Otázka: Australia and New Zealand
Australia is the smallest continent and the sixth largest country in the world. Australia is located south-east of Asiabetween the Indian and the Southern Pacific Ocean. Much of the centre of Australia is flat, but there are some mountains of which Uluru is the best known. Australia’s climate is quite different from the rest of the world. It is the driest inhabited continent in the world. About three-quarters of the country can be described as arid or semi-arid.
Australia has only 22.5 million people and is one of the least densely populated countries. The first people to live there were Aborigines, who came over 40,000 years ago. They are known for their art, spiritual beliefs and music. Today they make up a small proportion of the total population, and Australia is a country of migrants.
Major ethnic groups are European descendants, Asian, people from Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, Indonesians and Aborigines.
About 70% of the population lives in the country’s large cities such as Melbourne and Sydney. English is the common language, however more than 200 languages are spoken throughout the country.
Australia is a constitutional monarchy (the British monarch is the official head of state). It now has a federal government that operates as a democratic.It is made up of six states and two major territories, each of which has its own parliament. The federal parliament is found in Australia’s capital, Canberra.
The Union Jack flag with five stars represents the constellation of the Southern Cross and a large seven-pointed star for 6 states and 1 territory
The most important agriculture products are sheep, cattle, wheat, wool, milk, barley and forestry (eucalyptus and pine timber).The most important of manufacturing products are processed food and beverages, iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and motor vehicles.The most important mining products are coal, oil, natural gas, iron ore, gold, lead zinc.
Places of interest:
Canberralies roughly half way between Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney is famous for the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Melbourne is known for art and entertainment. Other important cities include Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. Queensland has amazing beaches and the Great Barrier Reef. In the interior of the country there is the red Australian desert where visitors come to see Uluru. The west coast has a wine region and miles of unspoilt beaches. Tasmania, an island 240 km south of the mainland, is known for its unspoilt nature.
Fauna and flora:
Australia is famous for its unique wildlife, which evolved to survive the difficult conditions. Some of the most famous animals include the kangaroo, koala and wombat. The world’s second largest bird, the emu, is native to Australia. The continent also has many reptiles such as crocodiles and snakes. 7 out of 10 of the most poisonous snakes in the world can be found in Australia.
Beginning in 1606, Europeans explorers discovered the huge island, but it wasn’t until 1770, that British Captain James Cook made a scientific voyage to the South Pacific and mapped Australia’s eastern coast. He was first to claim the country for Britain. The British decided to use its new country as a penal colony, meaning they would keep prisoners there. Thousands of men and women were brought to Australia as prisoners until 1868, when the transports stopped.
In 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia was founded and the six colonies (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania) federated as sovereign states.
New Zealand is often considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We can find almost anything there, from active volcanoes and geysers to picturesque lakes, high mountains and golden beaches.
- New Zealand lies in south-western Pacific Ocean. It is also known in the Maori language as “The Land of the Long White Claude. It consists of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, as well as many smaller islands. The largest city, Auckland, and the capital, Wellington, are on the North Island. The nearest countries are Australia on the west, Fiji and Tonga on the north.
- The population is about 4.5 million. Almost 80% are of European origin (Pakeha); Maori make up about 15%. The rest are Asian and Pacific people. New Zealanders like to call themselves Kiwis, after the national icon, a native flightless bird.
- The flag consists of the British Union Jack in the left upper corner and four red stars in the Southern Cross constellation.
- The climate is quite pleasant. There is a lot of sun and it often rains there. Summers aren’t too hot and winters are mild.
- Each of two main islands is mainly hilly and mountainous; the highest peak is Mount Cook.
- There are several important rivers, which are mainly short and torrential; most of them run swiftly to the sea. The largest lake Taupo is on the North Island.
The most important agriculture products are sheep and cattle. The most important mining products are coal, oil, natural gas, iron ore and gold.
New Zealand has a parliamentary system where the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. represented by the Governor. The head of government is the Prime Minister. Parliament has only one chamber, the House of Representatives, which consist of 92 members elected for 3 years.
New Zealand was discovered by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 17th century. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give the vote to women in 1893, to have old age pensions and eight-hour working day. New Zealand became a dominion in the British Empire in 1907 and was granted full independence in 1931.
Places of interest:
All the principal towns lie on the coast. The capital is Wellington that lies on the North Island. It’s not only political but also cultural centre of New Zealand. Other big cities are Auckland, the largest city and Hamilton in the North Island and Christchurch, also called “Gate to the Antarctica”.
Fauna and flora:
- The tuatara lives only in New Zealand. It looks like a lizard but is actually a separate type of reptile. This animal is born with a partial third eye.
- Kiwi – a flightless parrot, which is a symbol of NZ, it looks like fruit kiwi.
Way of life:
A typical Kiwi (New Zealander) loves the outdoors, whether it is the beach or the mountains, barbecues in summer, or playing sport. Sport is a very important part of live in New Zealand, with many people participating at weekends. While football has risen in popularity recently, it still struggles to compete with rugby and cricket.
One of the most typical dishes is “Sunday Roast” – roast meat (lamb) and tree vegetables. A typical Kiwi way of cooking is a hangi (earth oven). The national Kiwi dish is pavlova, a meringue-based dessert. It is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured New Zealand and Australia in 1920s.