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How Many Countries In Australia?

If you google how many countries in Australia you’ll be surprised by how many different answers you can find, somewhere between 3 and 16 countries. The total number of countries, however, is 3. 

How Many Countries In Australia
How Many Countries In Australia? This is me hiking the continents highest peak Mt Kosciuszko

Is The Continent Called Australia, Australasia or Oceania?

First things first, we need to clear up some confusion about the name of this continent before we get to looking at how many countries in Australia. There’s probably a few of you reading this thinking that Australia isn’t a continent – that’s because you know the continent as Australasia. The continent can be called Australia or Australasia. Both are correct.

That means that when you say Australia, you can be referring to either Australia the country, or Australia the continent (which includes 3 countries). This is because 3 countries fall on top of the Australian tectonic plate.

So what is Oceania then? That is a region, not a continent. It includes the Continent of Australia (also known as Australasia) + the Pacific island countries. 

How many countries in Australia
How many countries in Australia 3, 1 of which is Papua New Guinea

How Many Countries Are There in Australia/Australasia?

There are a number of countries in the Oceania region, if we counted them all we would get 14 countries and 12 dependencies. I’ll break this all down for you starting with the 3 countries that are officially part of Australia:

  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. Papua New Guinea

The other countries that are located within the Oceania Region (but not officially part of the Australasia continent) are islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. There are 11 more countries which we can dd to the 3 above. Remember, these next 11 are not part of the Australian continent but ARE part of the Oceania region (confusing I know!)

  1. Fiji
  2. Kiribati
  3. The Marshall Islands
  4. The Federated States of Micronesia 
  5. Nauru (The least visited country on earth officially!
  6. Palau
  7. Samoa
  8. Solomon Islands
  9. Tonga 
  10. Tuvalu
  11. Vanuatu
How many countries in Australia
How many countries in Australia; Hobbiton, New Zealand

Dependent Territories In Oceania (but not part of the Australia continent)

Some people, including myself, class a few of these places as independent countries, but they actually belong to a member state of the UN. I would say that both Niue and The Cook Islands could both be added to the list of countries (I don’t include them in the official list of 197 countries, but there are the next list of 215 ‘countries’ which is a bit less strict).

If you’re not too sure about what’s classed as a dependent territory then just click here and you’ll be able to read my super simple definition. Here is a list of the 12 dependent territories within the Pacific Island region of Oceania (and not part of the continent of Australia):

  1. American Samoa (Belongs to the USA)
  2. Cook Islands (New Zealand)
  3. French Polynesia (France) NOTE: I proposed to my girlfriend in Bora Bora, French Polynesia
  4. Guam (USA)
  5. New Caledonia (France)
  6. Niue (New Zealand)
  7. Norfolk Island (Australia)
  8. Northern Mariana Islands (USA)
  9. Pitcairn Islands (UK)
  10. Tokelau (New Zealand)
  11. Wake Island (USA)
  12. Wallis and Futuna (France)

Is Tazmania A Country?

Tazmania is an Island located 150 miles off the south coast of Australia. Tasmania is not a country (if you ask it’s residents they may disagree!), but it does deserve a special mention before we finish off our list of place in Australia. It’s officially a state of Australia and interestingly it’s the smallest state in the country. If you’re in Australia then you need to make an effort to visit Tanzania because it’s unique in its own right.

Let’s Add All That Up

So officially it’s clear to see that there are 3 countries in Australia(Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea). Those 3 countries, plus 11 Pacific Island countries make up the 14 countries in the Oceania region. Finally, there are an additional 12 dependent territories to finish it off (and of course Tasmania too). 

how many countries in australia continent
Tuvalu is not in Australia/Australasia but it IS in Oceania

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5 thoughts on “How Many Countries In Australia?

  1. As an Australian, I see this article as nothing more than a recipe for utter confusion for your poor readers and for getting into trouble with New Zealanders (in particular) and Papua New Guineans.

    Please just describe the country and the continent as “Australia” and exclude PNG and NZ. If however you want to include them just because they also sit on the same tectonic plate, then it is called the “Indo/Australian Tectonic Plate”or the “Australasian Continent” but definitely not “Australia”. Or you could possibly get away with just calling it “Australasia”, if you must.

    Ask any New Zealander if his/her country is part of “Australia”, if you dare. Just remember to duck!

    “Australia” (formally the “Commonwealth of Australia”) is the name of the country of Australia only and is made up of six the States (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia) and various Territories of the Commonwealth, some large and some small, some onshore and some offshore but there are no other countries in “Australia”. So, AUSTRALIA DOES NOT INCLUDE PAPUA NEW GUINEA OR NEW ZEALAND!

    1. I understand how it can be a little confusing in that both the continent and country have the same name. However, it literally states the CONTINENT can be (correctly) referred to as Australia. And equally the COUNTRY can be referred to as Australia. But when we refer to the CONTINENT of Australia it refers to the countries that fall within the Australian tectonic plate. When we refer to the COUNTRY of Australia, we refer to the place wth Kangaroos. It’s pretty simple mate.

      The continent of Australia absolutely, factually, 100% includes Papua New Guinea and Australia. You can be upset if you’d like, but it’s technically correct. Facts don’t care about your feelings.

      1. The Continent of Australia consists only of the country of Australia including its island state of Tasmania, and New Guinea.

        New Zealand is most definitely *not* a part of the Continent of Australia, because it is on an entirely separate continental shelf. However, it is a part of Australasia.

        New Guinea is part of the Continent of Australia, but not a part of Australasia. It is located in Melanesia.

        All of them are part of the Oceania Region which consists of Australasia, Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia.

        So :

        Continent of Australia : Australia, New Guinea
        Australasia : Australia, New Zealand
        Oceania : Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea

  2. Good article. I see the dilemma. Too old to get to them all now but will make a start in Asia as soon as the lid comes off

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