OK, before you start thinking that this post is sponsored by Australia Tourism or something, it’s not, but it is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. If you poll potential travelers most, and not just Americans, usually have a trip to Australia in their top five dream trip destinations. People around the world are captivated by this remote continent-island, most of which is so barren life doesn’t exist except in the extreme. It’s now been a year since my one and only trip to Oz and I can’t think of a better time than now to try to answer the question: Why does everyone love Australia?
1. Extreme – Australia is 2,989,000 square miles, about the same size as the Continental United States. Yet the island nation is only home to 22 million residents, the vast majority of whom live along the coasts and far away from the Red Centre. Much of Australia isn’t just inconvenient for life and habitation; it’s extremely bad for it. Temperatures soar to incredible heights, there’s no water and just about every animal has its own special way to kill or maim. The Red Centre though I think is a great metaphor for the rest of the country, everything about Australia is extreme. It’s located at the ends of the earth, just about as far away from anything you can possibly get. It has animals found nowhere else on the planet; remnants of another geological age and infinitely strange. A trip to Australia isn’t like a weekend away in London; this is a trip for the ages. It’s big, far away and demands time and attention and it is this extreme nature that I believe stirs our imaginations as travelers at the most base of levels. Whether conscious or not, there’s a need for travelers to take their lives up a notch either intellectually of physically and Australia is one of the best places to do that.
2. Completely different – Thanks to its millennia of separation from the rest of the world, there’s just no place like Australia anywhere else. It is believed that the Aboriginal people first arrived on the shores of Australia 50,000 years ago. Think about that number, fifty thousand years. In terms of human civilization that’s an incredibly long time ago and is an equally long time to be isolated from the rest of the world. But this isolation, both geological and socially, has imparted to Australia much of its wonder and charm. Most of the animal life doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world and they are mostly accessible to tourists: Koalas, kangaroos, platypi, you name it and every strange, cute creature seems to call Australia home. These differences are translated across to the landscape, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and the vast interior desert are themselves as unique as those cuddly koalas and kangaroos. This is the only place in the world that can be called completely different from anything else anywhere in the world, so why wouldn’t it be a dream trip?
3. People – I believe that the combination of their, ahem, interesting heritage and the fact that they lived on the edge of the planet created the modern Australian personality. Outgoing, fun, engaging, smart, enthusiastic and self-reliant – these qualities are by and large enjoyed by many Australians and they were borne of necessity. We in the United States congratulate our founding fathers for their own challenges in pioneering the nation, but the first Australian colonists/prisoners took this to new levels. The fact that they were able to create the country that exists today in only a couple of hundred years is no mean feat. Along the way though it meant that only a special type of person would succeed. These qualities make it a joy to visit Australia, as you’ll never be without a drinking buddy or someone with whom to yammer on about politics. As an American, I think we are drawn to Australia by our similar backgrounds and cultural underpinnings. We are both, basically, Anglo in our heritage and frankly I think understand each other fairly well. We both also truly value our independence and that too brings us closer together. Australia is an easy place to visit with people who are easy to get along with. That’s pretty uncommon as one travels around the world.
4. Adventure – I generally consider New Zealand to be the adventure travel capital of the world, but Australia revels in a special type of adventure that I believe draws millions of people. Instead of relying upon bungee or Zorbing, travel to Australia is itself the adventure. As humans I think we love the idea of being a pioneer, of exploring unknown spaces upon which few have tread. Sure, millions of people visit Australia every year but there is a perception I believe that to travel there is to be an adventurer, a special kind of traveler who seeks to discover new things. Whether or not that is actually true doesn’t matter, it’s the feeling of that adventure that is important and is another reason why it is so beloved by many.
Australia is big in size, in spirit and in expectations and it’s hard at times to reconcile all that. It would take years of travel through Australia to see its width and breadth and to walk away feeling like you truly know and understand the country, but it is this tendency to shock and awe visitors that I believe is the country’s greatest asset. It’s also why millions of people who have never visited want to visit; they seem to realize on some level that it is a country of infinite possibilities and that alone is enough to make it a dream destination.
What do you think? What are the other reasons why people seem to love Australia so much?
12 thoughts on “Four Reasons Everyone Loves Australia”
I visit Australia often and just love the place.
You have summed up some good reasons but for specifics there are so many more.
Very friendly and down to earth people who say it as it is; no dressing things up. Fabulous cities like Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney as well as Perth on the other side.
Queensland, which for me is heaven on earth. Such a beautiful State and the only place in the world where when I land at the airport everyone around you is smiling.
The beaches are wonderful, the climate amazing. The lifestyle… to die for.
Agree on all 4! :)
The food, weather and stable political climate are a few other good reasons to visit us here in Australia.
All great ones!
I agree esp with #3, the people. Outgoing, friendly, and relaxed.
I like the “extreme”. It’s so true. But at the same time Australia has a gentleness, a sweetness that I’ve found nowhere else on earth. She is tough, it’s true, but treat her with respect and you become part of Australia. Then she’ll never let you go.
I agree and I should have made that point as well. There’s no denying the extreme though :)
Matt – really pleased you gave the Australian deserts their due. They are a space that frightens many Australians, until they visit. Intriguingly, I think those spaces also partly define what it is to be Australian. Of course, not everyone is comfortable in the centre of Australia. (That is a blessing ‘cos it would be really crowded!) But they are a space unlike almost anywhere else on the planet. Cities and reefs and rain forests are all a variation on a theme. The deserts of Australia are different enough to warrant the mention you have given them.
Thanks Gary and you’re right. The deserts along with the many other unique habitats around Australia make it one of the most interesting places on Earth.
It is nice to see that overseas tourists appreciate Australia.I have read some negative travel blogs on Australia stating that you will be really dissapointed,such as “Australia is boring ,no history ,boring landsape and New Zealand is much more spectacular.”I don’t think these travellers have spent enough time in Australia,to appreciate it’s beauty and anything else it has to offer.Thank you for your kind comments.
Embarrassed to say I found this post by searching “Why do people love australia” I’m glad I found it though, cause it makes me want to be even more friendly to visitors.
I was in sydney recently to visit my wife (We live in brisbane) and in the hotel she was living, an american women started up a conversation with us as we were leaving on our our way to dinner. We exchanged pleasantries, but I have really regretted not actually having a conversation with her ever since. Even as she was talking to us I was thinking about how friendly she was but I just didn’t make that extra step to ask her how her day was or what she was planning for the couple days. Come on aussie! Make an effort!
Saying all that, I do enjoy telling non australians how big and poisonous our spiders and snakes and kangaroo/koala hybrids are. They don’t believe me as much anymore though :( (it’s all true, kangaroo/koala hybrids are supremely dangerous and what’s more, they are prevalent! and you need to buy special protective gear at the airport. Say G’day Mate for a 5% discount)
As a born and bred true blue Aussie, I enjoyed the read Matty.
I live in Melbourne and have never desired to live anywhere else in the world
I guess we are born into the isolation and it’s all we know
Our internet is terrible and the shops shut at 5pm sharp
We back our cricketers with all our beers in the summer and are crazy about AFL footy come winter time
I have travelled New Zealand ( doesn’t count apparently because u can basically swim across the channel ) and spoke to an American lady whom had no intrest in visiting Australia
I asked her why and her response was that she didn’t like our Prime Minister at the time or anything he stood for, so Australia was a turn off.
I had to explain she needed to line up in the complaints queue because we didn’t like him either
I’m glad you took the time to visit the great Southern land coz quiet frankly our government sent us broke and we need all the tourists we can get
That’s not a joke
As an Aussie the idea of visiting another city normally becomes incorporated in holiday plans, as our city’s are at least 10 hours drive away, but to see people so keen to travel thousands of kilometres to visit, I feel lazy not getting on a domestic flight and exploring my country more
We may come across as cocky and smart ass people occasionally, but you can always count on an Aussie to give a hand to someone looking for directions, change a flat tire, or shout a beer at the pub before they tell a bizaar story with the facts stretched beyond its limits.
We don’t like kangaroos, they get into our bins at night, or bounce onto the highway as the worst times
We also don’t like wombats or koalas, they are nasty, over protective, and have extremely sharp claws.
Be sure to visit destinations that may not be highlighted on a tourist map, get a coffee in one of Melbourne’s city alleyways,
visit Tasmania (it’s beautiful), Check out Mount Gambier in South Australia, and tour the Barossa Valley and Yarra valley in South Australia and Victoria respectably.
As for now, I’m going to enjoy a beer, and although more snow falls in the Australian Alps than Switzerland, the snow is hard, icy, and extremely expensive to visit.
Swim across to New Zealand to have a decent ski
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