Australasia

Australian Wildlife
 
25 Aug 2014 12:00 am
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Australia, due to its isolated position, has many unique and endemic animal species and animal groups. Most notable are the monotremes or egg-laying mammals (platypus and echidnas) and the marsupials, which tend their embryonic young in an external pouch. Amongst birds, highlights include the large flightless emu and cassowary, the extraordinary bowerbirds and a rich variety of parrot species. Australia is also noted for its large number of endemic lizard and snake species which thrive in the hot arid conditions.
 
Dive Australia
 
25 Aug 2014 12:00 am
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Comprising nearly 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands, Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the largest of its kind in the world. Covering an area of around 350,000 square kilometres off the coast of Queensland, the reef is the only living structure large enough to be seen from space, earning it a place among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.~The Great Barrier Reef abounds with wildlife, including whales, turtles, reef sharks and more than 1000 species of fish.~Protection of the reef is partly funded by two million tourists and 5 million recreational visitors per year, but irresponsible tourism has led to increased pollution, one of several environmental threats, which also include overfishing and climate change.
 
New South Wales, Australia
 
13 Sep 2018 12:00 am
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New South Wales (abbreviated NSW) is Australia's most populous state, and the site of Captain James Cook's original landing in Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west, with its coast bordering the Tasman Sea to the east. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. ~~The state houses a variety of habitats, from the cool, temperate far south coast, to the subtropical area near to the Queensland border. The Great Dividing Range runs parallel to the coast from Victoria in the south, reaching up to Queensland, effectively separating the NSW coastal plain from the arid region inland, west of the mountains.
 
Northern Territory, Australia
 
25 Aug 2014 12:00 am
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Desolate, arid and wild, the Northern Territory is Australia's picture-book outback. It encompasses the central portion of Australia known as ‘the red heart’ (so named because of the colour of the sun-seared rock, sand and soil), in which rests the world's largest rock, Uluru. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which also contains the world-famous Olgas range, is one of the Northern Territory's world heritage sites. The other is Kakadu National Park, which is notable for its wildlife and some of the best examples of Aboriginal rock art in Australia.~Kakadu, situated in the far north of the Territory, experiences tropical humidity in the monsoon season, contrasting with the dryness of the deserts and providing a climate for wildfowl, crocodiles and frogs.
 
Queensland, Australia
 
25 Aug 2014 12:00 am
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Australia's "sunshine state" is so-called because of its position in the tropics and the warm weather, which makes Queensland the epicentre of Australian tourism. But there is considerable variation in climate, making Queensland a state of many landscapes.~High altitude in the north tempers the tropical heat and combines with abundant rainfall to create Queensland's fertile tablelands.~Inland areas are typically drier, giving way to barren outback that merges on the western border with the deserts of the Northern Territory, while warm ocean waters provide moisture for rainfall and create lush rainforests along most of the coast.~Queensland's coast also boasts the world-famous great barrier reef (see Dive Australia gallery).
 
South Australia
 
13 Sep 2018 12:00 am
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South Australia (abbreviated SA) is a state in the southern central part of Australia, and shares borders with all of the other mainland states. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. It is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. It has a total of 1.7 million people, and its population is the most highly centralised of any state in Australia, with more than 75 percent of South Australians living in or around the capital, Adelaide.~~South Australia is also home to Australia’s third largest island, Kangaroo Island. The island has several nature reserves to protect the remnants of its natural vegetation and native animals, with the largest and best-known being Flinders Chase National Park at the western end.
 
Tasmania, Australia
 
25 Aug 2014 12:00 am
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Originally thought to be part of the Australian mainland, Tasmania was first discovered by the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 1642. It is often called the "island of inspiration", owing to its large and relatively unspoiled wilderness areas (over 30% of the state is designated as reserves, national parks and World Heritage Sites).~Tasmania's compact size and fertile, uninhabited environment distinguish it from the Australian mainland. It is the most mountainous state in Australia and home to the world-famous Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.~The rugged mountains and impenetrable forests are part of the reason why Tasmania has resisted human settlement, but it's a paradise for a wide variety of animals, including the Tasmanian devil and duck-billed platypus.
 
Victoria, Australia
 
25 Aug 2014 12:00 am
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Victoria is the smallest of Australia's mainland states, and its position on the southernmost border of the continent makes it cooler and wetter than the other territories. Bordered by New South Wales to the north, South Australia to the west and Tasmania to the south, Victoria is topographically and climatically diverse.~Most of Australia's iconic fauna can be found in Victoria; koalas and kangaroos, echidnas and cockatoos, emus and kookaburras all make their home here. Some of the best coastal scenery in Australia can be viewed along the Great Ocean Road, where the iconic twelve apostles are found.
 
Western Australia
 
25 Aug 2014 12:00 am
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Occupying a third of the continent, Western Australia is the largest of the country's states. It is comprised mostly of empty outback and arid desert; the Great Sandy desert in the north, the Nullarbor plain in the south and the Gibson and Great Victoria deserts in between. Exceptions to this large barren region include the Kimberley range in the far north, an area of great rivers, creeks and gorges, including the world-famous Bungle Bungle mountains, carved out of sandstone by the monsoonal climate.~The Shark Bay World Heritage area is well-known for its surfing, diving and glorious beaches, including shell beach, which is made up of tiny cockleshells. Shark Bay is also home to peculiar rock-like microbe formations called stromatolites, the oldest form of life on earth.
 
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