It has occurred to me that while I am over here being all, San Francisco is the hilly one, LA is the movie star one, and Vegas is the casino one, you all over there might be just as knowledgeable (*cough*) about Australia. Therefore I have helpfully prepared a little tutorial for you, which should make planning your trip to visit me so much easier.
We'll start with a blank map of Australia. (By the way, Australia is the same size as the United States.)
Then we'll cut in thirds upways. The left-hand (or western) third we'll call Western Australia. The capital of WA is Perth. Apparently it's a very nice city, but as you can see, the rest of WA is just a whole lot of desert and no people.
Now we'll cut the middle third into top and bottom (or north and south) halves. The top one we'll call the Northern Territory and the bottom one can be South Australia. The capital of the NT, and my hometown, is Darwin. Directly below Darwin is the capital of SA, and my current home, Adelaide. Darwin is rural and crocodiles and kangaroos, and Adelaide is the city of churches and festivals and wineries and footy boys and meat pie floaters.
All up the middle there is another whole lot of desert, except where there is a green bit called Kakadu National Park, and where there is a big rock in the middle of the country. That big rock which you may have heard of is Uluru or Ayers Rock, and it is right next to the town of Alice Springs, if by right near you mean five hours away by car.
And so we move to the east coast, where all the people live. Cutting the left third into thirds the other way, gives us Queensland, whose capital is Brisbane, home of rainforests and theme parks.
Underneath Queensland is New South Wales, where Captain Cook and a bunch of other people landed thinking they were the first people here. The capital of NSW is a little town you may have heard of called Sydney. Sydney has a Harbour Bridge, and an Opera House, and sometimes pretends to be the capital of the whole country.
Underneath NSW is Victoria, capital Melbourne, who has a reputation for having four seasons in one day. Being that I was there in winter, I might be forgiven for thinking they were: rain, hail, drizzle, misery. The good thing about Melbourne is its cricket ground, its shopping, and its tram that goes in a square around the city, both ways, but WHICH ONE WILL ARRIVE FIRST?
So one day Sydney and Melbourne were fighting over which one could be the capital and IF YOU'RE JUST GOING TO FIGHT NONE OF YOU CAN HAVE IT. And so Canberra was born, the capital of the Australian Capital Territory and of Australia. Canberra is full of politicians and trees and snowfields.
Oops. There's an island called Tasmania, it's capital is Hobart, there is a yacht race there from Sydney, and they all marry their cousins.
And so you have it.
Australia. Any questions?