Which Continent Is The Smallest In The World?

Australia is one of the world’s most developed and urbanized area in the world. Famous for beautiful beaches, lush national parks, unique wildlife and vibrant cities, it’s also the smallest continent in the world!

Australia is an island since it's surrounded by water but it is also large enough to be considered a continent, which makes Australia the largest island in the world—though technically since the island nation is technically a continent

Why Is Australia The Smallest Continent In The World?

Land Area

In terms of land area, the continent of Australia is the world's smallest continent. In total, it includes 2,967,909 square miles (7,686,884 square kilometers), which is slightly smaller than the country of Brazil as well as the contiguous United States. Keep in mind, though, this number includes the small island nations that surround it in the Pacific Island region of the globe.

Europe is nearly a million square miles larger as the second smallest continent, measuring at a total of 3,997,929 square miles (10,354,636 square kilometers) while Antarctica is the third smallest continent at approximately 5,500,000 square miles (14,245,000 square kilometers).

Which Continent Is The Smallest In The World?


When it comes to population, technically Australia is the second smallest continent. If we exclude Antarctica, then Australia is the smallest, and as a result, we might say that Australia is the smallest populated continent. After all, the 4,000 researchers on Antarctica only stay through the summer while 1,000 remain through the winter.

According to 2017 world population statistics, Oceania has a population of 40,467,040; South America of 426,548,297; North and Central America of 540,473,499; Europe of 739,207,742; Africa of 1,246,504,865; and Asia of 4,478,315,164.

Interesting Facts About Australia

*Australia is also the largest country without land borders and the world's six-largest country on earth.

*Australia is also known as an 'island continent' as it is surrounded by water on all sides.

*The official name of Australia is the Commonwealth of Australia.

*The continent of Australia is often called Sahul, Australinea or Meganesia to differentiate it from the country of Australia

*Australia lies entirely on the south of the equator and if often called the country "down under".

*The name Australia comes from the Latin word 'australis' meaning 'southern'.

*Of all the continents in the world, Australia stands at the top of wool production and import. This is because the sheep population in the world's smallest continent is 14 times that of its human population

*Austria is home to over 500 varieties of eucalyptus trees.

*Two-thirds of Australia is desert land.

*The world's largest coral reef -- the Great Barrier Reef -- is around 2000 kilometres long.

*The unique animals of Australia are -- kangaroo, emu, platypus.

Australia and Oceania

Australia ranks number two with just over 40 million residents in all of Oceania (which includes New Zealand).

Oceania represents a geographic region made up of islands of the Pacific Ocean which includes Australia, Papua New Guinea and excludes Indonesian New Guinea and the Malay Archipelago. However, others include New Zealand, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia as well as the U.S. island of Hawaii and the Japan island of the Bonin Islands in this geographic grouping.

Quite often, when referring to this southern Pacific region, people will use the term "Australia and Oceania" rather than adding Australia into Oceania. Additionally, the grouping of Australia and New Zealand is often referred to as Australiasia.

These definitions largely depend on the context of their use. For instance, the United Nations definition which only includes Australia and "unclaimed" independent territories is used for organized international relations and competitions like the Olympics, and since Indonesia owns part of New Guinea, that part is excluded from the definition of Oceania.

A Brief History Of Australia

Which Continent Is The Smallest In The World?
Captain James Cook - Financial Times

In terms of history, Australia was first inhabited perhaps 40,000 years ago by aboriginal peoples. During the Age of Exploration, the land was discovered and mapped by many Europeans including the Spanish, Dutch and English. However, Australia wasn't really explored until 1770 when Captain James Cook explored the east coast and claimed it for Great Britain. He named it New South Wales.

Mountains in Australia The first colony was established at Sydney by Captain Arthur Phillip on January 26, 1788. It was initially considered a penal colony. This was because many of the first settlers were criminals. Britain would sometimes send their criminals to the penal colony rather than jail. Oftentimes, the crimes that people committed were small or even made up to get rid of unwanted citizens. Slowly, more and more of the settlers were not convicts. Sometimes you will still hear people refer to Australia as being started by a penal colony.

Six colonies were formed in Australia: New South Wales, 1788; Tasmania, 1825; Western Australia, 1829; South Australia, 1836; Victoria, 1851; and Queensland, 1859. These same colonies later became the states of the Australian Commonwealth.

On January 1, 1901 the British Government passed an act to create the Commonwealth of Australia. In 1911, the Northern Territory became part of the Commonwealth.

The first federal Parliament was opened at Melbourne in May 1901 by the Duke of York. Later, in 1927, the center of government and parliament moved to the city of Canberra. Australia took part in both World War I and World War II allied with Great Britain and the United States.

That's enough with the history, let's dig deeper into this wonderful land's famous attractions!

Best Destinations In Australia

Which Continent Is The Smallest In The World?

South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand's largest island is a haven for outdoorsy types keen on soaking up the country's jaw-dropping scenery. Whether you're hiking around Lake Tekapo, bird-watching on the Otago Peninsula, stargazing from the University of Canterbury's Mount John Observatory, diving in Milford Sound or kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, you'll enjoy impressive panoramas. When you need a break from nature, check out Christchurch's eclectic street art or Dunedin's 19th-century Larnach Castle.

Which Continent Is The Smallest In The World?


Visitors travel from around the world to catch a glimpse of Tahiti's beautiful natural landscape, which features everything from tumbling waterfalls to soaring mountains. This French Polynesian island in the South Pacific is also home to unique stretches of sand, such as La Plage de Maui (with proximity to a shallow lagoon ideal for swimming and snorkeling), Papenoo Beach (a black sand beach that attracts surfers in droves) and Taharuu Beach (another black sand option that's popular with families).

Which Continent Is The Smallest In The World?


Part fast-paced metropolis, part laid-back beach town, Sydney welcomes travelers who want to spend their days sunbathing at Bondi and Coogee beaches, visiting the museums of Darling Harbour or climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. What's more, Sydney features cool neighborhoods like The Rocks and fun events, such as Vivid Sydney (a neon light and music show) and the Festival of the Winds (a kite-flying celebration). Plan ahead to catch a concert or performance at the world-renowned Sydney Opera House.

Which Continent Is The Smallest In The World?

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is easily one of the world's top natural wonders. Its sheer size and diversity of life continuously impress visitors. Even though you won't be able to see the entire reef, an air or boat tour, or snorkeling or diving excursion of this underwater marvel makes for an unforgettable vacation. For easy access to the reef and the world's oldest living tropical rainforest, base yourself in Cairns.

Which Continent Is The Smallest In The World?


The country’s second-largest metropolis can’t match Sydney’s sand or sunshine, but Melbourne makes up for it with coffee, culture, food and sport. The Victorian capital is Australia’s most cosmopolitan city, made up of moody laneways lined with urban art and hole-in-the-wall cafes, arty boutiques and galleries, a progressive dining scene, and sport. Lots and lots of sport.

Best Ways To Visit Australia

Which Continent Is The Smallest In The World?

By airplane

Flying is the best way to cover Australia’s large distances in a short time. Australia’s domestic airlines – including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Rex – serve all state capital cities and many regional cities, making it an easy way to travel between Australia's iconic destinations. Competition between domestic airlines means that some great value fares are available, especially if you book in advance.

By car

Australia has a vast network of well-maintained roads and some of the most beautiful road trips in the world. When travelling long distances, you'll find rest stops and service stations at regular intervals.

You’ll find car rental companies at major airports and central city locations; so hire a car, 4WD or caravan and hit the highway.

By public transport & Tourist bus service

Take the pressure off travelling around the city by utilising public transport and hop-on hop-off tourist buses. Services are inexpensive (children generally pay a concession fee) and will take you to all the major attractions without the hassle of finding parking. Some services, such as Melbourne’s City Circle Tram, are completely free! In Sydney, there are caps to weekly transport rates, so you will never pay more than the maximum weekly fare, regardless of how often you use the transport network. Most buses, metros, trains and trams can accommodate prams and other access requirements, making them a great option for getting around.

Which Continent Is The Smallest In The World?

By train

There are spectacular rail journeys in Australia, such as The Ghan and Indian Pacific, which sweep across the continent, offering comfort and a sense of nostalgic romance. The Indian Pacific travels between Sydney and Perth, stopping at Broken Hill, Adelaide and Kalgoorlie; the legendary Ghan travels between Adelaide and Darwin, taking in Australia’s Red Centre and the tropical Top End.

By farry

The Spirit of Tasmania operates a nightly passenger and vehicle ferry service between Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, and Devonport in Tasmania with extra services during peak periods. SeaLink ferries connect Cape Jervis in South Australia (approximately 108 kilometres/67 miles south of Adelaide) and Kangaroo Island several times a day. There are also ferry services in our capital cities, connecting suburbs around Sydney Harbour, on the Swan River in Perth and on the Brisbane River.

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