Your comprehensive travel guide to Australia - All in one place!
Australia is a land of dreams. From the sacred legends of the aboriginal Dreamtime, when the great spirits conjured the coral reefs, rainforests, and scorched red deserts, to armchair travelers who describe Australia as their dream destination, the Land Down Under deserves all the hype. The world's smallest continent and largest island, Australia is almost the same size as the United States but with a population the size of New York and some of the quirkiest wildlife on the planet.
Australia is also a land of staggering contrasts and spectacular beauty. Along the coast, you can explore vibrant multicultural cities, vast sand islands, ancient rainforests, and one of the planet's most awe-inspiring natural wonders - the Great Barrier Reef.
History and Government
People have been living on the Australian continent for ages. The first people lived there between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago. The first inhabitants probably came from what is now known as Southeast Asia. These people are called the Aboriginals and are considered the “first Australians.
In the 17th century, the first British explorers arrived in Australia and claimed parts of it for Great Britain. The six colonies (New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia) gained their own government between 1855 and 1890 and started to manage their own affairs, but still as part of the British Empire. Some affairs were still dealt with by The Colonial Office in London.
In 1986, the last constitutional ties between Australia and the UK were resolved due to the passing of the Australian Act. This act ended all British involvement in the government of the Australian States.
Geography and Environment
Australia is located in Oceania between the Indian and South Pacific Oceans. Although it is a large country, its topography is not too varied, and most of it consists of low desert plateau. The southeast, however, does have fertile plains. Australia's climate is mostly arid to semiarid, but the south and east are temperate and the north is tropical.
Although most of Australia is arid desert, it supports a wide range of habitats, thus making it incredibly biodiverse. Alpine forests, tropical rainforests, and a wide variety of plants and animals thrive there because of its geographic isolation from the rest of the world. As such, 92 percent of its vascular plants, 87 percent of its mammals, 93 percent of its reptiles, 94 percent of its frogs, and 45 percent of its birds are endemic to Australia. It also has the greatest number of reptile species in the world as well as some of the most venomous snakes and other dangerous creatures like the crocodile. Australia is most famous for its marsupial species, which include the kangaroo, koala, and wombat.
Australia is the 55th largest country in the world in terms of population, between Cameroon and Madagascar. It is also the most populous country in Oceania three times more populous than its neighbor Papua New Guinea (8.2 million) and 5 times more populous than New Zealand (4.5 million). As the sixth largest nation in the world, Australia has a very low population density of just 3 people per square kilometer or 7 per square mile. This makes it one of the least densely populated countries in the world. Most of Australia's population is concentrated on or around the more hospitable coastal areas.
The most recent Australian census was held in 2016 and confirmed that the population of Australia was 23,401,892. The Australian Bureau of Statistics also provides the Australian Population Clock, which uses population indicators to estimate the current population count.
Australia’s modern culture has been shaped by a number of factors, including Americanization, immigration, ancient heritage, and climate. With much of the population living close to the coast, a strong beach culture dominates in society. Even in major city centers, it is not uncommon to see locals wearing beach attire around town. The warm, sunny climate also permits an array of outdoor activities, happily lapped up by locals. A typical Aussie Saturday afternoon is spent at a barbecue with friends or family. Australians are very active yet laid-back people, and this certainly shows through their love of sports, whether they are participating or observing.
Indigenous culture is still prevalent in many parts of the country, and tourists can easily find package tours to learn more. The native Aboriginal people are a proud race, and still practice ancient cultural aspects of tribal life, including dancing, music, art, and even hunting.
Food and Drink
Australian cuisine has been shaped for thousands of years ago. Between 1788 and 1900 when the British occupied Australia, the occupiers influenced the culinary taste to include things like wheat and beef. Australian cuisine has also been heavily influenced by its multicultural society. In the 21st century, culture has evolved in a way that combines several cultures and eras. For example, the country has started to adopt a culture of eating bushfood while at the same time holding on to modern foods. All of this influence over the years has created unique foods that have gone on to become Australia’s popular delicacies.
Known for loving life and living in the moment, Australians have a lot of holidays and festivals of culture. From regular Saturday afternoon barbecues to the large, national celebrations that occur several times a year. Australian festivals and events are becoming world-renowned. Sports are a massive part of the culture as is the indigenous heritage that proudly remains after more than two centuries of European influence. Visitors can experience ‘footy madness’ during Melbourne’s Aussie Rules grand final soccer day in September. Or, perhaps the Brisbane Festival in October will entice.
Best Time to Visit
Australia, with its beautiful weather, will be heaven for all the adventure as well as relaxation seekers alike. The best time to visit Australia is from September to February when Australia's weather is blessed by spring and summer. Due to its vast geographical area, Australia tends to have a varying climate in different parts of the continent. Seasons here are generally the opposite of what you might see in the rest of the world.
Australia’s official language is English. However, Australia is a multicultural nation with a significant migrant population, so it's common to hear a diverse range of languages in Australia's cities and towns.
Australia’s national currency is Australian dollars (AUD).
Australia is one of the most exotic places around the globe when it comes to shopping. From internationally acclaimed brands to handcrafted domestic products, and from renowned designers to traditional aboriginal artists, Australia has everything to satiate your thirst for shopping. With so much to offer to its tourists, shopping in Australia becomes an exhilarating experience that one must indulge in.