AUSTRALASIA AND OCEANIA

The sparsely populated continent of Australasia is made up of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and several nearby islands. It is the world’s smallest continent, but includes a range of landscapes from tropical rainforest and arid desert, to volcanoes and dry grasslands. Oceania consists of about 25,000 volcanic or coral tropical islands, scattered over a vast area of the Pacific Ocean. The islands are divided into three groups: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Some of the islands are mountainous and densely forested, and many are uninhabited.

FACTFILE: AUSTRALASIA & OCEANIA

Total land area: 3,285,048 sq miles (8,508,238 sq km)

Total population: 30.4 million

Number of countries: 14

Largest country: Australia 2,967,892 sq miles (7,686,850 sq km)

Smallest country: Nauru 8 sq miles (21 sq km)

Largest country population: Australia 19.5 million

Largest lake: Lake Eyre, Australia 3,700 sq miles (9,583 sq km)

Longest river: Murray-Darling, Australia 2,330 miles (3,750 km)

Highest point: Mt. Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea 14,794 ft (4,509 m)

Major desert: Great Victoria Desert, Australia

Largest coral reef: Great Barrier Reef, Australia 1,242 miles (2,000 km)

FACTFILE: MICRONESIA

PALAU

Capital city: Koror

MICRONESIA

Capital city: Palikir (Pohnpei Island)

MARSHALL ISLANDS

Capital city: Majuro

NAURU

Capital city: No official capital

KIRIBATI

Capital city: Bairiki (Tarawa Atoll)

FACTFILE: MELANESIA

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Capital city: Port Moresby

SOLOMON ISLANDS

Capital city: Honiara

VANUATU

Capital city: Port Vila

FIJI

Capital city: Suva

FACTFILE: POLYNESIA

TUVALU

Capital city: Fongafale (Funafuti Atoll)

SAMOA

Capital city: Apia

TONGA

Capital city: Nuku’alofa

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley