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Countries of Australia and Oceania

Aerial view of Wallis Island, Micronesia
An aerial view of Wallis Island (in the background). The French territory of Wallis and Futuna Islands is situated in the South Pacific Ocean, west of Samoa and northeast of Fiji.
Image: Anna Vinet


Conventionally there are four main geographical regions or subregions in Oceania.

Australia/New Zealand Melanesia Micronesia Polynesia


Map of Oceania
Oceania, the Ocean-continent. The vast expanse of water between Asia and America with an area of 100 million square kilometers, is home to countless archipelagos and more than 10,000 islands. Due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion, many of the low-lying reef islands are threatened to be submerged.

Some Facts about Australia and Oceania

There are a variety of definitions of Oceania. The most plausible is to refer to the vast regions, island territories and adjacent seas in the Pacific Ocean, east of Maritime Southeast Asia and Australia and west of South America. (see the map below).

How many countries are there in Oceania?
There are 14 independent countries and several dependent territories (see the list below).

Oceania covers an area of approximately 100 million square kilometers, this is about one-fifth of Earth's surface area.

The water-continent includes more than 10,000 islands. With a total land area (excluding Australia, but including Papua New Guinea and New Zealand) of approximately 822,800 km² (317,700 sq mi), it is slightly larger than Turkey or somewhat smaller than half of Alaska.

By far the largest country by area is Australia with 7,692,024 km², followed by Papua New Guinea with 462,840 km² and New Zealand (270,467 km²).

The smallest independent country in Oceania is the island nation of Nauru, it covers an area of 21 km² (8 sq mi).


Map of the Australien Continent
Map of Australia

Australia is the smallest of the seven continents on Earth.

The first people to discover and settle Australia about 50,000 years ago were the ancestors of the Aboriginal Australians.

The discovery by the Europeans was a long time coming. It was not until 1606 that Dutch and Spanish explorers landed on the continent. In 1770 James Cook, a colorful figure in British colonial history, was in search for the predicted Great South Land. He came across a vast stretch of unknown land when he arrived on the east coast of Australia, and in the usual blunt British fashion, he claimed the territory for the British Crown.

Between 1788 and 1868 the British used Australia as a penal colony. Australia became independent from the UK in several stages, only on the 3rd March 1986, Australia achieved complete independence from Britain.

Area of Australia
Including the adjacent island of Tasmania, Australia covers an area of 7,692,024 km² (2,969,907 sq mi), which corresponds to about 5.6% of Earth's landmass. In comparison, Australia is slightly smaller than the contiguous United States. One country, Australia, occupies the continent.

Map of the Regions in Oceania
Map of regions in Oceania: Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Australasia
The map shows the various, partly overlapping regions of Oceania: Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Australasia, as well as the parallel of latitude 23°26ʹ south, known as the Tropic of Capricorn. Depicted on the map is also the course of the International Date Line (IDL) along the 180th meridian (180° longitude), with diversions to pass around some island groups such as Kiribati.

Largest city

Australia/New Zealand

Panoramic view of the Sydney skyline seen across Sydney Harbour from Kirribilli
Panoramic view of the Sydney skyline seen across Sydney Harbour from Kirribilli. Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and Oceania.
Image: Diliff
Australia/New Zealand sometimes referred to as Australasia.

Australia is known as the smallest continent on Earth. The country has an area of 7,692,000 km² (2,969,900 sq mi), making it slightly smaller than the contiguous United States. According to its population clock, 25,479,630 people live in Australia. (2019). [1]

New Zealand is a geographically isolated island nation in the southern Pacific, situated about 2,000 km (1,250 mi) southeast of Australia's east coast. 4.7 million people live in New Zealand (in 2019) [2]. The country consists of two main islands, known as the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui), and the South Island (Te Waipounamu).

Australia/New Zealand
Australia 24,500,000 Map of Australia Canberra - Sydney
New Zealand 4,700,000 Map of New Zealand Wellington - Auckland


East Rennell, the largest raised coral atoll in the world is part of the Solomon Islands
East Rennell official website, a World Heritage Site, makes up the southern third of Rennell Island, the southernmost island in the Solomon Island group in the western Pacific. The largest raised coral atoll in the world is mostly covered with dense tropical forest.
Image: © UNESCO / Robbert Casier
Melanesia is a region in the western Pacific Ocean to the east and south of New Guinea Island; its northern boundary is the Equator. The area includes the island of New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, four independent countries: Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea, and the French dependency of New Caledonia. Many islands of Melanesia are of volcanic origin and belong to the Pacific Ring of Fire.

In 2019 an estimated 10.7 million people live in Melanesia.
Fiji 919,000   Suva
New Caledonia 283,000 Map of New Caledonia Nouméa
Papua New Guinea 8,587,000 Map of Papua New Guinea Port Moresby
Solomon Islands 635,000   Honiara
Vanuatu 288,000   Port-Vila


Archaeological site of Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia
Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia official website is an archaeological complex and a World Heritage Site on the island of Pohnpei. The urban settlement with stone palaces, temples, and tombs was built between 1200 and 1500 CE; it consisted of a number of small artificial islands linked by a network of canals and bridges.
Image: Montgomery Lion
Micronesia is a region in the western Pacific Ocean, north of Melanesia and north and west of Polynesia; its southern boundary is largely along the Equator. The area includes the Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the western portion of the Kiribati archipelago.

In 2019 an estimated 537,000 people live in Micronesia.
Guam 167,000 Map of Guam Hagåtña (Agana)
Kiribati 100,000   Tarawa
Marshall Islands 54,000   Majuro
Micronesia (Federated States of) 102,289   Palikir
Nauru 11,288   ---
Northern Mariana Islands 52,300   Saipan
Palau 17,661   Ngerulmud, Melekeok


Rangiroa Atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia
Entrance to the lagoon of the Rangiroa Atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia in the southern Pacific Ocean. Rangiroa is located about 340 km northeast of Tahiti.
Image: Derek Keats
The term Polynesia refers to a vast region of the central Pacific Ocean to the east of Micronesia and Melanesia. The ocean section contains the easternmost of the Pacific islands, including New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Hawaii, the Marquesas Islands, Samoa, and French Polynesia.

In 2019 an estimated 2 million people live in Polynesia (including Hawaii but not New Zealand).
American Samoa 56,000 Tutuila Map Pago Pago
Cook Islands 18,000   Avarua
  Easter Island (Chile) 7,750   Hanga Roa
French Polynesia (Tahiti) 276,000   Papeete
Hawaii flag Hawaii 1,430,000 Map of Hawaii Honolulu
Niue 2,000   Alofi
Pitcairn 50   Adamstown
Samoa 199,000 Map of Samoa Apia
Tonga 110,000   Nuku'alofa
Tuvalu 11,000   Funafuti

Population source:

More about Oceania

Oceania's major Regions and Subregions
The island world of Oceania is divided into:

Northwest end of Lake Wakatipu, South Island, New Zealand
Northwest end of Lake Wakatipu, a long, narrow, roughly north–south lake in the South Island of New Zealand. the Humboldt mountain range to the left.
Image: Avenue
Australia, a country and Earth's smallest continent.
Zealandia, a microcontinent which includes the island country of New Zealand.
New Guinea, the second largest island on the planet (after Greenland),
The Pacific Islands, thousands of islands in the Pacific Ocean divided into Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

An estimated 42.6 million people live in Oceania/Australia; about 0.54 % of the world's population (7.8 billion).
The most populous countries in Oceania are Australia with 25.6 million people, Papua New Guinea with 9 million, and New Zealand with 5 million residents (in 2020).
(Source: UN World Population Prospects)

Largest Metropolitan Areas
Largest cities in Oceania by population are
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Auckland; except Auckland, all cities are located in Australia.

Major Physiographic Features of Oceania
Rabaul caldera on the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Rabaul township with Rabaul volcano (in the background) on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula on the island of East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
Image: JulesR
Major physiographic regions of Australia/Oceania includes:
The southwestern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Great Barrier Reef, Australia's Outback, the Great Dividing Range in Australia, the North Island Volcanic Plateau and the Southern Alps in New Zealand, the rain forest covered New Guinea Highlands and the coral islands of Micronesia and Polynesia.

Highest Point:
Puncak Jaya or Carstensz Pyramid in the Papua Province of Indonesia on the island of New Guinea is at 4,884 m (16,024 ft) the highest mountain in Oceania.
Mauna Kea at 4,207.3 m (13,803 ft) above sea level on the island of Hawaii is Oceania's second-highest peak.
Mount Kosciuszko at 2,228 m (7,310 ft) in New South Wales is the highest mountain in Australia.

The Great Dividing Range, also known as the Eastern Highlands is a 3,500 km long mountain range along the eastern coast of Australia. The highest peak is Mount Kosciuszko at 2,228 m (7,310 ft). Puncak Jaya (4,884 m) is the highest mountain in the Makoe Mountains, a section of the New Guinea Highlands, the mountain chain stretches almost the entire island.

Largest Lake:
The largest lake in Oceania/Australia is theoretically Lake Eyre in South Australia, a seasonal lake with a surface area between 8,000 and 9500 km².

Longest River:
The longest single river in Oceania is the Murray at 2508 km. [3] For a long distance, the river forms the border between the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales.

About 35% of the Australian continent is arid and inhospitable. Most of the country's interior, known as the Outback, receives so little rain that it is practically a desert.
There are several named deserts in Australia; the largest by area is the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia and South Australia. Other deserts are the Great Sandy Desert, the Tanami Desert, the Simpson and the Gibson deserts, and the Strzelecki Desert.

 Languages of Oceania:
Many different languages were spoken in Oceania before the arrival of the Europeans. The major languages spoken today in Oceania are based on English, some French-based creole, some Japanese, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, Melanesian Pidgin, Hawaiian, Polynesian languages, Tahitian, and Maori.

Tourists on camels - a camel caravan at sunset on Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia
Tourists on camels - the popular sunset camel ride at Cable Beach, 7 km (4 mi) west of Broome in Western Australia.

keywords: countries of Oceania, population of Oceania, destination Oceania, travel Oceania, capitals Oceania, Australia, Zealandia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia


More about Oceania

Map of Australia/Oceania
Reference Map of the Australia/Oceania region.

Searchable Maps of Countries and Capital Cities of Australia/Oceania

profile Languages of Oceania Melanesian pidgin, Melanesian-Polynesian Languages.

 Flags of Oceania



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