Australia’s fascinating history dates back 50,000 years when the first Aboriginal settlers arrived bringing with them a rich living culture and a longstanding history of diverse arts, dance, music and myths and continues to draw in the more nomadic inclined of us.
These days Australia is a unique blend of established traditions and new influences and has become a melting pot of art, cuisine, architecture and fashion, due to the settlers travelling from fruitful locations across the world.
- More than 80 percent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast
- Australia contains 16 world heritage listed sites including historic townships, cities and landscapes
- Canberra was selected as the capital because Sydney and Melbourne could not stop arguing which city should be the capital of Australia
Travel Highlights for Australia
- Star-gazing at the beautiful and peaceful Ayres Rock (Uluru)
- Take a trip to the Sydney Opera House
- Ride on the southern hemisphere’s steepest train in the Blue Mountains
- Experience the amazing landscape of Frazer Island
- Swim with turtles and try to find Nemo while snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
Where is Australia?
The sixth largest country in the world, Australia comprises of the mainland of the Australian continent and numerous smaller islands all situated in the Southern Hemisphere. Located just to the south of Southeast Asia, and dividing the Indian and South Pacific Oceans Australia’s neighbouring countries include Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and New Zealand.
Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year but the climate can vary throughout the country due to it’s size. Northern areas of the country are typically warm throughout the year with southern areas experiencing cooler winters. As with all countries in the Southern hemisphere, Australia’s seasons are opposite to those in the Northern hemisphere, so it’s summer falls between December to February is summer, March to May is Autumn, June to August is winter, and September to November is spring. It is also one of the driest continents on earth with an average annual rainfall of less than 600 millimetres.
Language in Australia
Although Australia has no official language, it is largely monolingual with English being the most widely spoken, however Australian English has a distinctive vocabulary and accent and differs from English in spelling and grammar. The next most common languages are Mandarin and Italian. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans in the 17th century around 400 different languages existed amongst the Aboriginals.
The People of Australia
The people of Australia are recognised worldwide for their chilled out nature, welcoming attitude and positive outlook on life. With a mix of indigenous cultural traditions and a rich mosaic of migrant cultures the people of Australia are as varied as it’s landscapes. The country’s original inhabitants were the Aboriginals who are the custodians of one of the worlds oldest continuing cultural traditions and have lived in Australia for 50,000 years. There is a great diversity among different Indigenous communities and each encompasses its own mixture of cultures, customs and languages. Some of these communities strive to protect their traditions and way of life by living in rural Australia, typically practising and selling aboriginal art, such as paintings, bead work, woodwork, bark paintings and paintings in order to make a living, however many have now chosen to integrate into Australia’s modern society and live in the major cities.
In fact more than 75% of Australians live a cosmopolitan lifestyle, mostly inhabiting the major capital cities along the coast, which are renowned for their lively arts scene, including film, art, theatre and music. When you think of music in Australia the first thing that springs to mind is the iconic didgeridoo, developed by indigenous Australians around 1500 years ago. Music forms an integral part of the social, cultural and ceremonial observances of these people and the didgeridoo has played a large part in this history. These days there is a thriving modern music scene in Australia, from folk to hip hop and rock to pop there is something to suit all tastes and you are sure to stumble across a great club night or one of it’s many music festivals during your stay.
Travelling in Australia
There is plenty to keep you busy in Australia and whether you are an adventure seeker, city slicker or wildlife enthusiast you are sure to never get bored! If you fancy pushing your endurance you could explore the famous Blue Mountains on the Six Foot Track, tackle the Australian bush, hike Tasmania’s overland track, or snowboard down the pristine winter slopes. Make sure you check out the world famous Great Barrier Reef where you can swim, snorkel, dive and sail through one of the most fascinating nature spots on earth. Gain a deeper understanding of Australia’s rich cultural history as you explore the Northern Territory and walk the base of Uluru at the Red Centre. Browse Aboriginal art in Alice Springs and learn about traditional Dreamtime myths in Kakadu national park where you will also find a huge array of rainforests, wildlife and beautiful waterfalls. Choose from skiing down the snow covered mountains, discovering the fascinating coral reefs, exploring the vast deserts or surfing the sparkling clear waters.
Gap Year and Career Break Travel in Australia
Australia is jam packed with adventure activities, beautiful landscapes and thriving cities that is perfect for explorers and travellers alike. Make sure you make the most of your gap year or career break abroad where you are guaranteed a good time in one of the worlds most popular and sought after destinations.