Oceania

Map of Oceania with country flags
Oceania is the smallest of the world’s seven continents. It consists of thousands of islands in the Pacific Ocean, including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji. Asia is to the north of the continent, South America is to the east, Antarctica is to the south, and Africa is to the west. 
The United Nations Geoscheme divides the continent into four regions: Australia and New Zealand, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Micronesia forms the northern portion of the continent, Polynesia is the eastern portion, Australia and New Zealand form the southern and western portion, and Melanesia is in the center.
 
The islands that make up Oceania can be grouped into four main categories: Continental islands, coral reefs, uplifted coral platforms, and high islands. Most of the islands in the Pacific are high islands. These types of islands were formed by volcanic eruptions, and many contain volcanoes that are active today. New Zealand is a continental island, but because of its location within the Ring of Fire (an area of significant earthquakes and volcanic activity), it is also prone to volcanic activity and earthquakes. New Zealand’s landscape is varied, ranging from mountains and fjords to tropical beaches and lush green countryside.
 
Australia is another continental island. It has one of the most diverse landscapes of any island in Oceania. It has tropical rainforests in the northeast, mountain ranges in the south and east, and arid desert in the center. Australia is also home to the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef. 
The New Caledonian Barrier Reef, the third-largest barrier reef in the world, is also located in Oceania. Uplifted coral platforms differ from coral reefs in that they are slightly larger. Examples of these types of Oceanian islands are Banaba and Makatea in French Polynesia.

Countries of Oceania

CountryFlagPopulationWorld %UN SubregionCapital City
Australia
Flag of Australia
26,439,1110.33%Australia and New ZealandCanberra
Fiji
Flag of Fiji
936,3760.01%MelanesiaSuva
Kiribati
Flag of Kiribati
133,5150.00%MicronesiaSouth Tarawa
Marshall Islands
Flag of Marshall Islands
41,9960.00%MicronesiaMajuro
Micronesia
Flag of Micronesia
115,2240.00%MicronesiaPalikir
Nauru
Flag of Nauru
12,7800.00%MicronesiaYaren
New Zealand
Flag of New Zealand
5,228,1000.00%Australia and New ZealandWellington
Palau
Flag of Palau
18,0580.00%MicronesiaNgerulmud
Papua New Guinea
Flag of Papua New Guinea
10,329,9300.01%MelanesiaPort Moresby
Samoa
Flag of Samoa
225,6810.00%PolynesiaApia
Solomon Islands
Flag of Solomon Islands
740,4240.01%MelanesiaHoniara
Tonga
Flag of Tonga
107,7730.00%PolynesiaNukuʻalofa
Tuvalu
11,3960.00%PolynesiaFunafuti
Vanuatu
Flag of Vanuatu
334,5060.00%MelanesiaPort Vila

Facts about Oceania

Sovereign CountriesPopulationLand Area (km²)Population Density (/km²)World %
1445,575,7688,488,68850.57%

Largest Country

Australia is the largest country in Oceania. Including Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island, it has a total area of 7,741,220 km² (2,988,902 square miles).
 

Smallest Country

The smallest country in Oceania is Nauru, which has a land area of just 21 km² (8.1 sq mi).
 

Largest Island

The largest island in Oceania outside of mainland Australia is New Guinea. It has an area of 785,753 km² (303,381 sq mi).
 

Longest River

Oceania’s longest river is the Murray River in Australia. It stretches for 2,375 kilometers (1,476 miles) from the Snowy Mountains region of the Australian Alps in New South Wales, passing through the states of Victoria and South Australia before emptying into the Murray Mouth near Goolwa.
 

Highest Point

With a height of 4,509 meters (14,793 feet), the highest point in Oceania is Mount Wilhelm in Papua New Guinea. It forms part of the Bismarck Range, and its peak is where three provinces — Chimbu, Jiwaka, and Madang — meet.
 

Largest Lake

With a surface area of 9,500 k² (3,668 square miles), Lake Eyre in Australia is the largest lake in Oceania. It can be found in the far north of South Australia, roughly 700 kilometers (435 miles) north of Adelaide.
 

Country with the Longest Coastline

Australia has the longest coastline in Oceania. Measuring 25,760 kilometers (16,007 miles), it is also the seventh-longest coastline of all the world’s countries.
 

Tallest Building

With a height of 328 meters (1,076 ft), New Zealand’s Sky Tower in Auckland is the tallest building in Oceania.
 

Most Visited Country

Australia was Oceania’s most visited country in 2022, with 3,690,000 international arrivals.

Data Sources: