When I found out I might be moving to Australia, it seemed that every time I turned on the news, listened to a podcast, or read the paper something about Australia was mentioned. You’ve probably experienced this, too. Your ears have all of a sudden picked up on any mention of this land down under.
You may have heard about the bush fires, sharks tweeting, or Cyclone Dylan. I heard about all of those things, too, but I’ll tell you that not a single one of those things (or the many other newsworthy items you may have heard about) affected me because Australia is HUGE country.
Australia is as big size wise as the continental US. This means that if I wanted to drive to Sydney from my house in Brisbane, it would be like me driving from Waterloo, Iowa, to Cheyenne, Wyoming. And the roads wouldn’t be nearly as good as they are in the US. It would take me about 10 hours to do it.
We recently had some visitors here who had originally talked about visiting all of the big places in Australia while they were here. They wanted to visit Brisbane, Sydney, Cairns, Perth, Melbourne, and Ayer’s Rock. They were thinking they could drive and spend the week before their cruise exploring the continent.
And then they looked at a map.
Go ahead and zoom out of the map below. I’ve marked Ayer’s Rock for you. Note the highways – there aren’t that many – and imagine the routes you would have to take to get to all of those locations – there’s no direct way. Now zoom in to figure out where all the major cities are. They’re on the coasts and they are far, far apart from each other.
There are currently over 22 million people who live in Australia. Compare that to the over 300 million people who live in the continental US. 22 million people occupying the same amount of land that 300 million occupy; the difference is that no one really lives in the middle here. We all crowd the coasts.
If living these past 6 months in Australia has taught me anything, it’s an appreciation for geography.