Top tip: Maps are small, distances are huge
Australia is the smallest continent and the largest island in the world – almost the same size as the mainland of the United States of America. About 40% of the continent is tropical. The terrain is extremely varied, ranging from blazing red desert to luscious green rainforest
Australia is flanked by the Arafura and Timor Seas to the north, the Coral and Tasmania Seas to the east, the Southern Ocean to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the west. There are jungles in the Northeast (Cape York Peninsula) and the Southeast is a huge fertile plain. In the north lies the Great Barrier Reef, a 2012km strip of coral that covers a total area of 350,000 sq. km. Although Australia is the driest country on earth, nevertheless it has enormous snow-fields the size of Switzerland.
Australia is in the southern hemisphere. There are two climatic zones: the tropical zone (in the north) and the temperate zone. The tropical zone (consisting of 40% of Australia) has two seasons: summer (wet) and winter (dry). The temperate zone has all four seasons, which are opposite to those in Europe and North America.
Facts and Figures
|Area||7,692,300 sq km (2,969,909 sq miles).|
|Population||22,661,375 (2011 estimate)|
|Capital||Canberra – population 358,222 (2011 estimate)|
|Language||The official language is English.Many other languages are retained by minorities, including Italian, German, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese dialects and Aboriginal languages.|
|Religion||26 per cent Roman Catholic, 24 per cent Protestants, smaller minorities of all other major religions.|
|Time||Australia spans three time zones from GMT + 8- GMT + 10.|
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