It is the smallest among seven continents and is situated in the northern hemisphere. It is an amazing continent with many beautiful places to see. But when it comes to land mass it is the sixth largest country in the world. Australia is the one and only continent in the world covered by a single country. It is also the lowest, flattest and driest continent other than Antarctica. The neighboring countries are Papua, New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north, at the northeast direction there are Solomon island and Vanuatu and New Zealand to South East side.
Australia Quick Facts
|Land Area||8,560,000 km²|
|Number of countries||3|
|Largest country||Sydney, Australia|
|Unique Geographical Features||Uluru
Great Barrier Reef
New Zealand and Australia are part of a wider region known as Oceania. It includes Australia and various Pacific Ocean islands that are not included in 7 continents. Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide are some popular cities on the continent. Australia’s capital is Canberra. Sydney is the most populated city in Australia followed by Melbourne. It is one of the world’s most urbanized countries with 70% population lives in 10 largest cities.
Aboriginal people arrived in Australia about 50,000 years ago and they live in the hard-living conditions. After that, it was Dutch explores who arrives in Australia in 1606 and British came in 1788. After gold discovery in 1851 many immigrants came and almost 6 separate colonies were existed in Australia by 1859. The name Australia came from Terra Australis and its meaning in Latin is ‘land of South’. This name was given by Captain Matthew Flinder.
Australia is spread over an area of 8,560,000 square kilometers and is surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Southern and eastern part of the continent is densely populated and other regions remain unpopulated.
Australia gives a wide variety of landscapes it has a tropical rainforest in the northeast, a mountain range in Southeast, southwest, and east and the central part is a deserted area. The highest point in Australia is Mount Kosciusko which is 2228m above sea level and the lowest point is Lake Eyre; one of the largest inland drainage system and is 15m below sea level.
Nearly 20% of Australia’s landmass is the deserted area. So, the average rainfall is very low and variable across Australia. The climate is also different like tropical, dessert, grassland and equatorial climate. Australian winter is mild and summer is quite warm and humid. So, there is not much temperature difference between winter and summer. The northern region of the continent is hotter because it has deserts and tropical regions.
The southern region has got milder weather.
The total population of this continent is around 23.6 million and 2% of the total population are aborigines. They are Australians who settled on the continent and migrated to this continent before 60,000 years ago. They live in the deserted area of the Australian outback. This area is the vast, dry and remote inland part.
Some aboriginal people live around Ayres rock which is a sacred area. Also, you can find some people in the northern territory of Kakadu national park. Other major populations are immigrant groups from England, New Zealand, China, India, and Philippines etc. More than half of Australian people believe in Christianity. Other smaller group are Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist, Sikhs, and Jews.
There is no official language in Australia but English is the most widely used language. Other than English there are more than 100 aboriginal languages. But some of them became extinct since 1950. Very few people speak these languages. Chinese, Italian and Greek are also some other popular languages in Australia.
Flora and Fauna
Although most of Australia is deserted, it has a wide range of habitats from alpine to rain forests. Australia is home to many animal species such as kangaroo, Wombat, koala, and birds such as king parrot, crimson rosella, duck-billed platypus, Emu, and kookaburra etc. There are other native animals like flying fox, mastiff bat, and little broad-nosed bat, melomys etc. Also, you can find many reptiles, 36 species of poisonous funnel web- spiders and 20 types of venomous snakes here.
Because of the variable climate conditions, plants and animals in the continent are geographically evolved and became very unique. Australian forests are mainly made of evergreen species of tree such as eucalyptus, wattles etc. There are many rainforests in Australia. Tropical forest is found in the northern region and they are richest in plant and animal species. Subtropical rainforests are found near mid-eastern region and broadleaf rainforests are found in the southeast region and on the Island of Tasmania.
Australian culture is a western culture which has an influence from Britain and also got some influence from Australian aboriginals. From 20th century American culture influences Australia through TV and movies. Also, there are cultural influences from Asian countries also.
Australia is a multicultural continent. There are migrants from all over the world and about their culinary traditions with them. Aboriginal prefers Bushtucker; their traditional food. It includes Kangaroo, Emu, Crocodile, yams, bush tomato, nuts etc. Other popular food items are Vegemite, Chiko roll, Tim Tams, Lamingtons and many more. Also, you can find Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Mexican cuisines there.
There are many tourist places in Australia:
- Sydney: With an iconic Opera house Sydney is a popular tourist destination and was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon
- Canberra: Capital city of Australia
- Perth: One of the biggest city in Western Australia with Fremantle nearby
- Adelaide: It is the largest city in South Australia and popular for its Christmas Parade
- Brisbane: popular for its beautiful beaches and numerous resorts
- Great Barrier Reef: world’s largest coral reef system with breathtaking beauty. This area is great for diving and snorkeling.
Australia is a wealthy country and it has a various source of income such as mining-related exporting, telecommunication, baking, and manufacturing. All of these makes Australia world’s twelfth largest economy. Australia is rich in natural resources and a major exporter of agricultural products. Major agricultural products are wheat and wool, and minerals such as iron ore, gold, coal, and natural gas etc. It is exporting products to many countries such as Japan, China, US etc.
Interesting Facts about Australia
- It is the driest continent on earth other than Antarctica
- Two egg-laying mammals in the world Platypus and echidna found in Australia
- There are more than 60 different species of Kangaroos in Australia
- Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano
- Animals like koalas, quokka and kangaroos are only found in Australia
- Australia is the second country in the world which allows women to vote.
- Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet.
It is a land of amazing wildlife, breath-taking sceneries, and many marine fun activities. Also, a perfect destination for beach lovers. With multicultural cities and friendly people, Australia is an interesting continent.