Travel Guide

What you need to know about Oz

By Mel · Sep 2023 · 5 min read
Keen to find out more about Aussie animals, culture, people and landmarks? Prepare for your trip Down Under with our ultimate list of Australian facts.

Australia is a magical and mysterious land for travellers. We’re the only continent that’s also a single country. Our landscapes are like nowhere else on earth (in some places they look more like the surface of the moon!). And we can’t forget those cute kangaroos hopping around. Don’t get too close though – this is Oz, after all.

Australian wildlife facts

● There are three times more sheep than people living in Australia. Although that’s nothing compared to our mates over in New Zealand

● The Australian emu is a large, flightless bird that can run as fast as 45 kilometres per hour (28mph).

● Platypuses are highly poisonous and have enough venom to kill a dog or make a human seriously ill.

● Wombat poo is shaped like a cube (don’t ask us how we know).

● The box jellyfish – which is found in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef – is responsible for more deaths than snakes, sharks and saltwater crocodiles combined. So make sure you wear your stinger suit and follow local advice.

● The record jump recorded by a kangaroo is a whopping nine metres (30 feet) in a single leap.

● Platypuses and echidnas are native Aussie animals, and the only two mammals in the world that lay eggs to give birth.

● Koalas sleep for around 20 hours per day.

● Tasmanian devils may look small, but they have the strongest bite per body mass of any mammal on earth.

● There are four different species of kangaroo in Australia, with the red kangaroo being the biggest. The largest “big red” ever seen was 2.1 metres tall (6ft 9in) and weighed 91kgs (200lbs)!

● The Australian thorny devil can live for up to 20 years. It has one of the longest lifespans of lizards of its size in the world, likely due to its amazing camouflage abilities.

● The kangaroo and emu were chosen to be featured on the coat of arms of Australia because they can't walk backwards, reflecting a forward-thinking culture.

● Australia has a larger population of camels than Egypt.

● While kangaroos are considered a national icon, with over 40 million estimated throughout the country, they can also be considered a pest in some locations.

● 17 of the world's most poisonous snakes can be found in Australia (but don’t worry, they tend to keep to themselves).

● Australia is home to around 1,500 types of spiders, 4,000 types of ants and 350 types of termites.

Facts about Australian people

● 49% of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was born overseas.

● People from Sydney are typically referred to as Sydneysiders, while a person from Melbourne is called a Melbournian.

● Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke once held the Guinness World Record for sculling a beer, after drinking 2.5 pints in just 11 seconds.

● Despite being a huge continent, 90% of Australia's population live on the coast, due to the majority of the country’s interior being a vast desert, commonly referred to as the Outback.

● Australia's Aboriginal people are estimated to have occupied the mainland for at least 65,000 years, forming one of the oldest continuing living cultures on earth.

● The average Aussie will eat the equivalent of 18 full cows and 90 full sheep in their lifetime.

Melbourne has the world's largest Greek-speaking population of any city outside Greece and Cyprus.

● Australia has one of the world's lowest population densities, with a landmass only slightly smaller than the USA, yet a population of around 26 million (compared to 332 million in the United States).

Australian cities & natural attractions facts

● Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Only Antarctica gets less moisture falling on its landmass.

● The highest mountain in Australia is Mount Kosciuszko standing at 2,228 metres high.

● Australia is the sixth largest country in the world in terms of land area.

● The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest living structure. It can be seen from space and is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Come on in, the water is fine

● The Aussie state of Tasmania has some of the cleanest air in the world.

● The Daintree Rainforest found in Far North Queensland, is the world’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest. It covers 1,200 square kilometres and is thought to be 180 million years old.

● Australia is home to the world's largest cattle ranch – which is bigger than the entire country of Belgium.

● The iconic Uluru is the largest monolith in the world, reaching over 8 km at its widest point.

● The termite mounds that can be found in Australia are the tallest animal-made structures on Earth.

● Australia’s dingo fence stretches for 5,614 km and is longer than the Great Wall of China.

● The Gold Coast has the world's largest canal system, larger than those of both Venice and Amsterdam combined.

● Melbourne was the capital city of Australia for 26 years between 1901 and 1927, before the capital shifted to the purpose-built city of Canberra.

Feeling inspired to see it all for yourself? There’s a whole world waiting to be discovered in Australia. Experience the best of Oz with over 4,000 great value tours, attractions and activities to help you make the most of every moment.
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We acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Custodians of Country and their connections and continuous care for the skies, lands and waterways throughout Australia.