Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the southern hemisphere comprising the mainland of the world's smallest continent, the major island of Tasmania and numerous other islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the northeast, and New Zealand to the southeast. Australia is the only single country to occupy an entire continent.
Prior to European settlement in the late 1700s and early 1800s, the Australian mainland was inhabited by around 250 individual nations of indigenous Australians who lived sustainably on the land for around 40,000 years. After sporadic visits by fishermen from the north and then European discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, the eastern half of Australia was later claimed by the British in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales, commencing on 26 January 1788. As the population grew and new areas were explored, another five largely self-governing Crown Colonies were established during the 19th century.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies became a federation, and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and remains a Commonwealth realm. The capital city is Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The population is just over 21.3 million, with approximately 60% of the population concentrated in and around the mainland state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Australia's domestic airlines provide extensive coverage allowing you to hop quickly between cities and sights. If you prefer a more leisurely pace, travel by rail or road. Australia has an enormous network of well-maintained roads and highways with some of the most beautiful road touring in the world
The Australian summer from Dec-Feb is warm and sunny and you can enjoy lazy days on the beach and typical Aussie meals cooked on the barbecue. Summer is the rainy season in our tropical regions in the north that brings our lush rainforests to life. Spring and autumn are mild and are the best seasons for bush walks and discovering nature. The Australian winter Jun-Aug is generally mild, but offers snow on the snow fields in the southern mountain regions. At the same time our northern states have balmy 24 degrees Celsius temperatures.
Sites and Webs to find information about tourism in Australia: