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Mike's Australia

Mike's blog and author web site:
1 The Big Country
Some call it the world's smallest continent. Others say it's the world's largest
island. Either way, Australia is BIG.
The distance from Perth to Cairns is about 3,500 km (2,000 miles), which is roughly
the same as Gibraltar to St Petersburg, Vancouver to New Orleans or Tokyo to Hanoi.
Australia is almost exactly the same size as the USA (minus Alaska) but has only 23
million people to America's 300 million. Apart from the coastal fringes, it is a dry
sunbaked land. The south has a temperate (sometimes cold) climate and the top third
is in the tropics.
A range of mountains runs down the east coast. Rain falls on the seaward side and
this is where the bulk of the population lives. Further areas of habitation are to be
found in soggy Tasmania, around Adelaide and in the vicinity of Perth. The rest of the
continent (marked yellow on the map) is sparsely populated.
2 The Outback
It's Australia's "Never Never Land": If you never never go you'll never ever know
what it's like. But where the hell is it?