Australia: useful information

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Tourist information Australia, including all the useful things to know before departure, for a trip or vacation in this state of Oceania.


Australia in a nutshell

  • Capital: Canberra
  • Area in sq km: 7,682,300
  • Population: 21.048.819 (2006)
  • Religion: Protestant, Catholic and other religions

Where is it

Australia flag Crossed from the tropic of Capricorn, Australia, the main island of Oceania, is located in the southern hemisphere between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

The island of Tasmania and several smaller islands are also part of Australia.


Australia is entirely surrounded by the sea: the Arafura Sea to the north, the Coral Sea to the north east, the Timor Sea to the north west, the Tasman Sea to the south east and the Indian Ocean to the south.

The closest nations are to the north, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and East Timor and New Zealand to the southeast.

The Australian continent has few joints along the coasts: to the north the Gulf of Carpentaria, limited by the Cape York Peninsula and Arnhem Land; to the south the wide Australian Great Bay and the two inlets of the Gulf of Spencer and the Gulf of St. Vincent closed by the Kangaroo Island.


Off the north east coast of Australia lies the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world which is one of the natural attractions of this continent.

Australia is made up of very ancient rocks and is characterized by a general uniformity of profiles.

The Great Dividing Range is a succession of hills of modest height (except for the short section of the Australian Alps, Mount Kosciusko, 2230 m.) Which flows parallel to the coast, along the entire eastern edge of Australia.


The southeastern coastal region which stretches between the Pacific and the aforementioned hills offers the best conditions of habitability in the country.

The Great Dividing Range on the western side actually slopes down the Murray-Darling and Eyre basin, whose bottom drops below sea level, giving rise to the depression of the Great Artesian Basin.

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The reliefs of the Flinders Range start from the depression of Lake Eyre and reach the sea and interrupt the western plains of New South Wales.

These heights, insignificant from the orographic point of view have instead, like those of the Great Dividing Range, importance from the climatic point of view, favoring the regions located on their western side, around Adelaide.

The coastal region of Perth in the southwestern corner of the continent has satisfactory environmental conditions.

Another region which, although not enjoying a temperate climate (the Tropic affects climatic conditions) offers good environmental conditions, is the region of Queensland, in north-eastern Australia.

Much of Australia's territory is occupied by a desert plateau (Australian shield) that extends from the Indian Ocean to the edge of the Great Artesian Basin.

This slightly undulating plateau of ancient rocks, with an average height of 300 meters, interrupted by modest reliefs such as the Macdonnel mountains, the Musgrave mountains, Mount Olga and Ayers rock, includes deserts from various deserts from north to south, including Grand Sandy Desert, Gibson Desert, Great Victoria Desert and the Nullarbor Plain, treeless and washed south by the Indian Ocean.

Hydrography

The Australian territory is characterized by scarcity of hydrographic components. Most of the permanent rivers are located in the wettest areas, corresponding to the eastern part of Australia and Tasmania.


The remaining territory is formed by desert or semi-desert environments, subject to strong evaporation.

Australia's main river is the Murray which, fed by the Darling and Murrumbidgee tributaries, originates in the Great Dividing Range and flows west, eventually flowing into the Indian Ocean.

On the eastern side of Australia, the major rivers are Burdekin, Fitzroy and Hunter.

The main rivers of Northern Australia are Victoria, Daly, Roper, while Flinders, Gilbert and Leichhardt are the most important rivers in Queensland and flow into the Gulf of Carpetaria.

In the central and southern area of ​​the Great Artesian Basin there are the Eyre lakes, which is the largest, Torrens, Frome and Gairdner, corresponding to the remains of an internal sea that once extended south of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Climate

Australia has inverted seasons compared to ours and due to the vastness of the territory it has a very varied climate.


In the northern part, Northern Territory and Queensland, the climate is monsoon tropical, with a hot and rainy summer season, concentrated mainly in the first and last months of the year, and a hot and dry winter season.

Central Australia is characterized by a semi-arid climate, with seasons that alternate from ours, the rains are scarce and on winter nights the desert areas have temperatures that can drop below zero.

In the south-eastern part of Australia, where Sidney and Canberra are located, the climate is temperate, with hot summers and relatively cold winters, with rainfall distributed fairly evenly throughout the year.

In Perth and Adelaide the climate is Mediterranean, with hot summers and mild but rainy winters.

In Tasmania the climate is temperate, summers are hot and cold winters, with rainfall distributed throughout the year.

Population

The majority of the Australian population is of English origin.

Before the English colonists arrived, the "Aborigines" lived in Australia, a people of very ancient origins.

Colonization resulted in the extermination of this people, which today is reduced to a minority that lives in part in settlements in the least inhabited regions of the country and in part in the cities.

The Australian Aborigines still await a political response, necessary for the solution of various social problems that they are still experiencing.

There are also minorities of descendants of Italian, Dutch, German, Irish, Polish and Asian immigrants.

Time zone

In Australia there are 3 different time zones:

-The eastern time zone: New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory (Canberra), Queensland, Tasmania are 9 hours ahead of Italy.


-The time zone of the central area: South Australia and Northern Territory are 8.30 ahead of Italy.

-The time zone of the west: Western Australia is 7 hours ahead of Italy.

Daylight saving time takes effect from the last Sunday in October, to the last Sunday in March, excluding Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Summer time in Tasmania begins on the first Sunday of October and ends on the last Sunday of March.

The time difference is reduced by one hour when daylight saving time is in effect in Italy and increases by one hour when daylight saving time in Australia enters into force.

Spoken language

The official language of Australia is English.

Economy

Competitiveness, openness, the use of knowledge applied to production, combined with the support of institutions, are the basis of Australian economic development.

Australia's traditional wealth is agriculture, livestock and mineral resources; with products such as wheat, dairy products, meat, wool and minerals, Australia is at the top of the world production rankings.

However, the tertiary sector constitutes the highest percentage of GDP (characteristic of most developed countries).

The main agricultural products are: wheat, barley, oats, sorghum, cereals in general, sugar cane, cotton, fruits, vegetables and vines.

The breeding of sheep, goats and cattle feeds the production of large quantities of wool, beef and dairy products.

Australia has large mineral resources: gold, silver, iron, diamonds, phosphates, magnesium, natural gas, oil, coal, tin, zinc, copper, lead, uranium and others.


The industry developed especially after the Second World War mainly in the steel, metallurgical, mechanical, electronic, chemical, food and textile industries. The tourism sector is also important.

When to go

Australia has inverted seasons compared to ours, so the hottest months are from December to February, while the cooler months are from June to August.

The recommended period for a trip to Northern Australia is from May to October, during the dry season, when temperatures are pleasant and the rains are low, this period is the most suitable also for visiting desert areas within the country.

To visit southern Australia, which is located in the temperate belt, the spring and summer months are preferable, but the other months may also be fine.

Necessary documents

To enter Australia, Italian citizens need a valid passport and an "electronic" tourist visa (ETA), which for stays of less than 90 days can be requested through the airlines and travel agencies, or can be obtained via internet by applying for a visa called eVisitor on the Australian Embassy website.

Phone

- The international prefix for calling from Italy to Australia is: 0061

- The international prefix for calling from Australia to Italy is: 001139

The digital mobile network covers the entire Australian territory except for some problems in the hinterland.

Electricity

The electric current in Australia is at 240V 50 Hz.The socket has three flat tips, therefore an adapter is required.

Money and credit card

The official currency of Australia is the Australian dollar. Credit cards are widespread.

How to get

The Qantas airline offers direct flights from Italy to Australia, also from Rome offers codeshare flights with Cathay Pacific, which flies to Hong Kong to coincide with Qantas flights to various cities in Australia.

The main international airports are located in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane followed by Perth, Adelaide, Hobard, Darwin and Cairns.


Many airlines arrive in Australia with a stopover in an Asian city with the possibility of stop over at no additional cost.

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