Travel in Australia and New Zealand

5 Things You Didn't Know About Australia
By:David John Martin

Its official, according to the Post Office on Friday, Australia is the hottest ticket this winter. With Sterling's strength against the Aussie Dollar (£1 to $2.36 last week), it seems that holidaymakers are already picking up their travel money before the tables turn. So if your planning on going down under before the weather gets too chilly, here are five things you might not know about Australia.

1: Over 7000 beaches. Australia has the most beaches for any nation and a total of over 34,000km of coastline. The 12 Apostles are situated on the south coast of Victoria, these great stacks stand in the water at varying heights (up to 45 metres high) and have been caused by years of gradual stormy erosion.

2: Aussie Rules Football was invented by cricketers. Although a few different types of Foot-Ball had been played before, it wasn't until a letter printed in what would later become The Australasian Post, that the sport really began to take shape. The author of the letter, Tom Wills, was a cricketer who proposed that the town of Victoria should establish a foot-ball club and a set of rules to help keep cricketers fit over winter.

3: Eucalyptus is the worlds fastest growing tree. The Australian Eucalyptus can grow at a rate of 10 metres a year. There are over 700 species of Eucalypts and most are native to Australia. Eucalyptus oil is so flammable, that trees have even been known to explode.

4: Perth is one of the most isolated city in the world. Adelaide is Perth's closest city with a population of over a million, however it is still 2,104 kilometres away. In fact, Perth is closer to Singapore than it is to Sydney and Melbourne and so despite it being Australia's fourth biggest city, it is also one of the most isolated urban areas in the world.

5: The Australian National Anthem has a Missing Verse. Rumour has it that Advance Australia Fair contains an overtly Christian verse that is usually left out when it is performed. The verse is not considered to have been written by the original composer, Peter Dodds McCormick, but may have been added afterwards. Although it is not known to be included often, the most recent instance when the verse was sung was at a service in 2005 at St Andrews Cathedral. National Party Senator Sandy Macdonald famously said in 2001 that Advance Australia Fair 'is so boring that the nation risks singing itself to sleep'.

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