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About Australia

Australia boasts some of the world's most beautiful natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef - the world's largest coral reef system, the Heritage Listed Ayers Rock (Uluru), the Bungle Bungles in Western Australia, the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road. Man-made icons include the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

The population of Australia in 2011 was 21,507,717 with the most populated states being New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Canberra is the Nations' capital is an interesting city that is home to the Parliament House, Old Parliament House and the War Memorial.

The geography of Australia ranges from deserts, mountainous, tropical islands, rain forests, lakes and rivers. The longest river in Australia is the Murray River which is 2375 kilometres long. The Murray River begins in New South Wales, then travels through Victoria and finally South Australia where the Murray Mouth meets the Southern Ocean. The Murray River is home to a variety of wildlife such as platypus, Murray cod, golden perch, trout and cod. The river is also famous for its paddle steamers and there are paddle steamers that cruise along the river for several days.

There are many beautiful lakes in Australia with Lake Eyre in South Australia covering a surface area of 9500 square kilometres, when the lake is full it is the largest lake in Australia. Another lake that attracts many visitors is Lake St Clair in Tasmania. Lake St Clair is the deepest lake in Australia that covers an area of 430 square metres and forms part of Cradle Mountain. Lake Argyle is the largest artificial lake which covers a surface area of 1000 square kilometres. Located in Western Australia near Kununurra the primary inflow of Lake Argyle comes from the Ord River. Lake Argyle is very beautiful and a cruise is a great way to experience the lake.

The climate in Australia varies with tropical climate in the northern parts, subtropical in the south and temperate in the south east and south west. Canberra can be very cool in winter and the coldest temperature recorded was -14.60 degrees in 1971 while Stanthorpe in Queensland holds the record for the lowest temperature in the state. Rainfall in Australia is generally seasonal with the highest rainfall occurring at Mount Lofty in South Australia and the lowest in the desert regions. The varied weather in Australia allows for a variety of outdoor sports such as sailing, skiing, hiking and rock climbing.

Geography

The geography of Australia encompasses a wide variety of biogeographic regions being the world's smallest continent but the sixth-largest country in the world. The population of Australia is concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts. The geography of the country is extremely diverse, ranging from the snow-capped mountains of the Australian Alps and Tasmania to large deserts, tropical and temperate forests.

Neighboring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the French dependency of New Caledonia to the east, and New Zealand to the southeast.

Transportation

All of Australia's major towns have reliable, affordable public bus networks, and there are suburban train lines in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Melbourne also has trams (Adelaide has one!), Sydney and Brisbane have ferries, and Sydney has a light-rail line. Taxis operate in all major cities and towns, especially handy if you're having a few drinks out. However, not every city has a pool of mobile app-booked taxi drivers – yet.

Languages

The 2011 analysis of language spoken at home indicate that majority of Australians speak English only as compared to non-English Speakers. Overall about 76.8% of the people speak English only, 18.2% are non-English speakers. Apart from English, Mandarin is the dominant language spoken at home by 1.6% (336,178 people) speakers. Other emerging languages include Punjabi, Filipino/Tagalog, and Arabic. Sydney, Australia’s most multicultural city records about 30% of the population, do not speak the English language at home. Sydney and Melbourne house more than 65% of non-English migrants who in general speak some 240 foreign languages. Many immigrants use their mother tongue and have smattering English. As a result, about 1 million migrants cannot speak English which is a huge number especially in a country of about 20 million people out of which 15% (3 million) residents speak a second language at home.