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Australasia is the name for the continent that includes territories such as Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and part of the Indonesian Islands.

Australasia map New Sealand Australia

The boundaries of Australasia form an important geological and evolutionary line at the lower end of South East Asia; this dividing line is often called the Wallace Line.

Alfred Russell Wallace was a renowned British naturalist who recognised how distinctly nature's creatures differ both before and after this line. Rising sea levels created archipelagos of islands north of Australia which in turn isolated certain species.

Asia is often associated with tigers, lions, rhinos and a list of other mighty beasts, whereas Australasia and the wider region of Oceania are home to more marsupials. Animals like the kangaroo and the possum have become iconic animals inhabiting this part of the world.

The biggest land mass in Australasia is mainland Australia, but territories like New Zealand are also of huge political and economic importance. The two countries offer cities like Sydney, Auckland, Wellington, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth, which are all economic and metropolitan hubs, as well as attracting large number of tourists from all over the world.

Tourists flock to sights like Ayers Rock (Uluru), which exists in the Northern Territory of Australia. This part of Australia includes Darwin and Alice Springs. New South Wales is famed for Sydney and its much admired Opera House, as well as the harbour. Victoria and its capital Melbourne have the famous MCG Cricket Ground, which is popular for those on cricketing tours.

Australasia's second most prevalent territory in terms of political influence and economics is New Zealand, which is divided into North and South Island. New Zealand is home to some of the world's most stunning natural scenery, attracting the film makers on productions such as the epic Lord of the Rings - much of the film is based around Wellington at sites like Glenorchy.

Australasia is a highly distinct continent with its own unique flora and fauna, helping to define just where the boundaries lie.

Last updated: 26 March 2014