In 1642, the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sailed south from the East Indies in search of the fabled Terra Australis Incognita (unknown southern land). Tasman did find land. He did not, however, find Australia. Incredibly, over the course of a ten-month exploration, Tasman managed to sail all around the massive continent without seeing it -- but discovered the relatively tiny island (which he called Van Diemen's Land after his superior at the Dutch East India Company) just off Australia's southeast coast.
[After discovering Fiji and New Zealand (where Maoris captured and ate some of his men), Tasman passed within sight of the north coast of Australia but, still disheartened by his misadventures, accorded it no importance and simply sailed on.]