Officially known as the Commonwealth of Australia, this amazing country half a world away, is the largest land mass in the South Pacific, the sixth largest country by total area, the largest island in the world and the smallest, flattest continent in the world.  It sits between the Indian Ocean to the West, the Southern Antartic Ocean to the South and the South Pacific to the North and East. It comprises of the main island of Australia, Tasmania, Melville Island, Kangaroo Island plus a large number of smaller islands - 8,222 in total within its maritime borders!  Australia's coastline stretches for 50,000 km and has over 10,000 beaches.


European settlement started in the late 18th century, but before they arrived, the islands were inhabited by indigenous Australians, the Aboriginie, who spoke 250 different languages, with 600 different dialects!  Only a handfull remain in regular use and most Aboriginies speak English with Aboriginal words or phrases added.


In the present day, Australia is amongst the lowest inhabited nation, with only 2.8 inhabitants per square km, with most of the population centered along the temperate south-eastern coast line, between the cities of Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.  There are more sheep and cattle than humans, with mainly Merino sheep, producing most of the worlds' Merino wool, and the 24.4 million cattle helping to make Australia the worlds' biggest exporter of beef.  Australia also export a huge amount of opals and gold, from mines in Western and Southern Australia.


Most of Australia is barren, baking desert, known as the Outback, surrounded by large areas of dry grassland.  There are sub-tropical areas on the central east coast and the south-west coast, a tropical climate on most of the north coast and pleasant temperate climate on the south-eastern coastal area.


Australia is divided into 8 distinct territories and states; Western Australia in the west, Northern Territories in the central north, South Australia in the central south, Queensland in the northern east coast, Victoria and New South Wales on the southern east coast, the Australian Capital Territory, around the capital city of Canberra, and the island territory of Tasmania.  CAnberra may be the capital, but Sydney is usually the main city that most people know of and are attracted to.


85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast, and the beach and water activities feature highly in most Australian lives, and usually, most tourists, too.  From surfing, swimming, beach barbecues to snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing, parasailing, fishing, celebrations, fireworks and parties - life beside the sea is an integral part of daily life and their social calendar.


Sports are also widely enjoyed, almost fanatically, and tourists are always welcome to join in or spectate with the locals. The nation can't get enough football, cricket, rugby, tennis, rowing, cycling and horse racing. There are festivals in every city that peak the interests of the locals, as well as tourists, and Australia is famous for its wine production, with winery tours being a popular way to spend a day.


Australian Visa Applications

The majority of visitors to Australia will need a Visitors Visa for tourist travel.  For more information, give us a call or contact a dedicated visa company.


Click HERE to see the UK Foreign Office's latest advice for visitors travelling to Australia.



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