Australia and New Zealand
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Australia, situated in the southern hemisphere, is the smallest continent in the world. Tasmania lies 240 km south. There are 2 great deserts in Australia: the Great Sandy Desert and the Great Victoria Desert. Australia has 2 big rivers, the Murray and the Darling and 3 great lakes: Lake Eyre, Lake Torrens and Lake Gairdner. The highest peak is Mt. Kosciusko (2 300 m) in the Australian Alps. Australia has many different kinds of climate: tropical, continental, sub-tropical. It is famous for its animals: the kangaroo, the koala, the big bird emu and platypus.
Australia has very low density (2 person 1sq m), has 17 million of inhabitants. 95 per cent people are of British origin, 1,5 per cent are aborigines. English is the official language. Canberra is the capital city. The main cities are: Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Brisbane.
Australia was discovered and explored by Europeans (mainly the Dutch and the British) in the 17th and 18th centuries. The settlement of Australia began with the arrival of about 1 000 colonists from Great Britain. 750 of them were convicts. The day, when they landed, is now public holiday. The official name of Australia is the Commonwealth of Australia.
Australia is rich in iron ore, oil, gas, coal, gold and silver. Its main industries are iron and steel, textiles, chemicals, car, ship and machinery. Australia is exporter of wool, wheat, beef, mutton and minerals. Currency is Australian dollar.
Australia consists of 6 states and 2 territories. Australia has parliamentary system where the head of state is now Queen Elizabeth II. represented by the Governor-General.
New Zealand is in the south-west Pacific Ocean. It consists of 2 large islands, the North Island, the South Island and a small island called Steward Island. The distance between islands is called Cook Strait and it is 150 km. NZ is mainly mountainous with fertile plains on its east coast. The NI is famous for its volcanic plateau and a lot of small lakes. There are glaciers and 15 peaks above 3 000 m in the SI. The highest peak is Mt. Cook (3 700 m) in the Southern Alps. The climate is very pleasant all the year around in NZ.
Population of NZ is about 3,3 million. The density is low (12 people per 1 sq. km). 85 per cent people are of European origin and about 9 per cent are Maoris. English is the official language. NZ is divided into counties. All the principal cities lie on the coast. The largest cities are: capital Wellington and Auckland are in the NI, Christchurch, Dunedin and Nelson are in the SI.
The first inhabitants of NZ were the Maoris of Polynesian origin, who settled there before and during 14th century. The first European to see NZ was the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman. The Maoris did not him to land. More than 100 years later rediscovered the islands captain James Cook.
NZ is rich in oil, iron ore, gas, coal and forests. NZ is highly developed country. Both agriculture and industry are very efficient. NZ is the world’s biggest exporter of meat and dairy products and the second largest exporter of wool. Food processing, textiles, farm machinery and forest industry are the main industries there. Tourism is another booming industry. NZ dollar is the local currency.
NZ has a parliamentary system where the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. represented by the Governor-General. The head of government is the Prime Minister.