Australia Oceania


Australia and New Zealand

Australia Oceania

Australia Oceania


9,008,500(km2) / 3,478,200 (mi2)

Highest Point:
Puncak Jaya (4,884m / 16,024f)

Lowest Point:
Lake Eyre (-15m / -49f)

Australia is the smallest continent on Earth with a surface area of 8.560.000 square kilometers. After Antarctica, Australia is also the most sparsely populated, with only 2,5 inhabitants per square kilometer. That is because the midland consists of deserts. Those extensive areas are infertile and dry. The continent is located south east of Asia and is enclosed by the Indian and the Pacific Ocean. The continent of Australia has a few different climates. The north has a subtropical climate, because it is close to the equator. The south is closer to the south pole and therefore has chilly summers and cold winters.

In 1606 Australia was discovered by a VOC ship lead by Willem Janszoon. He found dry and infertile ground and hostile natives. When their food supply exhausted they sailed back to the Netherlands. In 1770 the British explorer James Cook discovered the east coast. He took possession of the land, in the name of the British, and called it New South Wales. Because America was much closer and had much more to offer, Australia wasn’t really used until 17 years later. Then the British started bringing prisoners to Australia. There are still families in Australia whose ancestors were brought to Australia as British prisoners. The settlement that was built for the first load of prisoners was called Sydney, after the minister that set up the penal colony. The original Australian inhabitants are the Aboriginals. They lived in tribes and were hunters and gatherers. They had their own language, art, laws, religion and even instruments (like the didgeridoo). When the British came, many Aboriginals died. Not only in battles for land, but also by diseases that the British brought and they had no resistance to. A large number of the natives chose to live together with the ‘immigrants’ and their descendants still live in Australia. The diverse landscape of Australia makes it an ideal destination for a road-trip vacation. Australia has a fantastic nature with both extremes: rain forests and deserts for tourists to visit, where unique animals, like koala’s, yellow-eyed penguins, kangaroos and wombats can be spotted in the wild. Besides all that Australia has great beaches and famous tourist attractions like Kakadu National Park, Fraser Island, Ocean Road and Gold Coast. Probably even better known is the Great Barrier Reef, famous for the abundance of marine life (sharks, turtles and vibrant corals) and world-class diving opportunities. Besides the natural beauty, there are also interesting cities, like Sydney, which is the largest and oldest city in Australia. Different internet polls point out that Sydney is the favorite city for international travelers. Famous about Sydney is its harbor and its opera house, but there are also an amazing bridge and beautiful parks. Another city in Australia that made the top 10 is Melbourne and the city of Perth should not be forgotten as well. While Canberra is the capital of Australia, it is nowhere near as popular (amongst tourists) as the cities mentioned above. But it’s a good destination for people that love museums or one the many festivals the city hosts.


American Samoa, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna,