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Australian States & Territories

Australia is both a continent and a country. The nation is divided into six states and two mainland territories. Australia also encompasses thousands of surrounding islands and islets from Tasmania an island state the size of Ireland to small coral cays that dot the the Great Barrier Reef. Each mainland state is home to a city with over 1 million in population, The largest city is Sydney with about 4.5 million inhabitants with Melbourne coming in a close second. Perth the next biggest city is a modern metropolis to the west with Adelaide to the south. Both Brisbane and Gold Coast City are located in the subtropical east. Canberra is the capital city of Australia.

Northern Territory

Kings Canyon Australia

The Northern Territory, appropriately situated in the north of the country sits just beneath Asia. The tropical city of Darwin in the north is the biggest city here and the landscapes become increasingly arid as you head south toward Alice Springs, the second biggest city. Outside of these two populated areas, are wilderness areas and stations which are huge farms. The Territory as it is known has a number of important natural areas including Kakadu National Park, Katherine Gorge, Ayers Rock, and the Olgas. Read more


Dunk Island Queensland

Queensland is situated in the north eastern corner of Australia. Located in the tropical and subtropical climatic zones, this coupled with the best beaches in the country make it the holiday state. The largest cityBrisbane lies next to the coastal city of The Gold Coast. Of course the most famous coastal attraction is the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest reef and structure made from living organisms. At over 2000 km in length, there also exist nearly 1000 tropical islands. Besides coastal attractions Queensland has the oldenst f rainforest on Earth as well as the largest tract of sub-tropical rainforest in the world. Inland Queensland contains part of the Australian outback and area of desert and grasslands. Read more

New South Wales

Sydney Harbour

New South Wales is the most populous state in Australia. Located in the south-east of the country, between Victoria and Queensland it ranges in climate from temperate to sub-tropical and maritime to continental. New South Wales is renown for the picturesque Port Jackson, the main harbour in Australia's biggest city Sydney. This city houses around two thirds of the state's population and is famous for its nightlife, shopping, and beaches. The rest of the New South Wales coastline is packed with great beaches too as well as world-class surf breaks like Byron Bay. The Great Dividing Range to the west of the eastern seaboard is home to huge gorges, canyons, waterfalls, forests, and Australian wildlife. Read more

Australian Capital Territory

Canberra Australia

Contained within the state of New South Wales lies Australian Capital Territory, which is home to the nations capital city Canberra. This is one of a few planned capital cities in the world. The site was chosen before the first stone was laid. The reason had everything to do with the rivarly to be crowned the capital between Sydney and Melbourne. Canberra sits about midway between both these two cities. Read more


Twelve Apostles Victoria

Across the New South Wales border lies the state of Victoria. It is the smallest mainland state in the country and has the highest density of population. Australia's second largest city, Melbourne is located near the south coast of this state and is distinct from other Australian cities. Looking more like a city in Europre, Melbourne also has the world's largest Greek population outside of Athens, and a sizeable Italian population too. Melbourne is more about fashion than beaches, but there are some nice beaches in the suburb of St Kilda. Wthin a few hours you can also visit some of Australia's most spectacular coastline on the Great Ocean Road. The north of the state lies the Australian Alps, an area that is ideal for skiing in the winter. A separate group of mountains in the west of the state called the Grampians is a spectacular wilderness area. Read more

South Australia

Flinders Ranges Australia

If you continue west from Victoria you will eventually cross the border into South Australia. South Australia is bordered by the Southern Ocean and all the other mainland states. South Australia is sometimes referred to as the driest state in the driest continent on Earth. This is true as there are vast tracts of desert, but the southern tip of the state has a Mediterranean climate and receives enough rainfall to support a big city. It is precisely here that you will find Adelaide the capital city of South Australia and its surrounding wine region called the Barrossa Valley. In the north of the state lies the scenic Flinders Ranges. Read more

Western Australia

Perth Australia

Western Australia is the biggest state in Australia, covering the western third of the continent. Bordered by South Australia and the Northern Territory to the east, as well as the Indian Ocean to the west, it is the second largest state or territory in the world after the Sakha Republic in Russia. Perth, the capital city, is one of the world's most isolated cities being closer to the capital of Indonesia than to Sydney. Western Australia is still very much a frontier state, but Perth is an organised modern city. With some finest city beaches in the country, Perth also has huge wilderness parks even near the city centre. The city has a deserved reputation as Australia's sunniest city and many visitors consider Perth to be Australia's finest urban area. North of Perth lies vast areas of desert and mining towns. Each spring the desert comes to life with the greatest show of wild flowers on Earth. Read more


Russell Falls Tasmania

The island state of Tasmania lies south of Victoria, and sits on the same latitudes as central New Zealand. The state is roughly the size of Ireland, or Sri Lanka, and is one of the most mountainous islands on Earth. About one quarter of the island is protected wilderness, and this includes the world's largest tract of temperate rain forest. Waterfalls abound here and the eastern caostline has some spectacular coastline while the west is famous for its huge wilderness areas. The wildlife here is also unique with the Tasmanian Devil being the most famous animal.Tasmania's landscape and flora are often described as being a cross between Australia and the nearby country of New Zealand. Read more

NEXT: Australia City Travel Guides
OR: Australian State Travel Itineraries


Oceania photos, maps, & travel by country

OCEANIA: Maps ›› Photos ›› Travel ››

AUSTRALIA: Maps ›› Photos›› Travel ››

NEW ZEALAND: Maps ›› Photos ›› Travel ››

NEW CALEDONIA: Maps ›› Photos ›› Travel ››

TONGA: Maps ›› Photos ›› Travel ››

Author & photographer: David Johnson (Virtual Oceania)

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