Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of..Find out the country here--

Australia, officially known as the Commonwealth of Australia, is located in the Southern Hemisphere. It is surrounded by two colossal water bodies, Indian Ocean to the west and South Pacific Ocean to the east. Owing to its isolation and being surrounded by water bodies, Australia is often dubbed as the 'Island Continent'. Moreover, it is also considered to be the largest island in the world, comprising diverse landscapes and waterways.

Though the smallest continent, Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world. Spread across an area of 7,682,300 sq. km, the country encompasses six states and two mainland territories.

The population of 22 million people is mostly concentrated in and around the mainland state capitals, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. Canberra, the capital of the nation, is situated in the Australian Capital Territory.

Life in Australia is estimated to have begun some 42,000 to 48,000 years ago, with the migration of ancestors of modern indigenous Australians from South-East Asia. The Australian mainland was first discovered in early 1606 by Willem Janszoon, a Dutch navigator.

An English explorer named William Dampier was the first one to land on the North-West coast of Australia in 1688. The East coast of Australia was mapped by James Cook in 1770, who named it as New South Wales.

On 26 January 1788, a British Crown Colony was formed in New South Wales by Captain Arthur Philip. This day is celebrated as Australia Day every year.

Tasmania, earlier known as Van Diemen's Land, was established as a separate colony in 1803. Thereafter, separate colonies were carved out of New South Wales, namely South Australia (1836), Victoria (1851) and Queensland (1859). The Australian Capital Territory was formed decades later, in 1911.

Most inhabitants of the country are Europeans, including descendants of early settlers and indigenous Aborigines. The culture of Australia is an amalgamation of different traditions, which at present is more influenced by the Western world. Irish, English, Asian, Italian and Greek cultures are also readily accepted in Australia. This might be the major reason for which Australia is referred to as the 'fattest nation'.

Residents of more than 200 countries have migrated to different parts of the country, resulting in the foundation of modern Australian society. The democratic principles of Australian society and culture allow all citizens to practice their own culture and religion. English is the most commonly used language here.

Sun, sea and surf are the major highlights of Australia that attract tourists from across the world. It is also home to the world's largest reef system, Great Barrier Reef. Being an island continent, Australia is most known for its beautiful beaches like Byron Bay (New South Wales) and Bondi (Sydney). Nature and wildlife of Australia, especially in Melbourne and Adelaide, also are the main attractions of the country.

The landscape of Australia is diverse and thus, opens the door for several outdoor, adventure and aquatic sports, including canoeing, scuba diving, rock climbing and ballooning.

Modern Australian cuisine, prepared by coalition of international and authentic tastes is another speciality of the country. Moreover, due to the variation in the seasons, Australia can be visited throughout the year, specifically north in winter and south in summer.

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