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Many travelers head to Australia not realizing the scale of their destination.

THROUGHOUT MY TWO years of living in Melbourne and hosting Couchsurfing guests, I met many visitors with overly ambitious plans and not enough time. So I asked contributing editor Juliane Huang to compile a graphic to show everyone just how big Australia really is. Even I was surprised at what she came back with.

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About The Author

Carlo Alcos

Carlo is the Dean of Education at MatadorU and a Managing Editor at Matador. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. He lives in Nelson, British Columbia.

  • Joel | Blog Of Impossible Things

    Is that really to scale?

  • Carlo Alcos

    Hi Joel, Juli may weigh in on this, but as far as I know, everything is to scale, which is what I meant when I say it even surprised me. I did a quick search and found this post – apparently we’re not the first to compare :)

    The map shown there is pretty much the same as this one.

    • Joel | Blog Of Impossible Things

      That’s crazy. I knew it was big, but wow.

      • Juliane

        Hey Joel, the graphic, though not exact, is pretty much to scale. As you can see the “length” of Australia is 500km larger than the “length” of Europe, which is represented in the graphic. Pretty crazy huh? I had a feeling Australia was bigger, but didn’t realize until I worked on this project just how much of Europe could fit inside OZ! I am as surprised as you haha. Thanks for commenting!

  • Hal Amen

    Juli, will you be Trips’ official graphics guru?? Love these.

  • Juliane

    Anything for Team Harlo. So happy that you like them, Hal! :D

  • Andrea

    It’s kind of interesting to me that the space occupied by Europe in this graphic is the largely uninhabited part of Australia, whereas the European countries shown are pretty densely populated. Would love to know the numbers…

  • Sophie

    I once saw a similar photo of a comparison Australia – USA. Australia is huge!

  • Oleg

    But what about Scandinavian countries and Ukraine, for example, – aren’t they Europe?

    • Juliane

      Yep. I guess the wording sounds a bit vague, but what I mean by “(as shown)” is that not all of Europe is included. Europe extends farther east; a graphic with all the Eastern European countries included wouldn’t be as “clean” a graphic to create as this one and I think would detract from how strikingly large OZ is, though all the western countries can fit in OZ and some popular eastern ones. I guess we can also think of the image also as a ‘how many European countries can fit in OZ’ graphic? Thanks for commenting Oleg!

  • Anne

    Wow! I’ve heard some Aussies complaining that domestic flights are really expensive there. Now I kind of see why…

    • Monique

      yepp…they really are…:(

  • Alaina O’Brien

    Holy crap. I had no idea…

  • Caz Makepeace

    As an Aussie living in London, I was always amazed when English people would complain about a 3 hour car journey to get to other cities and tourist destinations. That’s nothing at home and certainly wouldn’t get you to any destination too different from your home town. Sydney to Brisbane or Melbourne will take you at least 12 hours.

  • Monique

    Woah…I live in Australia and always thought Europe was larger….but I guess not…..Australia is huge….but I suppose we have a lot of area that isn’t used..

    • NotoriousGRK

      Europe is larger dear,

      The editors left out a considerable landmass, for whatever reason. Namely Scandinavia, the Baltic and rest of Eastern Europe which would show it larger than Australia. By the way, actually 75% of Australia is desert (or Arid or “the outback”). Remember the old saying, dont judge a book by its cover.

  • Travel With a Mate

    I’ve seen this done over a map of the USA too. If Perth was where Los Angeles is then Melbourne is in Florida!

    Don’t trust your Atlas. The image is warped towards the poles So Australia looks a lot smaller than it really is.

  • Cynthia

    It’s also interesting to see Australia compared to the United States. Oz is about the same size as the continental US, but with only about 20 million people. Of course, there are large parts of Australia that are not suitable for habitation. However, even the inhospitable regions are fun for travel, and it’s nice to be able to really get away from it all. On my first trip to Australia, I spent six months and covered 20,000 miles, and I left with a “gotta do this next time” list almost as long as what I’d seen. Great destination — but you do have to allow time for travel. Even if you get an airline pass for your trip, it takes some serious time to get from point A to point B.

  • Stewart

    thank you for putting us into perspective :) I have copied this link so that i may put it in my travel pod forum information.

    I too have to explain to friends from Europe and America that Australia is not that tiny speck on the maps as atlas’s have a tendency to portray us, and they are surprised that for us to travel any distance under 5hrs is no major journey I used to regularly drive to Sydney for a weekend and back to work on the Monday morning and that was a 14hr drive then today with free ways etc it is about 11hours, to fly from Brisbane to Sydney is an hour and half flight for me to fly to Perth it is a 5 and a half hour flight allowing for time zones

  • Tontoxto

    How about counting Scandinavia as a part of Europe?

  • Cathy Reuben

    Hi Lin – just wanted to imagine driving from one side of Oz to the other – this puts it in perspective! xxx

    • Linda Giddy

      This is why we say that a 2 hour drive to Market Harborough and back is nothing!!!!! If we didn’t drive distances we’d never see anything!!

    • Cathy Reuben

      Mmm, but I still don’t see how it’s possible to drive across Oz in three days!!!

  • Alla Barsoukova

    This map was made by someone totally ignorant, with a ridiculous result. Australia is big but sorry, Europe is bigger. It’s over 10 million sq km, not 3. Wishful thinkers ;).

  • Sean Villareal

    How strange…this country is so big, almost like a continent…

  • Laura Pennesi

    Mmm lots missing in this “Europe”… Where’s Denmark? Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica?
    Anyway, impressive how big Australia is!

  • NotoriousGRK

    60% of Australia is desert

  • NotoriousGRK

    Actually, 60% of Australia is desert

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