Overseas Travel Bureau


Sunshine Escape - Gold Coast Australia
This package is ideal for those wanting to explore this very popular holiday destination.

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Amazing Australia
As a large island continent Australia contains a diverse range of biogeographic regions. The Australia is endowed with a unique and diverse biodiversity. Come and explore Aussie.

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'Outback and Beyond'

Australia has come a long way since the days when Captain Cook stumbled ashore to find an aboriginal way of life that went back for tens of thousands of years. Even the outdated images of Crocodile Dundee types swilling beer around the Opera House have long been replaced by a forward-looking attitude that embraces Australia’s Pacific Rim location and a growing reputation for first-class cuisine and high fashion notable in its cosmopolitan, twenty-first-century metropolis, Sydney.

The high quality of life in the country’s effervescent largest city is enhanced by one of the world’s great harbours, but there is far more to Australia city-wise than just Sydney. Its big rival, Melbourne, is blessed with a more European ambience, with trams and pavement cafes as much a part of the experience as the buzzing sports and cultural scene, while coastal Darwin, Perth and Brisbane offer other worlds to explore.

Away from the cities, Australia’s stunningly diverse landscape boasts everything from vast, barren deserts, where kangaroo and emu bound through the arid surroundings, to tropical rainforests, rugged mountains and pristine beaches, such as world-class Bondi, Cable Beach and Whitehaven. Then, of course, there’s the epic monolith of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the Great Barrier Reef, where another undiscovered world opens up beneath the surf. With tourist numbers up and interest in Australia never higher, this is the perfect time to bury those anachronistic Crocodile Dundee cliches and discover the real Australia.

General Information

7,692,030 sq km (2,969,909 sq miles).
20.1 million (estimate 2005).
Population Density
2.54 per sq km.
Canberra. Population: 309,900 (official estimate 1999).
Australia is bounded by the Arafura Sea and Timor Seas to the north, the Coral and Tasman Seas of the South Pacific to the east, the Southern Ocean to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the west. Its coastline covers 36,738km (22,814 miles). Most of the population has settled along the eastern and south-eastern coastal strip. Australia is the smallest continent (and the largest island) in the world. About 40 per cent of the continent is within the tropics and Australia is almost the same size as the mainland of the United States of America. The terrain is extremely varied, ranging from tortured red desert to lush green rainforest. Australia’s beaches and surfing are world-renowned, while the country is also rich in reminders of its mysterious past. These range from prehistoric Aboriginal art to Victorian colonial architecture. The landscape consists mainly of a low plateau mottled with lakes and rivers and skirted with coastal mountain ranges, highest in the east with the Great Dividing Range. There are rainforests in the far northeast (Cape York Peninsula). The southeast is a huge fertile plain. Further to the north lies the enormous Great Barrier Reef, a 2000km (1200 mile) strip of coral that covers a total area of 345,000 sq km. Although Australia is the driest land on Earth, it nevertheless has enormous snowfields the size of Switzerland. There are vast mineral deposits. More detailed geographical descriptions of each State can be found in the individual State entries.
Constitutional Monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1901. Head of State: HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor-General Michael Jefferey since 2003. Head of Government: Prime Minister John Winston Howard since 1996. All individual States and Territories have their own autonomous legislative, executive and judicial systems (though certain powers remain under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government). Recent history: In March 1996, tiring of Labour, the Australian public turned to the Liberal Party led by John Howard. Howard’s centre-right coalition was returned to office for a third term at the 2004 general election. Aboriginal issues continue to affect Australian Governments. Since Howard's re-appointment, race riots have already occurred. The country’s foreign policy is now geared to the strengthening of economic and political links with the countries of the Asian Pacific Rim and the affirmation of the existing links with the USA (exemplified by Australia’s participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq). Under the Howard Governments, migration has also come to dominate the Australian political agenda. The hard line which Howard set down has been rigorously pursued. The Government’s hard line was reinforced by the October 2002 bomb in Bali, which killed 200 mostly Australian tourists. This brought Australia to the centre of the US-inspired global ‘war against terrorism’.
The bicameral Federal Parliament holds legislative power. Both chambers are elected by universal adult suffrage. The 76-member Senate serves a six-year term, while the House of Representatives is voted in every three years. The Prime Minister is the leader of the largest party in the Lower House and wields executive power at the head of a Cabinet of Ministers. The Queen of England is formally head of state, represented locally by a Governor General. Each of Australia’s six states also has its own directly elected legislature, enjoying considerable autonomy in areas such as health, education and transport policy.
The official language is English. Many other languages are retained by minorities, including Italian, German, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese dialects and Aboriginal languages.
26 per cent Roman Catholic, 24 per cent Protestant and smaller minorities of all other major religions.
220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are in use, however sockets are different from those found in most countries and an adaptor socket may be needed. Outlets for 110 volts for small appliances are found in most hotels.
Social Conventions
A largely informal atmosphere prevails; shaking hands is the customary greeting. Casual wear is worn everywhere except in the most exclusive restaurants, social gatherings and important business meetings. Most restaurants forbid smoking. 
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