With a population of around 22.9 million, Australia is the world’s smallest continent but sixth largest country by total area. It’s population density is the same as that of Namibia and Iceland and there are 45 indigenous languages spoken in Australia. Probably best known as a sheep-rearing country, Australia has over 10,000 species of spiders, 55 species of native kangaroos and wallabies and 84% of Australia’s mammals are unique to the country. It is also home to the magnificent Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres.
Australia is much more than wide open spaces full of wildlife though. Visitors can tackle one of Australia’s greatest four-wheel-drive adventures on a 660-kilometre journey through the vast Kimberley. They can swim beside manta rays or the whale shark, the world’s largest fish, or go cruising to see humpback whales. Once they have had their fill of waterfalls, rivers, wetlands, and world-renowned national parks there are numerous gemfields to explore. Australia’s richest person, Georgina Rinehart, is worth around $17 billion and she made her fortune from mining and prospecting, so searching for ‘thunder eggs’ – 120 million years old rocks with gem centres – could make someone’s holiday that much more exciting!
There is a fun side to Australia too! On January 26th, which is Australia Day, you can race cockroaches at Brisbane’s Story Bridge Hotel. The background to the starting of this race in 1982 is attributed to two men in a bar who boasted that the cockroaches of their area were the fastest in Brisbane. The racing annual event is touted as “the greatest gathering of thoroughbred cockroaches in the world”. If you want to know more fascinating and downright weird facts about this beautiful country, then read our fun infographic.