Of course, such a wide region contains many different ecosystems and climates, but most of the islands in the region enjoy a mild climate with moderate to heavy rainfall. The continent of Australia and the islands of New Zealand are much larger, and have different climates in different areas. Although Australia is the smallest of all the continents, it is still a large and diverse landmass. Australia's eastern coast varies from the hot and humid rainforests of the north, to the temperate south. Most of the Australian continent is a huge, arid desert that sees lots of sun. The northeastern part of the country sees good amounts of rainfall, and is prone to be in the path of cyclones. New Zealand enjoys a fairly temperate climate in most areas, with temperatures rarely falling below freezing. However, higher elevations, such as Mount Cook and the Southern Alps on the South Island and volcanic Mount Taranaki on the North Island, are subject to freezing temperatures.
The governments in the region range from the strong democracies found in Australia and New Zealand to various protectorates and foreign-held territories, such as French Polynesia, New Caledonia, American Samoa, and Guam. From time to time, as in Fiji, a military dictatorship even arises. Although the majority of the islands have been, or are still held by European powers during modern times, the native civilizations have inhabited some of the islands for thousands of years. The European influence has certainly impacted the region, for better and for worse.
The region's economies range from the developed, first-world countries of Australia and New Zealand, to the developing ones of Indonesia and the Philippines, to the tiny local economies, dependent upon foreign funds, such as Guam. For many smaller islands, such as Fiji, Tonga, and Vanuatu, tourism is a major industry; the region remains one of the most visited, if difficult to reach, parts of the world.
Oceania Map - Orthographic Projection
Oceanian CountriesFor your convenience, this Oceania atlas page also includes all of the nations which are considered part of Australasia. The table below lists these countries and their capital cities, and also features links to maps and detailed information about each country.
See the CIA World Factbook home page for information about this helpful geopolitical resource.
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Oceania Map and Geography