The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms.This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. CNN labeled it one of the seven natural wonders of the world.The Queensland National Trust named it a state icon of Queensland.
A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish.
The Great Barrier Reef has long been known to and used by the Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and is an important part of local groups’ cultures and spirituality. The reef is a very popular destination for tourists, especially in the Whitsunday Islands and Cairns regions. Tourism is an important economic activity for the region, generating $1 billion per year.
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is 240 kilometres (150 mi) south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania, the 26th largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 islands. The state has a population of 507,626 (as of June 2010), of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart precinct. Tasmania’s area is 68,401 square kilometres (26,410 sq mi), of which the main island covers 62,409 square kilometres (24,096 sq mi).
Tasmania is promoted as the natural state, the “Island of Inspiration”, and A World Apart, Not A World Away owing to its large and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Almost 37% of Tasmania lies in reserves, national parks and World Heritage Sites. The island is 364 kilometres (226 mi) long from its northernmost to its southernmost points, and 306 kilometres (190 mi) from west to east.
The state capital and largest city is Hobart, which encompasses the local government areas of City of Hobart, City of Glenorchy, and City of Clarence, while the satellite town of Kingston (part of the Municipality of Kingborough)is generally included in the Greater Hobart area.
Other major population centres include Launceston in the north and Devonport and Burnie in the northwest. The subantarctic Macquarie Island is also under the administration of the state, as part of the Huon Valley Council local government area.
The Snowy Mountains, known informally as “The Snowies”, are the highest Australian mountain range and contain the Australian mainland’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, which reaches 2,228 metres AHD, approximately 7310 feet.
The range contains the five highest peaks on the Australian mainland, all above 2100 metres (6890 feet). They are located in southern New South Wales and are part of the larger Australian Alps and the Great Dividing Range. This is mainland Australia’s only true Alpine region with large natural snowfalls every winter. Snow normally falls the most during June, July and early August. Most of the snow has melted by late spring. The Tasmanian highlands are the other Alpine region in Australia.
It is host to the Mountain Plum-pine, a low-lying type of conifer suspected of being the world’s oldest living organism. It is one of the centres of the Australian ski industry during the winter months.
The Alpine Way and the Snowy Mountains Highway are the major roads through the Snowy Mountains.
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia’s south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people.Inhabitants of Sydney are called Sydneysiders, comprising a cosmopolitan and international population.
The site of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, commodore of the First Fleet as a penal colony.The city is built on hills surrounding Port Jackson which is commonly known as Sydney Harbour, where the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge feature prominently. The hinterland of the metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks, and the coastal regions feature many bays, rivers, inlets and beaches including the famous Bondi Beach and Manly Beach. Within the city are many notable parks, including Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Sydney Opera House:
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, opening in 1973 after a long gestation that had begun with his competition-winning design in 1957.
Utzon received the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honour, in 2003. The Pritzker Prize citation stated:
There is no doubt that the Sydney Opera House is his masterpiece. It is one of the great iconic buildings of the 20th century, an image of great beauty that has become known throughout the world – a symbol for not only a city, but a whole country and continent.
The Sydney Opera House was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007. It is one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings and one of the most famous performing arts centres in the world.
The Sydney Opera House is on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It sits at the northeastern tip of the Sydney central business district (the CBD), surrounded on three sides by the harbour (Sydney Cove and Farm Cove) and inland by the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Contrary to its name, the building houses multiple performance venues. As one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world, hosting over 1,500 performances each year attended by some 1.2 million people, the Sydney Opera House provides a venue for many performing arts companies including the four key resident companies Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and presents a wide range of productions on its own account. It is also one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, with more than seven million people visiting the site each year, 300,000 of whom take a guided tour.
Sydney Harbour Bridge:
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a steel through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore. The dramatic view of the bridge, the harbour, and the nearby Sydney Opera House is an iconic image of both Sydney and Australia. The bridge is nicknamed “The Coathanger” because of its arch-based design.
Under the directions of Dr J.J.C. Bradfield of the NSW Department of Public Works, the bridge was designed and built by British firm Dorman Long and Co Ltd of Middlesbrough and opened in 1932. The bridge’s design was influenced by the Hell Gate bridge in New York.According to the Guinness World Records, it is the world’s widest long-span bridge. It is also the fifth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world, and it is the tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134 metres (440 ft) from top to water level.Until 1967 the Harbour Bridge was Sydney’s tallest structure.
Luna Park Sydney:
Luna Park Sydney is an amusement park, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.Luna Park is located at Milsons Point, on the northern shore of Sydney Harbour.
The park was constructed at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during 1935, and ran for nine-month seasons until 1972, when it was opened year-round. Luna Park was closed in mid-1979, immediately following the Ghost Train fire, which killed six children and one adult. Most of the park was demolished, and a new amusement park was constructed; this originally operated under the name of Harbourside Amusement Park before resuming the Luna Park name. The park was closed again in 1988 as an independent engineering inspection determined that several rides needed urgent repair.
The owners failed to repair and reopen the park before a New South Wales government deadline, and ownership was passed to a new body. Reopening in 1995, Luna Park closed again after thirteen months because of the Big Dipper rollercoaster: noise pollution complaints from residents on the clifftop above the park caused the ride’s operating hours to be heavily restricted, and the resultant drop in attendance made the park unprofitable. After another redevelopment, Luna Park reopened in 2004, and as of 2011 is still operating.
Luna Park is one of two amusement parks in the world that are protected by government legislation, and several of the buildings on the site are listed on the Register of the National Estate and the NSW State Heritage Register. The park has been utilised as a filming location for several movies and television shows.
Bondi Beach is a popular beach and the name of the surrounding suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Bondi Beach is located 7 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of Waverley Council, in the Eastern Suburbs. Bondi, North Bondi and Bondi Junction are neighbouring suburbs.
Bondi Beach is about one kilometre long (˜0.6 miles) and receives many visitors throughout the year. Surf Life Saving Australia has given different hazard ratings to Bondi Beach in 2004. While the northern end has been rated a gentle 4 (with 10 as the most hazardous), the southern side is rated as a 7 due to a famous rip current known as the “Backpackers’ Express” because of its proximity to the bus stop, and the unwillingness of tourists to walk the length of the beach to safer swimming. The south end of the beach is generally reserved for surfboard riding. Yellow and red flags define safe swimming areas, and visitors are advised to swim between them.
There is an underwater shark net shared, during the summer months, with other beaches along the southern part of the coast. Pods of whales and dolphins have been sighted in the bay during the months of migration. Fairy penguins, while uncommon, are sometimes also seen swimming close to shore or amongst surfers in southern line-up.
In 2007, the Guinness World Record for the largest swimsuit photo shoot was set at Bondi Beach, with 1,010 women wearing bikinis taking part.
The Blue Mountains is a mountainous region in New South Wales, Australia. It borders on Sydney’s metropolitan area, its foothills starting approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of the state capital.The area begins on the west side of the Nepean River and extends westward as far as Coxs River.Geologically, it is situated in the central parts of the Sydney basin.
Consisting mainly of a sandstone plateau, the area is dissected by gorges up to 760 metres (2,490 ft) deep. The highest point of the range is Mount Werong at 1,215 metres (3,986 ft) above sea level.A large part of the Blue Mountains is incorporated into the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site, consisting of seven national park areas and a conservation reserve.
The Blue Mountains area includes the local government areas of the City of Blue Mountains, the City of Hawkesbury, the City of Lithgow and Oberon.
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which “Melbourne” is the common name. As of June 2010, the greater geographical area had an approximate population of four million.Inhabitants of Melbourne are called Melburnians or Melbournians.
The metropolis is located on the large natural bay known as Port Phillip, with the city centre positioned at the estuary of the Yarra River (at the northern-most point of the bay).The metropolitan area then extends south from the city centre, along the eastern and western shorelines of Port Phillip, and expands into the hinterland. The city centre is situated in the municipality known as the City of Melbourne, and the metropolitan area consists of a further 30 municipalities.
Melbourne was founded in 1835 (47 years after the European settlement of Australia) by settlers from Launceston in Van Diemen’s Land. It was named by governor Richard Bourke in 1837, in honour of the British Prime Minister of the day, William Lamb—the 2nd Viscount Melbourne.Melbourne was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria in 1847.In 1851, it became the capital city of the newly created colony of Victoria.During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, it was transformed into one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities.After the federation of Australia in 1901, it then served as the interim seat of government of the newly created nation of Australia until 1927.
Great Ocean Road:
The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243-kilometre (151 mi) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Warrnambool. The road was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932, and is the world’s largest war memorial; dedicated to casualties of World War I. It is an important tourist attraction in the region, which winds through varying terrain alongside the coast, and provides access to several prominent landmarks; including the nationally significant Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations.
Port Douglas is a town in Far North Queensland, Australia, approximately 70 km (40 mi) north of Cairns. Its permanent population was 948 residents in 2006.The town’s population can often double, however, with the influx of tourists during the peak tourism season May–September. The town is named in honour of former Premier of Queensland, John Douglas. Port Douglas developed quickly based on the mining industry. Other parts of the area were established with timber cutting occurring in the area surrounding the Daintree River and with settlement starting to occur on lots around the Mossman River by 1880.
Previous names for the town included Terrigal, Island Point, Port Owen and Salisbury. The town is situated adjacent to two World Heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.
Port Douglas was No. 3 on Australian Traveller magazine’s list of 100 Best Towns In Australia.
Australia Zoo is a 100-acre (40 ha) zoo located in the Australian state of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast near Beerwah/Glass House Mountains. It is a member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA), and is owned by Terri Irwin, the widow of Steve Irwin, whose wildlife documentary series The Crocodile Hunter made the zoo a popular tourist attraction. The zoo is run by Director Wes Mannion.
Australia Zoo was opened by Bob and Lyn Irwin on 3 June 1970 under the name Beerwah Reptile Park. Their son Steve, had helped his parents since childhood to care for crocodiles and reptiles and to maintain the growing number of animals in the zoo. In 1982 the park was renamed to the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park and the area was doubled with the purchase of another 4 acres (1.6 ha). Steve and Terri changed the name of their now growing wildlife park to Australia Zoo. As filming generated extra funds, Steve and Terri put all money raised from filming and merchandise into conservation and building new exhibits.
Australia Zoo won the Australian Tourism Awards for 2003–2004 in the category Major Tourist Attraction. In 2004, the Australian Animal Hospital was opened next to the zoo to help with animal care and rehabilitation. More recently, the zoo was a finalist in two categories for the 2010 Queensland Tourism Awards. Visitors will see a wide variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles, and can view crocodile feedings, hand-feed elephants, and have hands-on animal encounters.