Australia is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the large island continent of Australia, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Australia has six states, each of which has their own democratic parliament — New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. Australia also has two major mainland territories — the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (which contains Australia’s capital city of Canberra).
•As of 2012, Australia has an estimated population of over 22 million people.
•Australia is the world’s 6th largest country by area.
•Due to its large size and isolation from the rest of the world, Australia is sometimes known as the ‘island continent’.
•The largest cities in Australia are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
•A desert area known as the ‘outback’ covers much of the land.
•The name ‘Australia’ comes from the Latin word ‘australis’, meaning southern.
•It is estimated the humans have lived in Australia for around 45000 years.
•The indigenous people of Australia are Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.
•The highest mountain on mainland Australia is Mt Kosciuszko, standing 2228m (7310ft) above sea level.
•The world’s largest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, is found off the north-eastern coast of Australia.
•Australia has a range of different landscapes, including urban areas, mountain ranges, deserts and rain forests.
•Australia is home to a variety of unique animals, including the koala, kangaroo, emu, kookaburra and platypus.
•Although they usually keep to themselves, there are a range of dangerous snakes in Australia, such as the Brown Snake, Tiger Snake and Taipan.
•Australia has over 750 different reptile species, more than any other country in the world.
•Australia is a relatively wealthy country with a high life expectancy.
•Australia hosted the 1956 (Melbourne) and 2000 (Sydney) Summer Olympics.
•For more information, check out maps of Australia or take a closer look at the Australian flag.