30 Interesting Facts About Australia

30 Interesting Facts About Australia Image | East Coast Tours Australia

There are so many interesting facts about Australia, one of the most unique, diverse, and geographically isolated countries in the world! This massive island nation and continent in Oceania has some of the planet's most impressive cultures, landscapes, and wildlife. These features along with the laid-back, welcoming atmosphere and fun attractions draw travellers from all over the globe. 

Whether you're planning a trip Down Under, or you're just interested in learning some fun facts about this fascinating country, here is a list of the coolest things about Australia! 

snorkeller making a heart with her hands on the great barrier reef

30 Interesting Facts About Australia That Might Surprise You

1. Australia is the only country that is also a continent

Australia is the only country that can be considered a continent as well. It's also the 6th largest country in the world! Geographically speaking, Australia is part of Oceania, a region of the planet that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. There is also a subregion of Oceania called Australasia, which includes Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, and a few other surrounding islands.

2. Australia has some of the world's most unique wildlife

Around 80% of the wildlife is endemic to Australia, meaning it can only be found here! According to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, 87% of mammals, 93% of reptiles, 94% of frogs, and 45% of birds in Australia ONLY exist in Australia.

From iconic kangaroos and koalas, to elusive echidnas and wombats, you can see some of the world's most unique wildlife Down Under. Australia is also home to the only mammals that lay eggs: the platypus and the echidna. 

koala snoozing in a tree in kuranda australia

3. The Australian Alps receive more snowfall than Switzerland

Many travellers don't know that there is snow in Australia! Visitors can ski and snowboard in the Snowy Mountains of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria. This area, sometimes called the Australian Alps, is home to the country's only mountains that exceed 2,000 metres.

According to the National Bureau of Meteorology, around 1cm of fresh snowfall hits the Swiss Alps each year, whereas around 4cm of fresh snow falls on the Australian Alps. So although the Swiss Alps have more snow overall, the Australian Alps may receive more fresh snowfall each year!

4. The word "selfie" was invented in Australia

A "selfie" is a word used to describe a photo that you take of yourself. This word may be common knowledge to most people today, but "selfie" was only added to Oxford Dictionaries in 2013. 

Supposedly the first recorded use of the word "selfie" was in 2002 on an internet forum by a group of Australians. So Aussies have claimed to invent the popular word! Which doesn't come as a surprise when you consider the fun, snappy nature of most Australian slang words.

girl taking a selfie at noosa main beach in australia

5. Australia is home to the world's longest fence

Many places in Australia have dingo fences, which are designed to protect livestock from predatory wild dingos. Australia has a dingo fence that is roughly 5,600km long and stretches through three states, from Queensland to New South Wales to South Australia. It's the world's longest fence and is longer than the Great Wall of China!

6. K'gari (Fraser Island) is the largest sand island in the world

Many travellers in Australia visit K'gari, formerly known as Fraser Island, for its majestic natural landscapes and adventurous activities. K'gari (Fraser Island) is famous because it's the largest sand island in the world.

The island is around 1,655 square kilometres and can only be accessed with a 4WD. Regular cars couldn't handle the sandy tracks of K'gari! Though it's a sand island, K'gari is covered in dense rainforests that mysteriously grow out of the sand. It appears to be magic, but K'gari's forests have formed a symbiotic relationship with the sand so beautiful flora and fauna can thrive. 

aerial view of lake mckenzie and rainforest on k'gari (Fraser Island)

7. K'gari (Fraser Island) is also home to the largest perched lake in the world

In addition to forests growing out of the sand, K'gari (Fraser Island) is famous for its perched lakes. These pristine bodies of water form in a natural depression in the sand that fills with rainwater over time. The result is a self-filtering lake that does not connect to any oceans or rivers!

K'gari is home to the world's largest perched lake, Lake Boomanjin, which covers 190 hectares. The island is also home to the world's highest perched dune lake, Boomerang Lake, which is 130m above sea level. Lastly, K'gari is home to Lake McKenzie, which doesn't hold any records but is arguably the most famous and beautiful perched lake in the world.

8. K'gari (Fraser Island) is also home to Australia's purest breed of wild dingo

Another fun fact about K'gari (Fraser Island)! This magnificent island is full of wonders. One of them is the healthy population of wild dingos that thrive on the island. Because K'gari (Fraser Island) is a national park that is isolated from the mainland, the dingos here don't cross-breed with domestic dogs. This makes them the purest wild dingos in all of Australia. 

Dingo on the beach at sunrise on k'gari (Fraser Island)

9. Australia has over 60 wine regions

Not many people associate Australia with wine, but the country is one of the world's top wine producers. There are around 65 different wine regions in Australia, which combined produce approximately 1 billion litres of wine every year. Among the most famous of Australia's wine regions include Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley, Margaret River Valley, and Clare Valley. 

10. The Blue Mountains are named due to the blue haze of Eucalyptus Trees

One of the best day trips from Sydney is the Blue Mountains. Full of hiking trails, waterfalls, and charming towns, the Blue Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great place to connect with nature in Australia. 

The Blue Mountains are named because the Eucalyptus trees in the forests release oils that combine with light and water vapor to create a blue fog. This natural mist leaves a mystical blue haze over the valleys. 

11. You can find some of the whitest sand in the world in Australia

Australia has numerous beaches which may have some of the whitest sand in the world! The actual records for the whitest sand in the world fluctuate constantly, and there are lots of different ways to measure it. But Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay, NSW and Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park, WA have both been on the list for the world's whitest sand at some point in time. 

Queensland is also home to a few beaches that have spectacularly white sand. Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays and Lake McKenzie on K'gari (Fraser Island) both have soft, silky sand that is around 98% pure silica. This is not only beautiful to see and touch, but it's a natural phenomenon because scientists cannot figure out how all this pure silica ended up in these areas!

white silica sand and blue water at whitehaven beach australia

12. Convicts helped form Australia's first official police force

Great Britain sent a fleet of ships full of convicts over to Australia in the late 1700s in the hopes of setting up a penal colony. The convicts arrived in Sydney in 1788, which became the site of the first European settlement in Australia. 

Eventually, as more Europeans came to Australia, the convicts were released from jail early and got themselves jobs. Supposedly some convicts were even involved in Australia’s first official police force. As such, British convicts played a huge part in the colonisation of Australia. 

13. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are some of the oldest living cultures in the world

The European colonisation unfortunately led to horrifying oppression, genocide, and displacement of Australia's First Nations People. Prior to European invasion of Australia, the history and culture of humans on the continent spans back up to 50,000 - 60,000 years! It's hard to estimate the exact age of native Australian cultures, but they are believed to be one of the oldest communities in the world. 

A fascinating aspect of these ancient Australian cultures is their art. Aboriginal rock art is known to be one of the oldest surviving human art forms, and you can see this ancient art with your own eyes in many places around Australia. Make an effort to connect with these special cultures while you're touring Australia and take time to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the Land wherever you go!

Mandingalbay indigenous presenters in Cairns

14. Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world

More specifically, Cape Grim in northwest Tasmania is said to have the cleanest air in the world. According to the Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station, the strong winds that blow in from the Southern Ocean near Antarctica help keep the air pure and free of pollutants. So take that much-needed "breath of fresh air" to a new level by heading down to Tassie and inhaling the cleanest air on Earth!

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

Another one of the most interesting facts about Australia is that it's the only continent with no active volcanoes. Which is great, because travellers are already concerned enough about the scary spiders and snakes in Australia, we don't need volcanic eruptions thrown into the mix!

But in all seriousness, Australia is one of the safest countries in the world to visit. Even with the notorious deadly wildlife (most of which isn't even that deadly and is super rare to see while travelling), Australia is a safe and secure place to travel

16. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world

Stretching through Australia's Coral Sea for around 2,300km, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest collection of corals in the world. It's also the largest ecosystem on the planet, with around 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands, and vast numbers of living organisms. Don't miss the chance to see the glorious corals and sea creatures of the precious Great Barrier Reef when you visit Australia!

aerial view of the great barrier reef and heart reef

17. Quokkas are the happiest animals on Earth

Here is another fun fact about Australia's wildlife! Quokkas are often considered the happiest animals in the world, thanks to their adorable faces that are always smiling. These furry little marsupials can only be found in Western Australia, with Rottnest Island having the world's largest quokka population. Who knows if quokkas actually feel as happy as they look, but they are usually unafraid of humans and will gladly smile for photos!

18. There are over 10,000 beaches in Australia

Along that massive and picturesque coastline of Australia, there are over 10,000 beaches. The actual number could even be as high as 12,000, it's just really hard to measure distinct beaches in Australia. Either way, that is a huge number of beaches. It makes sense why surfing and beach life is such a huge part of Aussie culture!

girls running on the beach in the sunshine in whitsundays australia

19. Voting is mandatory in Australia

Australian citizens are required to vote in state and federal elections. Anyone who does not vote will be fined. There is much debate about compulsory voting and whether or not it's superior to optional voting. But it is an interesting fact about Australia, and it does ensure that citizens get involved in politics.

20. Australia was the second country in the world to give women the right to vote

Another fun fact about voting in Australia: women were given the right to vote and stand in elections in 1902. That makes Australia the second country in the world to grant women's suffrage, after New Zealand which has allowed women to vote since 1893. So Australia and New Zealand were way ahead of the rest of the world in terms of gender equality. 

21. Sydney Harbour is the largest natural harbour in the world

Sydney Harbour, home to famous landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, is actually the world's largest and deepest natural harbour. The entire area covers around 55 square kilometres and is home to a huge array of marine life including sharks, dolphins, turtles, and more!

girl taking a photo of sydney opera house on a ferry

22. Australia is home to the world's oldest tropical rainforest

The Daintree Rainforest, located in Tropical North Queensland about 3 hours north of Cairns, is the oldest tropical rainforest in the world! This relatively small but stunning corner of Australia is estimated to be anywhere from 35 million to 180 million years old, which is at least 10 million years older than the Amazon Rainforest. 

The Daintree Rainforest is also special because it's a World Heritage Site. Located just offshore from the Daintree lies the Great Barrier Reef, which is also a World Heritage Site. So when you visit Cape Tribulation in the heart of the Daintree, you're visiting the only place in the world where two World Heritage Sites meet!

cape tribulation daintree rainforest coastline australia

23. Perth is the only city in the world where aircraft can land in its CBD 

Langley Park in downtown Perth is not only Western Australia's first airport, it's the only place where planes can take off and land right in the heart of a city. The beloved green space was used as an airstrip in the 1920s, and though it's no longer an official airfield, small planes can continue to land in the park to celebrate the tradition. 

24. The Australian Dollar is one of the most advanced and impressive world currencies

Australian Dollars are a feast for the eyes! With their vibrant colours and intricate designs, every Australian Dollar is fascinating. Not only is Australia's currency visually appealing, but its notes (or dollar bills) are some of the most advanced in the world. 

Australia was the first country to switch from paper bills to polymer plastic bills in 1988. By 1996, all of Australia's paper bills were replaced with smooth, waterproof, durable polymer bills that are notoriously hard to counterfeit.

woman holding up an array of australian dollars in cash

25. Australia is home to the oldest living fossils on Earth

Another interesting fact about Australia is that here you can see the oldest living fossils on the planet, known as stromatolites. These are layers of sediment that contain organisms and bacteria dating back to over 3 billion years ago. And these ancient organisms continue to grow today, making them incredible living fossils. Hamelin Pool in Western Australia is one of the few places on Earth where you can see living marine stromatolites.

26. Uluru is the largest single rock monolith in the world

A monolith is a single rock or stone, and the iconic Uluru in Australia's Northern Territory is the world's largest one. Other rock formations may actually be larger than Uluru, but they are composed of multiple types of rock. So Uluru is the largest monolith in the world, and travellers flock to the remote Australian Outback to admire this massive sandstone structure. 

Uluru is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its natural wonders and its cultural importance. The monolith played an important role in the beliefs and traditions of the Anangu Aboriginal people, one of the world's oldest cultures. 

couple posing in front of uluru in outback australia

27. There are more camels in Australia than Egypt

Australia has a surprisingly large population of camels, even larger than some countries in the Middle East. Camels are not native to Australia, but in the 1800s the British imported them to use for transport across the Outback. 

When camel transport was abandoned for more modern methods, the camels were left to their own devices in the Australian desert. The camels have thrived because they have no natural predators here, and now Australia has the greatest population of feral camels on Earth. Australia even exports camels to countries in the Middle East!

28. Around 87% of Australia's population lives on the coast

Though Australia is the 6th largest country in the world, it's one of the most sparsely populated countries, geographically speaking. Australia is 55th in the world in terms of population, and the vast majority of Australia's total population lives near the coast. 

In 2001, 85% of Australians lived within 50km of the coast, and the figure increased to 87% in 2019. Most of Australia's centre is composed of arid desert, whereas the coastal cities and towns have beautiful weather and modern industry. So it's no surprise why people prefer to live on Australia's heavenly coastline!

travellers lying on the beach at sunrise in byron bay

29. There are wild penguins in Australia

Most people associate penguins with Antarctica only. But Australia has multiple healthy colonies of wild penguins in the southern states. The Australian Little Penguin is only found in Australia and New Zealand, and they tend to live on offshore islands and secluded bays where they are free from predators and environmental disruptions. 

One of the best places to see wild penguins is Phillip Island in Victoria. Every evening, lots of little penguins emerge from the ocean and waddle across the beach to a cozy spot on land for the night. It's called the Penguin Parade!

30. Brisbane has the largest city hall in the country

Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, is a fabulous place to visit in Australia. It's packed with history, culture, and entertainment, and it's home to the country's largest city hall! Brisbane City Hall was built in the early 1900s and comprises around two acres, complete with 573 rooms and the largest copper dome in Australia. It was the second-largest construction project of its time (second only to the Sydney Harbour Bridge). 

Brisbane city river and skyscrapers at sunset

These 30 interesting facts about Australia only scratch the surface when it comes to natural and cultural wonders Down Under.

See it all for yourself with a trip to Australia! Check out our epic East Coast itineraries or live chat with our travel agents for expert advice!

East Coast Tours acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples.

Powered By

Copyright 2024 East Coast Tours | All Rights Reserved

Version: 2.2.3

Payment Method - Visa | East Coast Tours AustraliaPayment Method - Mastercard | East Coast Tours Australia