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. 

First of all, is the confusion about Australia. Is it a Country? Continent? Hmmm. Let’s have a look below and finally get to the bottom of it.

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?

You thought Australia was a country, right? NOT A CONTINENT?

Well, 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 are 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.

Is Oceania a continent?

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. 

If you want to read about how many continents there are, read my blog post here.

How many countries in Australia
How many countries in Australia 3, 1 of which is Papua New Guinea. Here’s me at a ‘SING-SING’ in PNG.

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

To confirm how many countries are in Australia? 3! All listed above.

The other countries that are located within the Oceania Region (but not officially part of the Australasia continent) are the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. There are 11 more countries which we can add 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 in 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) PERSONAL 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 Tasmania A Country?

Tasmania is an Island located 150 miles off the south coast of Australia. Tasmania is not a country (if you ask its residents they may disagree!), but it does deserve a special mention before we finish off our list of places 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
how many countries in Australia? 3! Tuvalu was my 193rd country to visit!

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