Does Water Drain Differently in Australia?

I was told, before we took our epic journey to Australia and New Zealand a few months ago, that toilets flush the reverse direction in Australia and New Zealand.  Reallllyy????

Being one who loves science, I had to investigate.  With us being a home inspection company, this might prove interesting.  As we traveled from Melbourne, to Tasmania, to Sydney, to Cairns - it didn't seem as if there was time for such an experiment.  Do you know how awesome Australia is?  And how much there is to see in a month???  Well, put it on your mind-blowing fun list to do in life.  I don't call it a bucket list, because I don't want to look at it from the perspective of dying - I want to reallllllllllly live!  Check out my Facebook page ( and friend me to see some of its amazingness!

I mean, we were busy hiking remote areas, holding baby wombats - which is the subject of a whole new blog entry (coming up), meeting and getting to know the culture and the incredible people of Australia!

Finally, before we left the country, I thought I would take a minute to see if toilets in Australia do indeed travel backwards.  Check out the video for yourself and tell me what you think:

Not too conclusive, right?  This had to do with the type of toilet and where the water is directed.  We can give Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti kudos for having environmentally conscious toilets, though!  But it doesn't answer the question that was originally posed!

So, I asked some of our friends in Australia to help us.  The people of Australia are lovely, and we so much appreciate and enjoy our new friends!  One of our friends on the East Coast sent us this video of their bathtub drain, and they even threw in some glitter so we could see it better!  Which direction is it going?

Counterclockwise - so, just to be sure, let's get another Aussie example.  This was another very dear friend who was willing to help out! Let's go down under on the south side of the country - Melbourne, Australia!

Again, this sink drains counterclockwise.

But how does that compare to us here, in Michigan?  Well, we had to complete this experiment!  So, we tried to drain the sink, as shown here.  Unfortunately, glitter was not something we had in stock, which again shows how cool Aussies are:

So, it does go in the opposite direction!  Just to be sure, let's see how the toilet drains.

Again, the direction is clockwise, whereas the Australia drains went counterclockwise.  Many credit this to what is called the Coriolis Effect, which Wikipedia describes: "In physics, the Coriolis effect is a deflection of moving objects when the motion is described relative to a rotating reference frame. In a reference frame with clockwise rotation, the deflection is to the left of the motion of the object; in one with counter-clockwise rotation, the deflection is to the right."

Some scientists, however, contend that something as small on a global scale as a toilet or a sink is not effected by the Coriolis effect, but typhoons and hurricanes - forces much larger - are an example of things that demonstrate this physics phenomenon.  So what do you think?  Certainly there can be other factors involved, but the videos provide a valid testimony to this. For more information, you can check out the Wikipedia article,, or go Down Under and do some research!  I choose "C"!  It is a lovely place!

Next, we will examine other important questions that plague mankind, such as, does the toilet paper roll need to have the paper over, or the paper under?  Being a little facetious here, but we will look at certain phenomena in buildings that might get us to think!  After we tell you about holding a baby wombat!

Dawn Wilder