Many people don’t realize how many different contrasting experiences are available in Australia. After millions of years of isolation almost all the animals are unique, based largely on marsupials, (kangaroos, wallabies) but having some of the most unusual mammals (duct bill platypus, Echidna). These are the most primitive mammals known who have fur but also lay eggs. Some care is needed because Australia also has some of the most venomous insects and snakes.
Most of the fertile land is on the eastern seaboard, running in a crescent from tropical Darwin, down to temperate Tasmania, but most of the interior is red iron desert. You can travel for hours without seeing a tree, feature or another person. Yet, right in the middle of Australia, is Ayer’s rock, which is not just one of the most famous physical landmarks, but is also a heritage site for the Aborigines, who somehow manage to live in this desolate, parched land.
In the north, Australia is a tropical wilderness. There are unexpected and delightful valleys and oasis, jungles, deltas, swamps, with spectacular scenery just hundreds of feet below the desert. The scenery is the equal of anything to be found in the grand canyon, without the single scale but with the delight of something unexpected around every bend.
On the coasts, most of the population lives in ultra modern, sophisticated cities. From Sydney and Melbourne on the east coast, to Perth on the western. In the interior, the main science of civilization are enormous cattle and sheep farms, as large as anything in Texas; measured in square miles. There are concentrations all over the country of mineral wealth, which is currently driving an economic boom. You can dig for your own opals in the interior, or pan for gold. The real wealth is in the huge deposits of iron, coal, bauxite, uranium, these sights are like something out of a science fiction book.
The scale of these things, completely isolated in the desert is worth a trip in itself. If you go to Australia make sure you allow enough time to see more than one aspect of the country.