Australia is one of the most beautiful countries on earth, famed for its glittering beaches and rugged, hostile outback. Many thousands of tourists visit each year, drawn to Australia's sun, sea, sand and adventure. But there's more to this incredible destination than just surfing and BBQs! Read on for five things you probably didn't know you could do on holiday in Australia.
You can go skiing
When planning your trip to Australia, you'll probably be looking forward to sunbathing and snorkelling, but did you know you can also enjoy some distinctly colder attractions? The Australian Alps, which sit between New South Wales and Victoria, are a haven for skiers, offering heaps of snowy runs at a time when most northern hemisphere resorts are closed for summer. Australia's mountains actually get more snow than what falls on the whole of Switzerland in a year!
Aside from skiing, you can also snowboard, take a spin on a snowmobile, go tobogganing, and even take a tour of the area with a husky dog sledding crew. And for a slower paced, but no less demanding activity, there are excellent hiking trails all over the mountain range just waiting to be explored.
You can visit the largest war memorial in the world
Everyone knows Australia is home to the largest living structure in the world (the Great Barrier Reef, which is visible from space), but did you know it's also home to the largest war memorial in the world? If you've been to Australia, you may have visited it without even knowing. The stunning Great Ocean Road, which weaves its way along the wild coastline of Victoria, is actually dedicated to Australians who died fighting in World War One. This road was built by those who returned home after the War and designed as a memorial to their fallen comrades. Now, a hundred years later, you can drive this road and enjoy the stunning views it offers.
You can get a great cup of coffee
When tourists think of drinking in Australia, they usually think of a cold beer enjoyed after a hard day of surfing, or a fruity cocktail gulped down at a wild beach party. But did you know Australia is also serious about its coffee? In fact, Perth has more cafes-per-capita than any other city in the world, making it a haven for coffee lovers. Meanwhile, experienced travellers and coffee enthusiasts like the Secret Traveller, who blogs at 1Cover, rate the coffee shops of Melbourne as among the best in the world to get a serious cup of coffee.
You can experience the healing powers of the didgeridoo
There's a reason koalas are so chilled out, and it might not just be because their lives consist of nothing but eating, hanging out in trees, and being adorable. They might also benefit from Australia's national musical instrument, the didgeridoo. It turns out that playing the didgeridoo has a range of health benefits.
Playing the didgeridoo requires deep breathing and concentration, making it ideal for relaxing and meditating. It also promotes oxygen flow and increased lung capacity, and strengthens the muscles of the respiratory system, which can help reduce snoring and can even alleviate the symptoms of asthma.
You probably won't die
Australia has a reputation for weird, wonderful, and sometimes fearsome wildlife. Over 80% of the country's animals are unique to Australia, and for many of those animals the rest of the world is pleased this is the case! From giant, bird-eating spiders to venomous jellyfish, it seems like the country is infested with creatures just waiting to bring an unsuspecting tourist's trip to an unfortunate and untimely end. But the idea of Australian hospitals bursting with victims of the local fauna is actually quite far from the truth.
An article in The Conversation reveals that only 0.01% of the Australian population, or 1 in 10,000 people in Australia, are admitted to hospital each year with an injury related to a venomous sting or bite, and only around six people actually die from these injuries each year. That's not bad odds, so next time someone tries to talk you out of a trip to Australia with spider-related horror stories, you can wave this list in their face.
Content of this article was contributed by Ron Morgan