Spending Christmas at the beach or skiing in August may seem strange but the fact is, Australia's seasons are the opposite of the northern hemisphere - summer starts in December, autumn in March, winter in June and spring in September. Due to its size, geographical location and the lack of extensive high mountain ranges Australia has a wide range of climates but generally no extremes. The average temperature ranges from 23-26 degrees Celsius above the Tropic of Capricorn with the southern areas more temperate although subject to variations. This and the fact that Australia is the driest continent on earth makes our land a great all-year destination. In fact in their winter you can ski in the southern states one day and be diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland the next.
Australia is the only country occupying a whole continent - albeit the smallest one, lying on and extending north and south from the Tropic of Capricorn. With an area covering 7,682,300 km2 (2,966,136 square miles) it is the sixth largest country of the world after Russia, Canada, China, the US and Brazil. The coastline consisting of tranquil bays, wonderful beaches with pounding surf, rocky outcrops and dramatic sheer cliffs is 36,735km (22,812 miles) long. Australia is bounded by the dark blue waters of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Arafura Sea to the north, lapped by the turquoise waves of the Indian Ocean to the west, and the mighty Southern Ocean to the south. Australia occupies one of the oldest landmasses and the flattest of all continents, the highest point, Mt Kosciuszko being 2228m (7,310 feet) in the Australian Alps between NSW and Victoria. The fertile coastal strip hides a dry and inhospitable centre, the Outback - a photographer's delight with its colours of flaming red, rich brown, pale yellow and orange interspersed by the bluish-green of low scrub and the linen-white trunks of ghost gum trees. This seemingly endless land is broken by saltlakes, starkly beautiful mountains like the MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs, Flinders Ranges in South Australia and the mysterious rock formations of Ayers Rock/Uluru, Mt Olga/Kata Tjuta, and Mt Augustus. The longest river, originating in Queensland, is the Darling measuring 2736km.
Flora and Fauna
Don't be surprised to encounter a hopping kangaroo or running emu - a large flightless bird - while driving along in the countryside.
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