Australia, also known as the Commonwealth of Australia, seems to us and many others as a faraway land that is exotic and mysterious. There are many things about the continent and country that are foreign to us that go way beyond the accent and the fact that they drive on the other side of the road. We thought it would be wise to compile a list of things you should know about the land down under before you attempt a visit to the glorious place. There are many wonderful things about it but there are also things you need to know to prepare yourself (physically and mentally) for such a venture.
We talk about kangaroos, naturally, since they are indeed a big part of the Aussie style. We go over what you may run into, a little history of the country (which is MUCH more advanced and modern than we give it credit for by the way), as well as little known facts about the nation that will warm your heart and fill your tummies. Australia has a lot to offer to anyone who wishes to visit the sunny spot. You do have to remember that their seasons are opposite from the Western world as they are in the southern hemisphere, so when we have summer, they have winter, and so on and so forth.
Their economy is booming, the people are very nice, the kangaroos are mean so steer clear, the continent is bigger than we are sure you are aware of, and they like eating some pretty strange things. Australia is part of the royal government of Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, and we also learn a bit about how she handled the government there in the 70s, you’ll love it!
The dangerous box jellyfish
Also commonly known as a ‘sea wasp’, this box-like medusa can be found floating in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. What’s mostly dangerous about this jellyfish is that its sting can cause a human being experience agonizing pain and in some cases can lead to fatal consequences. This slippery stinger has around fifteen tentacles in each of its corner. They each contain around 500,000 explosive cells that can inject poison into a human being.
Python vs. flying fox
Ok, we realize that the box jellyfish scare wasn’t a real one as these creatures are found in the waters and not everyone loves the water which makes it pretty safe to visit the land down under, at least on a dry ground. However, taking one good look at this picture will make you realize that A. Pythons are as big as you thought they were. B. Flying Foxes are not a myth and C. You don’t want to get in the middle of these two fighting.
Python vs. wallaby
If you thought the this Python-Flying Fox battle was impressive (and scary), then you should probably sit back and hold yourself because you haven’t seen it all. Check out how the python is so strong and determined that it manages to pull out a wallaby out of the ocean. Wallabies usually have to face other threats like wild dogs and feral cats, who knew that they now have to be aware of pythons as well?
The colorful and dangerous octopus
If you happen to visit the beautiful continent on its many stunning water creatures, and also happen to fall in love with an Aussie, make sure they won’t put a blue-ringed octopus on it. Joke aside, these colorful creatures are actually one of the most toxic creatures in the sea. The fact that they don’t have the substance that counteracts the poison, makes them extremely dangerous to the point that they can kill people.
The small octopus
We’ve all been there, we’re on a romanic vacation and we decide to take a boat out to sea with our loved one. What most people usually expect to see is the sunset and the deep blue sea and maybe some dolphins. The last thing they probably expect os to have a little octopus jump on their back and interrupting the peace and quiet and mostly the romance. Unbelievable, the things you can see in Australia.
Don’t step on the stonefish
Is it a boat? a fish? or maybe a stone? well, it’s a stonefish and they are very dangerous! In fact, those that are found in Australia are specifically more dangerous. Their stings can lead to people dying if they are not treated properly. Try not to step on one as by stepping on them, it forces venom to be released into the human’s foot. Most importantly, these fish can be found on the beach as well not just inside the water.
Surfing with the sharks
If you always dreamed of swimming with dolphins or surfing with sharks in Australia, you should probably know that there are a few. Australia is the native ground to three of the most world’s vicious sharks: the tiger shark, the bull shark and the famous great white shark. All are sure going to attack humans if they come across them and all are in the waters surrounding the continent. I sure hope that surfer made it out okay and didn’t get attacked by the great white swimming by him.
Rock the vote
Voting in the land down under is not a joke. Apparently, the government has issued a strict policy regarding people who do not use their democratic right. That means that a citizen could get fined for missing the vote without a sufficient reason. You think if this was implemented anywhere else in the world it would be a good thing or a bad thing? We aren’t sure either. We’ll get back to you.
Locals in Australia have a funny way of doing things. In order to scare tourists (whether as a joke or in all seriousness) they came up with an imaginary creature called a drop bear. A drop bear is said to live in the trees in Australia, and only comes down to attack his victims. Here we see the chart they made to make sure tourists had a perfect idea as to what they have to deal with.
Whether you like Ugg boots or not, they are an Australian invention going back decades. The boots are named ‘Ugg’ because that’s what Australians call a boot that is made out of sheepskin. The American company that created the brand ‘Ugg’ has trademarked the name and has been keeping it on lockdown ever since. There is an ongoing legal battle in regards to the rights for the name that has been stirring since 1999.
The Queen of England also has jurisdiction in Australia, in case you didn’t know. In 1975, Elizabeth exercised her royal right when she stepped into the Australian government when they were in an argument over budgeting and just up and fired the entire room. It was as a result of this very bold that Australia had to hold elections and replace the lot of those who were fired on that fateful day.
Kangaroos vs. humans
In classic Australian fashion, what is the most common animal we non-Australians think of when we think of Australia? Kangaroos of course. Little known fact – there are 25 million kangaroos in all of Australia (last time someone counted) while there are only 23,856,200 (again, last time someone checked); meaning there are more kangaroos than humans in the lovely land down under. Just make sure you don’t get into a fight with one, you won’t win.
With no relation to the Batman comics and films, the city of Melbourne was once named Batmania! Now before you get all up in arms about this, the city was named Batmania after the explorer and founder of the city, John Batman. Now if you have beef with anyone about Melbourne being called Batmania, you should ask those who allowed it to be called that with such a renowned comic book landing the same name.
The first selfie
Game changer, guys! The word selfie, which we all known all too well these days, was said to have been coined by a drunk Australian over 13 years ago. As we can see here, these guys are taking an adorable selfie with a young kangaroo. The kangaroo had to be young since if he were older he would have punched these guys all too hard in the face like we know them to be capable of.
This may be a reason perhaps NOT to go to Australia. If you are anything like us, you are terrified of snakes. Now here’s another fact about the land: they have 20 of the worlds 25 deadliest snake breeds on the planet! There is something about the weather and terrain that make it a perfect breeding ground for so many of these venomous serpents. Those who live in Australia will tell you, there is strict protocol as to how to handle a snake.
Take cover!… is what the citizens of Docker River yelled when a stampede of camels came rushing through their town on their way to the water source. This was back in 2009 but left a serious impression on the people of the town. Many people tend to forget that Australia is as large as North America, meaning that they have dessert terrain as well as mountains, and everything in between.
The national mascot
While kangaroos are not the friendliest of animals, in fact they are quite violent in nature, they are still the national animal and are very much loved and respected. Sadly, kangaroos in the wild are hunted and killed for their fur and meat. The animal is protected but it doesn’t stop those who want to benefit from the natural gifts these lovely animals possess. We are against this, of course, and think there should be closer monitoring over the majestic animal.
Koalas are kind and adorable, that’s for sure. However, the beautiful creatures are also officially on the list of animals going extinct. More than 50% of the koala population is dying due to their contraction of a well-known STD that humans have a tendency of getting. Koalas are protected in Australia, along with the kangaroo. They are huggers and not fighters like their kangaroo friends in the wild.
Australians take cleanliness very seriously. They don’t like any form of littering done to their land or surrounding oceans. So when debris fell from the sky onto Australian soil from NASA’s space station, Skylab, the Australian government fined NASA $400 for the mess. The debris fell onto the town of Esperance, WA. Here we see the giant check made to make an example out of NASA that is made out to the city of Esperance.
Exporting their camels
In a pretty gross move, we have to say, on behalf of the Australian government, they export camels to Saudi Arabia for the sole purpose for them to be eaten, i.e. these camels are being sent over for meat consumption. Not cool! Also, if you didn’t know, camel meat is very fatty and does not taste very good, we only know this from what we were told, not from tasting it ourselves.
There are two LAWS in Victoria that are both ridiculous and counterproductive. One would be the law stating that it is illegal for you to change a lightbulb unless you are a licensed electrician – really?! While the second one would be to walk around wearing slippers after the sun has gone down. How could these be laws? We find this very strange, but we also don’t want to get arrested while we vacation so we will abide by the rules.
An experimental bunch
How can we put this gently? Australians are very adventurous people. They are especially adventurous behind closed doors. It is said that 28% of Australians have attempted a three-person ‘party’ in the bedroom, if you catch our drift. We are all for having as much fun as you think works for you, we’re just surprised they are so open about it! They really are an experimental bunch, those Aussies!
Some of the unexpected symptoms of a ‘sea wasp’ or in its more familiar name, a box jellyfish, are in the form of prickling, burning and just an overall stinging pain. As you can notice in the picture below, the prints of the tentacles are very visual. Once it stings you, then you will experience the throbbing and excruciating pain. And yes, it’s just as bad as it sounds. In the worst case scenario, the sting will cause one to feel nauseous, have headaches and vomit.
money, money, money
Gina Rinehart is Australia’s most wealthy woman. How wealthy, you ask? She makes round $1 million every half hour. Do the math, that’s $598 a second! Gina is the chairman of Hancock Prospecting, a mineral and excavation company that is privately owned by her. Her father founded the company and she is reaping the rewards. She inherited 76.6% of the company with the rest going to the hope Margaret Hancock Trust.
Australia was far more advanced than almost every other country in the world when it came to women’s rights. Other than New Zealand, which did it first, Australia was the second country on earth to give women the right to vote. Australia established through the Australian Parliament the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902, which made it legal for women to vote. Way to go with modernizing way before the rest of the world!
Master of beer
Bob Hawke was the prime minister of Australia from 1983 to 1991. During that time he made quite an impression on his constituents by setting a world record for sculling exactly 2.5 pints of beer in just 11 seconds. Hawke later said that this was probably why he believed he had such a good political achievements throughout his career in the public eye. We have to agree, Bob, we have to agree.
A fine example
In a modern day Robin Hood, the Australian police department was actually initially made up on Australia’s most relaxed ex-convicts the country had to offer. It was former bad guys working to make sure future bad guys were behind bars and the rest of the people were kept safe from harms way. Talk about a great rehabilitation service! There are movies about bad guys going good, but when you hear about it in real life it kind of takes your breath away.
Cute little animal side note: kangaroos and emu’s can’t walk backwards! How cute is that?! It is said that that is the reason they are on Australia’s coat of arms, since they cannot go back on their moves. Also another side note, sharks can’t swim backwards either. Perhaps there is something to take away from this lesson of never looking back or going back on your word?
Zorba the Aussie
Melbourne, Australia is located in the southern tip of the continent in Victoria. The reason we are saying this is because Melbourne also seems to have the largest Greek population in the world outside of Athens. Interestingly enough, the two places are extremely far apart and we have to wonder what’s there that attracts so many greeks to the place. Perhaps it reminds them of home but in a different place?
Could you imagine it being illegal to swim in the ocean? Well, that was a very real thing in Australia before 1902. Prior to that year it was not legal to swim in the ocean during daylight hours. You would think it be the exact opposite, that it would be illegal to swim at night rather than when the sun is shining and you could see where and what you were doing!
Chubby with rugby
This one threw us for a loop: 63% of Australians are actually overweight. Everything that comes out of the land down under speaks to the nature calls in us. We always see people outside hiking or surfing, we were completely surprised to learn that most of the nation is actually fatter than they should be. It just goes to show you that what is advertised is one thing and reality is another.
Life is good
The city of Melbourne was ranked as the most livable city int he world for three consecutive years! Traveller magazine writes, “In the review of 140 cities, Victoria’s capital was given perfect scores for health care, education and infrastructure.” For a city that seems so far away for those who have never been to Australia, no wonder so many people want to live there. Now we can understand the Greeks.
A bug’s life
What we are about to tell you is really a thing that happens every single year in Brisbane: there is an annual cockroach racing world championship! Who thinks these kinds of things up!? The official website of the championship states, “Like any great Aussie Race Day our Cockroach Races (now in year 36) provide a sporting arena and dedicated stadium seating and corporate boxes for the races so you can participate in each race in style and everyone can enjoy the fun festival atmosphere.”
He is risen
In one of the more strange happenings to happen to an Australian, a bearded darts player was removed from a professional dart match in England after the whole of the audience started calling out ‘Jesus’, distracting the players and throwing the game off. We have to say that if anyone should have been thrown out it should have been the audience and not the poor player who just happened to look like Jesus!
Symphonies against robberies
It’s a big problem around the world that bored teenagers are up to no good every now and then. Their bad behavior alot of the time takes place in abandoned or open-spaced locations. In Australia, shopping centers and the like, play classical music in order to calm the angsty teens and make them think twice before loitering after dark. Again, this is something we should totally try in the US, no?
A united front
This is the kind of place we want to live in – the debate that was to take place on television for the Australian election was postponed due to the fact that it conflicted with the final episode of a cooking reality competition show called Masterchef. Brilliant move on behalf of the government, otherwise no one would have watched the debate! Taking into consideration the people and what their normal routines are is vital for a candidate.
It is known that China is much closer to Australia than any European country. It is said that Chinese fisherman, sailors and explorers arrived to Australian shores as early as the 1400s, way before any other nation stepped foot there. The evidence for this is found in the 15th century Ming statue that is found near Darwin that was built there by sailors who came ashore from China at the time.
A beach per person
Australia publicly known for its countless beaches, as there are more than 10,000 of them in the entire continent. By performing a simple calculation, a person could visit a different beach every day for more than 27 years.
One of the most famous mountains in Australia is called Mt. Disappointment. The reason for that name is due to the fact when its explorers discovered it they thought that the view from it was indeed, disappointing. We have to say that we think it looks very adequate for a mountain and that it shouldn’t feel bad about itself. The rural outback of Australia really is a sight for sore eyes.
Missing in action
Harold Holt, one of Australia’s Prime Minister was known as an avid swimmer. However, in 1967 a strange thing happened when he went to for a swim at the beach and was never seen again. This mysterious incident left a huge wave effect on the Australian people and raised several conspiracy theories over the years. We know a lot of things tend to happen off the shores of Australia thanks to the sharks, maybe that’s what happened?
In many cases, Australian citizens that live on Christmas Island will need to stay home or drive super slow. That is due to over 45 million crabs that are wandering throughout the island almost every day. Ever wonder if the people on the island just gab a few of them to boil up for dinner? Sorry if this is offensive to anyone but you know you were thinking it!
The Australian Dingoes are also known as wild dogs. These animals live all across Australia and are considered ferocious and highly dangerous predators. While they often feed on remains and an animal’s dead body, dingoes are also notorious for attacking humans. There are a lot of predators in Australia, be it in the water or on land, you have to keep your guard up in the wild, and perhaps keep a local by your side throughout your trip as well.
Meet the dragon. This strange animal has thorns and could switch its skin color from light or dark depending on the current season. Nature really is a marvelous thing, just look at this little guy, while he or she or it (whatever you’d like to call it) is very cute, if you were to come across this lovely looking creature, make sure not to touch it as it is venomous and could hurt you severely.
This unique breed of spiders found in Australia is not your average spider at all. They can be quite deadly, such as the one in the picture who’s in the middle of consuming a snake. If this were our bathroom and we saw this happening, we wouldn’t even bother calling an exterminator, we would just move without disturbing these two getting into a fight. WOW that’s a giant spider.
West coast turtles
The Ningaloo Marine Park, located on Australia’s western coast, is the sea turtle’s favorite place. The area is surrounded by a large coral reef and is frequently visited by tourists and amateur scuba divers. A tourist managed to snap this shot of a turtle on the shore of the beach looking out seemingly lost in thought, or so we would like to think. We can’t see a person in sight, which is already a big plus for us!
A blue dragon
This tiny creature was discovered by mistake on Australia’s Gold Coast. The blue-colored dragon is very rare and could be found in tropical areas around the world such as in the rainforests of Vietnam. Usually when something is rare and hard to find, and especially if it has a vibrant color like that, it is a venomous creature so we sure hope the person taking this photo didn’t touch the poor guy.
Sapphire-colored sea slugs
The Sapphire sea slug is a tiny creature that is small yet very beautiful. We can see here how small the slug really is when compared to the hand it is resting on for the photo to be taken. The blue and black coloring of the slug is very captivating while the contrast between the two colors makes this little guy very hard to miss once you make sure not to step on it.
A rare kind of parrot
Among other things, the land down under also has a rare kind of parrot, called the Orange-Bellied Parrot. Considered to be one of the country’s most endangered animals, this parrot’s stomach is puffier than other parrots and is much smaller than the rest of his brethren breeds. His beautiful green and blue coloring makes him hard to miss on a tree although it can come to his detriment as there are those who want to catch him.
Special kind of primate
These kind of primates are often reside very close to Australia. They could also be found in other countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Burma. What makes these monkeys special is their coloring and social habits. They never leave one another side and although they are genetically linked to one another, they can have various coloring that is not genetically decided upon. That’s the tropics for you!
Many wild animals
This famous photo of a screaming kangaroo was taken by a revered animal photographer named Alex Cearns. The animal photographer is also known for his other photos of various unusual animals, one of them showing a smiling wombat. What makes this photo so unique is how close Cearns got to the violent animal. While kangaroos are adorable and classic for Australia, they are not nice to humans. He also managed to capture him with an open mouth and in the middle of some sort of act.
The Australian Quokkas
These cute little things are almost as big as a fully-grown cat. The quokkas live in a protected area within a nature reserve but could also be found in the islands located in Western Australia in their wild natural habitat. They are very cute to the eye and are said to be very kind, but like all wild animals, you must beware when around them and make sure you respect their space and territory.