- Formation: The desert belts were created when hot air from the equatorial region carried all the moisture upwards. As this warm air reaches the higher altitudes, it gets cooler and brings rainfall in the tropical areas and then it becomes dry and cold.
- Features: sandy, rocky, stony
- Animal & Plant Life: Vegetation over much of the interior is mulga, a spindly scrub dominated by acacias and pockets of porcupine grass, a spiny grass that grows in tussocks. These tussocks provide refuge for hosts of insects, lizards, birds and small mammals
- The oceans have been evolving for over 3 billion years
- Formation: As water entered the oceans from the atmosphere, it brought with it dissolved gasses released from the mantle by volcanoes and geysers. Water also flowed as runoff from the land, bringing in dissolved minerals from the rocks on the surface. These minerals include the salts that make seawater taste salty.
- Features: water, sand, tides, salt water, waves, currents, shorelines
- Animal & Plant Life: Oceans are home to an enormous range of species. Fish, crustaceans, reptiles, birds, mammals such as dolphins. Plants include coastal wattle, tea-tree, melaleuca and saltbush.
- Australia's vast oceans provide many benefits to its people and its visitors alike - as a source of food, recreation, and a range of industries such as minerals and energy that contribute to our economy
- Example: Ocean Grove Beach, 12 Apostles, Indian Ocean
- Tundra ecosystems are treeless regions found in the Arctic and on the tops of mountains, where the climate is cold and windy and rainfall is scant
- Features: cold desert, cool, dry, short summers, long dry winters, flat and marshy plain, perpetual ice
- Animal & Plant life: The few plants and animals that live in the harsh conditions of the tundra are essentially clinging to life. Many shrubs, lichens, moss and herbs. Reindeer, polar bears and arctic foxes. Many birds migrate for winter. Insect life abundant during summer.
- Formation: A typical forest is composed of the over story (canopy or upper tree layer) and the understory. The understory is further subdivided into the shrub layer, herb layer, and also the moss layer and soil microbes.
Tropical: lowland, tableland, and highland rainforests, trees grow fast.
- The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet - those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with roads, pipelines or other industrial infrastructure.
- Formation: Wilderness areas are areas that have been inhabited and modified by Indigenous people although they did not see their environment as wilderness but as their home.
- Features: untouched, indigenous artwork,
- Animal & Plant Life: depends on where the wilderness environment is.
- Examples: Avon Wilderness
- Human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging from personal shelters and buildings to neighbourhoods and cities that can often include infrastructure e.g. water supply or energy networks