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Australia is one of the oldest landmasses on earth, originally breaking away from the super continent „Gondwana“ and settling in its current position about fifteen million years ago. The continent is also one of the most stable of all landmasses. Australia is the only country occupying a whole continent. With an area covering 7,682,300 km2 it is the sixth largest country in the world after Russia, Canada, China, the US and Brazil. The population is about 17,335,900 people – 98% white (mostly of British origin) and about 300 000 Aborigines. The capital is Canberra, currency is Australian dollar and official language is English. The country is bounded by the Pacific Ocean in the east and by Indian Ocean in the west. It is the flattest of all continents, however you can also find some mountainous places there like MacDonnell Ranges, Flinders Ranges, Ayers Rock. In central Australia there are three big deserts – Great Sandy Desert, Gibson Desert and Great Victoria Desert and famous lakes like Lake Eyre, Lake Torrens, Lake Gaidner. Australia is divided into 6 states and 2 territories – Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales. Spending Christmas at the beach or skiing in August may seem strange but the fact is, Australia’s seasons are the opposite of the northern hemisphere – summer starts in December, autumn in March, winter in June and spring in September. Due to its size, geographical location and the lack of extensive high mountain ranges Australia has a wide range of climates but generally no extremes. Australia has more than 2000 national parks and nature reserves. Beyond the big cities the air so clean rarely experienced elsewhere in the world. There are still areas that haven’t been explored because they are so wild and inaccessible.
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