Australia and New Zealand


Examine the geography and economy of Australia.
Investigate how the geography of New Zealand affects its people and its relations with other countries.

     Chapter Overview

Chapter 26: Australia and New Zealand

Australia is a country and a continent. The Great Barrier Reef lies off Australia's northeastern coast. This dry continent is covered by plains, plateaus, and a few low mountain ranges. Because it has been separated from other continents for millions of years, unique plants and animals have developed there. An abundance of mineral resources, cattle and sheep ranching, and a growing manufacturing sector have produced a strong economy. Australia has relatively few people, most of whom live along the coasts.

New Zealand lies in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,200 miles (1,931 km) southeast of Australia. It contains two main islands and several smaller islands. New Zealand's economy is built on trade. Sheep herding is an important activity, and wool and lamb meat are major exports.

     Quick Notes


Australia is both a country and the world's smallest continent.
Deserts and grasslands cover most of the country west of the Great Dividing Range.
Australia's economy relies mostly on farming and mining.
Australia is the world's leading wool-producing country. It also leads in the production of bauxite and lead.
The first Australians were the Aborigines. Others are of European and Asian descent.
Most Australians live in cities. Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth are the largest.

New Zealand

New Zealand includes two major islands--North Island and South Island--and many smaller islands.
New Zealand has a mild, wet climate.
New Zealand's agricultural exports--especially wool--are the mainstays of its economy.
New Zealand gets most of its electricity from geothermal energy.
The Maori, a Polynesian ethnic group from the South Pacific, were the first people to settle New Zealand.
New Zealand's culture at one time was mainly influenced by British traditions. Now it is a mix of many cultures, including those of the Maori and other immigrants.

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