By Robbie Woods
Welcome to week 2 of our 50-week jorney around the world.
This week, we visit Australia, the world’s 6th largest country, and home of the legendary “Outback”.
Australia has been continuously inhabited for more than 40,000 years. It is thought to have first been settled by peoples from Southeast Asia, who came to the island by land bridges.
Over time, these peoples built complex hunter-gatherer societies, and developed more than 250 languages.
Australia was colonized by the British in the late 1700s, a process which led to severe declines in indigenous populations, primarily as a result of disease.
Although Australia was the site of several British penal colonies, the vast majority of settlers were free people who came willingly.
The Australian colonies became independent from the United Kingdom in 1901.
Australia isn’t just a country; it’s a whole continent. So it’s hard to pin down just one or two must-see destinations.
From geographical wonders like Uluru to architectural achievements like the Sydney Opera House, Australia runs the gamut.
This difficulty is enhanced by the contrasting realities of the county: while Australia’s geography is mostly wilderness, its population is densely concentrated along the Eastern shore. Contrary to the Crocodile Dundee stereotype, Australia actually has one of the most urban populations in the world.
It does, however, offer particularly rich rewards to outdoorsy types.
Millions of years of isolation have given Australia some of the world’s most exotic and fascinating ecosystems. Kangaroos, platypuses, emus, wombats… the list goes on.
There are dozens of remote National Parks that are vast and beautiful, but lightly visited. They’re begging to be explored by the adventurous traveller who isn’t afraid to do a little off-roading.
If marine biology is more your scene, then you will find world-class diving in Australia; the Great Barrier Reef lies just off the coast of Queensland.
More than 25% of Australians were born in other countries.
Although by no means a staple, kangaroo meat is widely available for human consumption.