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Information for backpackers in Australia

Australia
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Australia - culture and population 

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Brush up on your knowledge of some of the most fascinating Australia facts and figures before you depart to the country.

 

Capital: Canberra

Size: 7 682 300 km2, which is equivalent to the size of Europe!

Currency:Australian dollar (AUD)
Population + 20 million inhabitants.

80% of the population live in cities.
 

Australia is divided into 8 states:
South Australia – Adelaide
New South Wales – Sydney
Northern Territory – Darwin, Alice Springs
Australian Capital Territory – Canberra
Western Australia – Perth
Queensland – Brisbane, Cairns
Victoria – Melbourne
Tasmania – Hobart

Economy
The annual growth rate is 3.6% and inflation is 4.5%. Sectors of activity in Austrailia are: Goods and services, agriculture, mining and tourism which brings 5 million visitors per year.

Climate
Australia is divided into 2 climactic zones; temperate in the southern half and tropical in the northern half. As the weather is always fabulous somewhere in Austrailia, you can travel at any time. There are, however, certain times when the climate becomes more hostile, with it being best to avoid Queensland and the Northern Territory as they are located in the south-west Pacific cyclone belt. The stormy season generally runs from December to April and floods frequently occur on the margins. It’s therefore crucial that you find out about the weather if you plan to travel in these areas at this time. Winter season in Southern Australia (May – August) is not recommended either, unless you love skiing!

The best time to travel is from the beginning of September until the end of November.
 

Time Difference+ 8 hours in the west (Perth)  + 10 hours in the east (Sydney) GMT

 

Population and Aboriginal Culture


Australia-aboriginal

Arguably one of the most interesting Australia facts is that the Aborigines are the indigenous Australian people and Aboriginal cultureis the oldest culture alive today. Aborigines live in communities, mainly in the central desert regions of Australia. They have their own belief system based on the spirit world and nature and their distinctive art work is recognised worldwide. Painting, dance, craft work and traditional objects such as the boomerang and didjeridoo, reflect the rites, beliefs and legends of their Aboriginal ancestors.

In May 2011 ownership of the Ayers Rock territorieswas finally returned to the Aboriginal people for the sum of $300 million AUD. This allowed the Aborigines to regain their title as  masters of Uluru, a site sacred to its people, as well as the surrounding infrastructure, incluidng the airport and hotels. 200 new jobs are planned by the end of 2013, with 60% of them to be filled by people of Aboriginal origin. Today, just one of the 670 employees on the complex is Aboriginal. To prepare the native Australians for their new roles, a catering school will soon be opening its doors. This will be an historic acquisition for the Aboriginal community.

 

Of all of the information about Australia, it's interesting to note that since 1788, the basis of Australian culture has been strongly influenced by Anglo-Celtic Western culture. Distinctive cultural features have also arisen from Australia's natural environment and Indigenous cultures. Since the mid-20th century, American popular culturehas strongly influenced Australia, particularly through television and cinema. Other cultural influences come from neighbouring Asian countries and through large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking nations.

 

Food in Australia

 

The food of Indigenous Australians was largely influenced by the area in which they lived. Most tribal groups subsisted on a simple hunter-gatherer diet, hunting native game and fish and collecting native plants and fruit. The general term for native Australian flora and fauna used as a source of food is bush tucker. The first settlers introduced British food to the continent, much of which is now considered 'typical Australian food' and is based on the Sunday roast, becoming a household tradition for many Australians. Since the beginning of the 20th century, food in Australia has been increasingly influenced by immigrants to the nation, particularly from Southern European and Asian cultures.

 

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Those with an interest in Australian facts may be interested to learn that as well as traditional food, Australia produces its own wine,which is produced in 60 distinct production areas totaling approximately 160,000 hectares, mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country. The wine regions in each of these states produce different wine varieties and styles that take advantage of local climates and soil types. The predominant varieties are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sémillon, Pinot noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon blanc.

 

Sports and outdoor lifestyle

 

Among the other fascinating facts about Australia is that around 24 per cent of Australians over the age of 15 regularly participate in organised sporting activities in the country. Australia has strong international teams in cricket, field hockey, netball, rugby leagueand rugby union.Australia is also powerful in track cycling, rowingand swimming, having consistently been in the top-five medal-winners at Olympic or World Championship level since 2000. Swimming is the strongest of these sports; Australia is the second-most prolific medal winner in the sport in Olympic history.

 

Things to avoid in Australia

 

Not all of the facts about Australia are entirely pleasant - as with any other country, you'll also need to be aware of certain dangers, such as the following...

 

  • Take ear plugs! These are essential if you want a quiet night and will prove useful on the move when you’re in a hostel... especially when you’re in a dormitory!
  • Don’t forget sunscreenand a cap when you go out in the sun
  • Bathing in the sea should only be in  supervised areas.The risks of encountering sharks or of being carried away by the tide are very high- Australians will vouch for this! Beware of jellyfish if you’re scuba diving. It’s far better to be fully informed before embarking on an adventure.
  • You should always be carefulif you decide to venture off the beaten track. The climate as well as the wildlife(dingos, crocodiles, spiders, snakes etc.) can result in serious trouble. You must always be sure that you are carrying enough water, food and where necessary, petroleum products and a First Aid Kit. Telephone access to satellite or cellular communication is also strongly recommended.

 

With these Australia facts and figures, you should be well-placed to make the most of your working holiday visa! Feel free to contact our experts  if you require any further information about Australia.

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