Facts About Australasia

  • The land area is 8,508,238 sq km. However the total sea area is much, much bigger.
  • Australia is the only country in the world which is also a continent in its own right.
  • The largest island is New Guinea which has a total area of 787,878 sq km. 458 World geography
  • Fraser Island, off Queensland, Australia, is the world’s largest sand island with a sand dune 120 km long.
  • Australasia is mostly tropical, with temperatures averaging 30°C in the north of Australia, and slightly lower on the islands where the ocean keeps the land cool.
  • New Zealand is only a few thousand kilometres from the Antarctic Circle at its southern tip. As a result of occupying this position New Zealand has only mild summers and cold winters.
  • Australasia’s highest peak is Mt Wilhelm on Papua New Guinea, 4300 m high.
  • The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living thing, 2027 km long. It is the only structure built by animals that is visible from space.
  • Australia was the first continent to break off from Pangaea (see continental drift) about 200 million years ago, and so has developed its own unique wildlife.
  • Australia sits on the Indian — Australian plate, which is moving very slowly north away from Antarctica. New Zealand sits astride the boundary (see converging plates) with the Pacific plate.
  • Apart from the landmass of Australia, much of Australasia is open water.