Australia, the continent down under, filled with kangaroos, koala bears, and many more unique creatures. I always wanted to go to Australia, but never knew much about it, like the history behind it, and what there really is to do. So I decided to research it and talk to people that are familiar with it.I started my search off by looking in an encyclopedia called Encyclopedia International and looked up Australia. The encyclopedia was written back in 1970 but things have changed since that time. The general information about Australia did not change though, such as the temperatures, the types of animals and birds that live there, and geographic facts. This article did not give me enough information so I kept on looking.

I then got online and went to the search engine Dogpile and looked up ?Australia.? I got tons of matches for my search, but found an interesting site.
This was the official site for Australia, so that is why it is so reliable. It was loaded with information about almost everything in Australia that I wanted to learn more about. It discussed the places to see, things to do, exotic experiences, food and wine, and the nightlife in Australia. The site still left some details out that I was still looking for such as what kinds of shopping is there to do, what the Australians are like, etc.

After learning more about Australia, I called Liberty Travel in Harrisburg and spoke to a very nice lady named Helen Andrews. Helen explained that she was once there many years ago, but has sent numerous people there recently. So Helen could give me a lot of great information I was looking for. She gave me a website to look up. She said it is wonderful and has very good information. Thanks to her, I found out what airline to take to Australia and what the best way to get around the continent is. Helen was a huge help!

I got back online to check out the website ( that Helen gave to me. It was loaded with all types of tours of Australia. It had all the prices, what you would be doing, how long the trip would be and so on. Each tour was very different and exciting. It also had the full itinerary of each tour as well, which was very helpful!

I still remained online to discover another interesting and informative website. I searched on the AltaVista search engine next and looked up ?Australia.? I got completely new results compared to my first search. I did find a website that had information, I had already found. It did tell me a little about the shopping in Australia, which I have to know about! Students at the Charles Sturt University in Australia created this site, so they would know what they are talking about since this is where the students live. So I am sure the ladies of the University were familiar with the shopping, what girl is not?

I performed another search using the Yahoo search engine and looking up the same search word, ?Australia.? I came across some previous websites I received with my prior searches, but I found one that told me more about Australia. This site informed me about the people of Australia, what their likes and dislikes of tourists and people from the United States and other countries are.

Last, but certainly not least, I looked up Australia on a CD-rom, Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Standard, 2004 version. This CD-rom was also loaded with all kinds of different information about Australia. It furthered my knowledge on the animals and plants of this continent, what the currency was, and a little more about the cities of Australia. A CD-rom is a very reliable source since, number one, it is an encyclopedia and, second, it is so well known for its accuracy and knowledge of all its topics.

All of the encyclopedias, Internet websites and CD-rom provided me with very important information helping me to learn more about my topic. Some things that the sites or articles explained I agreed on and some I disagreed on, so let us take a look at them.

My first source from Encyclopedia International, discussed that Sydney and Melbourne ranked as two of the thirty largest cities worldwide when the encyclopedia was published in 1970. I am sure that it has changed over those thirty some years, but it also gives a good idea of how large the cities really are.

In the official Australia website, it discussed all the interesting places to go in Australia. All of the places are very old and historic, like the 12 Apostles and the Kata Tjuta, and I am usually not into that type of thing, but all of them seemed very interesting. The site was very thorough and detailed about each highlight spot.

Another website I discovered explained what Australians like and dislike about people. The problem with that is, not all Australians feel the same way. Some of them may agree with what the website says and others do not agree at all. I guess it is an opinion of the creator of the site.

The website that Helen, the travel agent, gave to me was loaded with different packages for a tour of Australia. Some of the trips ranged from twenty-six days all the way down to seven days in Australia. I am sure if someone wanted a guided tour of this continent one of these tours would be perfect for them. All of them had a wide range of activities and destinations to go to. Since Helen recommended this site to me, it must be pretty reliable and some clients of hers who went on some of the tours were very satisfied with them.

Australia is a very unique continent in itself. In Encyclopedia International, on page 209, I found that ninety-four percent of it lies at less than two thousand feet above sea level. The climate ranges from 85? in the summer and 75? in the winter, except in the South. Two-thirds of the continent receives less than twenty inches of rainfall annually, but it varies year to year (Australia 209).

The animals and birds in Australia are one of a kind. On the CD-rom, I discovered that eighty-four percent of mammals, eighty-nine percent of reptiles, ninety-three percent of frogs and forty-five percent of birds and endemic, meaning they do not naturally occur elsewhere other than Australia (Powell). On page 210 of Encyclopedia International, it discussed animals such as kangaroos, koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils all carry their young in stomach pouches. Other animals include the platypus, ant-eating echidna, and dingo or a wild dog. Some birds that are there are kookaburra or laughing ass and parrots to name a few (Australia 210). Rabbits and foxes are considered pests over in Australia, but to us, they are harmless and cute.

On page 204 of the encyclopedia, it explained that three-fifths of the continent is made up of the outback, which is an unpopulated Australian backcountry, much like a desert. Another famous geographic place is a submarine coral reef in the Coral Sea called The Great Barrier Reef. It is located on the northeast coast. The rest of Australia is metropolitan. The two largest cities are Sydney and Melbourne, which rank on the top thirty largest cities worldwide (Australia 204).

A good fact to know, that I found on the official Australian website, about Australia is, about seventy-five percent of Australians live within an hour drive from a beach. The beaches there are some of the most spectacular ones (Australian).

There are many things to see and do in Australia, so let me explain a few that I discovered on the website titled Australia. Uluru (Ayers Rock) is in the heart of Australia. It rises 348 meters above the ground made of red rock. Aboriginal people, oldest surviving civilizations, know more history behind it, then the Australians do. They can take you on guided tours telling you stories, legends and they, the Aborigines, respect it like their mothers (Australian).

The Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) meaning many heads, is made up of thirty-six red stone-shaped monoliths covering 3,500 hectares of land. The highest monolith is Mt. Olga, rising 546 meters tall (Australian). It is a very beautiful site!

The Sydney Opera House is an extraordinary structure on the harbor at Bennelong Point. It is the world?s premier performing arts center. It opened in 1973 and took fifteen years to actually build it (Australian).

The Great Barrier Reef is as large as Ireland and Great Britain combined. It has more than one thousand islands. It is even more gorgeous when you scuba dive or snorkel to get a closer look at its beauty. Boat rides are offered, to take you to the different islands. Some exotic resorts are located on the islands in the Great Barrier Reef (Australian). This place is a must see!

The 12 Apostles is another destination to visit that I found, still remaining on the same Australia website. It made up of rock formations in Victoria. There is a backdrop of cliffs and the ocean. It was formed thousands of years ago of limestone beneath the sea. Violent seas and winds carved the rock pieces out. Only eight of the twelve are still standing. There you can also try rock climbing, surfing, kayaking or take a 4-wheel driving tour (Australian).

The Bungle Bungle Range is located at Purnululu National Park. It is beehive-like mounds of orange and black strips made of silica and algae with fan palms attached to the sides of the rocks. 4-wheel driving vehicles are the only way to reach it, well besides flying there (Australian).

A unique place called Kangaroo Island is filled with sea lions, penguins, dolphins, koalas, and kangaroos that live in a natural environment on an island near the tip of South Australia?s peninsula. This island is one of the few that is preserved from over development and excessive tourism. (Australian).

The Penguin Reserve is on Summerland Beach. It is known for the dusk viewing of penguins marching across the beach to their sand dunes. If you wear black clothes and stand very still, the penguins will actually walk right pass you (Australian). What a fun place to see!

The most interesting place I would like to go to would be the Lone Pine Sanctuary. It is a natural rainforest setting, housing 130 koalas. Koalas are extremely cuddly and there you can pet or even cuddle one! The koalas are more active after sunset, so the sanctuary is only open during the day (Australian). This would be a once in a lifetime experience.

Some other exotic experiences that the Australian Tourist Commission discussed is that you can do is ride a camel along the beach or through the outback or swim with wild dolphins along the coastline of Western Australia. You could also bungee jump, paraglide, skydive or take a hot air balloon ride. Go whitewater river rafting through a tropical rainforest or take a four-wheel drive through the outback or even go mountain biking (Australian). There is so much to do for all types of people and interests.

Australia is a large producer of wine. They are the seventh largest wine producer in the world. Some of the finest wines are produced here. Along with wine, Australia has some interesting kinds of food such as the Aussie pie. It is the most popular food there. It is made of hot meat or vegetarian pizza topped with mashed potatoes and gravy. Some exotic meats to try are emu or kangaroo (Australian). I am not that adventurous to test those meats out but you may be!

Finally, I left the awesome website that the Australian Tourist Commission created and moved on to another website called Guide to Australia to find out about the shopping scene. For the shopping scene, the best places to go are Sydney and Melbourne. There are local boutiques filled with local designers? clothes. There are also arts and crafts stores everywhere with galleries, pottery shops and craft stores. There are seaside boutiques, antique stores, country-style furniture stores and bargain shops. Also, on weekends, you should never miss the markets, filled with all types of goodies (Guide).

I then moved on to another website called the Australian Travel Guide to learn more about the people. People in Australia are known to be extra friendly and kind. Australians have their pet peeves too, in tourists and people from other countries. Australians despise snobbery and pretentiousness. The early settlers in a way escaped the English social system. Australians also hate people who take excessive pride in their own personal achievements, like bragging. Sometimes, they pretend to lack pride in their own country, but they are very protective of it and not accepting of criticism, when visitors have negative things to say about it. On the other hand though, the Australians have tons of unkind things to say about Americans. So in a way, they are contradicting themselves (Australian Travel).

When I spoke to Helen about Australia she gave me a lot of good information. I asked her what places in Australia she strongly suggests going to. She strongly suggested visiting Sydney and all of the rock formations I discussed earlier. Another interesting place to see is the outback. She said not to miss her favorite place in Australia, The Great Barrier Reef. Helen recommended when going on vacation, take a guided or escorted tour. There is a lot to see and this way, it will be a lot easier to get around.

Helen also told me to go to a website to find out more about the escorted tours. When I went to the site, it gave me a long list of different packages they offered. I looked at the one in particular. It was a twenty-six day tour called The Great Australian Explorer, starting at $3999 a person. It included about fifteen different destinations, all fees included, transportation, free hotels, free breakfast everyday and most dinners. It provided an itinerary of all the activities going on and the places you would be staying (Tours).

Helen said to fly to Australia, the best airline to take is Quantas, which flies out of LA and Honolulu. The trip overall would be very time consuming and very expensive. There is so much to see and do, it would not all fit into one week. The whole continent definitely is a place I would like to go to sometime throughout my life. It has always been something I wanted to do, so maybe someday it will actually come true.

If I had more time to complete this paper, I would talk to some more travel agents and see what types of things they suggest to do and see. With the time I did have, I think I got pretty much all the information I really needed to complete this project.

Australia 9.2 of 10 on the basis of 1355 Review.