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A map of Australia The island continent of Australia, though first populated by humans 50–60,000 years ago, lay undiscovered by the rest of the world until the 17th century. Today, it has become a new home to people from nearly every country in the world. Its landscapes range from high mountains and tropical rainforests to scorching central deserts. Off its northeastern coast lies the Great Barrier Reef, often described as the largest living thing on Earth. Most Australians live in cities on the eastern, southern and southwestern coasts, where the weather is warm and sunny for much of the year. 

A map of Australia

Fun run in Sydney's Centennial Park

East and southeast coast

A narrow strip of flat land with a warm climate runs down Australia’s eastern coast. Most of Australia’s cities are located on this coastal plain, and most of the country's inhabitants lives here: the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, alone, account for more than a third of the population. 

Australia is the only country that is also a continent.

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