Australia is the smallest continent and the largest island of the world. Hence, it is also called 'Island continent'. It comprises of mainland Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, New Britain, and small neighbouring islands (such as Misool and Waigeo, just to the northeast of the Maluku Islands at the edge of its continental shelf). It was discovered in 1770 by James Cooke, who was an English sailor. It lies completely in the Southern Hemisphere.
1. The northern half of Australia is situated in the tropical zone and the southern half is situated in the temperature zone.
2. The Tropic of Capricorn passes through the middle of this continent.
3. Two-third part of Australia is covered with plateau which is known as ‘Western Plateau’, where rainfall is very scanty and deserts have developed.
4. The eastern part of Australia is covered with chain of high lands from the Cape York to the island of Tasmania which is known as ‘Great Dividing Range’.
5. There is a Coral Reef along the eastern coast of Australia. It is known as 'Great Barrier Reef'. It is more than 1900 km long. The northern part of the eastern side of this coral reef is very dangerous for the vessels.
5. Mt. Kosciusko is the highest peak in Australia. Mt Cook is the highest peak of New Zealand.
6. Major Rivers: Murray River, Murrumbidgee River, Darling River, Lachlan River, Warrego River, Cooper Creek, and Paroo River.
7. River Murray is the longest river in Australia. Waikato River is the longest river in New Zealand.
8. Major Waterfalls: Montezuma Falls, Tia Falls, Russel Falls, Mackenzie Falls, Blencoe Falls, Fitzroy Falls, Ellenborough Falls, Mitchel Falls, Wallaman Falls, and Jim Jim Falls.
9. There are 41 major lakes and over 4000 smaller lakes in the continent. Lake Taupo is a crater lake and one of the beautiful lakes in New Zealand which was formed by the violent volcanic eruption. Lake Eyre, officially named Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, is a large salt water lake in Australia.
10. Major Plateaus: Arnhem Plateau, Atherton Tableland, Australian Shield, Dorrigo Plateau,Einasleigh Uplands, Mawson Plateau, Mount Carbine Tableland, Narrow Neck Plateau, Northern Tablelands, Shipley Plateau,Western Plateau, and Woronora Plateau.
11. Major Desert: Great Victoria Desert, Great Sandy Desert, Tanami Desert, Simpson Desert, Gibson Desert, Little Sandy Desert, Strzelecki Desert, Sturt Stony Desert, Tirari Desert, and Pedirka Desert.
12. Major Food Crops: wheat, barley, canola, sorghum, oats, rice, pulses, and corn (maize).
13. Major Cash Crops: Coffee, cocoa, tea, sugarcane, cotton, and spices
14. Major Strait: Barker Passage, Bass Strait, Clarence Strait (Northern Territory), Dundas Strait, Endeavour Strait, Investigator Strait, The Rip, South Passage (Houtman Abrolhos), Suda Bay Passage, and Torres Strait.
15. Time Zone: There are three main time zones. It is equal to Greenwich Meantime plus 10 hours (GMT +10).
16. Climate: The northern section of Australia has a more tropical influenced climate, hot and humid in the summer, and quite warm and dry in the winter, while the southern parts are cooler with mild summers and cool, sometimes rainy winters.
17. Ethnic Groups and Language: 90% are European, 7% are Asian, 2% are aboriginal and rest are related to the people of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and others from Southeast Asia and Australasia. 80% are English speaker.
18. Port City: New Castle, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
19. Main trees: Palm, bamboo, Birch, Deodar and Eucalyptus.
20. There are two types of grasslands are found in the continent-tropical and temperate. These are called 'Savana'and 'Downs'respectively. In the Savanna grasslands, Salt Brush and Mulga bushes are found. Also, Eucalyptus trees grow here and there in the Downs. Hence, the Downs are called the 'Parkland of Australia'.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid.