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e-Tour International / Australia Travel Guide

Weather

Australia's climate varies greatly throughout the seven states and territories; there are four seasons across most of the country and a wet and dry season in the tropical north. Australia's seasons are at opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.

Please click here for all the year round temperatures in various Australia cities.

Facts about Australia

  • There are three times as many sheep than people living in Australia
  • The record jump recorded by a kangaroo is a whopping 9 metres (30 feet) in a single leap!
  • Koalas sleep for about 20 hours per day
  • There are 4 different species of kangaroo in Australia, with the Red Kangaroo being the largest. The largest Big Red ever seen was 2.1m tall (6ft 9in) and weighed 91kgs (200lbs)!
  • The Australian Thorny Devil is one of the longest-lived lizards of its size in the world, with a lifespan of up to 20 years
  • The Kangaroo and Emu were chosen to be the two animals on the Australian Coat of Arms because they can’t walk backwards, reflecting a forward-thinking culture
  • The Aussie state of Tasmania has the world’s cleanest air
  • Uluru (Ayers Rock) is known as the largest monolith in the world and is over 8km wide at its widest point
  • Australia is home to the world’s largest cattle ranch – which is bigger than the entire country of Belgium
  • Australia’s dingo fence is longer than the Great Wall of China
  • South Australia is the driest state in Australia
  • The Murray River is the longest river in Australia, with a length of 2,995 km
  • The Nullarbor Plain is home to the longest straight road in the world, at 146km long
  • Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano
  • The termite mounds that can be found in Australia are the tallest animal-made structures on Earth
  • Melbourne has the largest public tram system in the world
  • The Gold Coast has the world’s largest canal system, which is larger than those of both Venice and Amsterdam combined

Australia’s National and Regional Public Holidays in 2018

Australia Day

Australia Day a public holiday on 26 January and is Australia’s national day.

It marks the arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales on that date in 1788, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain by Captain Arthur Phillip.

Labor Day

Labor Day is a public holiday in Australia that was originally called ‘Eight Hours Day’. This holiday is commemorated on different dates in the Australian States.

Labor Day in Australia commemorates the achievements of organised labor to implement the eight-hour day in the middle of the nineteenth century when previously workers were required to work 10 – 12 hours a day for six days a week. While a change was made to the hours worked each day, the five day work week that most people enjoy today took almost a hundred years longer and was finally adopted in 1948.

Good Friday

Many countries observe Good Friday as a national holiday on the Friday before Easter. The most important events in Christianity are the death and later resurrection of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God, and whose life and teachings are the foundation of Christianity.

Good Friday is a day of mourning. During special Good Friday services Christians meditate on Jesus’s suffering and death on the cross, and what this means for their faith. In some countries, there are special Good Friday processions, or re-enactments of the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is the most important date in the Christian church.

In the Bible, it is the day when Mary Magdalene found that an empty tomb in the cave in which Jesus had been placed following his death by crucifixion on the Friday before. It signifies the end of the 40 days of Lent, meaning Christians who gave up something during lent to signify Jesus’ time in the wilderness, can indulge themselves again.

Easter Sunday is also when church bells will be rung again, having been silent during Lent.

Easter Monday

Easter (also called Pascha) is generally accounted the most important holiday of the Christian year, observed in March or April each year to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead after his death by crucifixion, which Christians believe happened at about this time of year, almost two thousand years ago. (Easter can also refer to the season of the church year, lasting for nearly two months, which follows this holiday and ends around Pentecost).

The name Easter is derived from ‘Ostara’ or ‘Eostre’, a pagan goddess of fertility, whose feast was celebrated on the Vernal Equinox. The word East is also derived from her names, as is Oestrogen, the female hormone.

Modern Easter celebrations revolve around eggs. They may be painted, rolled down hills or eaten if they are of the chocolate variety. The Christian tradition of eggs marking Easter is said to represent rebirth and resurrection – new life being born from the egg. It’s also been said that egg recalls the shape of the stone that rolled away on Easter Sunday from the tomb that held Jesus’ body.

This egg tradition is almost certainly a distillation of a much older pagan custom celebrating spring. The ancient Persians celebrated their New Year at the time of the vernal equinox by painting eggs.

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Anzac Day

Anzac Day is arguably Australia’s most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first key military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The troops in those forces became known as Anzacs, and the pride in the name endures to this day.

Australians recognise 25th April as an occasion of national commemoration. Commemorative services are held at war memorials around the country at sunrise, the time of the original landing. During the remainder of the day ex-servicemen and women meet and join in marches through the main cities and towns. It is a day when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war.

Queen’s Birthday

The Queen’s Birthday holiday is a moveable feast celebrating the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II who is not only Queen of Great Britain but also Queen of Australia. However the Queen’s actual birthday is neither in June nor October but in April.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of the House of Windsor was born on April 21st, 1926. In 1952, after the death of her father, King George VI, Elizabeth succeeded to the throne and was known thereafter as Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen is the monarch of 16 countries, the United Kingdom and 15 commonwealth realms. Queen Elizabeth II continues to reign as Queen of Australia after a referendum in 1999 which resulted in the retention of Australia’s constitutional monarchy.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day celebrates the Nativity of Jesus, the date of which according to tradition took place on 25th December 1 BC. The celebration of Christmas in late December is certainly as a result of pre-existing celebrations happening at that time, marking the Winter Solstice.

Most notable of these is Yule (meaning ‘Feast’), a winter pagan festival that was originally celebrated by Germanic people. The exact date of Yule depends on the lunar cycle but it falls from late December to early January. In some Northern Europe countries, the local word for Christmas has a closer linguistic tie to ‘Yule’ than ‘Christmas’, and it is still a term that may be used for Christmas in some English-speaking countries. Several Yule traditions are familiar to the modern celebration of Christmas, such as Yule Log, the custom of burning a large wooden log on the fire at Christmas; or indeed carol singing, which is surprisingly a very ancient tradition.

Boxing Day

It has been said that the name of Boxing Day comes from people getting rid of empty boxes from presents after Christmas day. While a beguiling notion, the tradition dates back to England in the middle ages, which predates the modern custom of giving wrapped presents on Christmas Day.

In truth, the exact origin of the meaning of Boxing Day is unknown. One theory is that it comes from the fact that servants were given their presents in boxes on this day, the 26th being the first working day after Christmas day. This tradition of giving gifts for service extended beyond servants to tradesmen, such as milkmen, butchers, etc. Another popular theory is that it is named after the custom of priests opening alms boxes in churches after Christmas. These held money which had been donated to the poor and needy in the run up to Christmas. Some churches still open these boxes on Boxing Day.