Australia is both the largest island and the smallest, flattest continent on earth.
The name indicates the location: ‘Terra Australia’ means ‘Southern Land’. Australia lies between 10 and 39 degrees South latitude, between the Indian and the Pacific oceans.
Official name: Commonwealth of Australia
Capital City: Canberra
Land Area: 7,617,930 sq km. Only 6.55% of this area are considered arable.
Length of Coastline: 25,760 km
Lowest Point: Lake Eyre -15 m
Highest Point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m
Australia is the driest continent after Antartica, which makes it the driest inhabited continent on earth.
Climate: Arid to semiarid; semiarid in the west and centre, the south and east are temperate, the north tropical.
40% of Australia is tropical, but in the Australian Alps it snows at times.
Most of Australia’s interior has a desert climate. It is usually referred to as the Australian Outback.
Australia is the world’s most urbanised country. 70% of the population live in the 10 largest cities.
Population: 21,766,711 (estimated July 2011)
0-14 years: 18.3%
15-64 years: 67.7%
65 years and over: 14%
Age Average: 36.56 years
Ethnic Distribution: Caucasian 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%.
Population Growth Rate: 0.87%
The major means of transport in Australia are planes, trains and automobiles.
Airports: 448 (2004); runway over 3km: 10; and runway over 2.5km: 12
Highways: 811,603 km
Railways: 54,439 km
Waterways: 2,000 km
Some miscellaneous facts on Australia:
Currency: Australian dollar (AUD or AU$)
Telephone System: Excellent domestic and international service, country code -61
Time Zones: UTC +8 to +11
Major exports: coal, iron ore, gold, meat, wool and live sheep, alumina, wheat, machinery and transport equipment.