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We all love exploring new places and learning about life in different parts of the world. And today, we’re learning all about the “place down under”, also known as Australia. We’ve already shown you some photos of Australia in the past, but this country has so much to offer, we’ve decided to come up with a part 2.

Here at Bright Side, we’ve selected a few facts about this fascinating country/continent/island to show you all how amazing and unique our earth really is.

1. “G’day, mate” is an example of Australian English.

If you can speak English, you can easily learn Ozenglish (Ozzy + English). Firstly, you always have to start a conversation with the phrase, “G’day, mate” regardless of who you are talking to, whether it’s your lovely neighbor or the CEO of the company where you work. Australians are very relaxed and love chatting but don’t want to waste too much time on saying long words. That’s why they shorten everything. Here are some examples of these shortened words:

  • Australia — Straya
  • Mosquitos — Mozzies
  • Definitely — Defo
  • Afternoon — Arvo

See, it’s very easy. Try to translate the following sentence into plain English: “After smoko I might go down the bowlo sarvo for a schnitty and bevvy with tommo, then I’ll head back to the missus for din dins with the fam and watch some soapies on the tele.” Any luck?

2. Wombats

Wombats are very funny-looking muscular marsupials native to Australia. Although they have short legs and walk with a bit of a waddle, they are capable of doing a short sprint up to 25 miles per hour. They eat grass and their poop is cube-shaped. The ancestors of today’s wombats were as big as the size of a rhino and lived during the Ice Age. Can you imagine what their poo looked like?

3. Pavlova

Australia and New Zealand argued for many years over the origins of the cake called Pavlova, which is probably the most popular dessert in both countries. An interesting fact about this cake made with meringue and topped with a cream and fresh fruit, is that it was named after the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova because people said the dessert was “as light as Pavlova”.

4. Camels

Did you know that Australia is home to the world’s largest herd of camels? Camels were imported in the 19th century for transport and heavy work and surely they liked their new motherland as there are around 750,000 wild camels wandering around causing lots of headaches for farmers as they have a very serious impact on the wildlife balance. There are so many of them that Australia imports them back to to the Middle East.

5. Kangaroos

Did you know that there are over 60 different types of kangaroos? A baby kangaroo, which they call a joey, can be as small as a grain of rice or as big as a bee at 0.2 to 0.9 inches, according to the San Diego Zoo. When a joey is born, it crawls into its mother’s warm and safe pouch where it gestates for another 120 to 450 days.

6. Wallabies

Wallabies are not mini-kangaroos, they’re actually a completely different species. They are much smaller than kangaroos and have a different head shape. It has been recorded that since Australia legally grows opium, wallabies developed a bad habit. They go to poppy fields, get as high as a kite and start running around in circles. Nobody quite understands why they run in circles, but local farmers report this behavior regularly.

7. Screen doors in Australia aren’t just for mosquitoes…they protect against snakes too.

We all know that Australia is home to many venomous snakes — in fact, 21 out of the 25 most deadly snakes live in Austrailia. But the statistic says that on average, only about 2 people a year die from snake bites, and most of the time people are trying to kill or catch the animal, giving it no choice but to attack back. The rule is simple: leave wildlife in peace. It’s important to take into consideration that generally, snakes have a nearly perfect striking score with a 100% success rate.

8. “Nope, I’m not brushing my teeth today.”

Australia is a paradise for pythons, and although they can grow very big, they are normally not a threat to humans — they’re not aggressive and are non-venomous. They can live almost anywhere. In fact, experts say that in some states in Australia, nearly 80% of houses have a python living on the roof or in the backyard, which is actually not a bad thing since they keep mice and rats away. After a feeding, they can just hang around without feeling the need to eat for weeks or sometimes even months.

9. Sheep

Australia is home to approximately 72 million sheep and nearly half of them are merino. This feral sheep named Chris could barely walk when he was found. The estimated 5 years’ worth of growth gave 40.45 kg of fleece and set the world record for the heaviest fleece ever taken from one sheep. Chris was surely appreciative to lose all that weight and had a full recovery after his transformation.

10. Gavel, the disqualified police dog

Gavel the German Shephard was supposed to become a police dog but failed his exams for being too friendly. Well, this story has a very happy ending. After getting expelled from the “Doggy Police Academy”, he received an offer he couldn’t refuse. Gavel is now named Queensland’s first official Vice-Regal Dog and works at the Government House. His duty is to greet visitors and just be happy.

11. Thong sandals

Thongs in Australia are not what you probably think of when you hear the word. Here, they mean flip-flops. Australians never have the need to keep their feet warm in the cold because they wear appropriate thongs all-year-round as footwear for all occasions.

12. The Queen’s birthday

Australians celebrate the Queen’s birthday which is not surprising since technically, the Queen of England is also the styled Queen of Australia. The thing to remember is that different states celebrate this birthday during different months — Queensland in October, Western Australia in September, and other states in June. Queen Elizabeth’s birthday is actually in April but Australians decided that there were already holidays in that month and it would be better to have a day off at another time.

13. A stolen generation

This is a very sad page in Australia’s history but we decided to mention it to show respect to the affected families. In the early 20th century, the government decided that it would be better for Aboriginal children to live in the white community and from the years 1910 to 1970, thousands of indigenous children were forced to leave their families to go to various institutions. Needless to say, the kids and their families suffered a lot. A few years ago the Prime Minister officially apologized to the indigenous community and thousands of Australians supported it.

Let this serve as a lesson to all of us: We should always respect other cultures and nations, and be brave enough to say we’re sorry.

14. A pink lake

This bizarre-looking bright pink lake is one of the most popular destinations for tourists. Researchers are still not 100% certain about what causes its “strawberry milkshake” color, but they believe it’s likely bacteria, not microalgae. The water in Lake Hillier is some of the saltiest in the world and not many organisms can survive there.

15. Uluru

Uluru is another well-known Australian landmark. It’s a massive rock estimated to be around 600 million years old and researchers believe that 2.5 km of it is underground. The rock can change colors at different times of the day and year from a greyish-pink to a bright red, and it looks like an elephant sleeping on its side. Uluru is a holy place for the Aboriginal people and the Anangu people are the official owners of this land.

16. Beaches

Australia is famous for their countless number of beaches including the super-long 75-Mile Beach — the name says it all. In fact, if you want to visit just one beach a day, it would take 29 years to fulfill your journey. That’s why it’s not a surprise that 4 out of 5 Australians live less than 50 km from the coast.

17. Stromatolites

Stromatolites are microbial deposits created by blue-green algae. These reefs build up very slowly — a single 1 m structure may be 2,000 to 3,000 years old. It’s not a surprise that stromatolites found in Western Australia are the oldest and largest living fossils on earth.

Bonus:

The world is just a cat playing with Australia.

Australia is such a unique place and we couldn’t possibly fit everything cool about it into one article. Have you learned something new from our selection? Tell us what you think in the comments below and share it with all of your friends.

Illustrated by Sergey Raskovalov and Daniil Shubin for BrightSide.me

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