Geography of Australia

Area: 7,682,395 sq km

Coastline: 25,800km

Capital: Canberra

The term ‘Australia’ is derived from Terra Australis, the name given to a southern landmass whose existence geographers deduced before it was discovered. Papua New Guinea (to the north) and New Zealand (to the east) are Australia’s closest neighbours. To the south lie the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.

The Commonwealth of Australia is a Federation with six states – New South Wales (state capital Sydney), Victoria (Melbourne), Queensland (Brisbane), South Australia (Adelaide), Western Australia (Perth) and Tasmania (Hobart) – and two territories, Northern Territory (capital Darwin) and the Australian Capital Territory, where the federal capital, Canberra, is situated. Australia also has external territories (described in the profiles following this one). These have small populations or are uninhabited and, apart from the vast Australian Antarctic Territory, are small islands.