Australia is a large continent, of approximatively the same size as the US. Because of that, it offers a great deal of diversity. Beautiful and sophisticated cities of Anglo-Saxon culture contrast with some of the less densely populated areas anywhere, home of the Aboriginal culture, continuously developed over 30,000 years. The lush green of the rain-forests and blue turquoise of the Great Barrier Reef provide a relief from the endless red dirt of the desertic center, where striking rock monoliths rise from the otherwise pancake-flat plain. A unique collection of flora and fauna occupy those varied habitats. Most obvious are the 180 species of marsupials including various kangaroos and Koalas, but there are also the world largest coral reefs.
In August 1998, I sampled this diversity by traveling for two weeks on the East Coast and to the Center of Australia, flying to four different cities (Sidney, Brisbane, Cairns, Alice Springs) using a Qantas air pass.