45 things to know about Australia before you travel down under

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Thinking of traveling in Australia?

You’re in the right place! We’re experts and know a lot about Australia and how to make the most of a journey Down Under.

Why do we know so much about Australia?

We’re Australian.

We’ve spent a lot of time travelling overseas so have a good comparison benchmark of how we rate.

We did an epic 18-month road trip around Australia with our two kids. Unfortunately, we wore ourselves out before we visited South Australia so we’re not in-depth experts there.

But, we have visited Adelaide, Coober Pedy, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Flinders Ranges and the Barossa Valley. Actually looks like  we’ve done a lot in SA.

So there you have it.

Allow us to be your expert Australia travel guides. Just so you know the following are not all facts, there are a few passionate opinions thrown in.

If this is your first time to our travel blog, welcome! We have an insane amount of useful information on travel in Australia. You can click here to get started, or go to the search bar at the top of the page for more specific information. We’ll also link to a few posts within this one to help you!

45 things about Australia

  1. Australia is two-thirds desert and the driest inhabited continent on earth. It’s also the smallest, lowest and flattest continent.
  2. We don’t have what most people call mountains – which signifies our ancientness. Our highest peak is Mt Kosciusko in the Snowy Mountains, which strangely enough, is also one of the most dangerous to climb because people aren’t prepared for the icy conditions. (puts hands up! We had to turn back.)
  3. The curlew bird is not only captivating to look at but at night makes this eerie cackling sound like a ghost. I grew to love it after a few days.
  4. Australia is home to the oldest rainforest in the world, The Daintree – 130 million years of breathtaking beauty. Just listen to the ancient wisdom of the trees. A tree huggers Utopia.
  5. Our politicians aren’t worth remembering and we beg that you don’t try. You’ve got low odds of remembering our Prime Minister as they kick each other out all the time. Doctors and nurses had to stop asking the question, Who is our Prime Minister? for cognitive awareness because no one could work it out!
  6. Carry some cash in your wallet – cards aren’t always accepted and will often carry a surcharge if they are.
  7. Driving distances are long and empty. But look closely and you’ll see a lot of life. (Driving tips in Australia)
  8. So are plane flights – 5 hours and several hundred dollars to fly from east to west coast. Jetstar can have Friday Frenzy sales and Virgin Australia have Happy Hour sales. Pay attention.
  9. Crocs inhabit the entire Top End of the country. Do they freak you out as much as me? (that means don’t swim in the rivers!)

    Crocodile in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
    One of the scariest things about Australia
  10. Of the over 800 species we have, about 300 won’t be found anywhere else in the world. Click here to read why our deadly animals are really wimps.
  11. If you stand under the Norfolk pines at the beach at Burleigh or Mooloolaba at twilight you won’t hear the person next to you talking due to the cacophony of the lorikeets (there are probably many other beach towns that are the same)
  12. Most of the world’s marsupials are found in Australia.
  13. Australia is home to the oldest living civilisation in the world – listen closely they have so much to teach us.
  14. There is a ridiculous amount of amazing adventures to be had down gravel and sandy roads only accessible to 4WD’s.
  15. Queensland does the BEST damper and billy tea experiences – it’s a thing here!
  16. Kangaroos are macropods (Big-footed marsupials) and there are around 60 species of macropods. You’ll get to meet a lot of them when you road trip around Australia, especially in Carnarvon Gorge.
  17. Most of Australia’s exotic flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
  18. Sadly, many introduced pests have wiped out many of our native animals. The Bilby is the most endangered. You can visit the Bilby Centre in Charleville to learn more and help support programmes to help them thrive again.Bilby experience in Charleville
  19. The cane toad is disgusting and cannot be stopped with its mission to destroy our native flora and fauna. Only the highly intelligent crows have figured out a way to kill and eat them without poisoning themselves. They pick them up and drop them in front of cars, which opens them up in a way that makes them safe to eat. Or so we heard around an Outback campfire.
  20. The crows are amazing birds.
  21. Feeding the birds in Australia is a dangerous thing. I can not walk around Circular Quay in Sydney eating without being swooped on by a seagull. Don’t feed the birds. Let them eat fish!
  22. Wattle is our national flower and has a distinct smell. Whenever I get a whiff of it in the bush, I feel like I’ve returned home.
  23. The gum tree is the lifeblood of our country and forms a huge part of our identity. The sight and smell of them defines Australian life and signifies home for me. I can’t help but hug them on a regular basis. Eucalypt trees light themselves on fire, which helps the land regenerate. I love seeing a blackened gum tree covered in green, fluffy new growth. The most beautiful gum trees I’ve seen are in the Barossa Valley.

    Observational Drawing Workshop with Jacob Logos in the Barossa Valley
    Gum trees – one of the things I love most about Australia
  24. The sight of the blue haze from the eucalyptus oil arising from the bush in the mountain ranges west of Sydney gave the Blue Mountains their name.
  25. More than 80 percent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast. Beach life is important to us and surf lifeguards are revered.
  26. Australia is a huge sporting nation and considering our low population, rocks it on a global scale.
  27. We have more than 10,000 beaches and over 8,000 islands (best beaches in Australia, Best islands getaways in Australia)
  28. Australia has the BEST coffee in the world.
  29. It can get cold in Australia. It’s even snowed on Christmas Day in some parts of Tasmania.
  30. It snows in Queensland!! Get out of town. Can you believe it? Bunya Mountains is where you’ll find this rare experience
  31. Western Australia has ridiculously beautiful beaches. You’ll think the colours in the photos you’ve seen can’t be true and must be photoshopped. It’s the real deal peeps.

    The Basin, Rottnest Island, Western Australia
    There’s just something about Australia and its beaches!
  32. Internet is expensive and hideously slow.
  33. Australia is expensive. (The cost of travel in Australia and how to travel Australia on a budget will help you)
  34. Australia helped revolutionise wine making around the world because they did not have traditions to adhere to. Creativity allowed us to grow as one of the best wine producers in the world. There are 60 designated wine regions in Australia. Our favourites are Margaret River, Barossa Valley, and Mudgee.
  35. The Outback is not just desert. It is desert, but it also has an insane amount of water, beautiful gorges, and waterfalls that pepper the dusty red ground with lush green bushes.
  36. You haven’t experienced Australia until you’ve been to the Outback.
  37. Kakadu National Park and Uluru are timeless, spiritual wonders. Stay awhile, explore deeply, and absorb their ancient wisdom.

    Sunrise at Uluru in Outback Australia
    You can’t travel about Australia without experiencing Uluru
  38. Some of our cattle stations are bigger than European countries. They need helicopters to round up the stock.
  39. We once had dinosaurs, volcanoes, and a great inland sea.
  40. Kangaroos and emus can’t walk backwards which is why they are on our coat of arms.
  41. The Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s largest living structure. You’ll wonder if it will live up to its hype. It does.
  42. The traditional owners of our land were able to take many poisonous plants and put it through a process – sometimes taking many days – to make it edible. How the hell did they even know what to do and how were the taste testers? Experience as many Indigenous tours as you can – be amazed and humbled.
  43. The Queensland Outback is where you’ll find many experiences and stories that connect to Australian folklore and culture. Longreach is the founding home of Qantas and Winton is the birthplace of Waltzing Matilda – just to name a few. I also think it has Australia’s friendliest people.
  44. The School of the Air was created so that children on remote cattle stations could still learn and attend school, Distance education has sprung off from that which is how we educated Kalyra as we travelled around the country. You can visit many School of the Air places in the Outback to learn more.
  45. You could be a native English speaker but have a conversation with an Australian and have no clue what they are saying. Aussies shorten most words, have colourful slang terms and love to use a lot of rhyming slang.
  46. I’m adding in #46 after a reader reminded me about the Royal Flying Doctors!! Yes. How could we forget after the incredible experience we had with them recently. The Royal Flying Doctors are a service provided by the government to help those in remote regions get medical assistance. Yep. You guessed it. They fly out to visit you and will fly you to hospitals if you need it. They are amazing and rely a lot on donations so help out if you can.

12 things we learned on our Australian road trip

This is not all experienced by us, we’ve learned some of this through other people’s experiences. You can read more tips in our How to travel around Australia guide.

  1. When driving on dusty Outback roads, the recirculation air position should be used to avoid dust entering your vehicle or for quick cooling of the interior.
  2. High clearance means your car is higher off the ground and is essential for 4WD (yes I had no idea what this was before this road trip) and can be just as important as 4wd.
  3. Entertainment systems in cars save your sanity when travelling with kids.
  4. Cars flying along gravel roads will fling up rocks that crack your windscreen.
  5. Fill up at every petrol station you drive past in the Outback. It doesn’t matter how full your tank is or how much you think you don’t need it, there can be large distances between stations or they even close at night.
  6. Digging yourself out of being stuck in sand with the car makes you look like Yahoo Serious and can be a fun story to share. (Just make sure you take a photo!)
  7. Beach driving is serious but fun. Know what you’re doing and enjoy it.
  8. You must deflate your tyres when driving on soft sand so they have a wider footprint.
  9. Stock up on food and water when driving through the Outback. Road houses have horrible food and it’s expensive.
  10. Do not take any fresh produce over the border into WA or SA. It will be confiscated.
  11. Head nets can save your sanity in really bad fly areas.
  12. UGG boots are the best thing to pack on your road trip around the country (it does get cool in some places – I’m looking at you Victoria and Tassie)

Planning a trip to Australia

Booking Accommodation in Australia

  • Booking.com has over 11,000 properties in Australia including hotels, apartments, and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee. Don’t forget to check out Airbnb for home rentals. 

Booking Flights in Australia

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, you book directly through the airline or agent (no extra fees).  Download the Skyscanner App.

Booking Car Rental in Australia

Popular Tours in Australia

For our a full list of tours in Australia offered by Get Your Guide, click here.

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Do you have any fun facts (or opinions) to share about Australia? Anything useful you learned on your road trip down under?

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