Even the outdated images of Crocodile Dundee types swilling beer around the Opera House have long been replaced by a forward-looking attitude that embraces Australia’s Pacific Rim location and a growing reputation for first-class cuisine and high fashion notable in its cosmopolitan, twenty-first-century metropolis, Sydney. The high quality of life in the country’s effervescent largest city is enhanced by one of the world’s great harbours, but there is far more to Australia city-wise than just Sydney. Its big rival, Melbourne, is blessed with a more European ambience, with trams and pavement cafes as much a part of the experience as the buzzing sports and cultural scene, while coastal Darwin, Perth and Brisbane offer other worlds to explore.
Area: 7 692 030 kmÂ² (2 969 909 milesÂ²)
Capital: Canberra. Population: 309 900
Population: 20.1 million
Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD symbol A$) = 100 cents
Government: Constitutional Monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1901.