It is one of many endemic animals of Australia – like koala or kangaroo, it lives only on this continent. It is a very special animal: although it is a mammal, it lays eggs! This semi-aquatic creature has a very weird appearance. It is featured on the reverse of the Australian 20-cent coin. Australia has lots of endemic species: 83% of mammals, 89% of reptiles, 90% of fish and 93% of amphibians are endemic.
ULURU (Ayer’s Rock)
You can see it in the centre of Australia and you will find it very strange: on the flat ground, the huge red rock looks really mysterious. It is said to have been created by two little boys playing with clay… During the day it changes colour when light changes. The sandstone rock is sacred to the Aboriginal people of the area – the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytratjara. The rock is 346 metres high and more than 8 kilometers around. It has waterholes, springs, caves and ancient paintings. You can climb the rock but it is difficult and only people who are fit and healthy can do it. Don’t ever take stones from the area – who does it will be cursed and will suffer misfortune.
It is a giant Kauri tree in New Zealand, named after the Māori forest god – the biggest existing kauri tree. It’s trunk is 4.4 meters in diameter and its height – 51meters. The kauri trees can live 2000 years – or more!
Taking a taxi in England is adventure in time. The black cabs are old-fashioned and beautiful. The black cabs – traditional English taxis are traditionally called “Hackney carriages”. They date from 1662 where they really applied to carriages – but horse-drawn! Look at the signage on the top – when it is on, the cab is busy. When it is off – try to catch the black beauty and feel the real spirit of England.
The Aborigines are indigenous Australians. They came to Australia 40,000 years ago, probably from Asia. They hunted for kangaroos, fishes and collected fruit and nuts. They have a dark complexion, curly hair, long head and broad nose. When they hunted, they used some special signs (they had to be silent). their mythodology is connected with the so called dreamtime – a mythical period before the creation of the world. According to this mythodology, all living creatures are interrelated, they form a big system. Aborigines living in Australia have had the right to vote only since the 1980s.
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
Perhaps the most famous building in the world, this pearl of expressionist modern design of the 20th century is situated in the harbour of Sydney, Australia. It consists of a series of shells made of concrete, all shells are cut from one hemisphere. The roofs (although they seem to be simply white) are covered with 1,056 million of glossy and matt tiles. It was intended to be a cultural centre and you can find them, among others, the Concert Hall for 2,679 seats with the largest mechanical organ (10,000 pipes), the Opera Theatre for 1,547 seats) and the Drama Theatre. The building was designed by a Danish architect, Jorn Utzon and opened in 1973.
THE LONGEST GEOGRAPHICAL NAME IN THE WORLD
It is a word in the language of the Maoris in New Zealand. Koauauotamateapokaiwhennakitanatahu is the name of a hill in the North Island.
A giant flute, one of the oldest musical instruments of the world. The masters of the instrument are Aborigines, who have always used it for tribal ceremonies. The instrument has been always made in the same way: from the branches of trees (e.g. eucalyptus) with the inside parts eaten out by termites.
These can be seen in Canada. They are gint sculptures carved from big trees. The name “totem” menas “being related to someone” – and totem poles very often tell stories of families. They are also used to commemorate some special events or to celebrate cultural beliefs. They are often very colourful.
This flightless, small bird is endemic to New Zealand. It is nocturnal – is active at night. Its highly developed sense of smell helps him find food at night. It’s got a very long beak and his nostrils are at the end of the beak!
THE MAORI PEOPLE
They are indigenous people of New Zealand and have their own language and culture. They come from Polynesia and they came to the shores of the North Island about the year 800 A.D. They came with seven canoes with sails. Each canoe was the beginning of one tribe. They are famous for their ritual dance – Haka – performed by the warriors before the battle to show strength and frighten the enemy. Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora! I can die! I can die! I can live! I can live! – sing the Maoris.
Where you are in England, especially in Devon or Cornwall, you can notice very strange houses – they seem to be taken from a fairy world! They’ve got black, roofs with smooth edges. These are thatched houses, the roof is covered with wheat straw or water reed. There are almost 100,000 thatched roofs in the UK and, although this methos is not only a bit old-fashioned, but also more expensive from modern methods, traditional British people more and more often decide for this option – which is good because they are paradise for the tourists.