Australia Physical features icon

Australia Physical features

НазваниеAustralia Physical features
Дата конвертации31.07.2012
Размер12.81 Kb.


Physical features

1. Australia is the world's smallest, flattest, and driest continent. It is the biggest island and the smallest continent in the world.

2. Australia is the oldest continent on earth - some of the rocks are more than 3,000 million years old.

3. Australia is located south of Asia, between the Pacific and Indian ocean. It is a vast continent, made up of mainland Australia and of island of Tasmania to the south. It covers a very large area which, in the Northern Hemisphere, would extend roughly from Britain to Russia.

4. Australia, Tasmania and a number of smallest islands, Cocos (Keeling) Islands (1) and Kangaroo Island (2) among them, form the Commonwealth of Australia. In fact, it is the only country in the world which occupies the territory of the continent.

5. Australia's area is of 7,682,300 sq. km is nearly as large as the United States excluding Alaska and Hawaii. It is twice the size of Western Europe. It is about 25 times larger than Britain and Ireland. It is the sixth largest country in the world. The continent is about 4,000 kilimetres from north to south.

6. The Australian continent is washed on the north by the Timor and Arafura Seas and Torres Strait, on the East by the Tasman and Coral Seas, of the South Pacific Ocean, on the south by Bass Strait and the Indian Ocean.

7. Australia is the flattest of all continents. It's most significant mountain chain is the Great Dividing Range (3) (the eastern projection of which is known as the Australian Alps) running down most of the east cost. Other mountains include the Kimberley and Hamerslay Ranges in Western Australia, the Flinders Range in South Australia. Australia's highest point, Mount Kosciusko in the Australian Alps is only 2,230 m high.

8. Australia is the driest (after Antarctica) of all continents (40 per cent of it lies in the tropics, one-third is desert, vast areas are arid or semi-desert, unsuitable for settlement). The centre of the continent is taken by the deserts: the Great Sandy Desert (4); the Great Victoria Desert (5), the Simpson Desert (6). There are few rivers and lakes in Australia. Its best-known river is the Murray (2,600 km). The longest is the Darling (2,740 km). These with the Murrumbridge, the Lachlan and a number of smaller rivers form the continent's river system.

Australian Cities

1. Australia's people are city dwellers. Less than one third of the population lives outside Australia's cities and towns. These cities and towns are continuing to grow. More and more of Australia's people are moving away from rural areas into the towns and cities.

2. Most important among them are: Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Hobart and Newcastle.

3. More than 80% of Australia's population live in the capital cities of the six states. Indeed, the two largest of these capital cities, Sydney and Melbourne, contain one third of all the people on the Australian continent.

4. Sydney and Melbourne are the fourth and fifth largest cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Sydney and Melbourne each have more thant 3 mln residents.

5. Both Sydney and Melbourne are modern seaports. Sydney has one of the world's finest natural harbours.

6. Sydney is Australia's window into the world - a bright cosmopolitain city with a quick pace of life.

7. Melbourne is Sydney's opposite. Its green trams and wide, tree-lined avenues are symbols of an old-fashionned way of life. Melbourne is the nation's cultural, financial, and intellectual capital. Both cities' industries are generally for local consumers. But on the other hand, they export wool, meat, animal skin and wheat.

8. Canberra, built with the help of competitions between the two cities, is located on farmland between them and is Australia's capital. Canberra is a totally planned city, it doesn't resemble the other cities. It is the seat of government, and many of its monuments and buildings reflect its cental role in Australian life.

9. Canberra is not one of Australia's largest cities, but one of the most important. In 1927, the government moved there from Melbourne, the old capital. The main architect of Canberra was Walter Burley Griffin, who won a worldwide competition for Canberra's design.

10. Canberra is the political and administrative capital of Australia. It is also the centre of the nation's history, learning and research.

11. Other important Australian cities are: Brisbane, t he capital of Queensland, famous for its Gold Coast with the coastal playground and Surfers Paradise; Perth, the capital of Western Australia, where the sun shines for an average of 8 hours a day throughout the year. Then, there is Adelaide, the City of Churches which is the capital of South Australia. It is also called Federal City as art and music enthuisiasts all over the world come to its festivals. Darwin, the capital of Northen Territory is in "the Outback", it has been reconstructed after a devastating cyclone.

12. It is t here in Northern Territory that one can see one of the world's largest monoliths, Ayers Rock. It is the famous sandstone monolith right in the "Centre" of Australia. The massive rock, 350 metres high and 9km around its circumference has special significance to the Aborigines, and many of its caves are sacred grounds to these people.

13. The changing colour of the rock is worth an overnight stay. At sunset it can change from burnt red to brilliant purple and blue. At sunrise, it glows with fire.

14.Camel riding is a popular tourist attraction in the Outback.


Sometimes Australia is called “the upside down world”. It is, actually, because of its location is the Southern Hemisphere, where winter comes in July and simmer begins in December. During the Christmas holidays people often sunbathe on the beach or swim and surf in the ocean.

Australia is the hottest place in the Southern Hemisphere. In July usual temperatures are from 12 to 20 C. In January the temperatures are from 20 to 30 C above zero or higher.

Most parts of Australia do not receive enough rain. Only one sixth of the continent – a belt of landalong the north, east, and south coasts – is comfortably humid. This narrow belt of land is the place where summers are warm and sunny and winters are mild. Most of the dry land is uninhabited, which explains Australia’s small population – about 18 million people.

It is interesting to notice that although most of the territory is too dry or too hot, Australia is home to extraordinary birds and animals. For most species, Australia is there unique home, therefore they are called endemics. Early explorers were so surprised by the emu and the kangaroo that they described the continent as the land where birds “ran instead of flying and animals hopped instead of running”.

Australia is home to two world’s most primitive mammals – the duckbill and the anteater. They are the only mammals that lay eggs. The kangaroo is perhaps the best known of Australia’s animals. There are more than 40 different kind of kangaroos in Australia, in many different colours and sizes. The big red kangaroo and the grey kangaroo may be as tall as a grown-up man. Some kangaroos are about the size of a large dog. The smallest kangaroo is the rat kangaroo. Another well-known Australia’s animal is the koala that resembles a teddy-bear. It spends most of its life in eucalyptus trees and eats only the leaves of these trees.

Among other animals found in Australia is the dingo, a wild dog which is yellowish brown and hasa bushy tail. The emu, Australia’s largest bird is also one of the largest in the world. It cannot fly but is a good runner. Another curious bird is the kookaburra thatis often called the “laughing jackass”. The bushy country rings with its laugher.

Other Australian birds are graceful lyrebirds, brilliantly coloured parrots and the great white cockatoo.

Two animals werebrought to the country bythe Europeans and have become wild in Australia. These are the buffalo, brought from India, and the European rabbit. Buffaloes were brought to the north coast as work animals early in the 19th century. They escaped and multiplied and now inhabit the swampy river valleys around Darwin. Each year hunters shoot thousands of them.

Rabbits were brought more than 100 years ago. They are so numerous in Australia that sheep farmers have constant wars against the rabbits because these small animals destroy much grass.

No matter how far from Europe Australia can be, many people who are fond of travelling would like to visit this land because it is such an extraordinary place to explore!


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Смольянинова О. А., учитель гимназии №1 г. Мончегорска what do you know about australia?
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Australia Physical features iconСтатья из журнала "Physical Review Letters", Том 39, №17, 24 октября 1977, с. 1051
Факультет Физики и Центр Космических исследований, Штат Массачусетс, Массачусетский Технологический Институт, Кембридж, Массачусетс...
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