Australia and New Zealand

Australia is located south-east of Asia. The Indian Ocean is to the west and south, the Pacific (the Coral and the Tasman Seas) is to the east. Tasmania lies to the south. The nearest country is Indonesia. Papua New Guinea is to the north. The Solomon’s, Fiji, and New Zealand are to the east. Australia is an island continent.

The Great Dividing Range along the Eastern coast (the Australian Alps) has the highest Australian mountain, Mt. Kosciusko, which is 2 228 meters high. Others mountains are beyond the Great Sandy and Great Victorian Deserts. The north-western part of Western Australia and the Northern Territories is arid and hot. The North-East has heavy rain falls and Cape York Peninsula has jungles.

The largest rivers are The Murray, which flows from New South Wales to the Indian Ocean, and the Darling. There are 3 big lakes here: Lake Eyre, Lake Torrens and Lake Gairdner.

The climate varies from warm to subtropical. The continent is in the southern hemisphere, which means that Australia has summer when we have winter and vice versa. There are tropical forests, savannas, and grasslands.

The animals of Australia are numerous and some of them, like the kangaroo (it is a national emblem), the koala, bear (it sleeps a great deal (značnou část) of the day and eats about one kilogram of eucalyptus leaves a day), the dingo (it was brought to Australia by the Aborigines or the Mayan peoples), the platypus (it is a furry (chlupatý) egg-laying mammal, it has a duck-bill and a flat (placatý) tail and webbed feet), the Tasmanian devil, the wombat, the kookaburra (it is the world’s largest kingfisher (ledňáček)), and barking and frilled lizards cannot be found elsewhere. Sheep and rabbits were brought from England.

The population of Australia is about 16 000 000 square kilometers. The population density is one of the lowest in the world - only 2 people to 1 square kilometer. Around 85 per cent of the people live in urban areas mainly along the south-east coast. The majority of the inhabitants are of British origin and others are from European ethnic groups. The official language is English.

Now I would like to tell you something about Australian history. The coast was explored by Captain James Cook in 1770. Australia became a British colony. The Commonwealth was proclaimed in 1901. About 3 million Europeans had entered Australia since 1945. The main industries are iron, steel, textiles, electrical equipment, chemical, car, aircraft, ship, and machinery. Australia belongs to the top exporters of beef, lamb, wool, and wheat. Natural riches consist mainly of bauxite, coal, copper, iron, lead, nickel, silver, and tin. The currency used in Australia is the Australian Dollar.

The official title is The Commonwealth of Australia and it is a British dominion. It has a democratic federal system and the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II represented by the governor-general. The head of government is the Prime Minister.

The Commonwealth of Australia consists of 6 states and 2 territories: New South Wales (capital Sydney), Victoria (capital Melbourne), Queensland (Brisbane), South Australia (Adelaide), Western Australia (Perth), and Tasmania (Hobart). The Australian Capital is Canberra.

The Federal Parliament has its seat in Canberra and is divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Australia is a member of the following important international organizations: the UN, OECD, and Commonwealth.

The Australian national flag consists of the British Flag symbol and a larger blue field in which 5 stars are arranged in the form of the Southern Cross constellation. The large white star under the British Union Jack symbolizes the 6 Australian states and 1 territory. Canberra has been the capital of Australia since 1997. It is also the seat of the Australian parliament. Thanks to its natural scenery and architecture, Canberra is sometimes said to be one of the most beautiful capitals in the world.

Sydney is the largest city in Australia. It has ideal natural conditions. The Opera House with its fascinating roof construction belongs among important places there as well as skyscrapers, hotels, offices, and restaurants. There are also many parks and botanical gardens in Sydney.

Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria and the second largest city in Australia. Now it is a modern city with a well developed industry. You can see a lot of modern skyscrapers, parks, and botanical gardens there.

New Zealand

New Zealand consists of two large islands (North and South Island) in the south-west of the Pacific Ocean. The nearest to Australia on the west is, Fiji, and Tonga is to the north. Each of the two main islands is mainly hilly and mountainous. The east coast consists of fertile plains, especially the large Canterbury Plains on South Island. A volcanic plateau is in the centre of North Island.

The population is about 3 200 000. 85 per cent of the inhabitants are of European origin and the rest are Polynesian. The official language is English, but some people still speak Maori. The Maoris, a Polynesian group from the eastern Pacific, reached New Zealand before and during the 14th century. The first European was a Dutch navigator, Abel Tasman, but the Maoris refused letting him land. Captain James Cook explored the coasts in 1770. British sovereignty was proclaimed in 1840 and the colony became a dominion in 1907. Now it is an independent member of the Commonwealth.

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital and it is surrounded by mountains from some of which there is a magnificent view over the city. The quarters of parliament are located there and it is politically, commercially, and geographically the most important city in the country.

Auckland is the largest city in NZ there are many modern shopping centers with a lot of cafeterias and restaurants. Relaxation can be found in many parks.

Christchurch is the 5th largest city which is often said to have the most English character outside of England.

Rotorua is a place visited by almost every tourist and it is a famous thermal area with spas of boiling water. You can also see a hot water lake and hot mud is dangerous so it is important to have marked paths, because there is a risk of falling into hot mud.

Přidal: Dan_T 4. 12. 2009
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