BY Alison Lam

Fun fact! Being a geographically isolated country, our environment has definitely evolved over time to something… a little more different compared to the rest of the world. 

Just take a look at our wildlife for example: where in the world can you find another animal like the platypus? Let’s not forget that we somehow ended up having the largest percentage of deadly creatures in the world. Or that we have trees that literally wait for bushfires so that their seeds can germinate. Or - well, you get the point. Australia is a special country to say the least. Here are 5 facts that further prove just how extraordinary this island-nation really is:

#1: About 93% of Australian flora and fauna species can’t be found anywhere else.

This may not be a surprise. We’re not just all koalas and kangaroos though, to some tourists’ disbelief. The sheer amount of biodiversity that we have can be attributed to our wide range of natural landscapes—starting with our sandy beaches to snowy mountains ranges to searing deserts and towering rainforests. With so many climates you’d have to use at least two hands to count, it’s no wonder that so many different plants and wildlife exist. Granted, some of the world’s deadly species have also congregated here—but hey, the more the merrier right?

#2: There are 102 islands in NSW alone.

I don’t know about you, but I was pretty astounded when Google educated me on this. Some are fairly famous: there’s Cockatoo Island and Lord Howe Island…but then the wackier ones come in. Did you know we also have a Wedding Cake Island? And a Cabbage Tree Island? Still, despite some of the peculiar names, all are charming and nature-abundant. Especially since there are islands that are specifically designated for conservation, like Cabbage Tree Island (ah, its name kinda makes sense now!).

#3: Penguin Island.

No, I’m not talking about Club Penguin Island (RIP Club Penguin). Located in Western Australia, this small island of about 12 hectares houses the world’s largest population of little penguins. Also known as the fairy penguins, the island is home to roughly 1200 of these little ones. While it is first and foremost a breeding conservation ground, it is also a fairly popular tourist destination for those going to Perth. But don’t let this discount the fact that this is essentially a penguin safe haven. Hooray for Australian wildlife conservation.

#4: Tasmania has the freshest air in the world.

Tassie, Tassie, Tassie. For all the flack they cop, Tasmania has pulled ahead of the rest of Australia by claiming the title of having the freshest air in the world. Particularly north-west Tasmania, to be more precise. The reason had something to do with the air being cleaned as it travels through the Bass Strait to the Tasmanian coast…but that’s one for the science folk. What’s more, this is also one of the places that has had its air bottled up and sold. Coincidence? I think not.

#5: Our Aussie Alps apparently have more snow than the Swiss Alps.

Okay, correction. While the Swiss Alps definitely have more snow in total, the amount of fresh snow is significantly less than Australia. According to their national bureau of meteorology, the Swiss Alps gain around 1cm of fresh snowfall annually. Meanwhile, the Australian Alps—more commonly known as the Snowy Mountains—receive an average of 4-5cm per year. Who would’ve thought?

Do with this newfound information what you will, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe it’ll help you during trivia night, or maybe it could end up being used as a pickup line on Tinder. Either way, all jokes on being the ‘land down under’ aside, you can’t deny that Australia’s nature is pretty wild

Illustration of header image by Monique Richter

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