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Overview to Australia: Travel Guide and Tourist Information


Australia. The very mention of it is like a siren call to backpackers. With its promise of sun, sea, sand and surf, a range of outstanding cities and a vast wealth of natural resources, it’s a combination that for many is seemingly impossible to resist.

First and foremost, though, Australia is a country defined by its size. With a population of fewer than twenty million people spread around its enormous landmass, large swathes of the interior of the country are stark, eerily beautiful and virtually uninhabited (and, for that matter, uninhabitable).

But although the famous Australian ‘Outback’ might appear an arid wasteland it is, in fact, like the rest of the country, home to a host of fragile ecosystems. Amongst its 500 national parks are Kakadu and its massive wetlands, the spectacular Blue Mountains, and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park – home to the mighty Ayer’s Rock, one of the world’s most impressive natural phenomena.

Australia’s coastline is lined with endless strips of sparkling white sand, and dotted with wonderful islands like Fraser Island, Bruny Island and Whitsunday Island. It’s also, of course, the site of the Great Barrier Reef, a haven for divers and ecologists, and one of the undisputed seven wonders of the natural world.

The coast is also home to the vast majority of the population, huddled together in its attractively cosmopolitan cities. These include Darwin and Cairns to the North and Perth to the southwest. Adelaide, Canberra (the rather forgotten capital) Melbourne and Brisbane are all by contrast down in the southeast of the country.

And of these, it’s Sydney – its magnificent Harbour Bridge and the spectacular Sydney Opera House to the fore – that draws the most visitors. Add to this a hectic nightlife – part sophistication, all action – and the nearby beaches of Bondi and Manly, and it’s not to hard to see why, like Australia itself, it’s been a travel mecca for years.

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