AUSRALIA! What images did it paint in your mind when you read its name? Crocodile Dundee, Steve Erwin, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, kangaroos, Sydney Opera House, Aborigines or vegemite? Well, there’s so, so, SO much more to it! It is said that variety is the spice of life and Australia is truly the land that epitomizes diversity, be it the ever-changing terrain or the plethora of cultures. Food, people, land or water, here’s an article that encapsulates them all and it’ll definitely convince you that Australia is mystical, magical, wonderful, beautiful .. the best country of all time!
15. The only nation-continent
Australia is the only nation-continent in the world i.e. Australia is the only nation to govern an entire continent and its outlying islands! (cool) It has an overall population of 20 million which is as diverse as its terrain. It has the world’s 3rd largest ocean territory, spanning three oceans and covering around 12 million square kilometers and it also is the 6th largest country in the world, occupying an entire continent of some 7.6 million square kilometers. Sealed the deal already, eh?
14. Winter wonderland
Although, Australia is the driest inhabited continent (its annual rainfall averaged over the continental area is less than 500 mm), The Australian Alps receive more annual snowfall than Switzerland! The Alps span New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Victoria and embraces 16 national parks and reserves. Snow ball fights, anyone?!
13. Crickey mate?
Melbourne is the sporting capital of the world and has 70 percent of its total population participating at least once a week in a particular recreational activity or sport. Australia hosts top level sporting events across all sports, worth mentioning are the Australian Opens and the various international cricket events in the Melbourne cricket ground. A country that plays together stays together!
While Australia may not be known for its innovation and technology, Australians have come up with many bright ideas, and Australian individuals, companies and organizations have created successful products, processes and systems based on many of those ideas. The list includes the refrigerator, electric drill, notepad, ultrasound, racecam etc. God bless the Australians!
11. Move with the beat!
Diversity is interwoven into the very fabric of Australian music too. It is worldly acclaimed and is an amalgamation of all different sorts of genres ranging from edm to indigenous folk songs. It is the land which produced the didgeridoo which is a wind instrument developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia around1,500 years back and continues to be in widespread use today both in Australia and around the world. It is sometimes described as a natural wooden trumpet. Australian singers like Kylie Minogue, Sia and Keith Urban are cherished throughout the globe. Australia also features innumerable music festivals including field day, STEREOSONIC SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS etc.
10. Exotic species
Australia’s size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with tropical rainforests in the north-east, mountain ranges in the south-east, south-west and east, and dry desert in the center, which is why Australia is home to many exotic species of plants and animals, including Warata, Cabbage palm, Kangaroos, Koalas, Emus and Platypuses. The Queensland lung fish which is endemic to Australia is a living fossil from the Triassic period 350 million years ago!
9. Getting close to nature
Australia has 500 national parks. Over 28 million hectares of land is designated as national parkland, accounting for almost four per cent of Australia’s land areas. In addition, a further six per cent of Australia is protected and includes state forests, nature parks and conservation reserves. Some famous national parks are – Purnululu National Park, Kosciuszko National Park, Flinders Ranges National Park and Royal National Park. Vegetation covers nearly 7 million square kilometers or 91 percent of Australia despite it having the least fertile soil!
8. Say no to pollution!
Australians breathe some of the cleanest air in the world, according to an international survey of nearly 1100 cities by the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization air quality guidelines recommend a yearly average below 20 micrograms per cubic meter of PM10 and Australia averaged 13 micrograms. Only Canada rivalled Australia for having the world’s least polluted air based on measurements of PM10 – airborne particles of 10 micrometres or less. Tasmania, an isolated island state off Australia’s south coast has the world’s purest and cleanest air!
7. Be a part of the largest living structure!
The Great Carrier Reef is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. It is composed of over 2,900 individual reef. The Great Barrier Reef has over 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometers and can be seen from outer space. The Great Barrier Reef is approximately the same area as Italy, Germany, Malaysia or Japan. Thirty species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises have been recorded in the Great Barrier Reef. Six species of sea turtles come to the reef to breed, 215 species of birds (including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds) visit the reef or nest or roost on the islands, seventeen species of sea snake live on it and more than 1,500 fish species live on the reef. Around 10 percent of the world’s total fish species can be found just within the Great Barrier Reef!
6. 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites
Australia has a total of 19 UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites, which include some of the oldest rain-forests on earth and around one-third of the world’s protected marine areas. They’re dominated by 16 natural sites, though four of these are joint natural-cultural entries. The list includes
- Australian Convict Sites(2010)
- Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens(2004)
- Sydney Opera House(2007)
- Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh / Naracoorte)(1994)
- Fraser Island(1992)
- Gondwana Rainforests of Australia(1986)
- Great Barrier Reef(1981)
- Greater Blue Mountains Area(2000)
- Heard and McDonald Islands(1997)
- Lord Howe Island Group(1982)
- Macquarie Island(1997)
- Ningaloo Coast(2011)
- Purnululu National Park(2003)
- Shark Bay, Western Australia(1991)
- Wet Tropics of Queensland(1988)
- Kakadu National Park(1981)
- Tasmanian Wilderness(1982)
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park(1987)
- Willandra Lakes Region(1981)
5. Beaches galore!
If you were to visit one Australian beach a day, it would take you 27 years to visit each one of them! Australia has more than 30,000 miles of spectacular coastline with 10,685 recorded beaches, including Hayam’s beach in NSW, which has the world’s whitest sand, and Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands, which is continuously voted as the most beautiful beach on the planet. More than 80 percent of Australians live within 100 kilometers of the coast, making Australia one of the world’s most urbanized coastal dwelling populations. Imagine having an exotic getaway every weekend! The aqua blue water, the oceanic breeze, surfing. Mmm, heaven!
4. The land of multiculturalism
Three major contributors to Australia’s demographic make-up are a diverse Indigenous population, a British colonial past and extensive immigration from many different countries and cultures. Today, Australia’s population of about 23 million is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse populations in the world. Although the majority of the population are Australian born, more than 75% of Australians identified with an ancestry other than Australian in the 2011 Census. Collectively, Australians speak over 200 languages. Languages other than English are spoken by about 16% of the population with about 61,000 people speaking an Indigenous language. Other than English, the most common languages spoken today are Chinese, Italian, Greek and Arabic. It is also the home of the largest Greek population outside Greece! Also, Sydney was voted as the friendliest city in the world!
3. Lip-smacking cuisine
Modern Australian cuisine is an interesting blend of different cuisines. The native Aboriginal or “bushtucker” style of cooking mixed with the influence of the English settlers and the various settlers from different cultures such as Asians and Arabs, added their cooking styles and foods into the mix.
Today, Australia is a unique “melting pot” of global cooking styles and foods, with Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Lebanese and African cuisines competing with Greek, French, Spanish and of course, the English, to titillate the taste-buds of the gastronomic adventurers. The assortment of unique Australian dishes available highlights this contrast, with recipes like fish and chips, Pavlova, curries and kebabs. The Australian produce is fresh, unique and healthy, be it the choice of meats or vegetables. Come one come all, Australia has something or the other to offer to tantalize your taste buds!
2. The lake of love!
It’s a striking contrast—deep blue sky ebbing next to bubble gum pink sink of water. Lake Hillier, known as the Pink Lake, is on Australia’s Middle Island. Because the lake is located on an island, it is not easily accessible on your own, but cruises and helicopter tours are two ways to enjoy the unbelievable views. Tourists love the juxtaposition of the soft pink lake alongside the sandy shore and turquoise waters. The lake is about 600 meters long, and is surrounded by a rim of sand and dense woodland of paperbark and eucalyptus trees. Lake Hillier isn’t the only pink lake in the world, but it is one of the most beautiful and its pink color is permanent throughout the year unlike the others. Scientists speculate that the color comes from a dye created by bacteria that lives in the salt crusts. If this lake doesn’t make you express your love to your loved one, it’ll definitely make you fall in love with itself!
1. Australia- second-best in the world for quality of life
According to a survey conducted by the UN in 2015, Australia has been ranked as the 2nd best country in the world for quality of life. The nation’s Human Development Index (HDI) was measured at 0.935 out of a maximum score of one, coming second to Norway and beating Switzerland, which has held on to third place in 2015’s annual report. The survey basically takes into consideration three major factors namely, life expectancy at birth, mean and expected years of schooling and standard of living, which is measured by gross national income per capita. Australians can expect to live on average to about 82 1/2 years, have a mean 13 years of schooling and the gross national income per person is $58,618!