Saturday, December 3, 2022

Australia

  • Name: Commonwealth of Australia
  • Government: Democracy
  • Population: About 25.5 million (2021)
  • Urban Population: 90%
  • Capital: Canberra with 462,000 people (2021)
  • Language: English
  • Unemployment: 12%
  • Currency: 1 Australian dollar ($) = 100 cents
  • Religion: mainly Christians
  • Timezones: 3
  • National Symbols: Golden wattle (flower), opal (gemstone), green and gold (colours) and the Commonwealth Star (a seven-pointed star)
  • National Animals: Kangaroo, emu
  • National Holiday: 26 January (Australia Day)
  • National Anthem: Advance Australia Fair
Flag

Geography

Australia is an island country in the Southern hemisphere and belongs to Oceania/Australia. Australia is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Australia/Oceania is the smallest continent of the seven continents and although some consider Australia as the largest island in the world, Australia is commonly referred to as a country and a continent. (Greenland is the biggest island in the world).

Australia is also the driest inhabited continent of the world.

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China and Brazil.

The country is divided into six states (Southern Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania) and two self-governing territories: Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory (which is around Canberra, the capital city).

The country’s interior consists of arid and semi-arid areas which are referred to as ‘outback’. About 70% of Australia are outback, while the coastal plains are more fertile and house the majority of Australia’s population. About 35% of Australia’s land area are covered by deserts.

Most of Australia’s population live in the eastern and southern parts of the country and along the coastline.

Australia is roughly the same size as the USA without the states of California and Texas.

Superlatives

  1. The highest mountain of Australia is Mount Kosciuszko with 2,228 m/ 7,310 ft. This mountain is in the Great Dividing Range.

    Mount Kosciuszko
  2. The Great Dividing Range is the longest mountain range in Australia stretching over 3,500 km/ 2,175 miles.
  3. Uluru, previously referred to also as Ayers Rock, is located in the centre of the country and is the largest alone standing rock in the world.
  4. The longest river of Australia is the Murray River with 2,508 km/ 1,558 miles.
  5. The Great Barrier Reef in Eastern Australia is the biggest coral reef system in the world. The reef consists of more than 3,000 reefs and 900 islands. The Barrier Reef is home to over 350 species of corals and over 1,500 species of fish.
  6. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal.
  7. Sydney is Australia’s biggest city with more than 5 million inhabitants.
  8. Australia’s largest desert is the Great Victoria Basin which covers most of Western Australia and South Australia.
  9. New South Wales is the most populous state of Australia. 65% of the country’s population live in New South Wales.
  10. The larges state of Australia is Western Australia.

Attractions

  • Adelaide: the main city in South Australia is surrounded with fertile agricultural and wine regions. Did you know that Adelaide is also known for one of the largest Christmas parades in the world?
Adelaide Christmas parade - image: amphora_au/shutterstock.com
Annual Christmas parade in Adelaide
  • Arnhem Land: The Northern Territory is home to a large population of aboriginal people who have a deep spiritual connection with the land and proudly will share their experiences with visitors.
Aboriginal rock art in Arnhem Land - image by shutterstock
Aboriginal rock art in Arnhem Land
  • Australian Alps: Experience mountain landscapes with snowy mountain tops even in summer and enjoy the fascinating remote wilderness. There are lovely hiking tracks especially near lake Jindabyne.
Aerial view of the Australian Alps around Lake Jindabyne
  • Brisbane: Centre of the Australian Gold Coast with numerous resorts for an exciting beach holiday and a bit further to the north, there is the wonderful coral reef you cannot miss!
Brisbane South Bank Parklands Beach - image: Martin Valigursky/Shutterstock.com
  • Great Barrier Reef: The world’s largest coral reef is great for snorkelling and diving. Cairns is a popular beach resort town on the Northern Coast and Lady Elliott Island and Hamilton Island are wonderful family holiday islands.
  • Melbourne: The second largest city of Australia is the main city of the state of Victoria and has lots of trendy restaurants, shops and art galleries along the Yarra River.
Melbourne skyline along the Yarra River
Melbourne
  • Kakadu National Park: Experience the excitement of a real jungle in Australia’s biggest national park and one of the world’s most unique forests and woodlands and one of Australia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There you can also admire the Northern Territories highest waterfalls, the Jim Jim Falls.
Jim Jim Falls Australia
Jim Jim Falls
  • Perth: The biggest city in Western Australia with lovely Fremantle nearby has lovely quarters to explore. And don’t forget Rottnest Island where you can meet the friendly quokkas, the unique wallabies.
  • Pinnacles Desert Park: Hundreds of limestone pinnacles can be seen in Nambung National Park in Western Australia. There you can also spot wild emus.
Pinnacles Desert Park
  • Sydney: The iconic Opera House is one of the world’s most famous landmarks. Then there is the Harbour Bridge, the magical setting of the Sydney Botanical Garden, Darling Harbour, The Rocks and so much more to explore.

People

Australia’s first or indigenous people, are usually referred to as the aboriginal people of Australia. They make up 2% of Australia’s population today. The indigenous Australians are said to be direct descendants of migrants from Africa who left the African continent about 75,000 years ago. They have migrated over the Australasian continent until they settled in Australia around 60,000 years ago.

Today aboriginal people live in all main cities in Australia but most of them still live in the desert areas of the Australian outback. On the image above, you can see a man playing the didgeridoo, a kind of wooden trumpet, which is really difficult to play. The aboriginal people are highly skilled in arts and crafts and share with visitors their vast knowledge about the land and the environment.

Animals

Australia is home to many animal species. In fact, Australia houses more than 10% of the world’s biodiversity (animals and plant varieties). Among the most well-known Australian animals are kangaroos, wombats, koalas and the dingos.

Kangaroos are marsupials, which means, they carry their babies in their pouches. See the cute little joey (this is how baby kangaroos are called).

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