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Australian Outback

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In Australia, the term outback (or bush) is used to describe the semi-desert interior of the continent. The less arid parts are used for sheep or cattle farming - apart from this, scattered mining is the only economic activity in this vast and sparsely settled area.

Exact definitions of what areas can be considered "part of the Outback" tend to vary depending on the definer. To foreign tourists from more densely populated nations, the outback seems to begin at the city limits of Sydney or the Gold Coast. Australia's rural regions are far more sparsely populated than most other Western countries, and so tourists perceive what locals regard as fairly temperate, well-settled areas as indescribably remote. To residents of rural areas, the outback invariably begins at the next town down the road in the direction away from a major population center.

Over 90% of the Australian population lives in urban settlements on the coastal fringes. Despite this, the outback and the history of its exploration and settlement provides Austalians with a mythical backdrop, and stories of swagmen, squatters, outlaws such as Ned Kelly (though Ned Kelly spent virtually all his time in the relatively temperate Great Dividing Range) and so on are central to the national ethos of the country.

The outback is now one of the few places where Australian Aborigines still live in a more or less traditional way. Before European settlement, there were many more tribes along the coast.

Compare and contrast the bush.

The are many popular tourist attractions in the outback. Those include:

The outback is also criss-crossed by numerous historic tracks, roads and highways, including:

Outback Steakhouse (http://www.outback.com) is a Restaurant chain in the USA using the Australian Outback as the theme. The restaurants are decorated with Australian icons such as boomerangs, pictures of kangaroos, koalas etc. During Christmas season, some restaurants hang their Christmas trees upside down from the ceiling to emphasize their origin from "the land down under".

To see the Australian road train in the outback www.bulldogmarketing.com.au/trucks.htm or /rare.htm these are photos and one is of the 29 Trailer road train which one group of Australian operators put together as a challenge.

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