Zia Kalong | Jan 25, 2019
In celebration of Australia Day, we’re taking a closer look at what makes Australia a real-life wonderland.
Australia is always pretty high up on people’s travel list – and it’s really no wonder why. The “Land Down Under” has consistently ranked as one of the most liveable countries in the world because of its cultural diversity, economic stability, friendly locals, stunning cities, and the endless natural wonders found all over the exquisite country (which is also continent, how cool is that?!)
“Straya”, as locals call it, is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites – more than any other country – including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park, Lord Howe Island Group, Tasmanian Wilderness, Fraser Island and the Sydney Opera House.
In any ‘Happiest Countries in the World’ list, you are sure to find Australia up there. They also rank very high in the human development index which measures various things such as equality, lifespan, and welfare among others. And if you’re still not convinced Australia is the closest thing we have to utopia, this article should change your mind.
It’s no secret Australia is big on diversity and versatility. It is the driest continent (apart from Antarctica) yet receives more snowfall than the Swiss Alps. They’ve got the largest living organism/structure in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, which is so massive it can be seen from space! They’re home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world and professional surfers from ‘round the world flock to ride their world-class waves. Sounds refreshing and cool, right? But then you’ll also find that 70% of the country is classified as “arid” or dry land. The incredible variety of ecosystems in Australia is mostly due to the fact that it is almost the size of America. It’s the biggest island in the world and 6th biggest country. Yet its population comes nowhere near American or Philippine numbers. Add into the mix that most Aussies live along the coast while the rest of the country/continent is left uninhabited.
These areas are known as “The Outback” – a desert area that will remind you of “127 Hours” and the steakhouse, and “The Bush” – a majestic, Garden of Eden-like wilderness serving as sanctuaries for Australia’s iconic and endangered animals. Best landscapes, best waters, and best air too apparently. The Aussie state of Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world because it travels over the ocean for thousands of kilometers before reaching the Tasmanian coast. I can’t even imagine what that kind of air feels like!
If you’re a Jane Goodall or a Steve Irwin, the Australian fauna is enough reason for you to ogle at Australia. 80% of animals in Australia can only be found in Australia. It is home to various unique animals like the koala, kangaroo, emu, kookaburra and platypus. (Fun fact: when the platypus was first introduced in England, they thought Australians sewed a duck’s bill to a rat’s body then shipped it off as a prank!) Funnily enough, for such a “liveable” country, it sure has a lot of deadly animals. They’ve got the world’s most venomous snake, one of the most dangerous spiders, the lethal Box Jellyfish, Tasmanian devils (yes, as in Taz) and even the peculiar platypus is “highly poisonous” (Perry you sly pet). Well, no wonder the people have retreated to the edge of the country.
You may visit Australia for the breathtaking scenery and the unique wildlife, but it’s the people that will make you want to stay. Australia is globally known for its vibrant city life. Australians are one of the most diverse and welcoming people – something they pride themselves in. Almost half (47%) of Australia’s 23 million population was either born overseas or have one parent born overseas. The place is a breeding ground for cultural diversity, as seen in its art scene, society, sports, and even its food culture. And if the city buzz is not your thing, then there’s more than plenty of room to escape the crowds.
The Oz’s social structure is just one of the countless testaments to the fact that Australia is, in fact, for everyone; whether you’re an adventure-seeker aching for inspiration in new places or someone who finds solace in nature, whether you’re looking for a place to spark up your passion for life or in search of an entirely new life. Whatever it is you’re after, the Land Down Under is a pretty good place to start.
Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/seesydney/