Australia is a massive and fascinating country. It’s the 6th largest country in the world, occupying an entire continent of 7.6 million square kilometres (about 2.9 million sq miles). It has 20 million people, yet 80% of of those folks live within 100 km (62 miles) of the coast. More than 200 different languages and dialects are spoken, including 45 Indigenous languages. Australia is very multicultural with Indigenous peoples and migrants from some 200 countries. To cap that off, most of their flora and fauna can only be found there.
Our Rotary team will travel through South Australia and the southern portion of the Northern Territory. So here are some facts on those regions:
- South Australia is a Mediterranean climate with cool wet winters and hot dry summers. The average summer temperature is 29 degrees Celsius (84 F).
- The average winter temperature is a mild 15 degrees Celsius (59 F). Southern Australia gets 2,500 hours of sunshine a year.
- Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia with more than 1.2 million residents, boasts a multitude of festivals, galleries, theatre and architecture.
- South Australia has many contrasts with rugged outback wilderness, scenic mountain ranges, offshore islands and a large, meandering river.
- This arrid State has more than 3,700 kilometres (2,300 miles) of coastline.
- There are also numerous national parks and world heritage listed areas.
- South Australia is known as a wine and food centre with 13 wine regions and Adelaide has a higher ratio of cafes and restaurants to residents than any other city in Australia. The wine industry in South Australia benefits from a variety of terrain, character and climate. Few other regions of the world match their range of warm and cool-ripening conditions.
While Rotary District 9500 encompasses most of South Australia, it includes just under half of the Northern Territory (NT), probably due to the size of this region. The NT is 548,600 square miles, about the size of Alaska. The Northern Territory is a federal territory famed for its Outback desert landscapes. In the arid Red Centre lie the iconic sandstone monolith Uluru (Ayers Rock), the red-rock domes of Kata Tjuta and the sculpted cliffs of Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park.
- The desert center of the country, which includes Alice Springs and Ayers Rock, is semi-arid with little rain usually falling during the hottest months from October to March. Central Australia receives less than 250 mm (9.8 in) of rain per year.
- For its vast size, there are only 235,000 people living in the NT, just 1% of the country’s population.
- Alice Springs is believed to have the highest number of art galleries and centers per capita in Australia. The small town of 28,000 is claimed to be the best place to appreciate traditional and contemporary Indigenous art.
- The NT has more than 30 national parks and reserves.
- Uluru (Ayers Rock) is believed to have been created as many as 600 million years ago, stands about 348 metres (1,141 feet) above the ground and it is thought that the bulk of the rock extends 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) underground.
- Between 1860 and 1907, tens of thousands camels were imported into Australia to help people pioneer the harsh, dry conditions. Today, around 200,000 wild camels roam the Northern Territory.
That’s a quick round up of some facts on the regions we’ll be visiting. We can’t wait to see and experience them on our own!
For more fun facts on Australia, check this post.