Even if you’ve never visited Australia, you’ve probably got a rough idea of what it’s like: Kangaroos, the Sydney Opera House, and hot weather. But what you might not know is that a visit to the “Land Down Under” is actually like stepping into another world.
It’s true – from the animals to the food, people, and landscape, Australia isn’t like any other place on earth.
#15. They talk differently.
It’s known as Ozenglish (because people refer to Australia as “Oz”), and it’s sort of the same but sort of not. Here are some examples:
Australia = Straya
Mosquitoes = Mozzies
Definitely = Defo
Afternoon = Arvo
And make sure you greet everyone with a relaxed “G’day, mate!”
#14. Their failed police dogs get cush jobs.
Gavel, a German Shephard who crashed and burned at police dog training because he was too friendly, is now Queensland’s first Vice-Regal Dog. What’s that? Well, he works at the Government House greeting visitors and in general enjoying life.
#13. They celebrate the Queen’s birthday when they damn well feel like it.
The Queen of England is still technically lording it over Australia, but even though her actual birthday is in April, most Australian states celebrate it sometime in the fall – because there are other holidays in April and they needed a break in the fall.
#12. Their killer beaches.
If you wanted to visit one Australian beach a day, it would take you almost 30 years to see them all. 4 out of 5 Aussies lives less than 50km from a coast. That sounds awesome!
Australia is home to several strange (to us) species of animals, and wallabies are no exception! These aren’t actually tiny kangaroos but an entirely different species – one that enjoys opium, which is legally grown in Australia.
The wallabies go into poppy fields and run around in circles, according to farmers who observe the behavior.
This is a cake popular in Australia and New Zealand. It’s made with meringue and topped with cream and fresh fruit and was named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (because it’s as light as she danced).
#9. They have wild camels.
When you think of camels, your mind probably goes to the Middle East, but there are approximately 750,000 camels wandering around the Australian outback. They took well to their adopted homeland after being imported in the 19th century to help move heavy loads.
#8. The sheep are everywhere.
Australia is home to 72 million sheep. It’s a great place to get a lamb dinner, consequently, if you’re into that sort of thing.
#7. They have a pink lake.
This pink lake is a top tourist destination, and even though the color is a bit of a mystery, scientists believe a bacteria (not microalgae) causes the salty water in Lake Hillier to take on the bright pink hue.
No, not the swimsuit kind – the kind we now call “flip-flops” in the U.S. It’s virtually never cold there so to Aussies, thongs are year-round, all-occasion footwear.
#5. The wombat.
This funny-looking marsupial is native to Australia and doesn’t spring up indigenously anywhere else. Even with their short legs and labored gate, they can spring up to 25 miles per hour – I sure would like to see that!
#4. The snakes.
Australia is home to 21 of the 25 most deadly venomous snakes in the world, but only about 2 people a year die from snakebites – and those are usually people trying to kill or catch the snake in the first place. They may seem terrifying, but the answer seems to be to leave them in peace.
Unless they’re trying to eat your little dog or something. And maybe even then, depending on how much you like your dog.
#3. Including giant pythons.
But don’t worry – even though statistics say nearly 80% of houses in some provinces have a python living nearby, they mostly eat mice and rats (that’s a good thing!) and then just hang around digesting for months.
These are the oldest and largest living fossils on earth and are made up of microbial deposits of blue-green algae.
It sounds alien, and this well-known massive rock looks like it belongs on another planet, as well. It’s around 600 million years old and changes colors depending on the time of day and year, ranging from a greyish-pink to a bright red. Some people think it resembles an elephant sleeping on its side.