Australia: Fast Facts

  • Australia is the flattest continent on Earth, and it is the driest inhabited continent; however, it is the second driest of all continents behind Antarctica which has no permanent residents. 
  • Australia has ten named deserts which account for nearly 19% of its total surface area; 70% of the continent is classified as arid or semi-arid desert land because of how little rainfall it receives (less than 50 centimeters or 19.7 inches annually).
  • Australia is part of a geographic region called Oceania which includes over 10,000 islands scattered throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Australia, however, is the only continent in this region because it is one very large continuous land mass whereas the rest of Oceania are islands not connected by a single land mass.
  • Australia has more sheep than humans… three times more to be exact!
  • The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland, Australia, in the Coral Sea, is one of the world’s seven natural wonders because of its colossal size, amazing beauty and immense biological diversity. It is the largest structure made by living organisms and is home to the world’s largest collection of corals, over 1,500 species of fish, rays, dolphins, mollusks, sponges and more, 200 types of birds, and over 20 species of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old!
  • There are 716 indigenous tribes in Australia, representing 3.2% of the country’s population. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – also known as the First Australians – make up this group with 4.4% of the group identifying with both.
  • 70% of Australia’s species are found nowhere else in the world! Some species likely inhabited Earth over 200 million years ago, like the Wollemi Pine, even before the dinosaurs lived.

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