Australia, New Zealand and Oceania

G'day mate, we have been down in Oz having an onkey-dory time! Here is what we have been doing the last three weeks for geography.

  • Learned Geography Songs for Australia, New Zealand & Oceania
  • Labeled Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
  • Labeled the following territories and states: Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania.
  • Located and labeled the North Island and South Island of New Zealand, the Solomon Islands of Melanesia and the Hawaiian Islands.
  • Located and labeled the island groups of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia
  • Marked the Tropic of Capricorn and labeled it
  • Used an atlas to match latitudes and longitudes of islands with their names
  • Labeled the bodies of water surrounding Australia and Oceania
  • Read and learned about physical features of Australia and Oceania.
  • Made salt dough physical relief maps of Australia.

We used the Salty Map Dough recipe from Kid Concoctions.
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 1 1/3 cup water
We made a second batch using equal parts of corn starch, flour and salt with water to experiment with the consistency. When they are dry, they can be painted.

  • Used clues to locate and label rivers, bays and harbors
  • Shaded the desert, grasslands and forests and then wrote one fact about the vegetation that grows in these areas
  • Completed a table with mountain names, location and height and made a vertical bar graph to compare the five tallest mountains
  • Went diving in The Great Barrier Reef ~ a virtual field trip
  • Studied the climate and analyzed graphs on average temperature and precipitation
  • Completed a chart on products and resources and then used the chart to answer questions
  • Identified unusual animals and plants in Australia and New Zealand, like the koala and platypus
  • Sang the Kookaburra song and listened to its laugh
  • Read It's Designed to Do What it Does Do, by Ken Ham and Buddy Davis - A fun book about animals in Australia
  • Listened to a fun song about the platypus by Buddy Davis:

  • Read and learned about human geography of Australia and Oceania
  • Completed a graph on population growth over the last 50 years
  • Used clue to locate major cities on a map
  • Identified the official languages
  • Read a graph of religions of Australia and Oceania and use the information and a map to answer questions
  • Found photographs of traditional clothing
  • Read about the people of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji in Window on the World
  • Read about daily life in Australia and New Zealand in Children Just Like Me 
  • Demonstrated the traditional Maori (aboriginal) greeting: Two people clasp hands and press their noses and foreheads together
  • Colored the Flag of Australia
  • Learned some everyday expressions for language activities, like g'day and tried to use as many as we could in a sentence.

Here are a few of the fun, distinctly Australian words and expressions we learned:
  • g'day - good day
  • mate - friend
  • ta - goodbye
  • Oz - Australia
  • onkey-dorey - good
  • fair dinkim - genuine, the honest truth
  • dinky do - the real thing
  • boomer - a big kangaroo
  • up a gum tree - in trouble
  • humpty do - all mixed up
  • take a squiz - look over
  • get all wet - get angry
  • jumpbuck - sheep (there are 10 jumpbucks for every Australian)

Here are a couple of the boys' sentences using the expressions:

Jordan: "G'day mate. Would you like to come over for a barbie? If you come, bring your cozy because we are going swimming in the billabong." (Translation: Good day friend. Would you like to come over for a BBQ? If you come, bring your swim trunks because we are going swimming in the pond.)

Nathan: "G'day mate. I saw a boomer today. When I looked at him he got all humpty-do. Hey look! A boomer is coming. We're up in a gum tree! Look, he's getting all wet!" (Translation: Good day friend. I saw a kangaroo today. When I looked at him he got all mixed up. Hey look! A kangaroo is coming. We're in trouble! He's getting angry!)

Listened to a popular Australian song called the Waltzing Matilda. (We enjoyed the song and the pictures too!)

"Waltzing Matilda" is the story of a hike taken by a swagman (wanderer) and his matilda (bedroll). He goes camping by a billabong (pond) and waits for his billy (pail used for heating water) to boil underneath the coolibah (type of gum tree). The swagman captures a jumpbuck (sheep) in his tuckerbag (traveling bag).

  • Learned about Australian foods - what is vegemite, anyways?
  • Made an Australian Meat Pie for our ethnic cooking night.

  • Investigated how to make a boomerang, and a didgeridoo (another link)
  • Smelled a sample of Eucalyptus (we had one from a leaf exchange we did while doing Botany!)
To tell you the fair-dinkim, it was a lot of work, but we learned a lot! So ta for now . . .we are stamping our passports and moving on to Africa!


  1. I'll have to bookmark this post for when we hit these areas. :)

  2. Hi Michelle,
    This is Bernadette from Australia, love your blog and all you share, but just thought I'd let you know of a couple of things you mixed up. Matilda means girl (a swag is a bedroll) and it's honkey-dory and dinki -di. Personally I've never heard of humpty-do as an expression - only as a place name in the Northern Territory, but I haven't been everywhere ;o) Also in my experience - just for added confusion ;o) ta-ta (tah-tar phonetically) means goodbye, Ta (tar) means please or thank-you.

    You did a fantastic job in your research and I'm very impressed,we will definately be using your ideas while we study geography (not just for Australia)
    Be Blessed
    Ps - we have the opposite family "set-up" (?) 1 boy then 4 girls ;o)

  3. ha ha! =) I got most of those directly from a book that is a part of My Father's World curriculum. It is called "A Trip Around the World" (p. 87) Thanks for the lesson! It is fun to learn things from people who actually live in an area we study. =)