Depending on who you are, you may have a vision in your head of what Australia is famous for. As an ex-pat, who moved to Australia from the UK I have been able to view this country both from near and far, so I have a rounded view of what this country is known for.
Australia is famous globally for many things – the Outback, venomous creatures, liveable cities, Aboriginal culture, the cliché of men in cork hats and natural icons such as Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef. Ask an Aussie though and you might get a different reply – pavlovas, magpie attacks and meat pies to name a few.
So as you can see, the external, slightly stereotypical view of Australia can vary massively from what Aussies think is famous about this country.
In this post, in no particular order, I am going to cover the things I think Australia is famous for – both from the outside looking in and from Aussies themselves.
Whilst more than 90% of Australians live within 100km of the coast, the soul of Australia is in the Outback. This is the Australia most non-Aussies think of – the parched, red landscape and impossibly straight roads.
So what and where is the Outback?
It’s a bit hard to give a clear definition. The original phrase comes from ‘out the back of x (with x being a place name)’ which is similar in meaning to ‘the back of beyond’. So a fairly loose phrase to start with!
Most Aussies would agree it’s the big sandy bit in the middle, so anything yellow or red on the map above can loosely be described as the Outback.
Maybe it’s the weather, maybe the coastal locations, maybe the economic prosperity or maybe the upbeat Australian attitude, but there is something about Australian cities that makes them incredibly liveable.
In fact, in 2021, four of the top ten most liveable cities were in Australia – Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane.
This is one very special country to live in.
Forget snakes, jellyfish, spiders and sharks, magpies are the beasts that most Aussies fear the most.
If you come from Europe you might think of the magpie as being a graceful, amiable bird with bright blue wing feathers. Unfortunately, the Australian magpie is not related to the rest of the magpies in the world, its closest relative is the butcherbird, which should probably tell you everything you need to know.
Between August and October every year, ‘swooping season’ is in full force, where the magpies defend their fledglings (offspring who are big enough to leave the nest, but not yet strong enough to fly so are often on the ground) by dive-bombing anyone or anything that comes into their vicinity. Cyclists attach cable ties to their helmets to try and confuse them, pedestrians change their route to avoid known hotspots, some people even try to feed and befriend them to avoid the wrath.
Welcome to Australia, where even the birds are out to get you!
Surfing has been a huge part of Australian life for over a century. With so many people living close to the ocean, it’s hardly a surprise that this Polynesian pastime got absorbed in Aussie culture.
With Sydney considered to be in the top 10 surf cities in the world, iconic surf destinations such as Bells Beach, Byron Bay and The Box dotted around the coast and huge surfing brands Billabong, Quicksilver and Rip Curl created in Australia (Rip Curl and Quicksilver were even founded in the same town – Torquay in Victoria) it’s fair to say that Australia and surfing are synonymous.
The Great Ocean Road
First of the iconic places on this list, the Great Ocean Road ranks in nearly every version of the ‘Top 10 Best Drives in the World‘ I’ve ever seen and comes 12th on the list of Lonely Planet’s ‘500 Best Places on the Planet‘. They are some accolades!
The fact that the start of the Great Ocean Road is less than an hour from Melbourne probably helps, making it an incredibly popular tourist attraction, but even if it was in the middle of no-where, I have no doubt it would still
Aside from the striking views, there are the Twelve Apostles, wild koalas at Cape Otway, beautiful little towns such as Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Fairy and even a fantastic chocolate shop to stop off at.
- Hardcover Book
- Lonely Planet,Lonely Planet Publications (COR) (Author)
Recommended Reading: 14 Beautiful Road Photos from Around the World
As a kid, my first connection with Australia came from Soaps. We used to get Neighbours at 5 pm every day and it seemed like a sunny, fun lifestyle which was in stark contrast to the British ones that came later in the day such as Eastenders and Coronation Street.
I can only think of two other programs that made it to British shores, which were Round the Twist (which turns out was filmed at a lighthouse on the Great Ocean Road) and The Flying Doctors, both of which were on when I was a kid.
Even browsing this list of ‘Australian TV shows that have had international success’ didn’t throw up any that I recognise, so Aussie TV definitely over indexes when it comes to exporting soaps versus other series.
Yellow Diamond Road Signs
Yes, I know these yellow diamond warning signs are used in other countries such as America and Thailand too, but for me they’ve always been an icon of Australia.
And there is simply no denying where the one above is from!
Australians take barbecue very seriously, but let’s clear one thing up first.
I’ve lived in this country for nearly three years and am yet to hear anyone use the word ‘shrimp’ let alone the phrase ‘throw another shrimp on the barbie’. This phrase actually originated from a 1980s tourism advert starring Paul Hogan aimed at getting Americans to visit Australia, so they used the word shrimp rather than prawn to hit their target audience. Unfortunately, it stuck!
Aussies have big backyards and long seasons of sun, which make barbecuing an almost inevitable part of life here. At Christmas, prawns are displayed for metres along the store fish counters ready for Boxing Day bashes, steaks are still cut by butchers to whatever thickness you want and you might even find something more exotic like wallaby, crocodile or kangaroo sizzling away.
But nothing wins Aussie hearts more than a simple snag in bread – a sausage, wrapped in a piece of white bread and butter, smothered in tomato ketchup. You’ll find these sold at ‘sausage sizzles’ everywhere – from outside the hardware store on a Sunday morning to the famous democracy sausage, which are available on Election Day at the polling booth.
I told you they take barbecue seriously!
Things That Can Kill You
Whilst I’m yet to see an actual snake in the wild since arriving here (classic Melbourne boy) it is certainly true that there is a lot of wilidlife in Australia that pack a punch if you catch them at the wrong time.
To demonstrate just how dangerous some of the animals are, here is a quote from one of my favourite books about the country Down Under, from one of my favourite travel writers Bill Bryson.
It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else.
Of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures – the funnel-web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick and stonefish – are the most lethal of their type in the world.
This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. Pick up an innocuous coneshell from a Queensland beach, as innocent tourists are all too wont to do, and you will discover that the little fellow inside is not just astoundingly swift and testy, but exceedingly venomous. If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may just as easily be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles.Bill Bryson, Down Under
The last time we drove the Great Ocean Road, we even found a sign warning of the carnivorous Black Snail. Whilst we weren’t exactly top of its lunch list, it really reinforced the stereotype that almost anything in Australia is out to get something!
The Old Continuous Civilisation on Earth
Aboriginal Australians are descendants of some of the oldest humans, with studies showing life in Australia going back as far as 60,000 years, with the first Homo Sapiens coming here from Africa as much as 75,000 years ago.
Rock art (such as Gulgorn Manja in the Grampians, above) can be traced back to between 20,000 and 45,000 years ago. It’s almost unbelievable to be standing in front of the handprints of someone who lived that long ago.
Unfortunately, most of this culture was wiped out as the Europeans brought disease and bloodshed to Australia. Shortly afterwards they declared Terra Nullius (nobody’s land), which in legal terms meant the land was unoccupied, so the Westerners could take ownership with no challenge. It also meant the Indigenous population were no longer citizens of their own country, with their rights not restored until over 200 years later in 1967.
With at least 60,000 years behind them that’s some serious land theft, even by British standards!
The ute (short for utility vehicle) is a staple part of Aussie life and bloody brilliant to say in a fake Aussie accent. Tell me screaming “Nice ute mate”, doesn’t make you feel great!? Ok, maybe just me.
Anyway, for the Brits out there, anywhere you’d expect to see a van, in Australia you’ll find a ute. Kitted out with locked boxes for an electrician (tradie for you Aussies), stuffed full of wood from a Sunday hardware shop run, and even used to collect dead kangaroos after roadkill incidents. Admittedly that last one’s not entirely comparable to the UK.
Now that’s a very nice ute mate.
Whilst this list is not ranked by importance, if my 18-month-old girl could speak, this would be ranked well and truly at number one.
Bluey is a cartoon about a family of Blue and Red Heeler dogs (also known as Australian Cattle Dogs). It is fun, colourful and addictive (even for adults).
Like all great kid’s cartoons, it strikes an incredible balance between stories and lessons. We see two little girls learning to share, be respectful of other kids and appreciate the world around them against the backdrop of Australian life. Little touches like trips to Hammerbarn (Bunnings), magpies going through the bins, cricket on the TV, and Uncle Stripe going on holiday to Bali make this an unmistakeably and unashamedly Aussie program.
This is a show that hits me right in the feels too.
Bandit has got to be one of the best dads out there (he actually got awarded Dad of the Year in 2019), I’ve modeled 90% of my parenting style on him! Check out episodes like Baby Race (about how parents compare their kids to others), Sleepytime (where we see the younger sister Bingo learning to sleep in her own bed), Bumpy and the Wise Old Wolfhound (where Bingo is in hospital and the whole family record a video about how normal it is to get sick) and Fruit Bat (for the most stunning visuals and music you’ll ever see in a kid’s program).
If your child says they want to watch Bluey, then sit down with them, believe me, you’ll learn as much as they do!
Ah, the cork hat. So typically Australian.
Exhibit one above is my last day at work in London before we headed off for our new life in Australia. What could be more typically Australian than making me dress in a cork hat all day, right?
Admittedly, Melbourne is not exactly Outback-fashion central, but even people who’ve lived in this country for 70 years or more have not seen someone wear one for anything other than fancy dress.
Unlike the Outback, which is typically the central part of Australia and a LONG way from anywhere else, the Bush is used to describe any area of wilderness where it’s not possible to see any signs of human life and generally areas which are a little greener.
When Aussies say they are heading ‘out to the Bush’ this can mean anything from a day trip to a nature reserve an hour out of town through to a full-blown no phone signal camping trip kilometres from anywhere.
Either way, the Bush is definitely one of things Australia is most famous for.
Is any noise more authentically Australian than the sound of a didgeridoo? [insert your own joke here if required!].
It is thought the didgeridoo may be the world’s oldest wind instrument with cave paintings showing it in images as much as 5,000 years old but with the potential to be as old as 40,000 years. This would mean didgeridoos were being played at the same time as woolly mammoths walked the earth.
The ‘Didge’ is an Australian icon and the soundtrack to traditional aboriginal ceremonies. If you’ve ever heard one being played you’ll know the sound runs through you. The vibrations connect you with the earth in a way I’ve not experienced with any other music. An astonishing instrument!
This was not something I associated with Australia until I lived here and did my first Christmas as a retailer (my day job). When pavlovas started getting delivered on pallets I realised this was going to be a very different Christmas to the ones I was used to in the UK.
Not only are pavlovas the centrepiece of any Aussie Christmas dessert but it turns out they are also a source of conflict between Australia and their cross-Tasman neighbour, New Zealand.
Both claim to have invented the dish (which was a surprise to me, I thought it came from Germany or Austria!), with Australians arguing it was first cooked up in a Perth hotel and Kiwis insisting it was inspired by Anna Pavlova’s tutu and first showing up in a Wellington Hotel.
Either way, both countries have taken the dish to heart, with Aussies traditionally serving it with passionfruit pulp and some flaky chocolate. Yum!
Famous People of Australia
This is a ‘what is Australia famous for?’ list not a ‘who is Australia famous for?’ but there is no getting away from the fact that there are some people who are icons and are as synonymous with Australia as anything else on this list.
Here are a few who spring to my mind, but this is in no way designed to be an exhaustive list, more a personal one of Australians who I have happy memories of from my life.
If you want more a more extensive list of iconic Aussies then check out ‘The Most Influential Australian People You Should Know‘ or for something a bit more serious ‘200 Significant Australians‘.
I love Steve Irwin. I know he’s a quirky character, but his passion for wildlife and the crazy ways he went about finding it captured my attention as a kid. This was a time when my dad had moved out to South Africa, so I’d spent a lot of time in big game reserves so someone with Steve’s enthusiasm for nature really struck a chord with me. So much so that I actually played him as the lead character in our school’s Christmas Pantomime. Yes. Really!
Jason Donovan famously starred alongside Kylie Minogue in Neighbours, but this was a few years before my time. My memory of Jason Donovan comes from being taken to see a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the London Palladium. I loved it. I convinced my mum to buy me all his tapes, though until writing this article I’d forgotten all about them. I had a quick listen on Spotify today, and I have to say it was for the best!
Cricket is one of, if not my favourite sport. As an Englishman, we’re meant to despise the Aussies (see ‘The Ashes’ below), but growing up, as much as I hated seeing us beaten, seeing the likes of Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath on TV was a real honour. Warne especially was out of this world, a bowler unlike anything I’ve ever seen. He epitomised the ‘gritty Aussie’ sportsman that we think of in the UK and the sport became a lesser place when he retired.
Crass, offensive and opinionated on almost every subject, Jim Jefferies is certainly not for everyone, but I find him hilarious. Does that make me a bad person? Probably, but my life has more laughter because of it. Check out some of his more famous stuff like his gun-control rant to see him in full flow – fronting up to issues that have seen him face death threats. I also love the ‘I Don’t Know About That‘ podcast, in which he is at his off-the-cuff best in a format that also proves to be incredibly informative.
The Moon Landing
Ok, so not strictly the moon landing itself, but something that is well known to Aussies is the large role a team of scientists and engineers played in bringing the pictures from the moon landing back to Earth.
Due to the timing of the landing, the best signal came from Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station near Canberra and the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales – the latter of which was immortalised in the highest-grossing Australian fil of 2000 – The DIsh.
Footy is the most popular sport in every state of Australia* but, depending on which state you’re in, it’s possible ‘footy’ could mean two different things.
Aussies call both Australian Rules Football (AFL) and Rugby League (NRL) footy. The AFL is the most popular sport in Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia with NRL taking the lead in Queensland, New South Wales, and Northern Territories.
It is a tad confusing, especially given that use of the foot is actually less than the use of the hands in both games, however, apparently the term ‘football’ was originally used to describe games played ON foot, rather than with the foot, so in that context, both definitions do make perfect sense!
Either way, both sports are huge. In the first twenty minutes of my first meeting with my new boss. on my first day of work in Australia, having only been in the country eight days, he asked me ‘have you decided who to barrack for yet?‘ before trying to pitch me his beloved Collingwood.
There’s no escaping sport in this country.
*apparently it’s not in Tasmania, cricket is. They always have to be different!
Australia is perhaps not the first country that springs to mind when you think of ‘the best coffee in the world’, but after spending some time here, you’ll see why it has that claim.
Following World War II, a surge of immigrants from Italy and Greece, along with their beloved espresso machines, brought coffee to Australia in a huge way.
As cities such as Melbourne grew and the level of living improved, gentrified areas sprouted independent coffee shops and a populace that had the time to sit and appreciate them.
If you didn’t know Australia was famous for coffee, pop into any one of the hundreds of independents around the country and you’ll find out exactly why it is.
Is Australia famous for Billabongs?
I’d have to say yes.
If you hear that word there is only one place on Earth you’re going to associate it with.
But do you really know what one is? I didn’t either.
So now you know.
Digger is a slang term used for soldiers from Australia and New Zealand, and one I hadn’t heard until our arrival here on Anzac Day a few years ago.
There are a few schools of thought as to where this nickname came from, with the most popular being the Anzac troops’ involvement during the First World War in the Gallipoli Campaign where they were forced to dig extensive trench and tunnel systems to keep themselves safe from the Turkish Army.
The Diggers are also famous for wearing slouch hats, a felt hat characterised by one side looped up, to ensure they didn’t catch when drill movements were performed.
Another one that might not be so readily known outside of Australia, but Aussies consume a huge number of avocados.
In fact, Australians are the highest consumers, per capita, for avocados in the English-speaking world, with the average person consuming 4kg in 2020!
As a retailer, I was surprised when arriving here that avocados were our highest selling product in fruit and veg in every store I went into. In the UK bananas, broccoli and even the humble potato would far outsell avocados.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House
There is no building in Australia more famous than the Sydney Opera House and no bridge more iconic than the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The fact they sit together so perfectly for a photograph is ideal!
As the legend goes, Jorn Utzon’s now iconic design was actually rejected by the original selection jury. Thankfully, Eero Saarinen, a Finnish architect, was added to the panel and, so unimpressed with the shortlisted designs, he decided to go through the reject list where he found the drawings for the UNESCO listing building we now know and love.
Recommended Reading: Our Gold Coast to Sydney Road Trip Itinerary
The Ashes is a cricket series played between England and Australia every two years since the late 1800s.
The two teams play for the smallest trophy in sport, an urn containing the ashes of a cricket ball from a series in 1882, after an English journalist wrote a mock obituary in a newspaper following England’s loss in the series.
“In affectionate remembrance of English cricket which died at The Oval, 29th August, 1882. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances, RIP. NB The body will be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia.”
Reginald Shirley Brooks
Red Sand Roads
Long, straight red sand roads are an icon of Australia’s red centre.
What causes the redness? It’s actually iron oxide, so what you’re seeing is essentially rust.
You heard it here first, Australian roads are rusty!
I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear that Australian’s love to shorten their words and use slang.
The classic Aussie slang involves shoving an ‘o’ at the end of any word they can. ‘Serve-o’ (service station), ‘bottle-o’ (bottle shop), ‘arvo’ (afternoon), ‘Steve-o’ (some bloke called Steve).
World-famous fast-food chain McDonald’s even had to rebrand and trademark the name ‘Macca’s’, just to keep up.
Those are the easy ones though. I now find myself saying ‘how you going?’ in place of ‘how are you doing?’, use the phrase ‘too easy’ as if I’d known it my whole life, and use ‘heaps’ far more often than I should.
Just be careful you don’t get yourself in trouble though. ‘Root‘ doesn’t mean what you think it does and don’t ever ask an Aussie ‘you alright?’, it just doesn’t seem to mean the same thing out here (it’s more like saying sorry than asking how someone is doing).
I thought marsupials were exclusively found in Australia, but it turns out they are also found in South America. Even though this was a little disappointing, over 70% of them are found in Australia, and this country is certainly more famous for them than anywhere else in the world.
With kangaroos, wombat, koala, Tasmanian devil and wallaby all found here (and recently lost extinctions such as the Tasmanian Tiger and Toolache wallaby) these are some of the most famous animals down-under.
Holden cars are a national icon.
In 1848 Holden launched the 48-215, Australia’s first locally produced car. It transformed transport in the country, giving an affordable vehicle that working-class Aussies could be proud of.
Holdens were seen as more than a car, they were showing the world that Australia could survive by itself and entered the modern industrial age.
By 1958, 43% of all car sales in the country were a Holden!
Unfortunately, the era of the Holden came to an end in 2017, when General Motors announced it would no longer be manufacturing Holdens and was pulling all operations out of Australia. With the Holden brand only sold in Australia and New Zealand and accounting for less than 1% of global car sales, they could no longer afford to keep up production.
If Holden is an Australian national icon, then fairy bread is a national treasure.
Served up at kids’ parties across the land, with three of the finest ingredients – white bread (the cheaper the better), marg (not butter) and sprinkles.
It’s quick, simple, fun and oh so healthy!
Ugg boots are a controversial topic in Australia.
Here, ugg is a generic term for a type of boot (like cowboy boots or riding boots for example). They started off in the 1960s as warm footwear for surfers, characterised by how easy they are to slip on and their sheepskin lining.
I was surprised driving around Australia at the number of ugg shops there were by the side of the road, confusing them with the brand owned by Deckers, which is trademarked outside of Australia and New Zealand and mostly manufactured in China.
Here, many local sheep farmers produce their own ugg variants, so don’t make the mistake of you’re buying the big brand that you see elsewhere in the world though, if you’re lucky, you might actually finding something cheaper and of a higher quality.
In 2020, Australia was the 6th biggest producer of wine in the world, but the 4th biggest exporter (Aussies only actually drink 40% of the wine produced here!). Whilst you might think you see a lot of Australian wine in Europe and America, 39% of exports actually go to China.
With famous wine-producing regions such as the Barossa in South Australia, Margaret River in Western Australia, Hunter Valley in New South Wales, and Yarra Valley in Victoria and the cooler climate of Tasmania now unable to keep up with demand, you will find a huge selection of wonderful wines to try while travelling Australia.
Recommended Reading: The Yarra Valley: Wine, Chocolate and Tranquility
The boomerang has to be among the most purchased souvenirs on a visit to Australia. I had one as a kid, I’ve no idea who got it for me as I don’t even remember someone heading here. On our first trip back to the UK, we took two from the stall above back to our nephews.
The most well-known boomerang is being a piece of banana-shaped wood that, when thrown hard enough, returns to the thrower. I was always told these were used for hunting, but didn’t understand how, as if they were to hit something how would they come back?
It turns out, this type of boomerang was actually used to imitate hawks and frighten small birds out of bushes and into nets, not to kill them directly.
There is another type of boomerang, which is heavier, longer and straighter. There were thrown directly at animals to injure or maim them whilst hunting, taking down an animal as much as 80 metres away!
Being a Country and a Continent
This I find very confusing.
Australia is a country AND a continent (the continent part sometimes known as Sahul, Australinea, or Meganesia to distinguish it from the country).
The continent includes Tasmania, and the island of New Guinea as well as the country of Australia.
It does not include New Zealand or the Pacific Islands. Sometimes these get lumped into a larger bracket of being called ‘Oceania’ but this is a geographic region rather than a continent. There are over 900 miles between Australia and New Zealand, which technically belongs to the eighth continent of Zealandia.
Vegemite is awful. I hate the stuff. But there’s no doubting it is an Australian favourite and something this country is famous for.
Invented in Melbourne in 1922, it is made from brewers yeast and was designed to compete with Marmite found in the UK.
I get the dubious pleasure of driving through the yeasty smells every morning as the Vegemite Factory sits just off the M1 freeway as it winds over the Westgate Bridge and into Melbourne.
Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock), is one of the UNESCO Heritage Sites in Australia.
It’s a striking outcrop, in the middle of no-where. 3.6km long and taller than the Eiffel Tower, it was formed around 500 million years ago. Originally a huge mountain range, comparable in height to the Himalayas, the softer rocks eroded over time to leave what we see now.
Apart from being a huge mound of rock surrounded by flat desert, the other thing Uluru is known for is that earthy red colour. Uluru is made from a rock called Arkose, which has a high iron content. One of the most interesting facts about Uluru, is that this red colour is actually the mountain rusting!
Venture into one of the many caves of Uluru and you will see the walls are grey, the original colour, before being exposed to millions of years of air and water which changed it.
The name bushranger sounds like a noble profession, conjuring up images of herding wildlife and leading treks through open savanna.
Bushrangers in Australia though are something a little different. These were the highwayman of the outback, the outlaws of the High Country. They stole horses, guns and money and would cover large ‘ranges’ of ‘bush’ to evade capture by the authorities.
Many bushrangers gained folk hero status, none more so than Ned Kelly, famous for fighting off the authorities in a homemade suit of armour. He is a figure who divides the nation in the way many bushrangers did – some seeing them as chivalrous anti-heroes who helped challenge authority and shape a nation, others see them as cruel money-hungry robbers and murderers.
Either way, they are some of Australia’s most famous icons and in rural areas often form a prominent part of story-telling and tourism.
Australia has some of the best beaches in the world. In Tripadvisor’s awards for 2021, two of the top six beaches in the world were here.
There are beaches that have their own TV program, beaches for surfing, beaches with huge ancient killer birds and even islands that are one massive beach (Fraser Island is the biggest sand island in the world)!
Unsurprisingly in Australia, there are also some beaches which are really bloody dangerous!
Either way, this country is definitely famous for its beaches, and if you love them you’ll find one for you.
If you’re looking for the most Australian cake, look no further than the Lamington.
After a chance accident involving a maid dropping some of his favourite sponge cake in melted chocolate, Lord Lamington suggested it should be dipped in desiccated coconut to save fingers from the sticky chocolate.
An Australian icon was born.
The Great Barrier Reef
Bigger than Victoria and Tasmania combined, there’s a reason they call it the Great Barrier Reef.
Home to nearly 5,000 marine creatures and a third of the total coral on the planet, this is a place with numbers attached that are almost unbelievable. 2,300km and with 10% of the world’s fish species found here, the statistics are incredible.
Given these numbers, it’s probably not a surprise that it’s a UNESCO Heritage site, though that status has recently been deemed at risk due to increasing damage of the reef caused by a combination of pollution from soil runoff, global warming and coral-eating starfish breakouts.
Let’s hope it remains for generations to come, and keeps its place on the list of the biggest wonders of our natural world.
There are over 700 species of Eucalyptus Tree (which are known as Gum Trees in Australia) only 15 are found outside Australia, and of those, only nine are exclusively non-Australian so these really are an Aussie tree.
The favourite food of koalas, you’ll find huge forests of gum trees all over the country.
For Aussies, they are also famous for causing damage! One of the things eucalyptus trees do to survive is shed their branches in times of drought, so the water they do have can be spread elsewhere in the plant. It’s a good idea to try and park your car away from these big gum trees as you never know what you’ll find when you come back!
This is another one that may not be known to people living outside of Australia, but platters are a staple of summer life over here (and often spring, autumn and winter too!).
Kransky sausages with some gooey blue cheese, pasa de cana bread, shaved ham, grapes avo, pesto dip, crackers – it all goes on the table, normally brought in from multiple households and shared with smiles.
Oh, and booze. Smiles and booze!
If you’re in Melbourne and don’t have the time or inclination to pull a platter together yourself (or maybe you’re here on a trip and want to enjoy one of Melbourne’s wonderful parks) then check out Platter & Boe – we love them!
The Great Dividing Range
The 3,500 km long Great Dividing Range is the fifth-longest mountain range in the world, and stretches along almost the entirety of Eastern Australia, from the Cape York Peninsula in the North, all the way down to Victoria.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
The 1,170 km Sydney to Hobart Yacht race starts on Boxing Day every year, and is one of the world’s most iconic boat races.
The race has been held annually since 1945, with the only cancellation in 2020 due to Covid. It was originally designed as a cruise from Sydney, but yachtsman John Illingworth decided to turn it into a race.
It is now a huge event, with the record being in 1994 at the 50th anniversary, when 371 yachts started and 309 finished.
The record time is just over 1 day and 9 hours, with the longest time (which was in the first ever sailing) coming in at over 11 days.
Australia is one of the most famous places to take a gap year, with many young people taking advantage of the holiday working visa system (which is for 18-30 years olds), to explore this vast nation, with extensions available for people who work in certain industries.
In almost every town you can find ‘Backpackers’ accommodation, usually hostels or low-cost hotels which are set up to cater for people travelling the country.
Backpackers have long been a crucial source of labour for Australia, with many working on remote farms, or fruit picking, so it’s a win-win situation.
A Confusing Capital City
Canberra is among the most confused capital cities in the world.
Suffering from the same syndrome as Brasilia and Pretoria, the more famous cities of Sydney and Melbourne often get mislabelled as the capital of Australia.
In fact, it was actually to stop the fighting between the two big city rivals that Canberra was built on a road between them, starting in 1913.
Camels may not be the biggest things associated with Australia, but attached to them are one of those facts that have become widely quoted, and it turns out to be true.
Australia has the largest population of feral camels anywhere in the world. In the second half of the 1800s, camels were brought into the country to help transportation across the red centre, but when infrastructure was built, they were relased into the desert.
There is thought to be over a million of them living out there!
Meat pies were first brought to Australia by European settlers, but they have become one of the most quintessentially Australian things, sold at every servo, bakery and sporting fixture in the country.
Australia has even evolved the pie, which Jim Jefferies described as ‘life-changing’ (check it out at 33 mins into this podcast), the traveller pie, an oblong pie that’s designed to eaten on the move without getting spilled everywhere!
Yep, I’m sorry to say it, but if you’ve heard any English cricket chants, you’ll know Australia’s European heritage is rooted in convict transport.
Hundreds of thousands of offenders were sent to Australia from Britain and Ireland, some for little more than petty theft. Repeat offenders then ended up in harsh penal colonies such as Port Arthur on Tasmania.
It’s estimated that 20% of the current population of Australians are descended from convicts.
I’ve got to be honest though, it feels much safer living in Melbourne than it did in London!
I’d never even heard of chicken salt before I arrived in Australia, now I have it on everything!
Turns out it is a very Australian delicacy, invented in Adelaide in the 1970s, and then brought by the Mitani family who made it popular.
This is the real taste of Australia, get some on your hot chips (yep, because cold chips are, well, cold) and you’ll never look back!
Reeves Roam contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Service LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. For more information, see our disclosure policy.