Australia, the island continent, has a very diverse range of habitats ranging from lush tropical rain forest, through the full gamut of semi-tropical and temperate forests and rain forests, extensive dry sclerophyll forest, seemingly endless, lightly treed plains to semi-arid areas and desert.
With the lowest average rainfall of any inhabited continent, only around 6% of the country is arable land. The majority of the approximately 18 million people in Australia live in the coastal strip around the South East corner.
Despite the popular image (amongst ourselves, if not elsewhere) of the real Australian being a crusty outback stockman in a beaten up Akubra hat, Australians are mostly an urban people. Which is not to say that most Aussies do not like to visit the "centre", they just don't want to live there!
Several major river systems cross the country, the most important being the Murray-Darling system which drains about 13% of the continent, extends to four mainland States (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia) and is the fifth largest river system in the world. See the map Major Australian Rivers.
Australia is home to a relatively small number of freshwater species compared to other continents, but nevertheless our fish range from amongst the smallest freshwater fish in the world (redfinned blue-eye, discovered by NFA member Peter Unmack) to one of the biggest (the mighty Murray cod).
Australia on the web
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