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