What are the REAL facts about Australia?
You may have a vision of the country that’s fed mainly through the media. But here you'll learn captivating and real information... For example what are the chances of a deadly encounter with one of the country’s most venomous creatures?
Even if you're born and bred here, some of the facts about Australia below may surprise you…
1. The box jellyfish is the deadliest creature in Australia and in the world. It's colourless and nearly invisible under water. After contact, it causes agonising pain, send people into shock and can kill in under five minutes.
2. To avoid a box jellyfish sting, swimmers must stay out of the waters or swim inside nets during the “stinger season” between October and May. They can also wear stinger suits.
3. The box jellyfish is responsible for 80 recorded deaths in Australia. The last recorded death was in 2000.
4. The inland taipan is the most venomous snake in Australia and in the world. One drop of venom can kill 100 men.
5. No death has ever been recorded from an inland taipan. These snakes live in sparsely populated areas and usually shy away from humans. There’s also an antivenom.
6. The brown snake is the species of snake that causes the most deaths in Australia, because they live near people. The brown snake is adaptable and can live in different environments including suburbs.
7. Since the advent of the antivenom, fewer than five people per year die from snake bites in Australia – half is from brown snakes.
8. An average of 1 person per year dies from a shark attack.
9. It's estimated that there are more than 150,000 saltwater crocodiles in Australia. 100,000 are in the Northern Territory and 10,000 in Kakadu alone. An average of 1 person per year dies from a crocodile attack.
10. In the Northern Territory, there are 244,000 residents and 100,000 saltwater crocodiles. That’s 1 croc for 2 people.
11. Funnel web spiders and redback spiders were the main spider killers in the past but no one has died from a bite since the antivenom was introduced in 1981 and 1956 respectively.
12. Despite the mind-blowing abundance of deadly animals in Australia, you have more chance of being killed by a horse (8 deaths per year mainly due to falls), a kangaroo (2 deaths caused by car accidents) or a rip (21 drownings per year).
13. There is an estimated 60 million kangaroos in Australia. That’s more than twice the human population.
14. The red kangaroo is the largest kangaroo and largest marsupial in the world. It can grow up to 6 feet tall and weigh up to 90 kg.
15. Red kangaroos can reach 56 km per hour and leap up to 9 m in one jump.
16. Kangaroos can’t walk or hop backward.
17. About 5 million kangaroos are culled every year to control their population.
18. The name 'kangaroo' was given by Captain Cook. He had heard Aboriginals use the word 'gangurru' when referring to the eastern grey kangaroo. 'Gangurru' later became 'kangaroo' and used as a generic name for the larger species of macropods such as the red kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo and western grey kangaroo.
19. There is a little known species of kangaroo, the tree-kangaroo, that lives up treetops in the rainforests of northern Australia. It can hop on the branches and looks a bit like a lemur.
20. The tammar wallaby is the first macropod to be reported by a European. It was seen by Dutchman Pelsear in 1629 while rescuing survivors from the Batavia off the coast in Western Australia.
21. There are as many feral pigs than people in Australia.
22. Australia has 3 times more sheep than people: 72 million sheep in 2016.
23. The powerful owl is the largest owl in Australia. It lives along the eastern coast of Australia and near populated areas such as Sydney and Melbourne. Most of the powerful owl's diet consist of possums; they eat an astonishing 250 to 350 possums each year. That's an average of one possum every 1.2 days!
24. In terms of annual average maximum temperature, Wyndham wins the title for the hottest town in Australia with an average maximum of 35.6 °C.
25. In terms of highest average temperature in summer, Marble Bar is considered the hottest town. The average temperature in summer is 41 °C. Marble Bar also has the longest heat wave ever recorded with 161 consecutive days of temperature above 37.8°C in 1923-1924.
26. The highest ever temperature was recorded at 50.7°C in 1960 in the town of Oodnadatta in SA.
27. The highest town in Australia is Cabramurra, located at 1,488 m above sea level.
28. The rudest place names in Australia are: Horny Point, Fanny Point, Bum Bum Creek, Split Arse Rock, Dirty Dick Creek and Dancing Dicks Creek. Yes, these places exist for real.
29. The weirdest place names are: Yes I Know Rock, Come By Chance, Walkaway, Nowhere Else, Nowhere Creek, Useless Loop, Mount Hopeless and Mount Disappointment. Strange indeed.
30. The two weirdest places to visit in Australia are the pink lake, Lake Hillier, and Cooper Pedy...
31. Lake Hillier is completely pink like strawberry milk. No kidding. Scientists have recently discovered why. The lake contains halobacteria and Dunaliella salina.
32. Cooper Pedy, an opal mining town, is another weird place. At first sight Cooper Pedy looks like mounts of dusty rubbles with no vegetation. But underground it’s another world. People live in impressive underground homes called dugouts and there are cave bars, hotels and churches.
33. Australia has a total of 10 deserts. 35% of the country is desert.
34. Australia has a total of 500 national parks. 10% of the country is made up of national parks, state forests, nature parks or conservation reserves.
35. Kakadu is the largest national park in Australia. It covers 20,000 square kilometres, which is about the same size as Slovenia.
36. Royal National Park is the oldest national park in Australia and second oldest in the world. It was declared in 1879.
37. There are 10,685 beaches in Australia.
38. The Australian mainland contains 30,000 km of coastline and 47,000 km if you include the islands. Beaches occupy half the coastline.
39. Whitehaven Beach is considered the best beach in Australia. It consists of 7 km of pure, powdery white silica set in the pristine surrounds of Whitsunday Islands National Park and clear tropical water.
40. 75 Mile Beach is often considered the most dangerous beach in Australia. Venture in the water and you’ll be swimming against strong rips, huge sharks and stingers. On the sand you may get run over by light planes that use the beach as an airstrip or by cars because the beach is officially classified as a highway.
41. It's widely believed that Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay has an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for having the whitest sand in the world. Apparently it’s a myth, but…
42. Guinness World Records says that Australia has the largest population of camels in the wild, which is about 200,000, and is home to the most dangerous ant in the world, the bulldog ant.
43. The Coorong is the longest uninterrupted beach in Australia. It measures 125 km.
44. The longest non-continuous beaches in Australia are Ninety Mile and Eighty Mile Beaches, both measuring 222 km. Non-continuous means it's interrupted by creeks or other physical elements, but the beach is linked at low tide or by a surf zone.
45. The Australian population is 24 million. The population is expected to reach 36 million by 2050.
46. All capital cities apart from Canberra are located on the coast.
47. 85% of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coastline and 70% live in major cities.
48. 28% of the Australian population were born overseas. The greatest proportion of overseas-born residents originate from the United Kingdom (5.1 %), New Zealand (2.6 %) and China (2.0 %).
49. 18% of Australians speak a language other than English at home. The most commonly spoken languages after English are Mandarin, Italian and Arabic.
50. Sydney is the most multicultural city in Australia; 30% of people speak a language other than English at home.
51. Australians speak over 200 languages.
52. When the first Europeans set foot in Australia in 1788, there were about 250 Aboriginal languages spoken. Only 18 languages are still going strong.
53. Australian Aboriginals have the oldest, continuing human culture in the world. Australian Aboriginals have lived in Kakadu National Park for at least 40,000 years.
54. Aboriginal people wore different hairstyles in different communities. Some women shaved their heads while others wore their hair short. Because the men and women of the First Fleet wore clothes and the men were clean shaven, the Aboriginal people had trouble differentiating men from women.