Introducing Australia: Down Under
by Delia Toh
Australia is the fifth largest country in the world, and also a hub of economic development, cultural traditions, breath-taking natural wonders and entertainment. Renowned tourist destinations in Australia are centred around the cities of Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as in the Outback.
Natural habitats and landscapes are well conserved in Australia. The famous Ayers Rock, a large sandstone formation in central Australia, is located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The rock stands at 348m, measures 9.4km in circumference, and is home to some 80 species of exotic flora and fauna at its base. Apart from natural formations, Australia is also recognised worldwide for its abundance of wildlife, the most prominent being the koala bear and the Australian honey bee, colonies of which can be found at the SuperBee Honey factory in New South Wales. The world's smallest penguins also reside here at Penguin Island, located just a ferry ride away from Perth.
Australia is home to the Aborigines, a tribe indigenous to Australia. The traditions and culture of the 14 regional groups of Aborigines have been preserved, handed down and are still celebrated even today, with song and dance performances showcasing the music, language and traditional costumes of these peoples in the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.
The more famous landmarks in the city include the Sydney Opera House. The arts and entertainment scene of Australia is exhibited here, with over 40 theatre shows, symphony orchestras, plays and dances a week. The most established of music orchestras and troupes typically perform in this grand theatre. Children will be also be in for a surprise at the largest theme parks on the Gold Coast, including Dream World, Sea World, Movie World and Whitewater World. It is also comes highly recommended for visitors to take a trip to the world's largest ginger factory at Gold Coast as well as the mountain village at Montville to enjoy the fresh greenery and scenic views.
Finally, do not miss the iconic Big Pineapple. While the Big Apple in the States is a nickname for New York City, the Big Pineapple here in Australia is a literal giant pineapple structure situated on a working farm in Queensland. It contains two amusement rides, as well as a small farm which allows visitors to feed and interact with the animals, once again showcasing the rich wildlife and the nation's emphasis on conservation and a green environment, literally. Tourists will appreciate the intimacy with arts and nature, as well the variety of interesting authentic goods that Australia produces, such as honey, beer and chocolates.