STATES AND TERRITORIES OF AUSTRALIA

Australia. The Last twenty thousand years

Australia is believed to have been inhabited by the Aboriginal peoples for about twenty five to forty thousand years before Britain decided to make it a penal colony in 1788. They had lost the war with America, so could not send their prisoners there any more. The solution was to find another place. Botany Bay was it.

Transition from a penal colony to a country

By 1900 Australia  was a collection of settlements separated by huge distances, with each place governing itself under Britain. The early settlers saw the need for Australia to unite under one government so after petitioning Britain, Australia formed the federal government in 1901. Each state and territory has it’s own government and looks after the things relevant to that state or territory.

Not shown on the map is the Australian Capital Territory which is where Canberra, the capital city of Australia is located. It is within New South Wales.

Australia is also responsible for a large section of Antarctica, The Australian Antarctic Territory.

Queensland

Queensland is known as the sunshine state because most of the time the sun is shining and the sky is blue. Just the perfect environment for the many numerous activities that are available in Queensland.

The coast of Queensland is nearly 7000 kilometers of the most beautiful beaches and friendly towns with many islands to visit. Just about any activity is available in Queensland. There is even an indoor ski centre opening soon. It’s called Urban Extreme and looks like it should be great fun when they open their doors. Probably the most famous feature of Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef which stretches from the tip of Cape York to Bundaberg, a distance of 2300 kilometers. Snorkeling over the reef and seeing the amazing fish and coral structures is one of my favourite memories.  It is truly a great place to visit.

Queensland is a hugely popular tourist destination because it has so much to offer from rain forests to deserts to large cities and beaches. Activities include swimming, fishing,  bike riding, hiking and camping, hang gliding, boating, scuba diving and snorkeling, sailing, climbing and a lot more not mentioned here.

The main industries in Queensland are agriculture, mining, construction and tourism. There are backpacker jobs available in fruit picking, farm hand, tourism, and many other areas. The economy in Queensland is growing.

New South Wales

New South Wales was the first place to be settled by Britain in 1788. It began as a penal colony and and had very tough beginnings due to near starvation and difficult living conditions and often harsh treatment of the convicts. There are many places to visit that have historical connections to the convict era. The Rocks area in Sydney is one of them. Sydney is the capital city of New South Wales.

Sydney is famous for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House and for the many beaches along the coast. The New South Wales coastline  is very beautiful and is a popular place for tourists to visit, with just about any activity available.

The Great Dividing Range is a 3500 kilometers long range of mountains that stretch through Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. They are not all that tall but the highest mountain is Mt Kosciusko at 2,228 meters. This range of mountains separate the coastal area of NSW from the Western plains. The Western Plains is a vast area of fertile farming land and further west to desert areas, where the population is low due to the lack of water.

The mountains in the south have very popular ski resorts, the main ones being Thredbo, Charlotte Pass and  Perisher. There are many great places of interest and activities to do in NSW  from skiing to wale watching, swimming and all water activities. Whale watching on the south coast is always popular as is scuba diving and sailing.

The main industries in NSW are agriculture, coal mining, manufacturing tourism, transport and information technology. The farming sector often rely on backpackers for seasonal work in the fruit picking areas.

Victoria

Victoria is the southern most part of the mainland of Australia. Around five hundred kilometers South, across the Bass Straight, is the beautiful island state of Tasmania.

Victoria has a diverse range of landscapes ranging from coastal towns and beaches to mountains with snow fields, fertile farming plains and dry rugged deserts. NSW and Victoria are separated by the Murray River, except for one hundred and eighty kilometers of straight line from Cape Howe on the coast to the nearest part of the Murray River in the mountains of the Great Dividing Range. The Straight section of the border is called the Black Allen line after the two surveyors who marked out the line for the border.

The Murray River was used for transport in the beginning and was much higher than it is today. A very interesting place to visit is Echuca and the surrounding areas. The wharf at Echuca is high and dry now because of the lowering of the water level but it had two levels and the lower level is still in use. Some of the old paddle steamers are still in good condition or have been restored. A trip on one of these is extremely interesting, especially if you like to see old engines working.

Melbourne is the capital city of Victoria, situated on the the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay. It is a friendly city with an excellent tram and bus service which makes it easy to get around. The numerous and interesting alley ways with cafes and restaurants are very popular tourist spots. Melbourne is an nice place to visit.

A favourite for locals and tourists is the Great Ocean Road. It is two hundred and forty kilometers along the southern coast of Victoria. It is a fabulous coastal drive with beaches, mountains, hiking trail, lighthouses and many really nice places to stay.

Tasmania

When I think of Tasmania I think of beautiful  mountains and beaches, of fairy penguins and stunning coastal scenery. I have only been there once and I loved it. Tasmania is separated from the mainland by five hundred kilometers of water, so to get there by commercial transport the choice is to fly or go on the Spirit of Tasmania. This is a huge ferry which you drive your car onto and then enjoy the twelve hour boat ride. There are private cabins or deck chairs or other areas to relax and watch the sea birds and the passing boats. You will pass the Spirit of Tasmania going in the other direction. You may even see an oil well.

The capital of Tasmania is Hobart. This city is built on the Derwent River and is surrounded by mountains. It is a city in a lovely setting. Once a year the Sydney to Hobart yacht race finishes in Hobart and the people party. An excellent time to visit.

Tasmania is famous for it’s rugged wilderness and mountains. These are really spectacular with gentle to very strenuous hiking trails. The scenery is fabulous. These are controlled, so in most places you will need permission to enter the parks and usually also have to pay an entry fee.

Coming from Victoria, I was used to pulling into a rest area for the night, but was not able to find any free areas in Tassie. The rest areas forbid camping or parking overnight, however there are any number of caravan parks, paid camping areas, hotels and motels to choose from.

The scenery and the wildlife in Tasmania is well worth the visit. The mountains are spectacular and the walks into the valleys are a pure pleasure .

For the history lovers there are convict sites and many museums and old buildings to see.

The activities are numerous, walks above the forest, whale watching, Penguin watching tours, boating as well as almost any sporting activities. Tasmania is definitely a nice place to visit.

South Australia