The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
— Marcel Proust, 1871 - 1922




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.


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


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

Lan Stark's Even Greater Than the Last Great Adventure... Adventure!!

by LanStark

(or how I got to travel about, talk to lots of interesting - & most likely not so interesting - people - drink, eat, marvel at things & have a stupendous time!)

Jan 2018 - Apr 2018  »  Australia | United Kingdom | France

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


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

6 months | 1 backpack

by shaeshae88

my solo euro adventure

Apr 2013  »  Australia

Trip 1

by KikiTJ

May 2010  »  Australia

My Australian trip

by Charmaine

Feb 2016  »  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 gaming

by aurelija

Feb 2016  »  Australia

Featured hotels in


AustraliaOutrigger Twin Towns Resort 

Wharf St. and Griffith St.
Tweed Heads, NW 4225

Price (US$): $165 - $259 / night

Check rates »

Location. Outrigger Twin Towns Resort is located on the beach in central Tweed Heads, close to Coolangatta Beach, Point Danger Light, and Kirra Beach. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Border Park Raceway and Coolangatta and Tweed Heads Golf Club. Hotel Features. Dining options at Outrigger Twin Towns Resort include 3 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a sauna, a fitness facility, and a steam… more »

AustraliaHotel Grand Chancellor Surfers Paradise 

Cnr Surfers Paradise Blvd and Hanlan S
Surfers Paradise, QL 4217

Price (US$): $187 - $208 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located in central Surfers Paradise, Hotel Grand Chancellor Surfers Paradise is near the beach and within walking distance of Cavill Avenue and Surfers Paradise Beach. Additional points of interest include Sea World and Jupiters Casino. Hotel Features. Hotel Grand Chancellor Surfers Paradise's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning… more »

AustraliaRydges Parramatta 

116 James Ruse Drive
Rosehill, NW 2142

Price (US$): $155 - $311 / night

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Location. Rydges Parramatta is a business friendly Rosehill hotel in the business district and close to Rosehill Gardens Racetrack, Westfield Parramatta Shopping Centre, and Parramatta Heritage Centre. Additional points of interest include Riverside Theatres and Parramatta Stadium. Hotel Features. Dining options at Rydges Parramatta include 2 restaurants. 2 bars/lounges are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning… more »

Australiaat Waterfront Whitsunday Retreat 

438 Shute Harbour Road
Airlie Beach, QL 4802

Price (US$): $182 - $479 / night

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Location. Located in Airlie Beach, at Waterfront Whitsunday Retreat is in a national park and close to Abel Point Marina and Cannonvale Beach. Additional area points of interest include Shute Harbour Jetty and Conway National Park. Hotel Features. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a health club. Spa amenities include spa services, massage/treatment rooms, facials, and body treatments. This 4.5 star property offers a meeting/conference room, secretarial services, and… more »

AustraliaQuay West Resort Magenta Shores 

1 Magenta Drive
Magenta Shores, NW 2261

Price (US$): $192 - $376 / night

Check rates »

Location. Quay West Resort Magenta Shores is located near the beach in Magenta Shores and close to Magenta Shores Golf Course, Magenta Shores Beach, and Wyrrabalong National Park. Other area points of interest include Blue Bay and Toonwoon Bay Beach. Property Features. Dining options at Quay West Resort Magenta Shores include 2 restaurants. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The villa serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each… more »

Browse more hotels in Australia »


Full name
Commonwealth of Australia

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


25,760 km


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


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


21,515,754 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

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


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)


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


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


Internet users

15.81 million (2009)


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