Facts About Australia

The following is a list of common questions that we have been asked over the years since moving from Australia to live in the United States. We hope this helps answer some questions about Australia. Feel free to ask us any questions by e-mail.
  • How Big is Australia? Australia is a huge country and the only one that occupies a whole continent. Australia occupies 2.9 million square miles (7.6 million square kilometres). To put this into perspective, Australia is the sixth largest country in the world after Russia, Canada, China, the US and Brazil. The Australian Continent is slightly smaller than the 48 contagious U.S. States. The Australian coastline is 22,812 miles long (36,735 kilometres).
  • How Far Away is Australia? Australia is a very isolated country. Here are some examples of distances "as the crow flies".
From
To
Distance (Approximate)
London Sydney 10562 miles (16997 km)
Los Angeles Sydney 7487 miles (12049 km)
New York Sydney 9935 miles (15989 km)
Tokyo Sydney 4845 miles (7798 km)
Moscow Sydney 9005 miles (14492 km)
Johannesburg Sydney 6884 miles (11078 km)
Singapore Sydney 3925 miles (6316 km)
  • How Many People Live In Australia? It was estimated in 2000 that there are now over 19 million people living in Australia. That may not seem like a lot and it really is not when you consider that the United States has over 270 million in a country that is only slightly larger than Australia. It seems even more interesting when you think that over 7 million people live in the 2 major cities, Melbourne and Sydney. The 0-14 year old age group represents approximately 21% of the population, 15-64 years of age represents 67% and over 64 years of age group accounts for 12%. The male to female ratio is approximately 50:50. The average life span is around 80 years. Another interesting point is that Australia has a 100% literacy rate.
  • What is Australia's Climate? Basically, Australia's climate is varied. It is hot in the north because it is closer to the equator and cooler in the south. The seasons are opposite to the northern hemisphere. For example, Christmas is hot and July 4th is colder. For more detailed information, go to our climate pages, where you will find average temperatures and rainfall by month for various regions of Australia.
  • Where Should I Go In Australia? Tough question! It depends what you like to do and see. Australia has beaches, mountains, deserts, wine country, cities and much more. Australia is just as diverse as other areas on the world such as Europe and North America. This is one reason why we put Click for Australia together. Hopefully, this site will help you make some decisions.
  • Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Australia? The chances are yes. If you are a U.S. citizen definitely yes. Ask your airline when you make your reservation. They will normally take care of it electronically. Make sure that you have a valid Passport. Give yourself plenty of time if your Passport has expired or if you do not have one.
  • How Much Does it Cost to Fly to Australia? In the Australian summer months (December, January, February) it typically costs more and, conversely, in the Australian winter months (June, July, August) it costs less. The fares vary and it is worth shopping around. During the peak times a coach class ticket may cost you > $2,000 U.S. and this will decrease during the middle of the year. Business Class tickets can cost $5,000-6,000 U.S. and First Class may cost > $10,000. Personally, I have recently used American Airlines Frequent Flier Miles to fly Business Class on Qantas and the cost is around 115,000 miles. The internet is a great place to search for competitive fares, so this is a good place to start.
  • How Long Does it Take to Fly to Australia? This may be one of the more popular questions. To give you an idea, the flight from Los Angeles to Sydney is nonstop and can take approximately 14-15 hours. One issue that is confusing is that Australia is approximately 17 hours ahead of the United States and you will cross the International Date Line. This means that if you leave on a Saturday, you will arrive in Australia on a Monday. On your return from Sydney to Los Angeles, if you leave on a Saturday afternoon, you will arrive approximately 12-13 hours later but it will be the same Saturday in the morning. You actually "go back" in time because you cross the International Date Line going in the opposite direction.
  • How Do I Get Around Once I am in Australia? Well, there are several ways. Driving is often a favorite but Australia is very large. Driving is different than in the U.S. as Australians drive on the left side of the road.There are over 900,000 km of roads in Australia. Approximately 350,000 km are paved. If you do not have much time, we recommend that you fly. The main airline is Qantas and you can get to all of the major cities on these airlines. There are over 400 airports in Australia. There are trains in Australia but we don't recommend them. Some of the Australian train services will even make Amtrak look luxurious. If you are visiting one of the larger cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, the local metropolitan train services are probably a good way to get around. Just don't plan on traveling from Sydney to Perth on a train.
  • Is Australia Safe With All of Those Poisonous and Wild Animals? Most likely yes. The incidence of tourists being eaten by crocodiles or sharks is very slim. Most of these animals don't want to be around humans. However, you need to be sensible. If you are hiking and see a snake, leave it alone! Having experienced life in London and many U.S. Cities, I would take my chances in Australia any day.
  • What Language do the People in Australia Speak? English
  • What Kind of Food Do You Eat in Australia? It Varies! Years ago, most people ate English style roasts. For example, a meat, such as lamb roasted with vegetables. This is still popular.With the post World War 2 European immigration, Australians were exposed to all of the finest varieties of sausages and hams. Seafood has always been popular also. The local Green Prawns or King Prawns are a delight. A local fish called Blue Eye is also a favorite along with the Tasmanian Crayfish, which is a lobster. The main thing that has changed is the way in which the seafood is prepared. With the huge influx of Asian immigration, much of the seafood has an Asian flare to it. It is normally very good. The bottom line is that there is a huge variety of foods available.
  • What is the Highest Mountain in Australia? The largest mountain is Mount Kosciuszko which is 7,310 feet (2,228 metres) and it is located in the Australian Alps between the states of New South Wales and Victoria. There is skiing in Australia as these areas do receive snow. Interestingly enough the lowest point in Australia is Lake Eyre which is -15 metres below sea level.
  • What is the Longest River in Australia? The longest river originates in Queensland and is called the Darling River. It is 1,700 miles long (2736km).
  • What Religions do Australians Practice? Australia is a multicultural society, so there are many different religions that are welcomed in Australia. However, the predominant religion is Christianity.
  • What Sports are Played in Australia? Cricket is played in the summer and Australian Rules Football, rugby and soccer are played in the winter. More recently, Australians have played basketball and there are now national leagues in Australia. Of course, many of the international sports such as tennis, track and field and swimming are participated in successfully at a national and local level.
  • What Currency do They Have in Australia? Australian Dollars is the currency. Interestingly enough, the smallest note of currency is the $5 bill. This means that you need to keep your eye on your one and two dollar coins. They add up fast and you cannot cash them in once you leave the country. Of course, you can always go back to Australia again. The currency fluctuates and you should check the exchange rates before traveling to Australia.
  • What Kind of Government is There in Australia? Australia has a political system based on the English Westminster System. The leader of Australia is called the Prime Minister and the leader of each state is called the Premier.
  • What does the Australian flag look like? There has been a debate as to whether Australia should become a Republic instead of a Commonwealth country. This may mean that the flag would change. The current flag can be seen below:
 
 

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