Exciting Facts: What do you know about Australia?
Hi guys! Want to know some exciting facts about Australia? Australia is the only country in the world that covers an entire continent. It is one of the largest countries on Earth. Actually, what do you know about this continent, country and island? In fact it’s the world’s biggest island but the world’s smallest continent! Discover all the amazing and interesting things Australia has to offer with these exciting facts.
- OFFICIAL NAME: Commonwealth of Australia
- FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Federal parliamentary democracy; Commonwealth realm
- CAPITAL: Canberra
- POPULATION: 23,470,145
- OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: English
- MONEY: Australian dollar
- AREA: 2,969,906 square miles (7,692,024 square kilometers)
- MAJOR MOUNTAIN RANGES: Great Dividing Range, Macdonnell Ranges
- MAJOR RIVERS: Murray-Darling, Murrumbidgee, Lachlan
Australia is the only country in the world that covers an entire continent. It is one of the largest countries on Earth. Although it is rich in natural resources and has a lot of fertile land, more than one-third of Australia is desert.
Firstly, most Australian cities and farms are located in the southwest and southeast, where the climate is more comfortable. There are dense rain forests in the northeast. The famous outback (remote rural areas) contains the country’s largest deserts, where there are scorching temperatures, little water, and almost no vegetation.
Secondly, running around the eastern and southeastern edge of Australia is the Great Dividing Range. This 2,300-mile (3,700-kilometer) stretch of mountain sends water down into Australia’s most important rivers and the Great Artesian Basin, the largest groundwater source in the world.
People and Culture
Australia is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse nations and that is why nearly a quarter of the people who live in Australia were born in other countries. They come from the United Kingdom and other European countries, but also from China, Vietnam, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Australia’s warm, sunny climate and abundance of open spaces gives the population a love of the outdoors. The people are also passionate about sports, including swimming, surfing, sailing, tennis, soccer, cricket, rugby, and their own invention, Australian rules football.
Australia’s ecosystem is an unusual one because of its remote location. As a result, there are many animal species that occur here and nowhere else in the world, such as the platypus, kangaroo, echidna, and koala. Australia has 516 national parks to protect its unique plants and animals.
One of Australia’s most amazing sites rises like an enormous whale’s back from a flat red-soil desert called the Red Center. This site is called Uluru, and it is a sacred natural formation at the heart of the country. In other words, rising 1,100 feet (335 meters) tall, it is the largest rock in the world!
Australia is home to many of the deadliest species of animals on the planet. There are 36 species of poisonous funnel-web spiders in eastern Australia. You will also find also 20 types of venomous snakes, including the taipan, which attacks without warning and bites repeatedly, killing its victim in minutes.
There are several types of rain forests in Australia. Tropical rain forests, mainly found in the northeast, are the richest in plant and animal species. Subtropical rain forests are found near the mid-eastern coast, and broadleaf rain forests grow in the southeast and on the island of Tasmania.
As a commonwealth of the United Kingdom, Australia’s head of state is the British monarch, but many Australians think the country should end its ties to Britain and become a republic. In a vote in 1999, Australians decided against separating from the UK, but the vote was close, and the debate continues.
Australia is an important exporter of agricultural goods like wool, wheat, beef, fruit, and wine. Similarly, the country is also rich in minerals and metals and is the world’s fourth largest producer of gold.
Aboriginal people arrived in Australia about 50,000 years ago. They may have traveled from Asia across land bridges that were exposed when sea levels were lower. The hardy Aborigines have learned to live in the harsh conditions of the outback.
Dutch explorers first landed in Australia in 1606, and years later the British began to settle there in 1788. Many settlers were criminals sent to live in Australia as punishment. For a short time, the newcomers lived peacefully with the Aboriginal people. But soon, fighting broke out over who owned the land.
In 1851, gold was discovered in Australia. A rush to find riches brought thousands of new immigrants, and by 1859, six separate colonies existed. In 1901, these colonies joined to form a British commonwealth.
Hope you take a keen interest in New Zealand’s breathtaking natural beauties, as well as its people and culture! Go on learning about other great countries such as England, Canada, Ireland, and the United States!
Just for fun…
- Colour the Australian map or the country’s flag
- Have fun creating some of Australia’s amazing animals with some free craft activities!
- Complete some Australia-themed wordsearches and worksheets
- Loads of Australia printables to download
- Play an interactive decision-maker game set in 1850–1900, Gold Rush
- Look up Australian slang phrases and words in an Aussie Slang Dictionary
- Explore the meanings of common Australian words and test your knowledge of Australian English
- Make your own paper model of Sydney Opera House
- Enjoy a game of Backyard Cricket (but read the official rules first!)
- Make a stick art sculpture, inspired by the woven grass sculptures created by First Australians
- Interactive games to teach you about living in the Australian landscape
- Cook some traditional Australian recipes, like chocolate crackles, Anzac biscuits, and zucchini slice
Find out more
- A kids’ introduction to the continent of Australasia
- Download a huge free booklet, Tell me about Australia, and have all the facts at your fingertips!
- An encyclopedia guide to Australia
- National Geographic Kids Australia facts and figures
- Get to know Australian animals! Find out about the platypus, kangaroo, echidnas, koala, possum, kookaburra, and wombat through educational videos
- Australian Journey: The Story of a Nation in 12 Objects is a video series exploring Australia’s history
- Maps of Australia
- Information about the geography of Australia
- Read a detailed guide to Australia’s history
- Captain James Cook, the most famous maritime explorer of the 18th century, mapped the islands of the Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia. Find out more about Cook’s journal, written on board his ship, the Endeavour, during his trip down under in 1770, to discover Cook’s first impressions of Australia and watch a video to see what life might have been like onboard the Endeavour in its three-year voyage
- A children’s interactive guide to Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia
- Watch videos of red kangaroos and tree kangaroos
- Rabbits have been a big problem in Australia!
- Find out more about the plants and animals of Australia
- The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Watch a video about how Australian places got their names and why cities around Australia are adopting Aboriginal names
- See the creation tracks that crisscross Australia
- Discover more about life in the Australian desert
- Watch videos about climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge and meeting a koala
- Find out more about Aboriginal Australian culture
- From the First Fleet and the Endeavour Tour to the Eureka Stockade and Australia’s first Parliament, find out about Australian history in videos for children
See for yourself
- Experience Australia in 360o
- See Sydney Opera House online on their website, then read about the famous Bondi Beach and Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Pay a virtual visit to the National Museum of Australia
- Look around a replica of the HMB Endeavour
- A tourists’ guide to the Great Barrier Reef
- Take a visual journey to Uluru
- See Australia for yourself in these fabulous pictures