s/y Nine of Cups
Australia ... a new country, a new continent
November 2011 - September 2014
Interesting facts about Australia:
  • Australia’s coastline stretches almost 50,000 kilometres and is linked by
    over 10,000 beaches, more than any other country in the world.
  • More than 85 % of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast.
  • Kalgoorlie in Western Australia is Australia's largest producer of gold.
  • Australia's 85.7 million sheep (mostly merinos) produce most of the
    world's wool.
  • With 25.4 million head of cattle, Australia is the world's largest exporter
    of beef.
  • Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is home to the world’s largest oyster,
    weighing up to 3 kilograms
  • The world’s longest earthworm, stretching up to 4 m (12'), can be  found
    in Gippsland, Victoria.
  • The heaviest crab, weighing up to 14 kg, is found in Bass Strait near
  • The world’s longest piece of straight railway track stretches 478 km
    across South Australia’s vast, treeless Nullarbor Plain.
  • Australia’s longest stretch of straight road - 148 kilometres – is on the
    Eyre Highway in Western Australia. It’s just a tiny portion of the 2,700
    kilometre sealed road that takes travelers from Perth to Adelaide.  
  • The world's longest continuous fence – the dingo fence – was built to
    keep sheep safe from Australia's native dog and runs for 5,531
    kilometres through central Queensland and South Australia.
  • The iconic kangaroo is unique to Australia and one of its most easily
    recognised mammals. With an estimated 40 million kangaroos in
    Australia, there are more roos now  than when Australia was first settled.
  • Australia developed a unique fauna when it broke away from the super-
    continent Gondwana more than 50 million years ago. Today Australia is
    home around 800 species of birds, half of which are unique. The marine
    environments contain more than 4,000 fish varieties and tens of
    thousands of species of invertebrates, plants and micro-organisms. About
    80 per cent of Australia's southern marine species are found nowhere
    else in the world.
  • Australia supports at least 25,000 species of plants (compared to 17,500
    in Europe) that includes living fossils like the Wollemi pine and the grass
    tree and brilliant wildflowers. There are over 12,000 species in Western
    Australia alone!
  • The invigorating sea breeze known as the "Fremantle Doctor" affects the
    city of Perth on the west coast, and is one of the most consistent winds in
    the world.
  • Australia's longest river is the Murray-Darling River, in New South
    Wales, which flows for 2,911 miles (4,685 km) into the Indian Ocean.
  • One of the world's largest monoliths, Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) is located
    in central Australia, in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru is a sacred
    aboriginal site and a world-famous landmark. It is 348 m tall and made of
Commonwealth of Australia

Population:   23 million (est 2013); the lowest population density in the world - only two
people/sq km.
Area:            7,686,850 sq km - about the size of the contiguous 48 United States and 50
per cent larger than Europe. It is the sixth largest country in the world and the smallest
High Point:   Mt Kosciuszko, 2,228 metres above sea level.
Low Point:    Lake Eyre -15 m
Currency:     Australian dollar $AUD - a/o 11/2011  $1US = $1.05AUD
                                                      a/o 2/2013 -  $1 US = $ .89AUD
Time Zones:  Eastern Standard Time (EST) +10UTC; Central Standard Time (CST)
+9-1/2UTC; Western Standard Time (WST) +9UTC

The country is divided into 6 states plus 2 territories*:  Australian Capital Territory* (ACT),  
New South Wales, Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria,
Western Australia. ACT is comparable to Washington, DC in the USA.
Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia about 40,000 years
before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial
claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James Cook took possession in the name of
Great Britain. Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they
federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
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Home Page
Explore Australia with us as we go. Here are the links for our 2011-2014 travels:
Aussie movies we recommend:
  • Van Diemen's Land
  • Gettin' Square
  • Muriel's Wedding
  • The Rabbit Proof Fence
  • Shine
  • The Castle
  • The Sapphires
  • Mabo
  • Kenny
Books we liked about Australia:
  • The Fatal Shore - Robert Hughes
  • In a Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson
  • Lonely Planet Australia
Famous Australian
  • Dame Judith Anderson
  • Mel Gibson*
  • Nicole Kidman*
  • Errol Flynn
  • Geoffrey Rush
  • Heath Ledger
  • Cate Blanchett
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Naomi Watts
  • Portia de Rossi
  • Paul Hogan
*At dinner with Don & Anja, we were
corrected on our list ... Nicole Kidman was
born in Hawaii to Aussie parents and Mel
Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York! His
family emigrated to Australia when he was 12.
And as for Russell Crowe ... he's a Kiwi.
Thanks, Don, for keeping things straight! ;-)
Australian Novelists
  • Thomas Keneally  Schindler's Ark was the
    inspiration for the film Schindler's List.
  • Paul Brickhill's The Great Escape
  • Pamela Lyndon Travers' Mary Poppins
  • Morris West's The Shoes of the Fisherman
  • Bryce Courtenay's The Power of One
  • Colleen McCullough The Thornbirds
Check out the Australian weather forecast
See links to our travels below...
Opal is the national gemstone of Australia, which
produces 97% of the world's supply. The town of
Coober Pedy in South Australia is a major source of
opal. The world's largest and most valuable gem opal
"Olympic Australis" was found in August 1956 at the
"Eight Mile" opal field in Coober Pedy. It weighs
17,000 carats (3450 grams) and is 11 inches (280
mm) long, with a height of 4-3⁄4 inches (120 mm)
and a width of 4-1⁄2 inches
(110 mm). It is valued at
In the Middle Ages,
opal was considered
a stone that could provide great luck because it was
believed to possess all the virtues of each gemstone
whose color was represented in the color spectrum
of the opal. It was also said to confer the power of
invisibility if wrapped in a fresh bay leaf and held in
the hand.
Commonwealth Coat of Arms
Golden wattle (acacia pycnantha)
is Australia's national flower.
Though "Waltzing Matilda" is NOT the
Australian national anthem,
Australia Fair
is, it is certainly a
well-loved and well-known song closely
associated with Australia. I've been
humming it since we arrived.
Have a listen to the song or take a
look at the lyrics with Aussie
Aussie- isms (with many more to
come) Aussies like to shorten words.
Some examples:
  • arvo - afternoon
  • ute -  pick-up truck  
  • Chrissie - Christmas
  • pressie - present
  • Bundy - Bundaberg
  • Brissie - Brisbane
  • Tassie - Tasmania
  • Eskie - cooler
  • mozzie - mosquito
  • uni - unversity
  • cuppa - cup of tea or coffee
  • brekkie - breakfast
  • K's - kilometers or kilograms
  • servo - gas station/service station
  • tea - dinner (or tea)
  • muso - musician
At the supermarket...
chook - chicken
courgette - zucchini
capsicum - green or red pepper
aubergine - eggplant
avo - avocado
biscuits - cookies
crisps - potato chips
chips - French fries
turkey shanks - drumsticks
Chesterfield Reef (2011)
Raymond Island
Portand's Discovery Coast
Arrival in Bundaberg & Queensland
Deal Island
South Australia (2013-14)
New South Wales
Great Australian Bight
Back to Tasmania
Western Australia
Canberra, ACT
Hobart Town
Cocos Keeling Islands
Victoria-Gippsland Lakes
Tasmania's East Coast
Birds of Australia
Bass Strait Islands