The continent of Australia includes the mainland of the country Australia and the island regions of New Guinea, Tasmania, and Seram. During ice ages, when much of the world’s water was frozen in glaciers, the Australian mainland was connected by land bridges to these islands. Australia is the smallest of the 7 continents but is home to the sixth largest country which is known by the same name, Australia. The continent gets its name from the latin word ‘australis’ which translates to mean southern. As a result of the continent’s geography and size, it is often referred to as an “island” continent. Australia is surrounded by two oceans. The Indian ocean is found on the western side and the pacific ocean is found on the eastern side.
Australia is the most isolated and remote continent of the 7 continents and has been least influenced by migrations of people, plants, and animals. This had led to Australia having a wide variety of animals and plants which are unique in the world such as the kangaroo, koala, dingo, wallaby, and wombat. Of the 5,700 hundred species of animals on the continent of Australia, more than 80% are unique and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The continent is also home to the world’s largest reef and one of the greatest natural wonders, The Great Barrier Reef.
The continent first was inhabited by man nearly 45,000 years ago. European inhabitants came onto the Australian landmass in the 1700’s. Australia is one of the least populated continents yet the country of Australia is 12th largest economy in the world.
|Area||3.27 million mi²|
|Largest City||Sydney, Australia|
|Cook Islands||Avarua||14,974||240 km2|
|East Timor||Dili||1,066,409||14,874 km2|
|Kiribati||South Tarawa||106,461||726 km2|
|The Marshall Islands||Majuro||56,086||181 km2|
|Nauru||Yaren District||9,945||21 km2|
|New Zealand||Wellington||4,518,330||270,534 km2|
|Papua New Guinea||Port Moresby||7,398,500||462,840 km2|
|The Solomon Islands||Honiara||581,344||28,896 km2|
|Vanuatu||Port Vila||264,652||12,189 km2|