The World Traveling Guide

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Canbera

Canberra  is the capital city of Australia. With a population of 381,488, it is Australia’s largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney, and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne. A resident of Canberra is known as a “Canberran”.

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The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation’s capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely planned city outside of any state, similar to the American Federal District of Columbia. Following an international contest for the city’s design, a blueprint by the Chicago architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913.[5] The Griffins’ plan featured geometric motifs such as circles, hexagons and triangles, and was centred on axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory.

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The city’s design was influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation that have earned Canberra the title of the “bush capital”. The growth and development of Canberra were hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression, which exacerbated a series of planning disputes and the ineffectiveness of a procession of bodies that were created in turn to oversee the development of the city. The national capital emerged as a thriving city after World War II, as Prime Minister Robert Menzies championed its development and the National Capital Development Commission was formed with executive powers. Although the Australian Capital Territory is now self-governing, the federal government retains some influence through the National Capital Authority.

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As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the High Court and numerous government departments and agencies. It is also the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance, such as theAustralian War Memorial, Australian National University, Australian Institute of Sport, National Gallery, National Museum and theNational Library. The Australian Army’s officer corps are trained at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and the Australian Defence Force Academy is also located in the capital.

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The ACT, like Washington, D.C. in the United States, is independent of any state, to prevent any one state from gaining an advantage by hosting the seat of Federal power. Unlike Washington, however, the ACT has voting representation in the Federal Parliament, and has its own independent Legislative Assembly and government, similar to the states.

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As the city has a high proportion of public servants, the federal government contributes the largest percentage of Gross State Product and is the largest single employer in Canberra. As the seat of government, the unemployment rate is lower and the average income higher than the national average, while property prices are relatively high, in part due to comparatively restricted development regulations. Tertiary education levels are higher, while the population is younger.

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The district’s change from a rural area in New South Wales to the national capital started during debates over Federation in the late 19th century Following a long dispute over whether Sydney or Melbourne should be the national capital, a compromise was reached: the new capital would be built in New South Wales, so long as it was at least 100 miles (160 km) from Sydney, with Melbourne to be the temporary seat of government (but not referred to as the “capital”) while the new capital was built.

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Newspaper proprietor John Gale circulated a pamphlet titled ‘Dalgety or Canberra: Which?’ advocating Canberra to every member of the Commonwealth’s seven state and federal parliaments. By many accounts, it was decisive in the selection of Canberra as the site in 1908, as was a result of survey work done by the government surveyor Charles Scrivener. The NSW government ceded the Federal Capital Territory (as it was then known) to the federal government. In an international design competition conducted by the Department of Home Affairs, on 24 May 1911, the design by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was chosen for the city, and in 1913 Griffin was appointed Federal Capital Director of Design and Construction and construction began.

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Canberra can get just as hot as anywhere else in Australia during the summer months, with temperatures above 30ºC a frequent occurrence from December through to March. It can get bitterly cold during the winter months (June-August) owing to its altitude and proximity to the Snowy Mountains. Overnight temperatures in winter frequently drop below zero and tend to hover slightly above 10ºC during the day. However, it is usually a clear, brisk cold, and rarely a dull, damp cold. It almost never snows in Canberra, because the below freezing temperatures (at night) coincide with clear skies.

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Canberra is less humid than Australian coastal cities. The hottest days are often mitigated by welcome, cooling, mountain breezes, particularly towards the end of the day, and the temperature drops overnight.

 

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Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is an Oceanian country that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby. The western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.

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Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. According to recent data, 848 different languages are listed for the country, of which 12 have no known living speakers There may be at least as many traditional societies, out of a population of about 6.3 million. It is also one of the most rural, as only 18% of its people live in urban centres. The country is one of the world’s least explored, culturally and geographically, and many undiscovered species of plants and animals are thought to exist in the interior.

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Strong growth in Papua New Guinea’s mining and resource sector has led to the country’s becoming the sixth fastest-growing economy in the world as of 2011. Despite this, many people live in extreme poverty, with about one-third of the population living on less than US$1.25 per day. The majority of the population still live in traditional societies and practice subsistence-based agriculture. These societies and clans are explicitly acknowledged within the nation’s constitutional framework. The Papua New Guinea Constitution expresses the wish for “traditional villages and communities to remain as viable units of Papua New Guinean society” and for active steps to be taken in their preservation.

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After being ruled by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea established its sovereignty in 1975 following 70 years of Australian administration. It became a separate Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II becoming its head of state.

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There is evidence of human settlement as long ago as 35,000 years in what is now Papua New Guinea. This comes from an archaeological site at Matenkupkum, just south of Namatanai inNew Ireland province. Other archaeological digs at several locations in New Ireland have discovered tools and food residue dating back 20,000 years.

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In more modern times, Papua New Guinea (known popularly as ‘PNG’), the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (which is the second largest island in the world), was divided between Germany (‘German New Guinea’) and Great Britain (‘British Papua’) in 1884. The Dutch had West Papua, now the Indonesian territory of Papua. The southeast part of the island, also known as Papua, was owned by the UK but administered by Australia, and thus a colony of a colony, until Australian independence in 1901, when it became an Australian colony. In 1914, the Australians did their part in the Allied war effort and took control of German New Guinea, and continued to administer it as a Trust Territory under the League of Nations and (later) the United Nations. However, it was not just disinterested colonialism. Gold(#gold) had been discovered(#discovered) in several places and was rapidly exploited. Remnants of vast gold dredges can still be seen in the Bulolo and Wau area.


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During World War II, New Guinea was the site of fierce fighting on land (at Buin and on the Kokoda Track) and sea (at the Battle of the Coral Sea). It was the first place in the war where the Japanese advance was checked and then reversed. After the war, both New Guinea and Papua were administered from the government center of Port Moresby on the south coast, in Papua. In 1975, the country, now united as ‘Papua New Guinea’, achieved independence from Australia. Today Papua New Guinea continues to be the foremost country in Melanesia. The country(#country) struggles to fulfill the dreams of independence as economic stagnation, corruption, law and order problems, and a nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville all conspire to make the country somewhat less than a tropical paradise.

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The attempts by Bouganville to break away at the time of Independence led to a decision to offer the regions(#regions) of the country a certain amount of political autonomy. Decentralization led to the establishment(#establishment) of nineteen provincial governments and the process of dividing up the country into unviable administrative units seems to be continuing, with a decision in 2009 to split both Southern Higlands and Western Highlands provinces into three new provinces.

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In 2009, Papua New Guinea received 125,000 visitors, but only around 20% of these declared themselves as tourists. The country offers the traveler a true paradox. With little tourist infrastructure outside the main tourist areas, getting around can be tough. But Papua New Guineans themselves are wonderfully welcoming people who will go to great lengths to accommodate strangers. Tourism is well developed and growing in a handful of locations. Beyond these, the country is 120% adventure travel and not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.

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For people who can make it out here, the experience is unforgettable. The incredible natural beauty is simply indescribable. Its unique flora and fauna includes enormous radiations of marsupials and birds, including the Raggiana bird-of-paradise (the national symbol) and several species of tree kangaroos. Untouched coral(#coral) reefs compete with spectacular World War II wrecks for the attention of divers, and the hiking is out of this world.

Transport in Papua New Guinea is heavily limited by the country’s mountainous terrain. Port Moresby(#Port Moresby) is not linked by road to any of the other major towns, and many remote villages can only be reached by light aircraft or on foot. As a result, air travel is the single most important form of transport for human and high value freight. In addition to two international airfields, Papua New Guinea(#Papua New Guinea) has 578 airstrips, most of which are unpaved. Assets are not maintained to good operating standards and poor transport remains a major impediment to the development of ties of national unity.


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Fiji

The heart of the South Pacific, Fiji is blessed with 333 tropical islands that are home to happiness. For the perfect holiday, choose from affordable accommodation all the way through to exclusive 5 star resorts, bunk down in a hostel or book an island to yourself.Famous for its soft coral diving, white sand beaches and pristine natural environment Fiji is a leader in eco-tourism. For business travel there is no better place halfway between North America and Asia. Weddings and honeymoons in Fiji are a dream of a lifetime, and families and children have a special place here.

A friendly Fijian welcome and broad smiles await you in this tropical paradise of beautiful beaches, blue lagoons and swaying palm trees. Renowned for stunning sunsets, breathtaking waterfalls, awesome surf, and pristine rain forests, Fiji unsurprisingly draws thousands of visitors to its shores each year.

Comprising more than 300 islands, the country is a vibrant melting pot of cultures, where East Indian, Polynesian, Melanesia, Chinese and European converge to form a unique cultural medley. English is widely spoken, which means communication is a breeze.

Brimming with colourful attractions, awe-inspiring scenery, friendly people and cultural and sporting activities aplenty, Fiji offers something for everyone. From the wanderlust-suffused traveller to the hedonistic sports junkie, this archipelago at the crossroads of the South Pacific is tourist heaven. And, best of all, there’s an array of accommodation and activities to suit all tastes and budgets.

Fiji’s must see places

Arts Village

Pacific Harbour’s Arts Village is a mixture of historical fantasy and contemporary local flavour. Cultural performances include boat tours around the adjacent lagoon, temple and market tours and traditional displays of Fijian fire walking, all guaranteed to induce ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’.

Arts Village

Amazing Hot Springs and Mud Baths

Fiji’s hidden hot springs gem is believed by locals to have healing properties. Irrespective of its claims, the three pools, warm mud baths and lush natural backdrop combine to make a seriously relaxing experience.

Astonishing Hot Springs and Mud Baths

Boat trip through mangrove forests

Many parts of the coast along Viti Levu are covered in mangrove forests. These areas are extremely rich in wildlife and are favourite spots for local fishing. A boat journey through the meandering corridors of the mangrove forests up the Rewa River Delta daily from Nausori makes for an adventurous journey.

Church of Saint Francis Xavier

Perched high on a hill overlooking the dusty Kings Road on the northwestern side of Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, The Church of Saint Francis Xavier is a must-visit for its unique marrying of European and Fijian. Straw mats instead of pews meet beautiful frescos, originally commissioned by the former chaplain to the famous Von Trapp family of The Sound of Music fame.

Fijian dancing

The traditional dance of the indigenous people of Fiji Islands, experiencing a meke is almost unavoidable, particularly if you’re staying at an island resort. Well-known meke types are fan dances performed by women, and spear or club dances performed by men. The locals dress entirely in the national costume of flower leis, grass skirts and tapa cloth. The men perform warrior dances while the women sing.

Fijian dancing

Garden of the Sleeping Giant

For peace and tranquility, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant on the road between Nadi and Lautoka, at the foot of the Sabeto mountains is the place to go. Formally a private orchid garden now open to the public, beautiful orchids and flowering plants abound here.

Garden of the Sleeping Giant

Naihehe Sacred Caves

Situated deep in the Sigatoka Valley, the caves are popular with tourists and locals alike. Once a fortress of Fiji’s last pagan tribes, the caves contain a priest chamber, sacred pond and great Cathedral Chamber. The caves are still considered sacred today and locals still frequent to pay tribute to their ancestors.

Scaling Mount Batilamu

Fiji boasts spectacular vistas aplenty, however, for unparalleled views, take a day trip from Nadi or Lautoka to scale the ‘sleeping giant’, Mount Batilamu. The ascent takes hikers through the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park past tempting waterholes, through small villages, and up to green-swathed, panoramic summits.

Scuba-diving

Fiji has been called ‘the soft coral capital of the world’ and few seasoned divers will deny that Fiji has some of the finest scuba diving in the South Pacific. Diving is possible year-round, with the best sites including Beqa Lagoon, Rainbow Reef or the Somosomo Straits with the famous Great White Wall.

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Sigatoka sand dunes

One of Fiji’s natural highlights, the dunes near the shoreline of the Sigatoka River have been forming for millions of years. Windblown and rugged, these dunes are a far cry from those of the Sahara – the sand is grey-brown in colour and covered with vines and shrubs. The dunes are also one of the largest burial sites in the Pacific.

Sigatoka sand dunes

Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple

A must-see for culture vultures, Nadi’s Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple is the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Illustrating the architectural diversity for which Fiji is well known, the three-part temple is dedicated to the deity Murugan whose statue, specially carved in India, is housed in the main temple.

Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple

Surfing in Viti Levu

A growing number of surfing camps are off southern and western Viti Levu. There’s surf throughout the year with the best swells out of the south from March to October. Fiji’s waves typically break on coral reefs. Most of the well-known spots are off Viti Levu and can often only be reached by boat.

Surfing in Viti Levu

The Fiji Museum

Located in the heart of Suva’s botanical gardens, the Fiji Museum houses an extensive archaeological collection dating back 3,700 years, including cultural objects representing both Fiji’s indigenous inhabitants and other communities that have settled in the island group over the past 100 years. Of particular note is the rudder of the HMS Bounty of mutiny fame.

Trekking in Taveuni

Taveuni has a number of popular trekking trails found all over the island. The Lavena Coastal Walk and Tavoro Falls offer some wonderful hiking opportunities with well signposted tracks to follow. For those who are serious, the Vidawa Forest Walk, the trek up to Lake Tagimaucia and the Des Voeux ascent are particularly challenging climbs.

Watersports

With all of the crystal clear waters that surround these islands, there is no shortage of watersports to be found. Diving, swimming, snorkeling, surfing, sailing, fishing, water boarding, kayaking, and much more can be found on almost all the Fiji Islands. You can also swim in numerous waterfalls found in the forest, coastal parks and reserves.

Wildlife watching

Watch for fruit bats, parrots and marine turtles. You should also check out the acres of orchids and flowering plants in the Garden of the Sleeping Giant at the foot of the Sabeto Mountains, and the Sigatoka Sand Dunes off the main Queens Highway on Viti Levu.

Windsurfing in the Mamanuca

Ideal water conditions, big waves and a year round breeze makes windsurfing in Fiji amazing. Most resorts offer the sport – with instruction too – but if you’re a pro and are looking for something special, the best windsurfing can be found in the Mamanuca group of islands.

Windsurfing in the Mamanuca


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Sydney

 

Sydney is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.

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Sydney [ is known as the Harbour City. It is the largest, oldest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia with an enviable reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful and liveable cities.

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Brimming with history, nature, culture, art, fashion, cuisine, design, it is set next to miles of ocean coastline and sandy surf beaches. Recent immigration trends have led to the cities reputation as one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in Australia and the world.

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The city is also home to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, two of the most iconic structures on the planet.

Greater Sydney

Sydney is a vast sprawling city, and the suburbs in the city metropolitan area spread for up to 100km from the city centre. The traveller visiting the suburbs will find less crowded beaches, parks, cheaper shopping, commercial centres, cultural festivals, and hidden gems.

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Architecture

Sydney’s skyline is large and widely recognizable. Sydney also possesses a wide array of diversity of modern and old architectural style. They range from the simple Francis Greenway’s Georgian buildings to Jorn Utzon’s Expressionist Sydney Opera House.

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Sydney also has a large amount of Victorian buildings, such as the Sydney Town Hall and the Queen Victoria Building. The most architecturally significant would be the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, among many others. Skyscrapers in Sydney are also large and modern. Sydney Tower just rising above the rest of the Sydney skyline.

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There are also pockets of architecturally significant housing dotted around Sydney’s suburbs. The inner-eastern suburb of Paddington is known for its terrace houses, while several inner-west suburbs contain streets lined with so-called federation houses (built around the time of Australian federation in 1901). Probably the best preserved example of federation houses in Sydney is in the Inner West suburb of Burwood. Appian

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Way is a circular street built around a lawn tennis courts complete with pavilion house. The large houses are all architecturally unique and built on large expanses of land featuring old trees and lovely gardens. Further away on the lower North Shore, Castlecrag is a unique suburb, being planned by the architect Walter Burley Griffin in the 1930s.


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Australia

Geography

Australia is the sixth-largest country by land area. It is comparable in size to the 48 contiguous United States. Australia is bordered to the west by the Indian Ocean, and to the east by the South Pacific Ocean. The Tasman Sea lies to the southeast, separating it from New Zealand, while the Coral Sea lies to the northeast. Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Indonesia are Australia’s northern neigh bours, separated from Australia by the Arafura Sea and the Timor Sea.

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Australia is highly urbanised with most of the population heavily concentrated along the eastern and south-eastern coasts. Most of the inland areas of the country are semi-arid. The most-populous states are Victoria and New South Wales, but by far the largest in land area is Western Australia.

Australia has an area of 7,682,300km² and the distances between cities and towns is easy to underestimate.

Australia has large areas that have been deforested for agricultural purposes, but many native forest areas survive in extensive national parks and other undeveloped areas. Long-term Australian concerns include salinity, pollution, loss of biodiversity, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef.

Climate

As a large island a wide variation of climates are found across Australia. Most of the country receives more than 3,000°hr of sunshine a year. Generally, the north is hot and tropical, while the south tends to be sub-tropical and temperate. Most rainfall is around the coast, and much of the centre is arid and semi-arid. The daytime maximum temperatures in Darwin rarely drop below 30°C, even in winter, while night temperatures in winter usually hover around 15-20°C.. Temperatures in some southern regions can drop below freezing in winter and the Snowy Mountains in the South East experiences metres of winter snow. Parts of Tasmania have a temperature range very similar to England.

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As Australia is in the southern hemisphere the winter is June-August while December-February is summer. The winter is the dry season in the tropics, and the summer is the wet. In the southern parts of the country, the seasonal temperature variation is greater. The rainfall is more evenly distributed throughout the year in the southern parts of the East Coast, while in the rest of the south beyond the Great Dividing Range, the summers are dry with the bulk of the rainfall occurring in winter.

Cities, States and Territories

Multicultural Australia

Australian society is made up of people from a rich variety of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds, and this is a defining feature of modern Australian society. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have inhabited Australia for tens of thousands of years. Most Australians are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants who arrived during the past two hundred years from more than 200 countries. The most commonly spoken language in Australia is English, and the most commonly practiced religion is Christianity, although foreign languages and other religions are also common.

Australia is divided into six states and two territories.

Canberra is the national capital and the centre of government. It is located approximately 290 kilometres south of Sydney in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Canberra lies on the ancient lands of the Indigenous Ngunnawal people, and its name is thought to mean ‘meeting place’, from the Aboriginal word ‘Kamberra’. It is home to important national institutions, including the Australian Parliament and the High Court of Australia.

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New South Wales is Australia’s oldest and most populated state. It was originally settled as a penal colony on the shores of Port Jackson where the bustling capital city of Sydney now stands. More than a third of Australians live in New South Wales, and Sydney is the nation’s largest city.

Victoria is the smallest of the mainland states in size but the second most populated. Melbourne is the capital and is Australia’s second most populated city. During the gold rush of the 1850s, it became one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities. Melbourne is sometimes referred to as the “cultural capital of Australia” and is the birthplace of Australian film, television, art, dance and music. Victorians’ enthusiasm for sport is also legendary and this is where Australian Rules football began.

Queensland is Australia’s second-largest state in size. The state capital is Brisbane, the third most populated city in Australia. Queenslanders enjoy more winter sunshine and warmth than most other Australian states and it’s perfect for all types of outdoor activities and water sports. Queensland is also home to the world famous Great Barrier Reef as well as five World Heritage listed areas.

South Australia is a state in the southern central part of the country which covers some of the most arid parts of the continent. It is the fourth largest of Australia’s states and shares its borders with all of the mainland states and the Northern Territory. The state capital is Adelaide, the fifth-largest city in Australia. South Australia has a thriving arts scene and is sometimes known as the ‘Festival State’, with more than 500 festivals taking place there every year.

At the top end of Australia lies the Northern Territory. Darwin, on the northern coast, is the capital, and Alice Springsthe principal inland town. Alice Springs is the physical heart of Australia, almost exactly at the nation’s geographical centre. The Northern Territory is home to the famous Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and Kakadu National Park.

Western Australia is Australia’s largest state by area. About three-quarters of the state’s population live in the capitalPerth, which is the fourth most populated city in Australia. The east of the state is mostly desert while to the west the state is bound by almost 13000 km of pristine coastline. In the 1890s gold was discovered and mining is still one of the state’s biggest industries.

Tasmania is separated from mainland Australia by Bass Strait and is the smallest state in Australia. The capital, Hobart, was founded in 1804 as a penal colony, and is Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney. One-fifth of Tasmania is covered by national parks and wilderness areas. It is one of the world’s most mountainous islands whose geology reflects Australia’s connection millions of years ago with Antarctica.

Australia also administers Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, the Cocos (or Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, Heard and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island and the Australian Antarctic Territory (covering 42 per cent of the Antarctic continent) as external territories.

Weather in Australia

Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year but the climate can vary due to the size of our continent. The northern states typically experience warm weather much of the time, with the southern states experiencing cooler winters. Australia is also one of the driest continents on earth with an average annual rainfall of less than 600 millimetres. Like all countries in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.

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Australia’s Plants

There are an estimated 27,700 plant species in Australia, including living fossils such as the cycad palm and the grass tree, and brilliant wildflowers such as the waratah, Sturt’s desert pea, banksia and kangaroo paws.

We also have around 2800 species of eucalypts (gum trees), and 1000 species of acacia, which we call ‘wattle’. The Golden Wattle is Australia’s floral emblem. Eucalypts make up almost 80 per cent of our forests. Acacias, melaleuca (tea tree), casuarinas (she-oaks), callitris (cypress pine), mangrove and rainforests make up the other 20 per cent.

Forests

Australia’s tallest trees can be found in the south-west of Western Australia in theValley of the Giants. Giant tuart, karri, and rich red jarrah which live for up to 500 years can be found here. The 1000 kilometre Bibbulmun Track traverses a variety of jarrah, marri, wandoo, karri and tingle forests as well as internationally significant wetlands.

The cool temperate rainforest of the World Heritage-listed Tasmanian wildernesscontains some of the oldest trees on the planet including the rare Huon Pine.

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The majestic Wollemi pine is a remnant from a 200 million year-old landscape, when Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica were joined together as the supercontinent Gondwana. It was thought to have been extinct for millions of years, until rediscovered by a bushwalker in 1994. Fewer than 100 trees exist in the wild, growing in the deep rainforest gorges of the Greater Blue Mountains.

Eucalypts

Gum trees (eucalypts) are the tree most commonly associated with Australia. They are found in areas from sub-alpine to wet coastal forests, through to temperate woodlands and the dry inland areas. The Greater Blue Mountains has the most diverse range of eucalypt species on earth. In fact, the Blue Mountains gets its name from the blue shimmer which rises into the air from the oil from the trees. In the Australian Alps, striking silver and red snow gums stand out amongst the snow-filled landscape. In South Australia’s Flinders Ranges ancient river red gums live in the dry creek beds. Koalas feed exclusively on certain species of eucalypts.

Tasmanian Blue Gum

Rainforests

Rainforest once covered most of the ancient southern super-continent Gondwana, and there are primitive plants found in these forests that are linked to those growing more than 100 million years ago. Australia’s rainforests stretch across the country and cover every climatic type. The Daintree Rainforest in north Queensland is the oldest tropical rainforest on earth, dating back 135 million years. An extraordinary 13 different types of rainforest can be found here. The Gondwana Rainforests of South East Queensland and northern New South Wales include the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world along with cool temperate rainforest. Pockets of dry rainforest live in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. There are monsoon rainforests in Kakadu National Park and lush fern gullies in Victoria’s Otway Ranges.

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Wetlands

Wetlands attract high numbers of migratory birds in Kakadu National Park and The UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve-listed Croajingolong National Park and Nadgee Nature Reserve in south-eastern Australia. Australia was one of the first countries to become a signatory to the Ramsar Convention for Wetlands of International Importance and the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory, was declared the world’s first Ramsar site in 1974. Australia now has 65 Ramsar sites across the country covering around 8 million hectares.

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Wetlands

Wildflowers, including everlasting daisies, turn the arid and savanna grassland areas of Australia into carpets of colour in season. From June until September more than 12000 species of wildflower can be seen blooming across Western Australia. From late August to mid-October more than 100 varieties of wildflower can be seen on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, many unique to the island. In the Australian Alps, alpine meadows explode in masses of yellow billy buttons, pink trigger plants and silver and white snow daisies, once the snow melts.

Australia’s unique flora also includes the Proteaceae family of Banksia (bottlebrush), Grevillea and Telopea (waratah). Around 80 per cent of the plants and almost all of the Proteaceae species found in south-west Western Australia are not found anywhere else in the world. The heathlands along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria are one of the most orchid-rich sites in Australia.

Leseuer National Park Western Australian Wildflowers

Wildflowers are protected species in Australia, so don’t be tempted to pick them!

 

Australia’s Animals

Our unique animals are one of the many reasons people visit our country. Australia has more than 378 mammal species, 828 bird species, 4000 fish species, 300 species of lizards, 140 snake species, two crocodile species and around 50 types of marine mammal.

More than 80 per cent of our plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to Australia and are found no-where else. Some of our best-known animals are the kangaroo, koala, echidna, dingo, platypus, wallaby and wombat.

Australia’s native animals can often be difficult to spot in the wild, but you are guaranteed to see them in our world-class zoos and wildlife parks across our major cities and regional areas. These include Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, the Rainforest Habitat in Port Douglas, Victoria’s Healesville Sanctuary, South Australia’s Cleland Wildlife Park and Queensland’s Australia Zoo, amongst others.

Mammals

Australia doesn’t have large predatory animals, the dingo, or wild dog, is our largest carnivorous mammal. Other unique carnivorous animals include the Numbat, Quoll and Tasmanian Devil, but none of these are larger than the size of an average house cat.

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Dingoes are found all across Australia, except for Tasmania. Best places to see them are Queensland’s Fraser Island, Western Australia’s Kimberley and across the deserts of the Northern Territory and South Australia. Numbats are only found in Western Australia; and apart from wildlife parks, you can only see Tasmanian Devils in the wild inTasmania. Endangered Quolls are also difficult to spot in the wild, but inhabit the wet forests of southeastern Australia and Tasmania, and a small area of northern Queensland. The bilby, a member of the bandicoot family, may be seen in Francois Peron National Park in Western Australia.

Marsupials

Australia has more than 140 species of marsupials, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and wombats.

We have 55 different native species of kangaroos and wallabies. Kangaroos and wallabies vary greatly in size and weight, ranging from half a kilogram to 90 kilograms. The main difference between them is size — wallabies tend to be smaller. Estimates of Australia’s kangaroo population vary between 30 and 60 million. You should easily be able to see kangaroos in the wild in most rural parts of Australia. In Victoria see them in Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road and in the Grampians. Spot them in South Australia’s Kangaroo Island and Flinders Ranges. Get up close in Namadgi and Kosciuszko National Parks in the Australian Alps, in Pebbly Beach in New South Wales and Tasmania’s Maria Island. In outback regions, you will often see them as they bound across the road. Wallabies are widespread across Australia, particularly in more remote, rocky and rugged areas. Spot them in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, Tasmania’sFreycinet National Park and in Namadgi and Kosciuszko National Parks in the Australian Alps.

kengaroo

The koala is everyone’s favourite, but be aware – it’s not a bear. You can spot koalas all along Australia’s temperate eastern coast. Some of their top hangouts includeTidbinbilla Nature Reserve, near Canberra; Port Stephens in New South Wales and the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Queensland. Observe them in the wild on Victoria’s Phillip Island and Yanchep National Park in Western Australia.

The wombat is another creature you’ll find here – stout, burrowing animals that can weigh up to 36 kilograms. Again they are difficult to see in the wild, but some of the best places are the Blue Mountains National Park and Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, Wilsons Promontory in Victoria, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair in Tasmania, and in national parks in South Australia.

Monotremes

Another animal group only found in Australia is the monotremes, or egg-laying mammals. The most distinctive is the platypus, a river-dwelling animal with a bill like a duck, a furry waterproof body and webbed feet. Platypuses live in burrows which they dig into the banks of rivers. They are very shy and difficult to spot, but your best chances are in the eastern coastal areas in small streams and quiet rivers. Good places to see them are in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra, on Lake Elizabeth in Victoria’s Great Otway National Park, Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and in northern New South Wales and Queensland.

Echidna

The echidna, or spiny ant-eater, is another monotreme, which has a long sticky tongue and a prickly coat like a hedgehog or porcupine – so don’t try and pick one up! Kangaroo Island is one of the best places to spot them in the wild.

Birds

Of the 828 bird species listed in Australia, about half are found nowhere else. They range from tiny honeyeaters to the large, flightless emu, which stands nearly two metres tall. The best chances of seeing emus in the wild is in grasslands, sclerophyll forests and savannah woodlands.

A vast array of waterbirds, seabirds and birds dwell in our open woodlands and forests. Examples include cassowaries, black swans, fairy penguins, kookaburras, lyrebirds and currawongs. You can easily see penguins on Kangaroo Island in South Australia and Philip Island in Victoria.

The Albert’s Lyrebird can be seen in Mt Warning National Park and in the Gondwana rainforest around the Gold Coast hinterland. See the more common superb lyrebird in Dandenong Ranges and Kinglake National Parks around Melbourne and the Royal National Park and Illawarra region south of Sydney. You’ll also find them in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, near Canberra, Tower Hill in Victoria and a number of national parks along Australia’s east coast.

Sulphur-crested cockatoo

Kookaburras, best known for their hysterical, human-sounding laughter at dusk and dawn, are common, and you’ll most likely spot (or hear) them in the countryside and often in city suburbs.
The Broome Bird Observatory and Kakadu National Park are both excellent place to view many species of wetland and migratory birds.

There are 55 species of parrots in Australia, as numerous as they are colourful, including a spectacular variety of cockatoos, rosellas, lorikeets, cockatiels, parakeets and budgerigars. They 1are commonly seen in rural and urban areas.

Reptiles

Australia has more species of venomous snakes than any other continent, 21 of the world’s 25 deadliest in fact. But not all are poisonous; we also have some stunning pythons and tree snakes.

We are also famous for our crocodiles, both freshwater and saltwater varieties. Both the Kimberley and Kakadu National Park are excellent places to see crocodiles in their natural habitat.

There are five species of endangered sea turtles which nest and lay eggs on certain beaches in season; and eight species of freshwater turtle. Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia and Eco Beach in Broome are ideals place to see turtles.

Goanna

We also have an amazing array of lizards, ‘dragons’ and goannas (monitor lizards), including the spectacular Frilled Lizard and Bearded Dragon. The Kimberley has some 178 species of reptiles with the more notable ones being the Frilled Neck Lizard and the ubiquitous ‘ta ta’ Lizard. Thorny devils can be found in desert habitats including Shark Bay, Carnarvon and Exmouth in Western Australia.

A variety of reptiles including bearded dragons, perenties and blue tongue lizards can be seen in Central Australia and Flinders Ranges in South Australia.

Marine animals

Our marine environments support around 4000 of the world’s 22000 types of fish, as well as 30 of the world’s 58 seagrass species. We also have the world’s largest coral reef system, the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, where there are so many species of colourful fish, including the beautiful clown fish, that you’ll need more than one visit to try and count them all. We also have around 1700 different species of coral.

dolphins

Larger marine species include the migratory gentle whale shark, humpback, southern right and orca whales, the dugong, numerous dolphin species and a number of shark species. Whales can be seen along the east and west coastlines from May to November. Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is one of the most reliable places in the world to see whale sharks and a number of operators run tours to swim with these gentle giants. Kangaroo Island is one of the best places to see Australian fur seals in the wild.