Australia lies on the southern hemisphere and is surrounded only by oceans – Pacific on the east and Indian on the west and south. Australia is the smallest continent with the lowest density of population. It is divided into the 6 states and two territories. The capital is Canberra it’s also one of the territories. The official language is English and the currency is the AUD.
Australia belongs the British Commonwealth so head of state is the British queen represented by the governor – general. The federal parliament has its seat in Canberra and is divided into the Senate and the House of representatives.
The key industries are iron, steel, textiles, chemicals and machinery. Natural resources include oil and gas, bauxite, coal, copper and many others.
Today one third of the total area is used for sheep’s breeding (sheep were brought here from Europe), so Aus is the biggest exporter of wool. They also export wheat, oats, vegetable, fruit and wine.
The first man who discovered Australia was Dutch sailor Abel Tasman. It was at the middle of the 18 th century. He landed on an island and thought it was new continent. This island was named after him – Tasmania - and today it’s one of 6 Australian states. Officially the first man who reached Australia is English sailor James Cook. He explored the eastern coast in 1770. Then Australia became a British convict colony. The Commonwealth was proclaimed in 1901.
About 90% of inhabitants live along the south-east coast. Deserts and the tropical northern part are almost inhabited. The majority of people are of British origin, the native people are called the Aborigines that came from Indonesia. Aboriginal legends, songs and dances tell of powerful spirits who created the land and people. The arrival of white people brought an end to the traditional Aboriginal way of life. Today specialised galleries display Aboriginal art, tools, musical instruments and artefacts.
Australia is very flat continent. The highest mountain is Mt. Kosciusco which is only about 2 200m high. It lies in the Aus Alps, which are along the eastern coast. The Great Barrier Reef along the east coast off Queensland is the biggest living coral system in the world and provides a home for a wide range of marine animals.
The western plateau is very dry area including the Great Sandy and Victoria deserts. The longest river is the Murray, it’s the only river which don’t dry up. The others for ex the Darling are called creek.
Australia lies on the southern hemisphere that means that they have winter in our summer months – simply they’re seasons are opposite than ours.
The northern part of Aus has tropical wet climate. There are heavy rainfalls and destructive hurricanes too. The rest of the land has tropical dry climate. The south-east is covered with forests of Eucalyptus, Tea trees and other evergreen trees.
Aus has unique variety of animals and plants which can’t be found elsewhere in the world. It’s because the continent was isolated from the others. The symbol of Aus is of course sweet kangaroo. The biggest ones are almost 2 m high and weigh 70 kg. Kang live in coveys and they’re herbivores. The average age they live is 15 or 18 years. The kangaroo cub (called Joey by Australians) lives 7 months in mothers pouch and drinks her milk.
You can find there cute koalas sleeping peacefully on a branch of an eucalypt tree, generally called gum tree. The word koala means in the language of natives the one, that doesn’t drink – it’s true that these animals don’t drink, they eat only leaves of the eucalypti tree which are a source of energy for them.
Another unique animal is an echidna that looks little bit like our hedgehog. It seems to survive in almost any environment. Echidna lives throughout Aus, on Tasmania too, in every sort of terrain, from tropical rain forests to deserts.
Wombat has a piglike snout, short legs and looks like our pig. It lives in plains and eats grasses, roots and tree bark.
Another fascinating animals are Emu – flightless bird, Wallaby – small kind of kangaroo, Possum – looks little bit like a mouse.
There are many species of birds, lizards and snakes too.
Places of interest
Aus offers many interesting places and national parks. The best known n. p. is Kakadu situated on the north near Darwin. This park belongs to the UNESCO list and you can see here almost every kinds of animals living in Aus.
In the center of Aus you can visit n. p. Uluru which is also on the UNESCO list. This park bears the name of the biggest monolith in the world which is generally known as the Ayers Rock but the natives call it Uluru. This rock is a holly place for the Aborigines and is connected with many legends, tales and mysteries. The color of the rock is changing from red to orange and lilac – it depends on the time of the day.
Another unique place is the Wave Rock. It’s 15 m high and 100 m long rocky wave.
Canberra is stylish, modern city and it is the political centre of Australia. It’s an ideal place for sport - sailing, fishing, cricket, football and hang gliding and cycling the extensive bicycle paths. There is Parliament House, National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the National Museum and many other attractions.
Sydney is the largest and oldest city in Australia. You can find there for example the famous Opera House and Sydney Tower Observation Level with a revolving restaurant and the oldest university of Australia. To the north and south of the city, you’ll find white sand beaches - Bondi, Bronte or Coogee in the south; Manly, Collaroy or Palm Beach in the north. Sydney Opera House, a landmark building at Bennelong Point, is home to Australia’s opera, ballet and theatre companies and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Other cities – Perth, Darwin, Brisbane, Melbourne – Grand Slam and Melbourne Cup-horse race
Lies near Aus and consist of two large islands (north and south). Same as Aus belongs to the B. C. and the head of state is the British queen represented by the governor - general. The parliament has only one chamber – the House of Representatives. Its members are elected every 3 years. There are two main political parties – The National party which stands for the interests of big farmers, businessmen and manufactures and the Labour Party which is a social democratic party.
The capital is Wellington that lies on the North Island. This part of NZ has geysers, mineral springs and volcanic lakes – the largest is Lake Taupo. Rivers are short and strong – the largest are the Waikato and Wanganui.
South Island is hilly and mountainous and has many glaciers and glacier lakes. The highest peak is Mt. Cook situated in the Southern Alps.
Climate is very pleasant and healthy with plenty of sunshine and good rainfall. Summers are warm and winters mild but in mountains there are cold winters with temperatures under zero and enough snow for skiing.
The first people that settled New Zealand were Polynesian tribes – the Maoris. The first European that discovered New Zealand was the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman. Then Captain James Cook reached these islands nearly 100 years later and explored the land.
New Zealand is a rich agricultural country, but industry also plays an important role. It has a relatively high living standard, but is economically dependent on the more powerful industrial states. New Zealand is primarily a grazing country, and specialises in livestock breeding (cattle and ship). Therefore the most characteristic feature of New Zealand’s agriculture is pastoral and dairy farming. The green farmlands are suitable for grazing all the year round. The grazing industry producing wool, meat, butter and cheese.
New Zealand is rich in oil and gas, coal, sulphur, and gold. The key industries are food processing, textiles and forest industry.
Just like Aus NZ is home to several kinds of animals that can’t be found anywhere in the world. One of them is Kiwi a flightless bird. In fact New Zealanders are often called Kiwis, after this strange (exotic) bird.
The largest city of NZ is Auckland which lies on the North Island. This cosmopolitan city offers exciting night life and a lot of opportunities for sport activities especially yachting.
The capital is Wellington that lies on the South Island. It’s not only political but also cultural center of NZ.
Christchurch is also called “Gate to the Antarctica”. You can visit the International Antarctic center and learn more about this continent – you’ll find here arctic animals, you’ll visit model of antarctic base and you’ll experience virtual flight over the glaciers.