I would like to introduce you a little more to Australia. Australia is a continent of contrasts and unimaginable sizes. There are deserts, prairies, tightest rain forests, long distances full of nothing and metropolis cities grounded on huge areas.
Australia has approximately 21,5 times Germany’s size, but has just 18,5 million inhabitants (Germany: 82,1 million). There will be some articles about Australia’s history and geography following, as well as an article about the Aborigines.
15 facts about Australia
- Caused by the isolated location on the earth, it is easy to underestimate the size of Australia. Almost as large as the largest 48 US states, it is the only country that covers an entire continent. It lasts longer than 4 hours to fly from Sydney to Perth.
- Australians really say “G’day” call you “mate” as well. They love abbreviations more than anything else, as for example arvo for afternoon, mossie for mosquito, roo for kangaroo and barbie for barbecue.
- It is 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) long, contains more than 2,600 individual coral reefs and is the biggest living object ever built by living organisms. The Great Barrier Reef offers everything, from a 5 stars Resort up to a tent on a secluded island. Call the Queensland Government Tourismcentre for details (131-801, or 61-7-3874-2800 outside of Australia).
- Although Australia is the second-driest continent, after Antarctica, there are spectacular rainforests. Have a look at the cold temperatures in Tasmania or the humid version in northern Queensland. You can watch the rainforest from the bird’s-eye view of the world-biggest gondola at a ride from Caravonica Lakes to Kuranda.
- More people are visiting Tasmania every year, Australia’s smallest state, than people are living there. The main attractions are the unchanged wilderness- 25 percent of Tasmania is national park area- and the cleanest air of the world.
- Australians love to talk about the inner part of their continent which they call “bush” or “outback”, but they do not like to live there. 84 percent of the 18,3 million population live in only 1 percent of the countries surface. Australia is the most urbanised country of the world.
- There were over 1 million Aborigines in Australia when the European colonizers came in 1788 . Today there are 372.000. One of the best places to see the aboriginal cave-paintings is the Kakadu National Park in Northern Territory. The 20.000- square kilometer (7.720- square miles) large park has 7.000 art places.
- If Santa Claus fights with a heat collapse, you know for sure that you spend Christmas Down Under. While hard-boiled are fighting with hot turkey and Plum pudding, smart locals pack the esky (Icebox) and go to the beach. Aussies spend a “second Christmas” during their winter when many hotels offer a “cold Christmas” including everything.
- In a country full of funny animals, the funniest is the Platypus (duckbill), an egg laying mammal with a duck beak, hairy body and webbings at the feet. You can see it in Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria (Tel: 61-3-5962-4022), where the biggest collection of Australian wild animals is.
- For those who think, that the journey is the most important part, are offered two classical long distance railroad trips. The Indian Pacific, from Sydney to Perth, has a length of 4.352 kilometers in 65 hours and has the longest straight distance of the world (478 kilometers). The Ghan, named after the Afghan camel traders, has a route of 1.555 kilometers (966 miles) from Adelaide to Alice Springs in 20 hours.
- Don’t be surprised if you see people in tights at the northern beaches during October until May. Tights are an effective protection against the lethal Box Jellyfish (sea wasp). Vinegar is the recommended First- aid treatment, but more secure is staying in the hotel pool.
- The modern Australia started in 1788 as an English colony. It did not become an official nation until 1901 as the formerly independent colonies founded a political federation called: Commonwealth of Australia.
- Australia has a good reputation for the quality and abundance of its wines. South Australia produces most, with Barossa Valley as the best-known viticulture field. Most vineyards are open for testing/ tasting.
- Maybe it is the heat, but Aussies love crazy events like the amphibian race and the sand dune digging championships. The Henley-on-Todd Regatta is one of the craziest events: it happens in September or early October in Alice Springs. The teams walk through the dried out Tood River and carry their boats.
- Renamed in Uluru, as the Ayers Rock has been returned to the Aborigines in 1985, it is now a good reason to visit the red center of Australia. 348 meters high, changing its colour dramatically at sunrise and sunset. Save up some time to visit as well Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), a collection of gigantic round rocks.