Australia and New Zealand were settled by Europeans after being mapped by the British explorer James Cook in the eighteenth century. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. It’s climate and geography, therefore, are very diverse. A majority of central Australia is desert (though there are also regions of rainforest and snow-capped mountains) with almost all the population living in the coastal regions. The two islands that comprise New Zealand, the North and South Islands, enjoy a generally mild, climate ranging from warm subtropical in the far north to cool temperate in the far south - though, the mountainous region of the Southern Alps, stretching along the length of the South Island, does experience harsher weather. The North Island is less mountainous but does have some volcanic activity.