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In the case of Uluru and the nearby Kata Tjuta, the surrounding countryside has been eroded to a plain around these resistant geological phenomena.

Towards the east, the flat land rises to the Great Divide which runs parallel to the east coast from the tip of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland almost 4000km south to the Grampians in Victoria.

In contrast, the Nullarbor Plain is an uplifted sea floor, a limestone plain of Miocene age.

The rocks along a coastal strip around the Western Australian capital of Perth are much younger than the adjacent Yilgarn Craton and are separated from it by the Darling Fault escarpment.

The past few million years were notable for the Quaternary ice age which resulted in various glacial and interglacial periods.

The last glacial period was at its most intense about 20 000 years ago, and by around 11 700 years ago the ice had retreated and rising sea levels separated mainland Australia from Tasmania and New Guinea.

The landforms of today are the result of prolonged, continuous processes of movement and erosion over millions of years giving rise to a variety of landscapes across Australia.

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The most well known remnants from glaciation in Tasmania are Crater Lake and Dove Lake near Cradle Mountain in the island's central highlands.

The Finke River in central Australia is one of the oldest rivers in the world and salt lakes of the Yilgarn region in Western Australia are the remnants of a drainage pattern which was active before continental drift separated Australia from Antarctica.

Australia began its journey across the surface of the Earth as an isolated continent between about 55 and 10 million years ago, and continues to move north by about seven centimetres each year.

Much of the Western Plateau has existed as a landmass for more than 500 million years and is made up of individual plateaus, including the Kimberley, Hamersley, and Yilgarn.

These plateaus in part comprise cratons such as the Yilgarn Craton and the Pilbara Craton.