A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.
— Moslih Eddin Saadi, 1184 - 1283
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Australia

Background

Australia

Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia about 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession in the name of Great Britain. Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. In recent decades, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. It boasted one of the OECD's fastest growing economies during the 1990s, a performance due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s. Long-term concerns include climate-change issues such as the depletion of the ozone layer and more frequent droughts, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef.

About

Australia is the only country that has a whole continent to itself. World famous for its natural wonders and wide open spaces, its beaches, deserts, "the bush", and "the Outback", Australia is actually one of the world's most highly urbanised countries. It is also well known for the cosmopolitan attractions of its large cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Read more about Australia in our Australia travel guide »

Featured journals from

Australia

Southeast Asia winter 2011

by psmadsen

Brief photo updates from my winter 2011 journey in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Sep 2011 - Dec 2011  »  Australia | Vietnam | Cambodia | Thailand

Melboune via Ballarat and home through the Great Ocean Road.

by Aengie

The agony and the ecstasy of a tired Pajero 1999 NL Pajero Exceed - to Frankenstine the motor and have new adventures along the way.

Jul 2016  »  Australia

Those who tell the stories, rule the world.

by Carni

The story of leaving a small town in Western Australia and going on a big adventure

Oct 2013 - Nov 2013  »  Australia

Bakes Getting Lost

by BakesGettingLost

Explore. Dream. Discover

Oct 2011  »  Australia

KJ On Holidays 2013!

by Kristyn

Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, Kangaroo Island, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, the Grampians and everything in between.

Aug 2013  »  Australia

My Journey

by jatkin02

An in-depth look into the complex mind that is John Atkinson

Sep 2014 - Dec 2014  »  Canada | Australia

Getting ready for France

by pelican

Aug 2010  »   | Australia

DOWN UNDER, WHERE?

by TheLiliens

A new continent, and a new region for the Liliens. It's exciting to think that we'll be heading to the land of kangaroos, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Maori. We begin with a cruise crossing the Pacific, stopping in Hawaii, Fiji and a number of other S. Pacific islands. Then comes some independent touring in AUS, and finally a move over to New Zealand for its spectacular scenery, and its own unique spin on things. We'll be sailing to several ports on both the north and south islands that make up NZ, so it will give us a good overview of the country before heading back to Sydney, from where we'll be returning home. Phew, we're tired already.

Sep 2017 - Nov 2017  »  Canada | United States | Fiji | New Caledonia | Australia | New Zealand

Unhandled Exception, Rebooting

by tmh983

Tim's Travels

Sep 2017 - Oct 2017  »  Australia

The Stephenson's Abroad

by Katrena

Katrena, John and Connor's UK trip

Aug 2017 - Oct 2017  »  Australia | Singapore | United Kingdom

Trip 1

by KikiTJ

May 2010  »  Australia

6 months | 1 backpack

by shaeshae88

my solo euro adventure

Apr 2013  »  Australia

Skylark Limos

by SkylarkLimos

With Skylark Limos make your journey mesmerizing. Make Skylark Limos a part of any occasion and give a special touch to your special moment by hiring best limo in Sydney.

Sep 2014  »  Australia

My Australian trip

by Charmaine

Feb 2016  »  Australia

My Australian gaming

by aurelija

Feb 2016  »  Australia

Featured hotels in

Australia

AustraliaHoliday Inn Sydney Airport 

O'Riordan St and Bourke Rd
Mascot, NW 2020
Australia

Price (US$): $312 - $313 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located in Mascot, Holiday Inn Sydney Airport is near the airport and close to Cahill Park, Kogarah Golf Course, and University of New South Wales. Nearby points of interest also include University of Sydney and Royal Randwick Racecourse. Hotel Features. Holiday Inn Sydney Airport's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning in the restaurant… more »

AustraliaThe Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley 

336 Oakey Creek Road
Pokolbin, NW 2320
Australia

Price (US$): $144 - $169 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located in Pokolbin, The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley is in a rural location and close to Saddlers Creek Wines, Briar Ridge Vineyard, and Cypress Lakes Golf and Country Club. Nearby points of interest also include PepperTree Wines and Oaks Golf Course. Hotel Features. Dining options at The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley include 2 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves full breakfasts each morning… more »

AustraliaSheraton Noosa Resort & Spa 

14-16 Hastings Street Po Box 886
Noosa Heads, QL 4567
Australia

Price (US$): $244 - $426 / night

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Location. Sheraton Noosa Resort & Spa is a business friendly hotel located in Noosa Heads's Noosa neighborhood, close to Noosa Beach and Noosa Marina. Other area points of interest include Noosa National Park. Hotel Features. Sheraton Noosa Resort & Spa features a restaurant, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a spa tub, a fitness facility, and a steam room. The property's full service health spa has… more »

AustraliaSheraton on the Park 

159-161 Elizabeth Street
Sydney, NW 2000
Australia

Price (US$): $214 - $823 / night

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Location. Located in central Sydney, Sheraton on the Park is a business friendly hotel within walking distance of Sydney Tower, Sydney Town Hall, and Martin Place. Additional points of interest include Sydney Parliament House and State Library of New South Wales. Hotel Features. Dining options at Sheraton on the Park include a restaurant and a coffee shop/café. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a health… more »

AustraliaThe Sebel Residence East Perth 

60 Royal Street
East Perth, WT 6004
Australia

Price (US$): $265 - $380 / night

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Location. The Sebel Residence East Perth is a business friendly hotel located in central East Perth, close to Gloucester Park Raceway, Swan Bells Belltower, and Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Additional points of interest include WACA Ground and University of Western Australia. Hotel Features. The Sebel Residence East Perth features a coffee shop/café. Room service is available during limited hours. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a fitness facility. This 4.5 star… more »

Browse more hotels in Australia »

Australia

Full name
Commonwealth of Australia
Capital
Canberra
Location

Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean

Geographic coordinates

27 00 S, 133 00 E

Area comparative

slightly smaller than the US contiguous 48 states

Coastline

25,760 km

Climate

generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north

Terrain

mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast

Lowest point

Lake Eyre -15 m

Highest point

Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m

Natural resources

bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, rare earth elements, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum

Population

21,515,754 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

white 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%

Religions

Catholic 25.8%, Anglican 18.7%, Uniting Church 5.7%, Presbyterian and Reformed 3%, Eastern Orthodox 2.7%, other Christian 7.9%, Buddhist 2.1%, Muslim 1.7%, other 2.4%, unspecified 11.3%, none 18.7% (2006 Census)

Languages

English 78.5%, Chinese 2.5%, Italian 1.6%, Greek 1.3%, Arabic 1.2%, Vietnamese 1%, other 8.2%, unspecified 5.7% (2006 Census)

Government type

federal parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm

Independence

1 January 1901 (from the federation of UK colonies)

National holiday

Australia Day, 26 January (1788); ANZAC Day (commemorated as the anniversary of the landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April (1915)

Chief of state

Queen of Australia ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Quentin BRYCE (since 5 September 2008)

Head of government

Prime Minister Julia Eileen GILLARD (since 24 June 2010); Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Maxwell SWAN (since 24 June 2010)

Internet country code

.au

Internet users

15.81 million (2009)

Airports

465 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Brisbane, Cairns, Dampier, Darwin, Fremantle, Gladstone, Geelong, Hay Point, Hobart, Jervis Bay, Melbourne, Newcastle, Port Adelaide, Port Dalrymple, Port Hedland, Port Kembla, Port Lincoln, Port Walcott, Sydney

Other countries in the region