Australia (Commonwealth of Australia, international code - AUS) is the sixth populated country in the world and the only one that occupies a whole mainland.
The territory also expands to the island of Tasmania and three islands in Oceania, two of which - Ashmore and Cartier in the Coral Sea - are uninhabited. The third one, Norfolk, has a population of 2,000 people.
The Australian economy is among the stablest in the world. What is more, the country has a very high standard of living and Human Development Index.
Prior to the times when European sailors began settling the Australian continent in the 16th-17th centuries, Indigenous people - the ancestors of first humans - had been inhabiting those lands for several millennia.
Though the Dutch and Portuguese are still debating which nation was the first to discover the continent, it has been firmly established that the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon did the first record of the Australian mainland in 1606. It was Abel Tasman who greatly contributed to drawing the map of the west coast of a new continent, which later became known as Australia.
A hundred years later, in 1770, the east coast began to be explored by Captain James Cook. Together with the crew of Endeavour, he landed at Botany Bay to learn whether there were any opportunities to found a new British colony for the exile of prisoners. Cook took a favourable decision and informed the royal court.
A new era in the history of the continent began in 1788 when a new British colony under the name New South Wales was founded. At present, it is one of the most populated states of Australia. The British Empire obtained total control over the whole territory in 1828. Several years later, New South Wales split into small state colonies. As a result, Victoria, South, and West Australia became free colonies and did not accept the transported convicts. The last transfer took place in 1868.
Australian continent turned out to be rich in gold, which commenced the gold rush. The massive influx of diggers from all over the world lasted several years. So in order to bring gold mining under control, the authorities established the obligatory licensing of mining sites. It was so expensive that diggers rebelled in 1854. What is more, controversies between colonies were progressively escalating too.
In the 1860s - 1890s, several colonies gained the opportunity of self-government, but still, British Empire took control of external policy, finances, and economy.
On January 1, 1901, all the colonies federated and formed the Commonwealth of Australia. Six years later, Australia became an almost independent state as a dominion of the British Empire. Canberra was chosen as a future capital, but while it was being constructed, Melbourne performed its main functions.
In December 1931, British Parliament adopted the Statute of Westminster, a document that confirmed dominion’s positions within the Empire. Under that Act, Australia gained its independence.
The only thing that reminds about previous subordinacy to Britain is the common monarch. Now the Queen of the Commonwealth is Elizabeth II. Constitutional monarchy as a political system is so related to the Australians that they refused to switch to the model of the republic during the 1999 referendum.
Language and Currency
There is only one official language in the country - Australian English. The national currency - the Australian dollar - is among the reserve currencies. It is quite popular in the world of business and the field of financial transactions due to the high interest rates and a stable situation in all spheres of life.
Peculiarities of the geographical position of Australia affect its climatic conditions that vary widely by location. Besides, this continent is considered the driest in the world. Summer begins in December, and winter comes in June.
Summer temperatures may reach 40°C, which is a real hell on the background of the total absence of rains. Winters here are mild with average temperatures of 12°C - 14°C but in some regions, they may reach zero.
Climate zones in Australia are different. Southeast and Tasmania are located in a temperate climate zone, southwest - in Mediterranean, north - in a tropic one. Three-quarters of the mainland constitute deserts known as the outback. The West Australian Current deters cyclones. All those factors explain the complexity of the Australian climate for life and agriculture.
Australia is located in the Eastern and Southern Hemispheres, so getting here is possible by plane. The visa arrangement process, which is needed to enter the country, takes from three to four weeks.
The main international airport is located in Sydney whereas the Canberra Airport is oriented mainly on flights from Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide, which also have their hubs. Sydney is very convenient for getting to New Zealand and Singapore.
Australia is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in, that is why the cost of accommodation both for tourists and migrants cannot be considered cheap. The prices put by hotels may reach more than a thousand dollars.
Despite those high accommodation prices, it is possible to find a quality budget hotel. Good service and nice conditions may cost 200-300 dollars a day.
- Binna Burra Lodge & Rainforest Campsite is a three-star family hotel in Binna Burra, Queensland, located not far from Lamington National Park. The rooms are heated, air-conditioned, and have kitchenettes. The beds and bathrooms are clean and comfortable.
- NRMA Darlington Beach Holiday Resort is a four-star hotel with one-storey cosy houses. It is located in Arrawarra, New South Wales. Customers’ feedback is positive due to tasty food, clean rooms, and free parking. The rooms have kitchen facilities, air-conditioning, and heating.
- RAC Cervantes Holiday Park is a three-star hotel in Cervantes, Western Australia, located a 30-minute drive from Nambung National Park and a 5-minute drive from Lake Thetis. The hotel offers free parking, Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, gym, and access to the beach. The other facilities include kitchenettes, air-conditioning, and ironing.
- Tullah Lakeside Lodge is a three-star hotel located on the island of Tasmania in the town of Tullah, a 10-minute drive from Lake Rosebery. The hotel offers free parking, rooms with bathrooms, fridges, TVs, air conditioning, and delicious food in the on-site restaurant.
- Tween Waters Holiday Park Merimbula is a hotel in the resort town of Merimbula, New South Wales. It is located on a peninsula between the Tasman Sea and Lake Merimbula, a five-minute walk from Magic Mountain Beach. The hotel is plain and offers free parking, a swimming pool, clean and cosy rooms.
A more economical way will be accommodating in camping or a hostel: this will cost around 130 dollars for two. Those who are fond of travelling by car may save even more having hired a campervan with the necessary facilities.
Places to See
Kangaroos, koalas, and spiny anteaters are not the most interesting lure offered by Australia to its visitors.
Almost every big city has its own charms - the unique attractions.
There are so many tourist destinations in the biggest Australian city. Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the Rocks (Sydney’s historic area where the first colonisers settled in the 18th century), 309-metre-high Sydney Tower Eye, the Royal Botanic Garden are the brightest sightseeing attractions of the city.
Queen Victoria Building Shopping Centre is a perfect place for shopping lovers. Those who have children may spend their time in a local Hyde Park. And those willing to immerse in the beauty of art should definitely go to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which exhibits the masterpieces of European and Asian art.
Taronga Zoo is a natural habitat for more than 4,000 species of animals and birds. Tourists may also book an overnight stay.
One of the world’s and Australia’s most famous beaches is Manly Beach located right by the ocean. Getting here is possible only by ferry. Bondi Beach is the other luxurious and well-known beach where various shows are often held.
This one of the biggest Australian cities and the venue of the 1956 Summer Olympics has a tidbit hidden in its name. Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria named after the Queen. As William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne, was Queen Victoria’s political mentor, the capital city got its name to honour the statesman.
Begin your acquaintance with the city from Fed Square and Collins Street. Go to the gallery in Ian Potter Centre on the Square and Australian Centre for the Moving Image with live exhibits free of charge.
Besides, there are also Flinders Street Railway Station, St. Peter’s Anglican Church, concert hall, etc.
Arcades&Lanes narrow streets with a lot of coffee shops and stores will enable feeling the spirit of old Melbourne. The past echoes with the Old Gaol, which was built with the same stone as the legendary Stonehenge, and still operating Queen Victoria Market, where you may buy souvenirs for friends.
Adelaide is the capital of South Australia state. It is a place where one can eat well, drink a lot of wine, and sunbathe on beautiful beaches. Acquaintance with the city may start from North Terrace, the boulevard where the biggest Adelaide museums are concentrated: South Australian Museum, Museum of Art, Migration Museum. There is also the building of the local university, Parliament House, and State Library.
Tourists may taste Australian wine at the National Wine Centre, or opt for indulging in wild nature at the old zoo and Monarto Safari Park.
This is the capital of Queensland, the state of warm and sunny weather all year round. The premier place in the city is the Southbank district along with museums, galleries, and theatres.
A stunning man-made Street Beach is a perfect place for photoshoots on the background of white sand and blue lagoon. The other way to see the beauty of Brisbane is to go on a ferry tour along the river.
Brisbane Koala Sanctuary is the cutest place not only in Australia but in the whole world. More than 130 tame animals inhabit the park and are adored by tourists to take a photo with. Apart from koalas, there are spiny anteaters, kangaroos, wombats, and cockatoos.
This capital city of the West Australia state on the coast of the Indian Ocean is located far from other Australian metropolitan cities. There are so many attractions, and the Perth Mint, which has issued Australian dollars and coins since 1899, is the main of them. The heart of Perth’s nightlife is Northbridge, and the city’s Royal Park is considered the largest in the world.
Tourists are also delighted with Sea Aquarium in Perth, a hundred-metre underwater tunnel inhabited by sand sharks, turtles, and a lot of fish.
Swan Bells is one of the highest towers in the world that contains 18 bells, a museum, and a viewing deck. The tower is constructed of glass and is 80-metre high.
Those who cannot imagine their summer vacation without a beach may enjoy the luxurious Perth white sand and blue lagoon in Cottesloe.
This old city is the capital of Tasmania, the Australian island state. The spirit of the first settlers in the 19th century has been preserved here in bendy narrow streets, a historical construction site, and a special atmosphere of those times.
When in Hobart, visit Salamanca Place, the oldest district in the city with its sandrock houses, Museum of Arts, and Royal Botanical Garden.
Not far from the Tasmanian capital, a tiny settlement called Port Arthur with a population of around 200 people is located. Initially, it used to be a penal site where convicts from entire Britain were transported. At present, all those remaining sites are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage. Going on a guided tour around Point Puer Boy’s prison and Dead Cemetery will enable engrossing in the gloomy atmosphere of the locality.
Australian food is versatile owing to the influx of settlers from around the world.
Restaurants and cafes serve international cuisine everywhere, be it Jewish, American, Mexican, Asian, or Arab dishes.
Nonetheless, Australian cuisine has its own roots - British and Indigenous. The British settlers that arrived in Australia 300 years ago have brought a habit of a traditional English breakfast: oatmeal, fried egg, back bacon, and a toast with jam.
The cuisine of Indigenous people has been revived due to the efforts of food enthusiasts. The ancient recipes that contain a lot of exotic ingredients and ways of food processing were obtained during special expeditions to various tribes.
In Australia, they eat certain types of meat like kangaroo, ostrich, or emu. Possum meat is usually cooked by adding some exotic spices like myrtle and Tasmanian pepper.
Not lunch but dinner is the main meal of Australians when the whole family gathers around the table. As a rule, they eat dishes of kangaroo meat, noodles with various sauces, mashed potatoes, etc. On weekends, pastry is very popular - usually, it is a hand-sized meat pie.
Any lunch or dinner cannot go without vegemite - a yeast-extract salty spread for bread, crackers, or a filling for special pastry.
Desserts usually constitute a lot of fruit and sweet pastry. The latter one has very extensive varieties, but the most popular are lamingtons made of sponge cake, iced with chocolate and covered with coconut, flavoury Anzac oat biscuits, and pavlova cakes.
The remoteness of Australia makes it terra incognita for many Europeans. However, those who have managed to come here leave the country overwhelmingly impressed. Some of them even migrate to Australia for permanent residence because the standard of living here attracts people from all over the globe.