The continent of Australia, with the island state of
Tasmania, is approximately equal in area to the
United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).
Mountain ranges run from north to south along the
east coast, reaching their highest point in Mount
Kosciusko (7,308 ft; 2,228 m). The western half of the
continent is occupied by a desert plateau that rises into
barren, rolling hills near the west coast. The Great
Barrier Reef, extending about 1,245 mi (2,000 km), lies
along the northeast coast. The island of Tasmania
(26,178 sq mi; 67,800 sq km) is off the southeast coast.