The sunburnt country; the lucky country; the land down under; there are many names for Australia, the first of which was “Terra Australis Incognito”, which is Latin for “Unknown Southern Land”. While debate rages in academia over whether Australia is an island, or a continent, or both, we Aussies are more inclined to just sit back, have a laugh and reckon there are bigger fish to fry – both literally and metaphorically! With unmatched natural beauty, some of the finest produce and the shining sun, it’s hard not to fall in love with Australia.
Weather & Climate
Although a generally warm climate, the Australian climate varies remarkably. With the heat emanating from the arid Red Centre, the population of Australia mainly focuses on the more habitable coastlines where the beaches can meet rainforests towards the north of the country, while alpine ranges are present in the southeast. The country is heavily influenced by global weather patterns and can alternate between periods of extremes, from flood to drought and back again. The southern states of Tasmania, Victoria and Adelaide tend to be cooler than the rest of the country, due to winds and currents coming from Antarctica, while Western Australia laps in the sunshine.
History & Culture
With one of the world’s oldest indigenous people, Australian Aboriginals arrived in the country approximately 40,000 years ago, living in traditional ways until the country was cartographically surveyed by the Dutch in the seventeenth century and then colonised by the British in 1788, after accounts from Captain James Cook and his First Fleet. Originally a convict settlement, Australia prospered with an abundance of natural resources and agriculture, before the separate colonies of the nation formed a federation in 1901. From here, Australia has grown up as a sovereign nation under the British Commonwealth, with a laidback, easygoing people, known for their sporting prowess and vibrant arts scene.
- Australia’s wildlife is renowned for being dangerous – 65% of the world’s most venomous snakes are found in Australia.
- The world’s largest living structure is found along the northeastern coast of Australia – The Great Barrier Reef.
- On average, Australians consume 83 litres of beer per year per capita.
- The world’s longest mail run is between Cairns and Cape York, where the postman flies for 1,450 km!
Here’s a bit of Aussie lingo for you, so you can keep up with the locals during your visit:
G'Day - Hello!
Dunnie – Toilet or bathroom
Crook – Feeling particularly unwell
Esky - Large insulated food/drink container for picnics, barbecues etc
Thong – Flip flops (not underwear!)
Bottle shop – Liquor store
Hotel – Can mean an actual hotel, but often refers to a pub or other drinking establishment
Drop Bear - large, vicious, carnivorous marsupials related to koalas that inhabit treetops and attack their prey by dropping onto their heads from above.