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Australian Territories and States
A common question asked in Australia’s socio-political culture is ‘What is the difference between an Australian state and an Australian territory?’
The six Australian states: New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania began as British independent colonies. At the Federation of 1901, the states decided they would all become under the ‘Commonwealth of Australia,’ and live happily ever after.
No; they would all be somewhat self-governed and have law-making rights within each state respectively but the Commonwealth also has certain law-making rights on specified subjects (defined in the Constitution).
The territories are, technically, wholly administrated by the Constitution. But; this is where there is confusion, which pops the earlier question amongst many of us. The two main Australian territories – the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory (also including Norfolk Island) – have gradually become self-governed. People often mention or relate these two territories in the same breath or sentence as the six states, hence the confusion.
There are now ten Australian territories: the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Jervis Bay, Norfolk Island, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Indian Ocean Territories and the Australian Antarctic Territory. These territories are the land, in Australia, that aren’t occupied by a state.
Australian States and Territories
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Australian States and Territories
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY - ACT
NEW SOUTH WALES- NSW
VICTORIA - VIC
TASMANIA - TAS
QUEENSLAND - QLD
SOUTH AUSTRALIA - SA
NORTHERN TERRITORY - NT
WESTERN AUSTRALIA - WA
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY - ACT
Canberra is the capital city of Australia, and about 300,000 people live there. It was built on the plain at the foot of the Australian Alps, and covers 805 square kilometres. Canberra is approximately a three-hour drive south west of Sydney. It is not Australias biggest city, Sydney and Melbourne are the largest, however, Canberra was in the middle of the two large cities so it was chosen to be the capital city. Aboriginals were the first people to live in the area, and that is how it got its name, Canberra is said to be an old aboriginal word meaning, "meeting place". It was built around a man made lake, so even though the ocean is not there, there are plenty of places to swim and suntan. Canberras main sport is cycling, so if you are an active cyclist, you will want to join the stream of people riding through the bike trails, parks, streets and hills.
The ACT is a very popular tourist spot, and many of the tourists are employed in places such as hotels, restaurants and tour bus companies. If you are not working there however, it is usually sufficient to only spend a few days in the city cover the things you will want to see and do.
The summer season in Canberra is usually quite hot and dry, with the spring season being nice and mild, the temperatures range from 16-30°C (60-86°F). The autumn season of this city is also very mild, however the winter can become very cool and wet, with the temperature ranging from 7-15°C (45-59°F).
NEW SOUTH WALES- NSW
New South Wales is the most popular, eventful and industrious of the states. This state is amazing in the way it offers such diversity in its environment and surrounding atmosphere: There is a combination of coastal land, forests, mountains and rural country. This distinct region of Australia gives tourists the opportunity to visit and participate in almost any activity that their hearts desire. You can visit areas in NSW for quiet relaxing time or for adventurous adrenalin rushing times!
Sydney, one of the largest cities in Australia, is the capital city of NSW. Sydney is widely known for its great beaches and cultural events. It is also know for its beautiful harbour bridge and breathtaking Darling harbour as well as the Sydney opera house. Sydney was also chosen to host the 2000 Olympic games, and they ended up being one of the best ever. There are many site seeing attractions in Sydney, places such as the Rocks, the Zoo, the Botanic gardens, Bondi Beach, Fort Denison and Kings Cross. Another exciting thing to do while you are in NSW is to take a trip to the Blue Mountains, there you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding or just relaxing and taking in the beautiful scenery around you. There are many cities in NSW that host main institute educational campuses, a few of the following are: Armidale, New Castle, and Wollongong.
The temperature in New South Wales usually stays in a basic temperate zone. The summer seasons are usually warm to hot with slight humidity at times, the temperature ranges from 18-26°C (64-79°F). The winters are all right though, usually keeping to a mild temperature of 7-18°C (44-64°F).
VICTORIA - VIC
South of New South Wales is Victoria. VIC is one of the most populated states, 4,200,000 people live in VIC, even though it is the second smallest state, covering 228,000 square kilometres of South Australia. Victoria has plenty of beautiful gardens, nature reserves and natural parks. Furthermore Victoria has one of Australias most popular beaches, Bell Beach, which is rated very highly among tourists. Despite its size 26% of Australians live in Victoria, most of them you will find living in the states capital, Melbourne.
Melbourne is a very cool, cultural and artistic town that is very well rounded and has something to do for people of all ages and backgrounds there. Melbourne also has the cricket ground that is home of the Australian Rule Football team in the winter and cricket in the summer months, so these sports are especially popular around this region.
It has great markets, beaches, and entertainment for travellers and locals to enjoy. Melbourne has an international airport, and rail links to other states surrounding VIC.
A big chunk of Victoria is forest, approxemately 36%, and there are also a number of large lakes that are inland. Victorias longest river is the Murray River. There is 1600km of vast coastline that separates Australia from Tasmania; it borders the southern ocean and Bass Strait.
This is called the great ocean road, and is a great tour to take to see all of the beautiful scenery and sites along the coast. It is a great idea to take the time and explore the Grampians or enjoy the many great rivers, lakes and valleys. Also another great day trip could be to go and visit the little penguins at Phillip Islands.
There is one thing about Victorias climate especially in regards to the capital which is well known among all Australians: VIC has an immense ammount of rainfall throughout the year. The climate is still very temperate however, the summers usually ranging between 13-25°C (55-77°F), and the winters ranging between 5-13°C (41-55°F).
TASMANIA - TAS
Tasmania is a small island that is located south of Australia, approximately 200 kilometres south of Victoria. Tasmania is the smallest of Australias states and has a population of 473,000. This heart shaped island is 315 km across and 286 km long. Dense rainforests, mountain peaks, alpine meadows, great lakes, eucalyptus stands and fertile stretches of farmland are all easily accessible. Many smaller islands surround it, a couple of the more popular ones are: Kings and Flinders.
TAS capital city is Hobart, and almost half the population of Tasmania lives in or around the city, its population is 193,000. Hobart is a very distinct and beautiful city and well worth going to visit. Hobarts beautiful harbour attracts boats from all over the world and is one of the cities major focal points. Hobart also has excellent galleries, cafes, pubs and markets that happen on the weekends.
Tasmania gains its popularity from the great outdoor recreation opportunities that it provides. The mountains that cover the landscape as well as the great architectural environment allow extreme adventures to take place. There is great wild life that is roaming around the island. One of the most popular is the Tasmanian devil.
Tasmania has a British heritage that shines through with its different culture and events. More than 20% of the island has been declared a World Heritage area, and nearly a third of the island is protected within its 14 national parks.
The climate in Tasmania usual stays around a mild maritime temperature. The summer seasons range from approximately 11-21°C (50-72°F), and the winter seasons usually stay in the ranges of 4-11°C (39-52°F).
QUEENSLAND - QLD
Queensland is in the Northeast area of Australia and it is the second largest state in the country as well as the third most populated. The capital of the state is Brisbane and more than one third of the people in the state live there. There are activity centres around the Brisbane River, it is also a good spot if you like jogging, biking, rollarblading or just feel like taking a nice walk along the riverside. Brisbane is full of great markets, parks, restaurants, and nightlife. There is also a huge man made pool for the public to use for swimming or sun tanning in the sand.
Queensland also has many good beaches which are actually along side the ocean. If you go a few hours south of Brisbane you are on the gold coast, which is full of excellent surfing beaches and resorts. If you go a few hours north of Brisbane you are on the sunshine coast, which is very similar and also has great beaches and resorts to enjoy. Queensland has a beautiful national park, Moreton Island, which has excellent beaches, sand dunes, and crater lakes. It is great to go there for day trips and enjoy snorkelling, swimming or just relaxing at the Resort.
Another huge attraction on the coast of Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef. This particular Reef is so popular because of the vast area it covers, there is 2000 kilometres of coral reef and it contains approximately 30,000 species of marine life. It is a great place to go to experience magnificent diving and/or snorkelling.
Queenslands climate is usually good throughout the whole year. The sunshine is great in the summer time and the temperature ranges from 20-30°C (68-86°F). The winter does not get to be that cold either, usually staying between the ranges of 9-20°C (48-68°F).
SOUTH AUSTRALIA - SA
South Australia is the third largest state in Australia and covers nearly one-eighth of the total area of Australia. The total area of SA is 984,381 square kilometer. This state varies in the way the landscape is structured; it is half farmland and half desert. With the amount of vast desert that is scattered in SA, it makes this state the driest state in the driest continent of the world. Despite the dry atmosphere SA is responsible for producing much of the countrys main product, barely, wheat and salt. Also South Australia has great areas to produce vineyards, such as the Barossa Valley, and in turn, makes some of the best wines in the world. There are three large lakes in SA, which are Eyre, Gardiner and Torrens.
South Australia has a special significance because it was the first state that gave women the right to vote, allowed women into the police force and admit women as university undergraduates. Not to mention that SA was the first state to appoint a woman to the Australian Supreme Court bench and to a University chancellor.
The capital of South Australia is Adelaide. Adelaide is known for its old style culture and ancient looking stone buildings that give the city a prestigious nature. Half an hour drive from the city centre there are picturesque hills and beaches to enjoy, which make it well worth the 30 minutes it takes to get there.
South Australia has a Mediterranean climate. With the summer season usually hot and dry and the spring fairly mild, the temperature ranges from 16-30°C (60-86°F). The autumns in SA are also fairly mild, however the winters can get pretty cool and wet, the temperatures range from 7-15°C (45-59°F).
NORTHERN TERRITORY - NT
The Northern Territory is the base of the Australian Outback. This area is filled with massive rocks, stunning canons, sand dunes, rivers, lagoons, deep gorges, steep cliffs and lots of different wildlife. There are many adventurous tours that are offered in this state because there are so many things to do and see.
The capital of NT is Darwin, this is a great place to go and relax, see plenty of crocodiles or take one of the many tours that are offered in Darwin. Darwin also has great markets on weekends and even some weeknights, the culture here is very distinct, which is why Darwin has the markets, food stalls and festivals going all year round.
Alice Springs is a city that starts in the middle of the northern territory, it is not somewhere many people go to hang around long, but its a place where people go to take great outback tours out of. The outback tours leaving from Alice Springs take people to see wonderful sights, such as Uluru, the Olgas, Kings canon and other great surrounding sites.
Other places you will want to make sure you see are: Devils marble, Katherine Gorge, Tennant Creek, Macdonnell Ranges, and Nhulunbuy/Gove.
Another huge part of the NT is the Aboriginal culture. Over 40 different languages are spoken in this territory alone! Aboriginals take over 25% of the Territory and own over 50%. The aboriginals have their strongest presence in this territory.
The climate in the Northern Territory is quite extreme, with the summer season being very hot and wet in the inland, and having a very tropical coastline, the temperature ranges from 25-35°C (77-95&°F). The winters also do not get very cold at all, the temperature usually stays between the ranges of 19-30°C (66-86°F).
WESTERN AUSTRALIA - WA
Western Australia is about one third of the size of the country, making it Australias largest state. Even though the state is so big covering 2.5 million square kilometres, it only has one-twelfth of the nations population, which is 1,900,000. It is a very quite place with very few tourists. One third of the states income comes from the mining which is very popular in WA.
The capital of Western Australia is Perth, it is said to be the most beautiful capital in the country. It is one of the cleanest and most scenic coastlines that has been known to see in Australia. Also it is one of the sunniest places in Australia, when all the states change their clocks for daylight savings time, Perth has to stay on the same time all year round, because of its incredible rays of sunlight! The closest Australian city to Perth is Adelaide, which is still 2000 kilometres away! Southeast Asia even has cities that are closer to Perth than a lot of the other cities in Australia. Because of its isolation and quiet nature, WA is a very peaceful, relaxing, and slow paced place to go visit. It has some of Australias nicest beaches and most beautiful scenery. The largest fish in the world are in WA, the whale shark has been found in the northern waters and up to 13meters long! Also some of the best and largest surfing waves in the world can be found near Margaret River.
The climate in Western Australia is fairly different from that of the other states. When it is warm and dry in the northern state, it is wet and cool in the south. The summer season ranges from 17-29°C (63-84°F), and the winter seasons temperature ranges from 8-17°C (46-63°F).
Located in the Southern hemisphere, Australia is a diverse and welcoming country. Home to wonders, such as the Great Barrier Reef, Wave Rock, Ayers Rock, the Devil’s Marbles and the legendary Outback, Australia offers adventure and excitement to all who visit.
With fantastic beaches, first-class wineries, unique wildlife and great rock art, there is something for each and everyone to discover. Whether travelling to New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, or the Australian Capital Territory, Australia offers visitors an electrifying experience.
Sydney is the capital city of is by far the largest and the oldest capital city in Australia. Based on the Darling and Sydney Harbours, Sydney is the main
Sydney has a local population of approximately 4.2 million, with settlement from over 180 countries across the world.
The cost of living is more expensive than any other capital cities, and the living standards are much higher, with property being much more expensive than other states, especially in suburbs close to the central business district.
Sydney is recognised as the home of Australia's economy. The city is a national hub for global industries such as business, financial services, law, telecommunications and the media, and home to more regional and international business headquarters than any other city in Australia. The central business district includes such institutions as the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Australian Stock Exchange and the NSW Parliament.
Many tourist attractions operate throughout Sydney, such as
- Sydney harbour bridge
- Sydney opera house
- Australian Museum
- Australian national maritime museum
- Art gallery of NSW
- Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens
- Fox studios.
- Seaplane tours of Sydney harbour
- Taronga Zoo
- Hunter valley wineries
- Islands of Port Jackson
There are also internationally recognizes social events, such as
- Sydney to Hobart yacht race
- Sydney gay and lesbian Mardi-Gras.
Melbourne is located on the southernmost tip of the east coast of Australia, on the shores of Port Philip Bay. The central business district is a rectangular shape and is a distance of 5kn from Port Philip Bay, situated on the banks of the Yarra River.
There are many beautiful sights and tourist attractions to see in Melbourne and its surrounding areas. Some local tourist attractions include
- Many types of museums.
- Many hotels, night clubs and Restaurants open until late.
- Shopping districts, such as Chinatown, Queen Victoria Markets, Bourke Street Mall, and
- Telstra dome (AFL, music concerts)
- Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
- Crown Casino
- Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens
Melbourne has a cooler climate compared to the tropical regions and is much compared with Adelaide and Perth’s cool climate.
Brisbane is the capital city of the state of Queensland. The city of Brisbane is situated in the tropics of Australia, along the eastern coast of Queensland. It has the third largest populous city in Australia, with an approximate population of 1,700,000 people. Brisbane is situated on the banks of the Brisbane River, on the flood plains between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range.
Wild storms, massive rainfalls, cyclones and extreme heat due to the tropical region of Australia are common, especially in the wet season months.
Brisbane airport connect to all major airports in Australia and even some international flights to major capital cities throughout the world.
- Queensland museum
- Queensland Art Gallery
- Queensland Performing Arts Centre
- Brisbane River
- Brisbane Powerhouse
- Queen Street Mall, Wintergarden, Broadway on the Mall, and the Queens Plaza.
Brisbane has a vast public transport service which runs in the sunshine coast the gold coast, and even along the Brisbane River.
Canberra located inland approximately 300 km from Sydney and 650km from Melbourne and was constructed on the banks of an artificial lake, with construction starting in 1913. Canberra’s entire purpose was to be the national government and political hub of Australia. The population is near 340,000 people primarily in the government, and military sectors. Canberra is s perfect place to live for students who wish to study politics, or economics. The cost of living is cheap in Canberra, and rental property is readily available.
Canberra is situated on the banks of the Murrumbidgee, and its tributary the Molonglo Rivers. It is surrounded by mountains, and even the hilltops within the city limits have been preserved as nature parks. Just two hours away to the south into New South Wales are the ski fields of Australia's highest mountain range, such as Thredbo and Perisher Blue. The city is surrounded by the Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to the west and world class wineries to the north.
Canberra has many venues for live music and theatre, sporting teams that compete in national competitions, two of the largest being the Canberra Raiders (NRL).. It is home to the Australian Institute of Sport, where athletes can study and train in a particular sport to compete professionally in international sporting events, such as the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games.
Adelaide is between the Mount Lofty Ranges and the coast of Gulf St Vincent. The Torrens River cuts straight through the central business district and the mouth is located at Glenelg. Adelaide stretches as far as Gawler in the North and along the coast to the the south Sellicks Beach, a total distance of 90 kilometres. Adelaide is known as the “City of Churches”, famous for the local cathedrals and churches.
The central business district is situated on the banks of the Torrens River and is a square shaped grid, surrounded by parklands. Public transport by train, tram and bus lead into and out of the city. The crime rate is low and lifestyle is relaxed, with less traffic jams, noise and pollution compared to some of the other larger capital cities.
Adelaide has a diverse multicultural society, with a population of approximately 1,100,000 people. The housing is much cheaper and the cost of living lower compared to other states like Sydney or Brisbane, with rental properties found in all suburban area of Adelaide.
Western Australia’s capital city is Perth and is situated on the coast of the Indian Ocean near the Darling Ranges, on the banks of the Swan River.
Perth has a population of approximately 1.650,000 people, with a diverse multicultural society, mostly consisting of English born immigrants. There are many tourist attractions such as the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Western Australian Museum, and is the home of the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles.
Darwin is Northern Territories capital city and is located on the coast, facing the Timor Sea. The city is situated on Darwin Harbour, flanked on both sides by Frances Bay to the east and Cullen Bay to the west.
There is approximately 120,000 residents living in Darwin today. Darwin has an average growth rate of 2.6%, making Darwin the fastest growing population in an Australian city. Darwin’s major economic sectors are mining and tourism.
Darwin is situated in the tropical region of Australia and is susceptible to floods, cyclones, massive rainfalls and electrical storms.
Hobart is the state capital and most populated city of the nation’s state of Tasmania, with more than 200,000 residents. The city is located in the state's south-east on the estuary of the Derwent River. The skyline is dominated by Mount Wellington. Hobart was founded in 1803 as a penal colony by the British Commonwealth. Hobart is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney.
Hobart is an active and vibrant place, with events such as the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race and the Targa Tasmania rally car race.