AUSTRALIALying between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia is the world's sixth largest country, covering about 5% of the world's land surface. There are few places on earth with as much variety as Australia has to offer: tropical rain forest in the north, the magic of the Great Barrier Reef, enchanting coast lines, and endless stretches of flat, dry outback areas.
Off the beaten tracks, travelers drive over sand dunes on Fraser Island and through the Simpson Desert, across muddy tracks in the tropical north, or through vast empty spaces on the Canning Stock Route. Australia is a continent of contrasts and superlatives: it is the smallest, flattest, and driest of all inhabited continents. It is the only one which is also an island, and it remains one the most sparsely populated ones. Additionally, it features the world's greatest variety of marsupials and wallabies, and harbors some of the most poisonous animals on earth. In Australia you find the largest monolith (Mt. Augustus in Western Australia), the longest stock route in the world (Canning Stock Route), the most extensive coral reef (Great Barrier Reef), the largest sand island in the world (Fraser Island), and the longest trucks on the road (the 'road trains'). Its unique flora and fauna thrives along the fertile coastal strips and mountain ranges as well as in the inhospitable and dry outback areas.