Western Australia, Australia - Stein Travel
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Western Australia

The state of Western Australia is big, bold and beautiful, and despite covering one third of Australia has a population of fewer than two million. It has miles of coastline washed by the Indian Ocean and a range of climatic zones from tropical through to temperate. The northern area is raw and harsh; the south is characterised by rolling green pasture; to the west is the ocean while to the east lie golden wheat fields.

The true richness of Western Australia lies in its huge mineral deposits - gold, diamonds, iron ore, bauxite, nickel, natural gas and oil lie under the ground and provide employment for much of the population. The goldfields of Kalgoorlie still produce a couple of thousand of ounces of gold a day. The young and vital state capital, Perth, was built on the mineral wealth of the state and offers a leisurely lifestyle centred on its lovely beaches for its large immigrant population.

Western Australia is big on extremes; it boasts 8,000 species of wildflower, more than any other region in the world. It has the smallest church, the largest casino and the narrowest pub in the Southern Hemisphere. Its rocky coastline has also been responsible for plenty of tragedy - more than 700 vessels have come to grief here since the first Dutch sailors arrived on the shores of the state in the 17th century.

Information & Facts

Climate

Due to its large size, Western Australia has one of the most diverse climates in the country, divided into three main climatic zones: tropical, semi-arid and Mediterranean. The north is tropical, characterised by a sunny dry season (April to September) and a wet season (October to March) with its humidity, heavy rains and thunderstorms. The dry season has ideal temperatures, with hot days and mild evenings. The central part of the state falls within the semi-arid zone and consists mostly of deserts. A temperate, Mediterranean climate characterises the south where the summers are warm and dry and the winters mild and wet. Perth lies within this zone and the hot summer days are cooled by the strong afternoon sea breeze. Perth has a very low rate of humidity. Winters (June to August) are mild, with the wettest month being July.

Language

English is the official language of Australia.

Money

The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

Time

GMT +8 (GMT +9 from last Sunday in October to last Sunday in March).

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