Australia is the only country in the world which has a town with a number as a name (1770)

Seventeen-Seventy is a beautiful small beach town in Queensland. It was named that way because that’s the second place where captain Cook landed in Australia, in 1770.

The town is built at the exact place where the HM Bark Endeavour landed in May 1770.

There are no other towns in the world that were named after a number!

Highway 1 is the longest national highway in the world

Highway 1 goes from Darwin (NT) to Cairns (QLD). It stretches over 14,500 km and is the longest national highway in the world. 

The longest highway in the world is the Pan-American Highway. This one is 30,000 km but goes through many countries in South America. When it comes to only one country, Australian Highway 1 is from far the longest.

As a road tripper, it’s also pretty interesting to drive on this road. It’s very secluded and a lot of it is single-lane paved which is quite unusual.

Facts about the Australian culture

The Emu and Kangaroo were chosen as symbols on the coat of arms because they can’t walk backwards

The Coat of Arms of Australia symbolises the nation going forward. The Kangaroo and the Emu were chosen for two reasons:

  • they are native-Australian animals
  • they can’t walk backwards which means that the only way forward is progress!

Voting is compulsory in Australia

In most countries in the world, voting is considered a civic duty but is not compulsory. This is not the case in Australia. It is compulsory for all eligible Australian citizens to enrol and vote in federal elections, by-elections and referendums.

The reason for that is that compulsory voting keeps the Australian political system responsive to the people. Australians will be fined if they don’t vote. The fine is $20 for first-time offenders and increases to $50 if the person has been convicted of this offence previously.

49% of Australians were born overseas or have a parent who was.

Australia is a very cosmopolitan country. So much so that almost half of Australians were either born overseas or have a parent who was. 28% of the Australian population were first-generation Australians.

Melbourne was ranked the world’s most liveable city 7 years in a row, from 2011 to 2017.

melbourne shrine of remembrance

The Global Liveability Index assesses which locations around the world provide the best living conditions. Melbourne was awarded the number one spot for seven years in a row (between 2011 and 2017).

Australians love sport

80% of Australians considered sport as a very important part of the Australian culture. 

Australia hosted the summer Olympics several times and many annual sporting events (Melbourne cup, Australian tennis open…)

The most popular sports are footie (Australian Football Rules), cricket and rugby.

Australia is one of the most open-minded nations in the world

Australia is a very diverse and multicultural nation. Australians are known to be very open-minded. They love foreigners, other cultures and are very welcoming.

Australia legalised same-sex marriage in 2017 but was already recognising same-sex relationships since 2003 and people were allowed to apply for de-facto visa (while being in a same-sex relationship) from 2009.

Australians love food and drinks

This is one of the most important facts about Australian culture. Australians love food and drinks! You may not think of Oz as a foodie destination but yet, there is a lot to say about food in Australia.

There may not be many typical dishes but the food in Australia is excellent. Firstly, due to the variety of climates, Australia is able to grow all sorts of products. Fruit and veggies taste amazing in Australia!

Another reason for the foodie culture is the multicultural side of the country. With such a strong Italian, Greek and Chinese population, it’s only normal that you will find delicious dishes, especially in restaurants. 

Facts about the Australian language and accent

The Australian accent is famous in the entire world. It’s one of these things that you either hate or love but no matter what, won’t leave you without opinions. It is a very interesting aspect of the Australian culture and this is why we included these fantastic facts about the Australian language and accent.

In 2005, the government issued a ban on saying the word “mate” at Parliament house.

If there is one word Australians use more than anybody else, it’s “mate”. They say it all the time and to everyone. Australia is the only country where you can get away with saying to your boss “G’day Mate”.

They use it so much that in 2005, the government decided to issue a ban on saying the word “mate” at the Parliament House. The ban lasted only a few days as it was immediately objected by many political figures including Prime Minister John Howard and former labour Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Prime Minister John Howard said that “mate” was one of his favourite words and that he even calls President Bush “mate”. It was considered as Australian folklore and banning it just meant that the government had gone mad!

Australian spelling comes from British spelling

Many people assume that Australian English is similar to American English. In reality, Australian English follows British Spelling very closely. Most of the words come from the British version rather than American. 

There are a few exceptions to the rule but as a general thing, if you don’t know how to spell a word as an Australian, use the British spelling.

Australian shorten most words

Australians are notorious for shortening words. Here are some examples of Australian words:

  • Arvo = afternoon
  • S’arvo = This afternoon
  • Cuppa = Cup of tea
  • Macca’s = Mc Donald’s
  • Straya = Australia
  • Servo = service station
  • Barbie = barbecue

Australian slang is very unique

If there is one thing Australians are not obsessed about, that would be speaking the Queen’s English. Australian slang is an entire part of the culture and folklore. Australians use more slang than any other English-speaking countries.

Here are some examples of Australian slang you should know:

  • Bottle-o = Bottle Shop
  • Postie = Postman
  • A cold one = beer
  • G’day = hello
  • Mozzies = Mosquitoes
  • Sheila = a woman
  • No Wucka’s = no worries

Many English words were adopted from Aboriginal words: Kangaroo, wombat…

koala at wildlife park Kangaroo Island

When the British first came to Australia, they discovered a lot of animals, places and objects they never knew existed. As those items didn’t have a name in English, they started using the aboriginal name for it. 

These words became since entirely part of the English language all around the world.

Here are some examples of aboriginal names used in English:

  • Kangaroo
  • Boomerang
  • Koala
  • Kookaburra
  • Quokka
  • Billabong
  • Kylie
  • Didgeridoo

Facts about Australian animals

The Emu can run as fast as 50km/h

Emus are one of the largest birds in Australia. They are also surprisingly fast! They can run as fast as 50km/h which is as fast as a cat. 

Kangaroos can run at 70km/h.

The Box Jellyfish is responsible for more deaths than sharks, snakes and crocodiles.

The box jellyfish is one of the deadliest creatures in the world. When we think of deadly animals in Australia, sharks, snakes and crocodiles come to mind first. Yet, all of them together don’t kill as many people as the box jellyfish.

The box jellyfish is particularly present in Queensland. It’s the reason why you can’t swim in Cairns for example. It’s very small. It can go up to 20 cm but is usually way smaller than that and is highly poisonous. The venom is so strong that most people don’t even have time to swim back to shore. The venom creates a series of heart attacks.

Platypus are highly poisonous

The platypus is one of the rare mammals that produce venom. Males have a spur on the back of their hind feet.

While the pain caused by Platypus venom is described as horrible, it is not deadly.

Platypus and Echidnas are the only two mammals in the world that lay eggs to give birth

This is a bit of an odd fact about Australian animals. One of the main characteristics of mammals is that they give birth to their offsprings and then feed them with milk. Platypus and Echidnas lay eggs instead. Yet they are considered mammals.

This is very unique as they are the only 2 mammals in the world doing that. This shows how well-preserved the Australian wildlife has been for million of years.

The largest Red Kangaroo ever seen was 2.1m tall

There are 4 main species of Kangaroos: Red Kangaroos, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo and the Antilopine Kangaroo.

The red kangaroos are known to be the biggest ones. The largest ever recorded was 2.1 m tall and 91kg.

There are more camels in Australia than anywhere else in the world

As you may expect, camels aren’t native from Australia. They were imported by British settlers during the 19th century to help to build roads in the outback. Once they were done, they decided to abandon them in the desert. Thinking they would die there. 

Well, this clearly wasn’t going to happen. Not only didn’t they disappear, but the population of camels grew exponentially. So much so that there are now 1.2 million camels in Australia. This is more than in most Middle East countries! Australia is home to the largest herd of camels in the world.

Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia

This is definitely one of the most surprising facts about Australia. Saudi Arabia (which is home to one of the largest populations of camels in the world) import camels from Australia. 

While Saudi Arabia breeds camels as well, most of them are used for racing and domestic purposes. The camels imported from Australia on the other hand are used for their meat.

There are more than 40 million kangaroos in Australia

Australia’s most beloved animal might be one of the cutest things on earth but there are a lot of them! Between 40 and 50 million! As a first-time visitor, there is always a lot of excitement going when seeing your first kangaroos. For the Australians on the other hand, they can be considered as a hassle more than anything else. 

They are responsible for a lot of car accidents. 

For this reason, you should never drive at dusk or night in Australia. The car lights attract them and then they try to jump in front of your car. Not only you wouldn’t want to kill a kangaroo but it would also create tremendous damages to your vehicle and can injure you.

This is why a lot of cars are equipped with roo bars in the outback.

Australia is home to 20 of the world’s most poisonous snakes

Australia is home to 211 (known) species of snakes. Out of the 25 deadliest snakes in the world, 20 can be found in Australia. 

The termites’ mounds in Australia are the tallest animal-made structures in the world

Referred to as cathedral termites mounts, these impressive structures can be up to 8 metres high! You can find them in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. 

Litchfield National Park is a great place to admire them.

They are the tallest animal-made structures in the world.

Most of Australia’s flora and fauna is native from Australia and can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Australia has separated from Gondwana over 180 million years ago. Due to this isolation, the flora and fauna in Australia are very unique. More than 80% of native-Australian species can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

The Cassowary is the second largest bird in the world

The largest bird in the world is the ostrich. On average, it weighs 104 kg and is 2.1 m tall.

The cassowary is the second largest bird in the world. It is on average 45kg and 1.55 m tall.

The third largest bird in the world is also a native-Australian bird: the emu. It is on average 33 kg and 1.53 m tall.

Marsupials can only be found in Australia and South America

A marsupial is a mammal that carries their babies in a pouch on their mother’s belly. You can only find them in Australia and South America.

There are 250 species of marsupials in Australia and 120 in South America. 

The most famous Australian marsupials are the Kangaroo, wombat and Tasmanian devil.

 

We hope you enjoyed these amazing facts about Australia!

 

You may also be interested in:

Fun facts about the Great Barrier Reef

The 54 Best Quotes about Australia that will inspire you to travel Down Under

Man-made landmarks in Australia

Australia Travel Guide

Places to see in Australia

 

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The best facts about Australia