When people think of Australia, they usually think of koalas, kangaroos, and penal colonies, but the world’s sixth largest country has more to offer, especially if you’re feeling adventurous. For those who aren’t content to spend their vacation kicking back and working on their tans, Australia has vast, beautiful landscapes to discover and enjoy with the help of Australian Outback Tours. Here are a few fun, interesting facts about the real Australia.
Australia is made up of six states, three territories, and various outlying islands and settlements. No matter where you are on the continent, you are never any more than 1000 kilometers away from the ocean or a beach. Over 90% of Australia’s population density is found along the coasts of the continent, with New South Wales and Victoria boasting the largest concentrations of people in the country. The rest of the continent is made up of subtropical rainforests, and mountain ranges, with a broad expanse of desert at its center, which is commonly known as the Outback. The Australian Outback makes up nearly 70% of the Australian continent.
Although the Outback does include clay soil and range lands suitable for sheep and cattle grazing, the majority of the soil found there is infertile. Although it’s a harsh environment, it is not without its treasures. To this day, scientists continue to find and develop mineral deposits there. The Outback is also home to one of Australia’s most well-renowned fossil sites in Queensland, where the fossils of ancient mammals, birds, and reptiles from the Oligocene and Miocene periods have been uncovered.
Besides the revenue that agriculture and Australian Outback tours provide, the main economic activity in the area comes from mining. The Outback is teeming with mining operations that uncover valuable resources like metals, gem stones, oil, and gas.
Australia’s population is counted by the number of square kilometers per person, rather than the usual people per square kilometer. The majority of Australia’s population is concentrated along the east coast, where the infamous penal colonies were established. Despite the fact that it covers thousands of kilometers of the continent, the Outback is largely unpopulated, due to the harsh climate and poor farming conditions.
In the Outback, nearly 17% of the total population is made up of people from the indigenous Aboriginal tribes. As of 2006, the Outback has a total population of less than one million residents. So if you’re looking for a quiet getaway location away from the noise and bustle of the big cities, then the Outback is an ideal choice.
Despite its unforgiving climate and sparse vegetation, the Australian Outback is home to many species of wildlife who have adapted to the harsh conditions. Red kangaroos and dingoes are two of the more familiar species to be found there, but the Outback is also home to feral animals, like camels and horses, and a host of wild birds, including flocks of budgerigars, and cockatoos.
Although the Outback is full of natural desert predators like snakes, spiders, and scorpions, you’re more likely to die from dehydration than a snake or spider bite. The Outback does have more legitimate dangers, including saltwater crocodiles, but those are easily avoided.
The blistering heat and minimal moisture in the Outback allows various reptile species to thrive, including lizards of varying sizes and species, and snakes. In fact, Australia has more lizard species than any other continent. Some lizards, like the Goanna or Monitor Lizard, have as many as 28 different species, and can get up to two meters in length. There are also legless lizards, which can only be distinguished from Australia’s many snake species by their ear openings, notched tongues, lengthwise striping, and tiny flaps where their hind legs used to be.
Although largely an arid region, the Outback spans several different climate zones, which results in varying temperatures and weather patterns. Since most of inland Australia is made up of the arid desert, that means that although it might get up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, it can get down to well below zero at night.
Due to the minimal rainfall and hot temperatures of the Outback, the vegetation and plant life has adapted to suit these harsh conditions. So the majority of the plant life in the Outback is made up of hardy trees like the Eucalyptus, shrubbery like the Sandhill Wattle and Old Man Saltbush, and scrub grasses. That’s not to say that the Outback is lacking in beauty, though. South Australia’s state flower, the red and black Sturt Pea, is native to the region, along with the Swamp Fuchsia and the Silky Cassia, which sport delicate, colorful flowers in pink and yellow, respectively. You can also find many species of ferns, palms, and succulents there.