1. A box jellyfish sting can lead to cardiovascular collapse and death within minutes, making it the most venomous creature on Earth.
2. Far North Queensland’s rainforests host a neurotoxic stinging tree that feels “like being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time”, causing months of excruciating pain.
3. Despite being the size of a $2 coin, Irukandji venom is 100 times more potent than cobra venom.
4. Giant thunder birds (Dromornithidae) roamed Australia as recently as 15,000 years ago.
5. Every year someone loses an eye to one of Australia’s most dangerous predators: the magpie.
6. Australia’s cyclones were originally named after politicians a weatherman disliked: As a result, he was able to report that the pollies were “causing great distress” or “wandering aimlessly about the Pacific”.
7. The world’s largest cattle station at 24,000 square kilometres, Anna Creek Station in South Australia is bigger than Israel.
8. If Australia’s biggest electoral district Durack was a country it would be the 19th largest on Earth. At 1,587,758 square kilometres, Durak is bigger than France, Germany, and Spain combined.
9. The 14,500-kilometre-long (9,000 miles) Highway 1 is the world’s longest national highway. If you drove 10 hours a day, averaging 100 kilometres per hour, it would take at least two weeks to circumnavigate Australia.
10. Australia has 10,685 beaches. You could visit a new beach every day for more than 29 years.
11. There are officially 65,486 Jedi in Australia (including Jedi Knights, Padawan, and Sith Lords) making Jedi the 18th biggest religion.
12. In 2013, a feral pig stole 18 beers from campers, got drunk, and started a fight with a cow.
13. Rum was the main currency in colonial Australia. When Gov. William Bligh tried to end the army officers’ monopoly in 1808, his government was overthrown in the only coup in Australian history.
14. Bushranger Moondyne Joe escaped jail so many times the government built a special cell to hold him. The governor said: “If you get out again, I’ll forgive you.” He escaped, and was released when captured.
15. Twenty-four rabbits released in Victoria in 1859 grew to a population of 10 billion in less than 70 years.
16. Built to keep Australia’s native dog away from sheep, the 5,500-kilometre Dingo Fence is the longest fence on Earth.
17. In World War II, a kelpie dog named Gunner had hearing so acute he could warn air force personnel of incoming Japanese planes 20 minutes before they arrived.
18. Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared while swimming in 1967 and was never found. Australia named a swimming pool after him.
19. In 1970 a dispute between a farming family and the government led to the family declaring independence and creating the Principality of Hutt River.
20. When Burger King arrived in Australia in 1971 it was forced to change its name to Hungry Jack’s because a takeaway joint in Adelaide had already trademarked the name.
21. When the Skylab space station crashed near Esperance, Western Australia, in 1979, the town’s council issued NASA a $400 fine for littering, which was never paid.
22. In 1979 police battled 4,000 rioters in Newcastle angry at the closure of the city’s Star Hotel pub.
23. Weird Al Yankovic’s “Eat It” hit the top of Australia’s charts in 1984, while Michael Jackson’s original “Beat It” only reached No. 3.
24. In 1992 media tycoon Kerry Packer cancelled new show Australia’s Naughtiest Home Videos half an hour into its first episode, demanding, “Get this shit off my station!”
25. Issued as Australian legal tender, the most valuable coin in the world is a $1 million coin made by Perth Mint, which weights one tonne and is 99.99% pure gold. It is actually worth almost $52 million ($40.8 million USD).
26. The last 24 members of a species of giant stick insect were found under a bush on Ball’s Pyramid off Lord Howe Island in 2001, 80 years after the last sighting.
27. The size of a human hand, the bugs are known as “tree lobsters” because of their hard exoskeleton.
28. In 2012 an episode of Peppa Pig was deemed unsuitable for broadcast in Australia because it said that spiders were not to be feared.
29. While Australia has the world’s most venomous spiders, there have been actually been zero spider bite-related fatalities since 1979.
30. Australia’s yellow-bellied three-toed skink is currently evolving from egg laying to live births.
31. Australia has an owl so large it hunts and eats possums, and is called the powerful owl.
32. Australia’s second most dangerous creature is the European honey bee, which 1–2% of the population is allergic to. It kills more people than sharks on average.
33. There is a place in Western Australia where space is closer than the nearest town.