INTRODUCTION

Australia is so big and diverse that it could never merely be the sum of its icons. The stunning architecture of the Sydney Opera House, the glow of Uluru (Ayers Rock) at dusk, a wave curled above a colourful reef – these are only part of the experience that unfolds once your feet touch the soil of this awesome country-continent.

Australia’s natural beauty is one of its biggest attractions. The landscape varies from endless sunbaked horizons to tropical rainforests to chilly southern beaches. Its cities blend an enthusiasm for art and food with a love of sport and the outdoors. Visitors will have to re-think their grasp of geography in this huge country. The sheer vastness gives Australia – and its diverse population – much of its character.

Many things about this faraway island are different, even the things that sound familiar. You may have visited remote places, but not the sublime isolation of the outback, with its dazzling salt pans and sandstone towers. You would have encountered wildlife, but when did you last ride a camel among desert oak trees or have your camp site visited by a Tasmanian devil? Perhaps you’ve enjoyed seafood, but here you’ll taste barramundi fish and delicious Moreton Bay bugs (a shellfish).

From rainforest trails to fascinating museums, vibrant multicultural cities to a love of sport, Australia is unique.

THE PEOPLE

Australia’s population in mid-2005 was 20,265,000. Population density is among the lowest in the world, with an average of 2.5 people per square kilometre – no-one’s within cooee (shouting distance) in the outback. Most people live along the eastern seaboard, with a smaller concentration on the southwestern coast. Living in one of the world’s most culturally diverse countries – 23% is foreign-born – Australians incorporate a wide variety of influences into the way they live and play.

THE PLACES

Australia’s states and territories each have unique characteristics. Explore one at a time or, when your studies have finished, visit them all in one big loop! This would mean over 14,000km of highway, not including side trips to beaches, forests, mountains, country towns… If you’d rather not go far from where you’re studying, you’ll still find there’s plenty to keep you entertained.

THE POTENTIAL

Australia offers a unique experience for students. Apart from a world-class education system, the opportunities to get involved in daily life are endless: whether you’re into the arts or sport, partying or book clubs, the great outdoors or cosy cafés, you’ll find many ways to join in and have fun. So if you want to get an education and have a life, it really is the place to be.