Located in the Southern Hemisphere and surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia is comprised of the world’s smallest continent and number of small, nearby islands. Neighboring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the French dependency of New Caledonia to the northeast, and New Zealand to the southeast.
Australia's biggest attraction is its natural beauty. The landscape varies from endless sun baked horizons to dense tropical rainforest to chilly southern beaches. Scattered along the coasts, its cities blend a European enthusiasm for art and food with a laid-back love of sport and the outdoors. Visitors expecting to see an opera in Sydney one night and meet Crocodile Dundee the next will have to re-think their grasp of geography in this huge country. It is this sheer vastness that gives Australia - and its diverse population - much of its character.