There are many reasons to love Australia but here are my personal top five reasons and why I love Australia.
The wildlife in Australia is extremely diverse and there are loads of species that just cannot be found anywhere else in the world. From cute wallabies, koalas and huge kangaroos to scary crocodiles and spiders, Australia has some cute, cuddly animals and some very dangerous animals. And who knew you could see penguins in Australia before you got there? Personally, I thought penguins were only found in extremely cold, snowy places and isn't Australia meant to be hot and desert-like? If you're on the South Coast of Australia, and especially near Melbourne, make sure you visit Philip Island to see some unbelievably cute penguins doing their nightly Penguin Parade! (Read this for a list of my Top Five Scary Australian Animals)
Rainforests, Deserts and Ski-fields
Many of us forget just how flipping huge Australia is, it is a continent so we probably shouldn't be too surprised really. Because it's so huge there are completely different landscapes to be in awe of on your trip around the country. Right in the middle (The Red Centre) it's hot and it's dusty and there's not much water because it's a desert, then you travel North along Australia's east coast towards Cairns and the desert becomes lush rainforest with huge trees and beautiful waterfalls. Head south to Melbourne in Australia's winter and you can even go ski-ing!
History & Culture
Australia doesn't actually have much of a history and in fact most of it is pretty bleak (the English explorers who settled there killing off the Aborigines for example) but this is not the history I'm talking about you'll be pleased to hear. I remember wandering around various different Australian cities and Aussies proudly telling me that the building I was looking at was "Over 100 hundred years old". Wow! Having lived in a house that was over 300 years old (quite common in the town I lived in) I wasn't very impressed by how old this was but nevertheless I suppose you have to have some history you can be proud of. However what ever Australia is lacking in history, it does make up for it in quirky and unique culture, from the many Aussie foods you should try to Goon and of course, the hysterical Aussie slang!
It's always sunny in Australia! Well, that's one of the Aussie stereotypes that we're led to believe anyway. But fortunately enough if you do plan your trip properly you can follow the sunshine around this huge country and keep your tan in tip top shape. Don't forget that Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere so winter and summer are at the wrong time of year. In winter (Northern Hemispheres summertime) you want to base yourself around the South of the country. (And if you want to do the true backpacker thing, then head to Bondi Beach for Christmas Day!)
Please note that Bondi Beach is way busier on Christmas day than this picture of a sand snowman on a beach suggests!
Funny place names
One place I decided not to visit when I was in Australia was "Lake Disappointment", although I did want to visit "Mount Glorious", I'm sure you can guess why. There seem to be an awful lot of place names that Roy Walker from Catchphrase seems to have discovered "Say what you see!". But apart from not using much imagination and just naming a place so obviously, Australia also has some very funny place names These are some of my favourites (look them up - they're all real!). Dumpy Creek, Bogie, Chinamans Knob, Come by Chance, Humpybong, Good Night, Banana, Blackbutt, Groper Creek Reserve, Tittybong and Mount Buggery.
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