27 things you didn’t know about Australia

Surprising facts about life and travelling Down Under

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Australian Thongs on a beach

Australia is one of the most spectacular holiday destinations in the world.

You know that it's home to unique and picturesque landscapes, glittering coastlines, incredible wildlife experiences and white-sand beaches. But did you also know that you can see the Great Barrier Reef from space? Or that Tasmania has the cleanest air on earth?

Discover our 27 fun facts you probably didn't know about Australia below.

Australian Coat of Arms

1. The Australian coat of arms features two endemic animals, an emu and a kangaroo. Both of these animals can only move forward, so it's widely seen as a symbol of progress and a country that is forward-thinking.

2. More than 80 per cent of the plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs found in Australia are unique to the country and are not found elsewhere in the world, including the koala, kangaroo, dingo, echidna, platypus, wallaby and wombat.

3. There are over 200 languages spoken in Australia including 45 different indigenous languages. The most popular ones spoken after English are Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin.

Asian Gate

4. Coffee-lover? Head to cultural Perth, which has more cafés per capita than any other city in the world.

5. Canberra was created in 1908 after Melbourne and Sydney could not decide between them who should be the capital.

6. Australia is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world. In fact, it has more natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other destination. There are three cultural, 12 natural, and four a mixture of both, making 19 in total.

7. There are over 10,000 beaches in Australia, making it the perfect spot for surfers, sunbathers, scuba divers, sailors, snorkelers and beach bunnies. What's more, most of these beaches are talcum powder-white or gold sand and clear blue water, with stunning mountain backdrops and underwater reefs.

Blue waves rolling on Surfers Paradise beach

8. More than 85% of Australians live within 30 miles of the coast.

9. Australia was the second country in the world to allow women to vote.

10. The world's oldest fossil, which is about 3.4 billion years old, was found in Australia.

11. With more top level sports available to its locals than anywhere else, Melbourne is considered the sporting capital of the world.

12. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet. It's made up of 2,500 individual reefs and is visible from space.

Two Scuba Divers on Great Barrier Reef

13. The Great Barrier reef also has its own mailbox! You can hop on a ferry to get there, and your postcard will be delivered with an exclusive Great Barrier Reef stamp.

14. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. A highlight of any trip to Queensland, hop on a boat from Hervey Bay to discover this paradise. The azure blue waters of Lake MacKenzie are surrounded by the white sand shores and the Champagne Pools, where you can dive in for a swim.

15. Wine fans rejoice - there are 60 designated wine regions in Australia. And they are all picturesque, so you can go wine-tasting while soaking up the views, too. Western Australia has some beautiful vineyards like Margaret River, easily accessible from Perth. Or try Alpine Valleys or the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Clare Valley in South Australia, or the Hunter Valley in NSW, less than two hours' drive from Sydney. Cheers!

16. Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano.

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

17. The architect of the Sydney Opera House, Jørn Utzon, was inspired while eating an orange - and, if all the sails of the Opera House roof were combined, they would create a perfect sphere.

18. The native male lyrebird can mimic the calls of over 20 other birds, as well as being able to imitate the sound of a camera, chainsaw and car alarm. How cool is that?

19. Take a deep breath - Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world. It's a true walker's paradise, with coastal paths winding across the island offering magnificent views over beautiful bays and coves.

20. We've all heard of Bondi Beach and the Sydney Opera House. But what about Lake Hillier in Western Australia? It's a bright pink colour thanks to being filled with Dunaliella salina, an organism that makes salt pink by releasing a red dye. It's even possible to take a dip in it.

Lake Hillier

21. The selfie was invented by picture-loving happy-go-lucky Aussies. Yes, really.

22. Australia is home to the world's longest golf course (at 850 miles), and the longest stretch of straight railway track (300 miles).

23. While the sparkling coastline is a major attraction for holidaymakers, did you know that the Australian Alps, straddling New South Wales and Victoria, actually get more snow than the Swiss Alps? The white stuff usually falls between June and September making it a great place for a skiing fix during our summertime.

24. The world famous monolith Uluru sits majestically in the Northern Territory. It's one of the few places on earth to be listed twice as a UNESCO World Heritage site, both on the cultural and natural lists. Did you know that 2.5km of the rock is thought to be underground? It's connected to the Olgas, where the rock emerges again 16 miles away.

Mount Augustus

25. However, Uluru is still not the world's largest rock, that crown belongs to Mount Augustus in Western Australia.

26. Australia's national gemstone is opal, with the majority coming from Southern Australia.

27. The Australian Outback is home to the world's largest camel herd, made up of around 750,000 of the animals.

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