Cities, states and territories
Mainland Australia is the world’s largest island but also the smallest continent. The country is divided into six states and two territories.a
What are Australia's cities, states and territories?
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) bounds the national capital of Canberra and is the centre of government. The Australian Capital Territory is located approximately 290 kilometres (180 miles) south of Sydney, and is home to a number of important national institutions, including Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and the National Gallery of Australia.
New South Wales
New South Wales (NSW) is Australia’s oldest and most-populous state. New South Wales was originally settled as a penal colony on the shores of Port Jackson where the bustling capital city of Sydney now stands. Sydney is the nation’s largest city and is renowned for its idyllic beaches, great walks and world-class dining. New South Wales is also home to popular attractions including the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley wine region.
At the top end of Australia lies the Northern Territory (NT). Darwin, on the northern coast, is the capital, and Alice Springs is the principal inland town. Alice Springs is the physical heart of Australia, almost exactly at the nation's geographical centre. The Northern Territory is home to the famous Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kakadu National Park.
Victoria (VIC) is the smallest of the mainland states in size but is home to the country’s second most populated city, Melbourne. Often referred to as the nation’s cultural capital, Melbourne is famed for its graffiti laneways, fashion-forward boutiques and booming café scene. Victorians' enthusiasm for sport is also legendary and this is where Australian Rules football began. The only thing more sacred than the footy is Melbournians love of coffee, and here you’ll find some of Australia’s best flat whites, cappuccinos and piccolo lattes.
Western Australia (WA) is Australia’s largest state and is a place of true contrasts: from desert in the east to 13,000 kilometres (8,000 miles) of pristine coastline on the west. The state’s capital is Perth; the fourth most populous city in Australia and famed for its uncrowded beaches, parklands and fresh seafood. Off the coast of Esperance, in the state’s south, is Middle Island, which is home to the extraordinary pink-coloured Lake Hillier.