Coat of Arms
President Malcolm Turnbull
National language English
»Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
» $1.137 trillion (19th)
» Per capita -$47,608 (17th)
»$1.252 trillion (12th)
» Per capita -$52,454 (9th)
»Australian dollar (AUD)
»various[N 3] (UTC+8 to +10.5)
For at least 40,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who spoke languages grouped into roughly 250 language groups. After the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia’s eastern, half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades; the continent was explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies were established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy comprising six states and several territories. The population of 23.6 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated in the eastern states and on the coast.
Australia is a developed country and one of the wealthiest in the world, with the world’s 12th-largest economy. In 2012, Australia had the world’s fifth-highest per capita income, Australia’s military expenditure is the world’s 13th-largest. With the second-highest human development, index globally, Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Pacific Islands Forum.
Australia is a wealthy country; it generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking and manufacturing. It has a market economy, a relatively high GDP per capita, and a relatively low rate of poverty. In terms of average wealth, Australia ranked second in the world after Switzerland in 2013, although the nation’s poverty rate increased from 10.2 percent to 11.8 percent, from 2000/01 to 2013. It was identified by the Credit Suisse Research Institute as the nation with the highest median wealth in the world and the second-highest average wealth per adult in 2013.
The Australian dollar is the currency for the nation, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu. With the 2006 merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Sydney Futures Exchange, the Australian Securities Exchange became the ninth largest in the world.
Ranked third in the Index of Economic Freedom (2010), Australia is the world’s twelfth largest economy and has the fifth highest per capita GDP (nominal) at $66,984. The country was ranked second in the United Nations 2011 Human Development Index and first in Legatum’s 2008 Prosperity Index. All of Australia’s major cities fare well in global comparative livability surveys; Melbourne reached first place on The Economist’s 2011, and 2013 world’s most livable cities lists, followed by Adelaide, Sydney, and Perth in the fifth, seventh, and ninth places respectively. Total government debt in Australia is about $190 billion – 20% of GDP in 2010.Australia has among the highest house prices and some of the highest household debt levels in the world.
Australia is ranked 74 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of -0.0449523
Top 5 Products exported by Australia
- Iron Ore (22%),
- Coal Briquettes (18%),
- Petroleum Gas (5.5%),
- Gold (5.4%),
- Crude Petroleum (4.5%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Australia
Covering a total area of 7.69 million square kilometers, mainland Australia is the world’s largest island – but smallest continent.
In distance, the continent stretches about 3700 kilometers from north to south and 4000 kilometers from east to west, making it the sixth largest nation after Russia, Canada, China, the United States, and Brazil.
Australia is also the only continent that is governed as a single country. It is sometimes informally referred to as an ‘island’ continent, surrounded by oceans.
Our ocean territory is also the third largest in the world, spanning three oceans and covering around 12 million square kilometers. We also have one of the most urbanized and coast-dwelling populations in the world, with more than 80 percent of residents living within 100 kilometers of the coastline. Australia currently has a population of almost 23 million people.
From coastal journeys and outback adventures, an Australian road trip is one of the best ways to experience our wide-open spaces and magnificent scenery.
Driving is one of the best ways to see Australia. From short trips to epic self-drive holidays and 4WD adventures, Australian road trips cover every length and landscape.
The Pacific Coast Touring Route from Sydney to Cairns on the eastern seaboard and the Indian Ocean Drive from Perth to Geraldton on the western seaboard both wind along Australia’s spectacular coastline. Drive the South Australia Loop from Adelaide to the Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island. Or take your time stopping at some of Australia’s south coast beaches on the Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive; then follow the spectacular Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide.
- Australian flora and fauna is unique to the island continent, the result of having been isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years. Amongst Australian animals are a large group of marsupials (mammals with a pouch) and monotremes (mammals that lay eggs). Just some of the animal icons of Australia are the kangaroo (national symbol) and the koala. A visit to Australia would not be complete without taking the chance to see some of these animals in their natural environment.
- Wildlife parks and zoos are in every state capital city, but also check out the animal parks if you are passing through smaller towns, like Mildura or Mogo, or staying on Hamilton Island. See the Warrawong Fauna Sanctuary if you are in South Australia, or visit the koalas with best view in the world, at Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
- A Tasmanian devil
Kangaroos and wallabies are in national parks all around Australia. You won’t see any kangaroos hopping down the street in Central Sydney, but they’re common on the outskirts of most urban areas.
Wombats and echidnas are also common, but harder to find due to their camouflage and tunneling. See lots of echidnas on Kangaroo Island.
- Koalas are present in forests around Australia but are notoriously very hard to spot, and walking around looking upwards into the boughs of trees will usually send you sprawling over a tree root. Best seen during the day, there is a thriving and friendly population on Raymond Island near Paynesville in Victoria. You have a good chance on Otway Coast, on the Great Ocean Road, or even in the National Park walk near Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.
Emus are more common in central Australia.
- You will certainly see some if you venture into the outback national park atCurrawinya
Platypus are found in reedy, flowing creeks with soft river banks in Victoria, Southern New South Wales, and the very southern region of Queensland – seen at dusk and dawn – you have to have a bit of luck to see one. Try the platypus reserves in Bombala or Delegate in New South Wales, or in Emu Creek at Skipton just out of Ballarat.