I’ve been reading a lot about Australia and getting very excited the more I think about all the amazing places I want to see there. I thought I’d share some of the things a lot of people have found the most surprising when I tell them!
- The time difference from the Eastern US to Sydney is 16 hours. When it’s 5pm here, it’s 9am the following day there. The country has three main time zones, and Perth (on the Western coast of the country) is only 14 hours ahead (so when it’s 5pm here it’s 7am there).
- There are a bajillion things that can kill humans there, although statistically not that many people die from them, especially since most of the population lives in cities near medical help. The killer things include lots of snakes, alligators, jellyfish, and spiders. I’m especially afraid of the huge poisonous spiders, but Aussies are really casual about them and desensitized to them. Most travelers don’t encounter much other than maybe some spiders, from what I’ve been told.
- Since Australia is in the southern hemisphere, their seasons are opposite. Australian Christmastime means sandmen instead of snowmen and barbecue holiday parties on the beach. I’m ready to switch from the freezing Indiana winter to the warm Australian summer next month!
- Contrary to popular belief, the Earth’s rotation has nothing to do with the way a toilet flushes, so it’s no different in the southern hemisphere, accept that they are probably more conservative with the amount of water they use when flushing than Americans are.
- Australia is about the same geographical size as the continental USA! That means that it’s not super quick/easy to get from city to city, as they’re all spread out without many people in between, and you end up mostly having to fly if you don’t want to drive for days and days through desert. The distance from Perth to Sydney is roughly the same as Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida, if that gives you an idea.
- Due to the country’s size and makeup, there’s a huge variation in climate. Overall it’s much warmer than where I’m from in the Midwest US, but it can get cool and even snow very occasionally in parts of Australia. The middle is mostly desert (multiple types of desert, actually), but the people mostly live on the coasts. Sydney is subtropical (hot summers and mild winters, like Florida), Melbourne is temperate and mild, Perth has a Mediterranean climate (hot and dry in summer, mild and wet in winter), and the Northern Territory is part grassland and part full-on tropical and jungle-y. There are also snowy mountains with ski resorts as well as a lot of gorgeous white-sand beaches.