Geography of Australia

Australia is the world's smallest continent and the sixth largest country in the world with Canberra being its capital city. The Australian geography is a diverse one ranging from tropical and temperate forests, deserts to snow capped mountains of Tasmania. This island continent is located south of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. A distinguishing feature of Australian geography is its population scarcity and is renowned for its deserted outposts. Majority of its population is concentrated on the eastern coastal plain and southeastern coast. Australia enjoys climatic variations owing to its size.

Physical Features

  • At latitude of 27-degree south to the equator, located between the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, the geography of Australia covers a total area of 7,686,850 square km.
  • The Australian coastline covers a total area of 25,760 kilometers which includes the Exclusive Economic Zone of 8,148,250 square kilometers devoid of any land borders.
  • Western Australia constitutes one- third of the country's land mass and includes landscape variations like, Kimberley in the extreme north and the Pilbara in the northwest.
  • The Western Plateau region which comes under the western half of Australia is normally flat and convoluted by mountain ranges like the Hamersley Range, the Musgrave Range and the MacDonnell Range.
  • Near the eastern coast of Australia lies the Great Diving Range or the Eastern Highlands, which separates the eastern coastal plain from the outback.
  • The Central Lowlands located between the Western Plateau and the Eastern Highlands, comprises of the Great Artesian Basin and the largest river systems in Australia namely Lake Eyre Basin and Murray Darling-Basin.
  • Off the northeastern Coast of Australia lies the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef complex. The Great Barrier Reef is presently the world's largest living structure.
  • Located 200 km south of the eastern side of Australia, is the state of Tasmania which includes the island of Tasmania and other surrounding islands.

Climatic Conditions:

  • Australia experiences a wide range of climatic variations owing to its size. It generally varies between arid to semiarid. Almost one third of the continent lies in the tropical zone while the rest in the temperate zone.
  • The coldest regions are found in the south-eastern corner of mainland and Tasmania. Rainfall in Australia is characterized by its variable nature combined with recurrent droughts and floods.

Wild Life and Plants:

  • Australian geography is marked by its isolation from the other continents, which is why it sustains many plants and animals that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. Distinctive animals include the kangaroos, koala, platypus, and echidna.
  • The surrounding waters of the Great Barrier Reef are home to a variety of fishes and aquatic mammals. Both edible and non edible fishes are aplenty.
  • Almost 70 species of sharks are found. Besides these, there are 2 species of crocodiles and lizards exceeding 500 species. Almost 751 known species of birds are found in Australia alone.
  • In Australia there are 22,000 species of plants, of which over 90 percent grow naturally there.


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