Australia, host of the upcoming summer Olympic games, is the only country that is both an island and a continent. It ranks as the sixth largest country (covering nearly three million square miles) and the smallest continent. I've never been there, but after creating this cyber tour, Australia is certainly is on my list of places I'd like to visit.
"Australia is an independent Western democracy with a population of more than 17.6 million. It is one of the world's most urbanized countries, with about seventy percent of the population living in the ten largest cities. Most of the population is concentrated along the eastern seaboard and the southeastern corner of the continent." Everything you need for school reports is organized into topics such as Wildlife and Conservation, States and Territories, and Government. Visit Fabulous Facts about Australia for answers to questions such as "How long is Australia's coastline?" and "How many deserts are there in Australia?"
"Reconciling spirit and place in Australia's story." Lore of the Land (created by a partnership of native and non-native Australians) seeks an "understanding of how non-indigenous Australians are connected to their country." But it also serves as a wonderful introduction to the land for students of all ages. Don't miss the immigrant stories found under Cultural Experiences (click Experiences first), the interactive map (look in Land Issues), and the photo slide show (choose Understanding, then Reflections.)
"It's a fact: Koalas smell like cough drops. Find out why in our new animal attraction. Sorry, it doesn't have scratch-n-sniff." Once again, National Geographic creates a site that earns my Pick of the Day appellation. Best clicks include Creature Feature Koala, Australia Through the National Geographic Lens, Make a Boomerang (a flying disc that returns to its thrower), Desktop Wallpaper and Australian Postcards.
"View exciting LIVE images from our webcam located on a rooftop in The Rocks -- Sydney's historic waterfront precinct. Look out for people climbing Sydney Harbor Bridge, traveling on our famous waterways or simply enjoying the atmosphere." To make things even more interesting, you can actually take control of the camera for two minutes. Click on the Start Control icon, and use the slider control to zoom in and out. If you capture a particularly stunning panorama , snap a photo (use the camera button), and email it to the webmaster for posting in the archive.
"Strewth mate, this is a bonza billabong!" Which is Australian for "It is true, my friend, this is a very nice watering hole." The games and stories from Tales from the Billabong will delight the under-ten set. My favorites are Where do I Belong? ( place Australian animals in their natural habitats), Tops and Tails (mix and match animal parts to create imaginary beasts) and the Australian Slang Dictionary.