Unit 12: Australia and New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand have flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. Australia is an island, a country, and a continent – the smallest and only "Island Continent". Australia consists of a large mainland and the island of Tasmania to the south. New Zealand has two main islands that are separated from Australia's southeastern region by the Tasman Sea. The Indian Ocean surrounds Australia's western and southern coasts. Indonesia and Papua New Guinea lie to the north, separated by the Timor Sea and the Arafura Sea.
The Gulf of Carpentaria extends to the north along Australia's eastern coast, almost reaching Papua New Guinea. The Great Barrier Reef runs for more than 1,600 miles off the continent's northeastern shores, with the Coral Sea, which separates the Great Barrier Reef from the South Pacific. The southern side of Australia is the Great Australian Bight, and the island of Tasmania. We begin this unit by looking at the region's physical geography, and the effects of colonialism on the environment and the region's Aboriginal peoples. Then, we will explore the region's physical, cultural, political, and economic characteristics.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 1 hour.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- summarize how colonialism affected the development and conditions of Australia and New Zealand;
- determine where the Wallace Line and the Weber Line were located;
- explain how isolation has allowed for the high level of biodiversity in Australia and New Zealand;
- identify how colonialism affected the Maori and Aboriginal populations;
- summarize the colonial exploitation and development of Australia; and
- describe the basic characteristics of Australia and New Zealand's physical geography and cultural attributes.
MapCheck: Australia and New Zealand
Can you name the seas, cities, and countries marked on this map of Australia and New Zealand?
12.1: Introducing Australia and New Zealand
This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Australia and New Zealand, and discusses how colonialism affected the indigenous Maori and Aboriginal populations. It also explores how isolation fostered their high levels of biodiversity.
This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Australia.
Western Australia continues to have a problem with shark attacks, as incidents of shark engagements on humans escalate worldwide. Watch this video where Hamish Jolly, an Australian ocean swimmer, discusses an innovative wetsuit he designed to prevent sharks from mistaking him for food.
12.3: New Zealand
This reading introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of New Zealand.
In this exercise, you will explore ocean features and where they came from. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.