Nine Australians out of ten – mainly those of western origin – live in the great urban centres on the south-eastern and southern coasts of the country (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaid). On the west coast, the only big city is Perth. In the north, Darwin is the only big city. These big cities have more or less the same modern layout, with a business centre and their sky-scrapers, but also their parks and their gardens. Their model is Sydney, famous worldwide for its opera house and the 2000 summer Olympic Games. Around these urban centres, large suburbs stretch over dozens of kilometres and constitute the heart of Australia, with their detached houses and their gardens. As they mainly on the coasts, Australians have developed an addiction to sea sports. One of the most famous is surfing, a truly national sport whose enthusiasts are very numerous.
But as the last summer Olympic Games showed, Australians are also very good swimmers, navigators, cyclists, tennis players, beach volleyball players, etcThey won the last Rubgy World Cup as well as fame in the Cricket World Cup. Donald Horne, a famous Australian writer, even said, in a disillusioned way, that watching or fighting matches was really "fulfilling one's role as an Australian".
This taste for sports is indeed related to the pioneering spirit of Australians. To conquer one's place in a sometimes very hostile environment (venomous snakes, frequent climatic catastrophes, and endless deserts) was not easy and Australians had to develop abilities such as endurance and pugnacity. On arriving in Australia, the first settlers discovered an entirely new world and as they explored it, they created their own mythology, based on a respect for nature. Nature protection is an everyday concern for Australians, which explains why they were so indignant in 1995 when the French resumed their nuclear tests in New-Caledonia.