Ever since On the Beach was published in 1957, Australia has been the country we think of when we think "global apocalypse." That might be because people fantasize it's the one continent that will escape nuclear fallout. Or because it's so remote that people north of the equator imagine it as a savage wasteland of mutations. Either way, Australia is the coolest spot to stage the end of the world. The inspirations for that come from fiction and nonfiction. Check out our list of the reasons Down Under is going down.

Australia could be the last refuge in a world plagued by radiation. On The Beach, about a group of Australians waiting for the fallout cloud from a massive nuclear strike to float across the Pacific to kill them, is the most obvious fictional tale in this vein. Written by Australian Nevil Shute, the book was made into a famous U.S. flick with Gregory Peck in 1959. It was perhaps one of the bleakest nuke nightmares of the 1950s.


Australia is going to be the first country with water riots. Climate change has hit Australia pretty hard, and the country has been suffering one of the most profound droughts in its history. In fact, the rainfall patterns in the country have shifted almost completely since the country was founded and built up: the formerly rainy and more populated southern regions are now bone-dry, while the formerly uninhabited and unpopulated northern climes have become suitable for cities and farms.

Mad Max is Australian. OK, nuff said.

Australia is located next to New Zealand, one of the world's most fertile regions for post-apocalyptic stories. Despite living in beautiful Middle Earth, residents of New Zealand seem to have a gift for the apocalyptic. Not only did NZ's fortunate son Peter Jackson cut his teeth with apocalyptic flicks like Bad Taste (alien invasion) and Dead Alive (zombie infiltration), but one of the most disturbing end-of-the-world movies ever made, Quiet Earth, was made in New Zealand. The coolest post-apocalyptic blog in the universe is named after Quiet Earth.

Kangaroo mutants are cooler than all other mutants. Tank Girl is one of the greatest post-apocalyptic comics ever, and features a cute mutant kangaroo-human, Booga, who is the lover to our eponymous hero. The comic includes some great surreal jokes about colostomy bags and the Australian president, which aren't exactly post-apocalyptic or kangaroo-related, but are post-rational. While most fans of the comic hated the movie version, it's actually a pretty fun flick if you set aside your wish to see the more hardcore aesthetic of the comic brought to life.


Animal invasions are a regular feature of Australian life. As we demonstrated a few weeks ago, wild animals going nuts are a basic part of post-apocalyptic stories. And Australia has always had a problem with masses of crazed animals. Rabbits became so difficult to control at one point that a series of gigantic fences, spanning 3,256 kilometers, were erected on the border of Western Australia to keep the bunnies out of farmlands. Also, the terrifying spread of cane toads across the country has become a major problem too.

Vegemite. Any country that invents a black paste of "concentrated yeast extract" to smear on toast in the morning is already thinking apocalyptically.

BONUS: Y the Last Man even has an Australian subplot. Yorick's girlfriend, whom he's yearning to reunite with, is trapped in Australia. The message here? You just can't end the world without bringing Australia into it somehow.