Geography/Oceania

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Oceania

Oceania includes Australia and various islands scattered around the Pacific, most of them northeast of Australia and southwest of Hawaii.

Australia[edit]

Australia is the smallest of the continents, but it is still large. Of all the continents, Australia has the smallest difference between the highest and lowest points; its highest peak is the lowest-lying of all the high points of continents (see Wikivoyage: Seven Summits). The highest point stands well under 10,000 feet (3,000 m) and is more like the Appalachians in height than, for example, the Rockies, the Himalayas, or the Andes.

In general, Australia is not a mountainous continent, and on average is probably flatter than Africa. The "Great Dividing Range", so Australia's main mountain range is called, is not comparable to other great dividing ranges like the Rockies or the Sierra Nevada. However, for Australia, the Great Dividing Range is a very important mountain range that divides the east from the west. (It should be noted, though, that the Great Dividing Range is on the eastern end of the Australian continent, which is wetter than most of the continent.) Much of the core of Australia, especially toward the south, is dry and the main "lake", Lake Eyre, is not really a lake at all. Instead it is a low-lying (below sea level), dry region of the continent that occasionally receives some rainfall; as a result of, the lowest parts of the basin fill with water temporarily, until evaporation removes it. Much of Australia consists of mostly flat terrain, which is referred to as "the Outback".[1]

Mainland Australia is entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, unlike Africa and South America, although the northern tips of Australia are fairly close to the equator.

There are some rivers and creeks in Australia; the main ones are the Murray River, the Darling River, and Cooper Creek. However, there are quite a few short, tropical rivers in the north, especially the far north, of the continent.

Islands of Oceania[edit]

Oceania, however, includes many islands as well as Australia. The two main islands of New Zealand—the North Island and the South Island—and the various smaller islands that surround them are a good example. The highest point in New Zealand is on the southern side, is Mt. Cook, and has an elevation above 10,000 feet (3,000 m). New Zealand also possesses a couple smaller (but still quite large) island groups that are remote by comparison. Among these are the Chatham Islands and the Auckland Islands; the latter group, the Auckland Islands, includes two main islands, Auckland Island and Adams Island[2], is quite long, but as of 2019 is uninhabited.

There are many other islands in Oceania: among these is the large island of New Guinea, which is home to mountains even larger than Mt. Cook, and some groups of much smaller islands. These smaller islands are scattered across the Pacific, reaching west as far as the Solomon Islands and reaching as far east as Easter Island. (Easter Island is actually so far east that it is part of Chile, a South American country.)

Although it is not a land feature, the Challenger Deep is an important feature in the Pacific Ocean near the Northern Mariana Islands—it is the deepest point in any ocean in the world. It's in the Marianas Trench, which is in the vicinity of Guam, a famous island in the Pacific.

Hawaiian Islands[edit]

The Hawaiian Islands do not fit easily into a category, but in this course they're placed in Oceania. The islands are volcanic, and among the volcanoes in the island group are Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea; these peaks are both between 10,000 feet (3,000 m) and 15,000 feet (4,600 m). Notable islands in the group include the island that's actually called Hawaii, the largest of the islands; Maui; Oahu; and Kauai. The big island, Hawaii, is triangular in shape.

Quiz[edit]

Complete the Oceania quiz.

See also[edit]

References[edit]