Australia and New Zealand are continental islands. These regions share some physical features. They have mountain ranges or highlands—the Great Dividing Range in Australia; and the North Island Volcanic Plateau and Southern Alps in New Zealand. These highlands are fold mountains, created as tectonic plates pressed together and pushed land upward. New Zealand also has volcanic features as a result of tectonic activity.
Although they share some landscape features, each of these regions has distinct physical features that resulted from different environmental processes. Australia’s landscape is dominated by the Outback, a region of deserts and semi-arid land. The Outback is a result of the continent’s large inland plains, its location along the dry Tropic of Capricorn, and its proximity to cool, dry, southerly winds. New Zealand’s glaciers are a result of the islands’ high elevations and proximity to cool, moisture-bearing winds.