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The 5 Things Most Likely to Kill You Down Under

This story originally appeared on Oyster’s Australian website.

Australia doesn’t do anything in halves, if it rains it pours, if it’s sunny it’s boiling, and if it’s dangerous it’s most likely deadly. From the surface Australia looks irresistible; sun-kissed beaches, open roads and majestic bush land to get lost in. Some of Mother Nature’s best work, Australia is truly picturesque, but don’t be fooled by the attractive exterior. Australia is a minefield of deadly creatures waiting to pounce, whether you’re on land, in sea, or even in the safety of your hotel, these smiling assassins can hunt you down. Nowhere is safe. For the thrill seeker undeterred by our words of wisdom, we’ve compiled a handy list of the critters with the most kills; get to know your enemy, it might just save your life.

Blue-Ringed Octopus

If you’re in the mood for a snorkel, you best pay close attention to the coral. The Blue-Ringed Octopus, a clever character, is often camouflaged amongst the colorful coral reef. Like a silent hunter, you won’t often know you’re being watched until it launches at you to plaster you with the kiss of death. Within minutes this little devil will have caused motor paralysis by blocking your nerve conduction and eventually you will die of cardiac arrest. The neuromuscular venom in the saliva of this sea monster is deadly with no known antidote. Such mesmerizing colors, oh how looks can be deceiving.

Where to Stay: Shangri-La Hotel Sydney

The Blue-Ringed Octopus is hard to escape, found swimming throughout the whole of Australia as well as the Philippines, India, Singapore, and New Zealand. If you want to avoid an encounter, it’s best to take refuge in a hotel with a nice pool like the Shangri-La Hotel. With sweeping views of both Darling Harbor and Sydney Cove, the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney is one of the most desirable hotels in the city. It’s located in The Rocks, a charming, historic area just north of the Central Business District. Asian-inspired interiors are luxurious, and the large and bright rooms have big marble bathrooms complete with separate showers and soaking tubs. They are also tech-savvy, making them popular with business travelers, featuring built-in converters in outlets for worry-free charging. The hotel has two bars and two restaurants, one on the 36th floor that is a destination restaurant in Sydney. Amenities are extensive, and include a peaceful indoor pool, modern fitness center, and serene spa. With 563 rooms, the hotel may not be intimate, but the polished interiors and great views make it worth the price tag.

Box Jellyfish

What a creep, this spineless killer is transparent, making it incredibly difficult to spot in water. Particularly popular along the Great Barrier Reef between October and May, these floating blobs are armed with fast working painful poison in their tentacles. One of the most deadly creatures in the world, your respiratory system will shut down within minutes. An anti-venom does exist to reverse this dark fate, victims just need to make their way to the shore and find the nearest medic. By the way, don’t bother getting a friend to urinate on you, even if its stops the sting in the short term, you’ll be dead within minutes and left smelling of pee. Good luck.

Where to Stay: Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Box Jellyfish are usually found swimming in the indo-pacific and coastal waters off Northern Australia, so if you’d rather not swim in their mix head south to the Grand Hyatt Melbourne. This opulent, centrally located hotel caters to the needs—and deep wallets—of business travelers. With big, comfortable rooms and plenty of on-site amenities, including a pool and rooftop tennis court, meeting facilities, and a spa, the luxurious Grand Hyatt is a solid pick for those who want to combine work and pleasure. It is, however, missing the small touches that set other luxury hotels apart, such as automatic turndown service or refreshments upon arrival.

Great White Shark

If you’re out for a paddle and you see a fin gliding through the water, it’s probably best to turn and swim as fast as you can in the opposite direction. It’s highly unlikely that’s you’re having some magical encounter with a dolphin and much more possible that our local predator the Great White Shark is in your mix. With 222 razor- sharp teeth and the ability to swim up to 35 miles per hour, these clever beasts know where you are even if you can’t be seen. Great Whites can pick-up smells from hundreds of meters away and their pressure-sensitive receptors can detect anything with a pulse in their lateral radius. The good news is that most shark attacks are non-fatal, meaning that they’re likely to have a taste and spit you back out. Try not to be too delicious!

Where to Stay: Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Great White Sharks have been found around Australia and can swim in water as shallow as 300 meters deep, so if you don’t like sharks stay out of the water and go for a relaxing spa instead at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney. This luxurious city center hotel is aimed at business travelers with expense accounts. With 531 rooms, it’s the largest Four Seasons in the chain’s portfolio, and the constant coming and going of guests—the majority of whom are business travelers—gives this central Sydney hotel a busy, and somewhat impersonal, ambience. Rooms have all-marble bathrooms and oversize flat-screen TVs, but the decor is noticeably bland, lacking the luxurious look and feel that one might expect from such a high-priced hotel. That said, the amenities are extensive and high quality, and include a swimming pool, well-equipped gym, and spa with sauna and steam rooms. There are also a bar and two restaurants, although the poolside restaurant is only open seasonally and the other is closed for lunch on weekends and dinner on Sundays. Fortunately, 24-hour room service is available and guests can fill up at the big (and expensive) buffet breakfast, served daily.

Eastern Brown Snake

So you’re done with the terror of the seas and want to return to the safety of your bed for some rest and relaxation, think again. On average, 3,000 Australians get bitten by snakes a year. They like warm places to curl up, like your bed sheets or shoes, and are especially fond of houses in suburban areas residing mainly along the coasts and inland areas of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. The Eastern Brown snake is the second most venomous snake in the world; they will chase you if provoked, paralyze you with their bite and cause you earth shattering pain until you’re either treated with the anti-venom cure or dead. Get into a habit of shaking out your shoes and sheets before tucking in, you never know, you might have company.

Where to Stay: The Best Western Premier Terrace Hotel Perth

If you want to escape the fangs of the Eastern Brown Snake, head to Perth where their less aggressive cousin the Western Brown Snake resides. The Best Western Premier Terrace Hotel is a four and a half pearl rated hotel with huge terrace suites, a luxurious restaurant, and an impressive wine collection to boot!

Sydney Funnel-Web Spider

Within 15 minutes of being bitten you’re likely to have some horrific symptoms; numbness of the mouth and lips, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing and breathing, severe muscle spasms, and high blood pressure. Within two hours, if untreated with the anti-venom cure, your central nervous system will shut down, you’ll probably have a heart attack and you’ll most likely be dead. These hairy fanged monsters are among the most venomous spiders in the world. The male Sydney Funnel-Web’s bite packs a punch with a highly toxic venom up to six times stronger than their female counterpart. If they’re provoked they become very aggressive, standing up on their hind legs and displaying their fangs. They can move quickly and even swim so it’s best to stay out of their way.

Where to Stay: Coconut Grove Apartments Queensland

As the name suggests, these nasty critters reside in Sydney, usually taking shelter in moist, humid places like trees, backyard sheds and garages within a 100 mile radius of Sydney. If you don’t want a run-in with these lethal sharp fangs, head to the Coconut Grove Apartments in sunny Queensland. A luxurious 33-room apartment hotel in a quiet complex close to the beach. The apartments feature generously sized outdoor areas (most with pools) and indoor comforts such as flat-screen TVs and high-end L’Occitane toiletries. The lack of resort-style features and the fees for housekeeping and Wi-Fi may be a turn-off for some, but independent travelers who like to cook for themselves will feel right at home.

—Lara Parker

This article was originally published by under the headline The 5 Things Most Likely to Kill You Down Under. It is reprinted here with permission.

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(Photo at top: Thinkstock/iStock)

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