Australia is huge but only has a population of about 20 million people. About 90% of those people live on 2.6% of the continent.
Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere, between the Indian Ocean and the southern Pacifc Ocean.
It has an area of 2,966,368 square miles, or 7,682,300 square kilometers.
The capital of Australia is Canberra.
Australia is divided into seven separate states: Queensland; New South Wales; South Australia; Victoria; Northern Territory, Western Australia; and Tasmania (the separate island off the south-east coast).
It also has two major mainland territories, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
Australia also has several minor territories; the federal government administers a separate area within New South Wales, the Jervis Bay Territory, as a naval base and sea port for the national capital.
Australia has the following, inhabited, external territories: Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and several mostly uninhabited external territories: Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands and the Australian Antarctic Territory.
The majority of rainfall falls in a thin strip along the coast, leaving the majority of the country arid and dry, vulnerable to droughts and bushfres.
Most of Australia is comprised of the "Outback" which generally refers to the harsh, desolate inland. The only thing saving this huge dry land from complete dessication is the Great Artesian Basin. This enormous round geological formation stretches over inland N.S.W, S.A, Qld and N.T. Beneath it are underground water supplies thought to be stored between 66-208 million years ago. Bore holes bring water to the surface and it’s supplied to livestock and humans.
Off the Queensland coast, the famous Great Barrier Reef stretches around 200km (1240 miles) from off Gladstone to the Gulf of Papua near New Guinea. It’s the largest coral reef on earth and is home to many different types of animals such as starfsh, sea anemones, fsh (including sharks), turtles, sea slugs and giant clams.
Sydney is the largest city with about 4 million people. Other large cities include Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Newcastle. Lake Eyre is Australia’s largest body of water – a dry saltwater lake in South Australia that covers 3,430 square miles.
The east coast of Australia is covered by tropical rainforest. The Great Dividing Range (a mountain range that runs north-south down the east coast) is what causes rain to fall on the east and blocks it from the dry inland, or Outback.
Australia claims the world’s largest monolith, Uluru (formerly Ayer’s Rock). It’s located almost smack-bang in the middle of Australia, in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This huge 348-metre red piece of sandstone is a sacred Aboriginal site and arguably Australia’s most famous landmark.