Located in the southern hemisphere, Australia is the smallest of all continents. However, as it is divided into six separate states, it is the sixth largest country on earth at the same time. Geografically speaking, the island Papua New Guinea also belongs to Australia. Australia itself consists of 40 percent of deserts and dunes. A few people populate the so-called outback but only the continent's south-east is fruitful and inhabitable. There you find lush green rainforests. Nevertheless, over 23 million people, who cannot resists the region's charm and beauty, live in Australia. The fascinating landscapes, the bizarre rock formations and the wonderful Great Barrier Reef in front of the Australian coast attract thousands of visitors every year.
Due to the isolated development from other continents, special animal species, which exist in no other place on earth, were able to evolve in Australia and on the surrounding islands. The most famous group are the marsupial species with the kangaroo as the nation's figurehead. Not only the fauna but also the flora evolved in their own particular way. Out of the 20.000 plant species which have been discovered so far, 85 percent can be seen only on this continent. Among them are acacias, eucalyptus trees and the bottle tree. Australia also has the world's most famous and biggest coral reef – the Great Barrier Reef. The Australian hinterlands are significantly more dry and remote. The Ayers Rock - commonly called "Uluru" - is the most famous of all the inselbergs.
Of course present-day Australia is shaped by the time of colonisation. However, even before that indigenous tribes like the aborigines made a mark on their homeland. The seaside town Sydney is without doubt the country's cultural capital. With the architecturally outstanding Opera House by the sea and the many museums such as the Australian Museum, Sydney is a highlight on most tourists' journey through Australia. In addition, most of the cultural events like music festivals and sports events take place in the metropolises Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Australia offers a whole variety of extraordinary and special activities. Besides the typical visitors who love swimming and sunbathing at one of the island's many beaches, especially surfers and water sports fans enjoy the beauty of the Australian coast. Divers and snorkellers are in good hands in the open areas around the Great Barrier Reef and can enjoy the unique and colourful underwater world. Australia's many national parks are definitely worth a visit. For a short or long city trip, the cultural metropolises around Sydney and Brisbane are especially relevant - locations which offer shopping facilities and a glittering nightlife. An insider tip is Tasmania's capital Hobart.
Australia has one of the most tightly knit air traffic networks on earth. The most important junction is the Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney. Via boat, tourists can reach the surrounding islands. People who rent a car should note that there is left-hand traffic in Australia. On arrival, you need a valid visa.