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Our Cities

Aussie flag

 

Australia's cities are very young by world standards. But they have a lot to offer both inhabitants and visitors.

Sydney
Sydney sunset, AustraliaSydney is the capital of the state of New South Wales. It was settled in 1788 by the British soldiers and convicts who came as part of the First Fleet. From these inauspicious beginnings, Sydney has developed into a prosperous and exciting city spread around some of the world's most beautiful real estate - Sydney Harbour. It now has a population of approximately 4 million.

Melbourne skyline

Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria. It was settled in 1835 and is one of the few cities that was founded as a free settlement. As a result of the fabulous Victorian gold-rush, it has grown into a gracious city with wide streets, monumental buildings and spacious parks and gardens.

 


Brisbane skyline

Brisbane
The capital of Queensland lies on the threshold of the tropics. Built around the largest commercial river in Australia, the Brisbane River, it was founded in 1823 and is now a thriving metropolis. It is within an easy hour's drive of the Gold Coast, one of the most popular holiday destination in the country.

Adelaide, South Australia

Adelaide
The capital of South Australia is one of the pleasantest cities in the world. It has a well designed road system, thanks to its founder and architect, William Light. The city "square mile" is ringed with parklands full of lovely gum trees. It is called the city of churches because of the number and beauty of its churches.


Perth

Perth skyline, Western AustraliaOn the west coast of the continent lies Perth. It is a lovely and modern city set around the banks of the Swan River. It is a casual, friendly city but retains an air of urban elegance. Kings Park overlooking the city contains 400 hectares of native bushland giving residents easy access to "the bush".

Hobart docks, southern AustraliaHobart
Tasmania's capital city is the second oldest in the country. It was settled in 1804. Tasmania's penal colonies were some of the harshest found anywhere. The city is beautifully situated on the Derwent River and protected by the towering Mount Wellington. Hobart was the first Australian city to erect a world class casino.


Darwin

Darwin scene, northern Australia Situated at the Top End of the country, Darwin is even more isolated than Perth. It is the capital of the Northern Territory and Asia's gateway to Australia. The city was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day 1974 and has been virtually rebuilt.

Parliament House, AustraliaCanberra
The national capital, Canberra is like no other. Situated in the Australian Capital Territory about 300 km south of Sydney, it is a specially planned city that was first surveyed in 1913. It was built to the design of Walter Burley Griffin, an American who won a world wide contest. The artificial lake which is at the heart of the city bears his name.

The Country

The Coastline

Beach scene in AustraliaAustralia's coastline is as diverse in character and scenic beauty as the inland. It has an overwhelmning variety of features. This is not really surprising when you realise that there are 38,000 km of shoreline surrounding the world's largest island and smallest continent. Probably the most famous of the features are the beaches, which many declare to be the finest in the world.

The Mountains

The Three Sisters in AustraliaThe backbone of Australia is the Great Dividing Range. It stretches for more than 4,000 km from Cape York in the far north, to Victoria and Tasmania in the south. The mountains in the north contain many rainforests fed by high rainfall and wide rivers. The southern end of the range lies in the cool temperate zone where the highest peaks rise above the tree line, but not above the snow line. The highest mountain, Mt Kosciusko, is a meagre 2,330 meters.




The Tropics

Tropical gardens in AustraliaAustralia's tropical region covers the country stretching from the Kimberley coast in the far north-west, across Arnham Land in the Northern Territory, to North Queensland. Much of it covers vast tracts of largely inaccessible wilderness. The climate here is monsoonal with only two seasons - the Wet and the Dry. The Wet, between December and May, brings the constant threat of cyclones. The Dry brings the threat of fires, which are usually confined to the grasslands and woodlands. The tough vegetation needs the refining action of fire for its continuity.

Deserts

Australia's Red Centre More than three-quarters of Australia is arid, harsh and inhospitable wilderness. Deserts of endless plains, some of sand griddled with dunes or parched with salt pans, others cruel stony wastes, give way to ancient mountain ranges, scrubby grasslands and savannahs sprinkled with hardy acacias and stunted eucalypts.

There are six major deserts - the Great Sandy, the Gibson, the Great Victorian, the Tanami, the Simpson and Sturt's Stony Desert.

Wildlife

Australian Koala Australia is the stronghold of marsupials. These are pouched animals whose young are born at a very undeveloped stage, leaving the mother's womb to journey to her pouch where milk is supplied. Marsupials colonised the land mass before it was cut off by the sea from the rest of the ancient continent of Gondwanaland, and so they developed in a region relatively free of predators.

Australian KangaroosKoalas, kangaroos, possums, wallabies and wombats are all marsupials.

The country also has around 110 species of snakes, including some of the most deadly. There are also many species of lizard including the frilled-neck lizard, and the goanna which can grow up to 2.5 meters long.

Australian KookaburraAmong the 700 species of birds, the most popular is the kookaburra. A kingfisher whose cackling laugh once unnerved early settlers, today is the most welcome sound for an Australian returning from overseas. You can find kookaburras even in the inner suburbs of major capital cities.

Australia - Flying parrots

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