In land area, Australia is the sixth largest nation after Russia, Canada, China, the United States of America and Brazil. It has, however, a relatively small population.
The mainland is the largest island and the smallest, flattest continent on Earth.
The highest point on the mainland, Mount Kosciuszko, is only 2228 metres. Apart from Antarctica, Australia is the driest continent.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid. Its fertile areas are well-watered, however, and these are used very effectively to help feed the world.
The Australian climate varies from warm to subtropical. The continent is in the southern hemisphere what means that Australia has summer when we have winter and vice versa. The tropical forests in the north-east are displaced by savanna. The south-east is covered with forests of eucalyptus and other evergreen trees. The animals of Australia are numerous and some of them are kangaroo, koala bear, woombat and other one.
There are two big desserts: Great Sandy Dessert and Victoria Dessert and only two big rivers the Murray and the Darling.There are 3 big lakes : Lake Eyre, Lake Torres, Lake Gairdner.
The Australian federation consists of six States and two Territories. New South Wales, Victoria , Queensland , South Australia , Western Australia, Tasmania , Territory of Camberra and Northern Territory. Australia's estimated resident population of 19.9 million. Australia's population density is 2.6 people per square kilometre.
The first inhabitants of Australia were the Aborigines, who migrated there at least 40,000 years ago from Southeast Asia. There may have been between a half million to a full million Aborigines at the time of European settlement; today there are about 350,000. 95 percent of inhabitants are of British origin, 3 percent are made by other European ethnic groups and 1.5 percent are aborigines. Australian English and aboriginal languages are spoken here.Today Australia is one of the most cosmopolitan and dynamic societies in the world. Over 200 languages are spoken, with English the common language.
The nation has thriving ethnic media, an international business reputation, an innovative artistic community, diverse religious and cultural activities and variety in foods, restaurants, fashion and architecture.
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock is 9.4km if you walk around it, and about 345 metres high if you climb it. It's made of arkosic sandstone, and is renowned for the way it changes colour in the light and is particularlyspectacular at sunrise and sunset. Uluru is the homeland of the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people (also known as Anangu) and was returned to their care and ownership in 1985. The Anangu prefer visitors do not climb the rock. They feel great sadness if visitors to their land are hurt or killed. The area contains carvings and paintings by Aboriginal people and is also the location of a number of sacred sites which are closed to the public. Uluru was named "Ayers Rock" by European explorer William Gosse who sighted it in July 1873. It was named by him for the South Australian premier of the time, Sir Henry Ayers. The Great Barrier Reef, off Australia's east coast, is one of the wonders of the natural world.The area abounds with wildlife, including dugong and green turtles , varieties of dolphins and whales, more than 1500 species of fish, 4000 types of mollusc and more than 200 species of birdlife. The Great Barrier Reef system consists of more than 3000 reefs which range in size from 1 hectare to over 10,000 hectares in area.
The reef is scattered with beautiful islands and idyllic coral cays and covers more than 300,000 square kilometres. There are many different types of coral, some are slow growing and live to be hundreds of years old, others are faster growing. The colours of coral are created by algae. Only live coral is coloured. Dead coral is white. More than 2 million people visit the reef each year. Even with problems and challenges the Great Barrier Reef is still one of the natural wonders of the world - an environment of extraordinary beauty and richness, with a diversity of plant, animal and sea life which makes it essential we conserve and preserve it, and maintain it as great place to relax and experience part of Australia's natural heritage.
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