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Here are some facts about the geography of Australia:

  • Covering more than 7 million square kilometers, Australia is the world's largest island and the 6th largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the United States of America and Brazil. Its territory is about 50% greater than Europe, excluding the former USSR. Australia's territory is divided into 6 states and 3 territories:
    • The States are:
      • South Australia
      • Western Australia - WA is the largest Australian State, with a superficy of 2.6 million square kilometers
      • New South Wales - NSW was the first Australian State to be founded (in 1788) and it is nowadays its most populatous State
      • Queensland
      • Tasmania - Tasmania is Australia's smallest State
      • Victoria - Victoria is Australia's most densely populated State and its second most populous State
    • The Territories are:
      • Northern Territory
      • Australian Capital Territory - Enclaved within NSW, ACT was created in 1911, 2 years prior the foundation of Canberra.
      • Jervis Bay Territory
  • Mainland Australia measures up to 3983 kilometers from east to west, and up to 3 138 from north to south. Its nearest neighbours are Papua New Guinea (200 kilometers to the north), Timor Leste (640 kilometers to the north west), New Zealand (1920 kilometers to the east) and Antartica (2000 kilometers to the south). Due to its immensity, Australia cross 3 time areas and sits 8 to 11h ahead of UTC.
  • More than 70% of the Australians live in cities. Australia's capital is Canberra but it is only the 8th largest city in Australia, with a population of about 390 000 inhabitants. The 7 largest cities are :
    • Sydney (4.9 million inhabitants)
    • Melbourne (4.5 million)
    • Brisbane (2.3 million)
    • Perth (2.3 million)
    • Adelaide (1.3 million)
    • Gold Coast (620 000)
    • Newcastle (430 000).
  • Australia is a rather flat country. Its highest point is Mount Kosciuszko in New South Wales (2228 metres above sea level), while its lowest point is Lake Eyre in South Australia (15 metres below sea level). Unlike Europe and North America, where lanscapes date back to around 20 000 years ago, most of the Australian territory was formed many millions of years ago.
  • As an island, Australia has many beaches. About 80% of the Australians live within 50 kilometers of the coast! Australia is surrounded both by seas (Timor sea, Arafura sea, Coral sea and Tasman sea) and oceans (Indian ocean and Pacific ocean). Its coastline is estimated at about 36 000 kilometers! Australia has 8 222 islands within its maritime borders! Nine of them have a supercify of more than 1000 square kilometers:
    • Mainland Tasmania (TAS) - Tasmania is the only insular Australian State
    • Melville Island (NT)
    • Kangaroo Island (SA)
    • Groote Eylandt (NT)
    • Bathurst Island (NT)
    • Fraser Island (QLD) - Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island in the world
    • Flinders Island (TAS)
    • King Island (TAS)
    • Mornington Island (QLD).
  • Nearly 20% of the Australian territory is classified as desert, with the largest desert being the Great Victoria Desert (350 000km2) - which, contrary to what one might think, is not located in Victoria but in South Australia and Western Australia. About 70% of the continent (often refered to as the Australian Outback) receives under 500 mm of water per year, but Australia also have temperate regions in the South (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide) and tropical ones in the North (Cairns, Darwin). With such a huge diversity of climates, Australia displays a great variety of landscapes and is home to many species. Australia also has many rivers: the longest is the Murray River. Located in New South Wales and South Australia, this river has a length of 2375kms.

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