As the name suggests, Oceania is a vast region encompassing hundreds of tiny Pacific Ocean islands as well as Australia and New Zealand. This remote but beautiful corner of the globe offers a wide range of cultural and outdoor attractions for travelers willing to make the journey.
When one conjures up images of idyllic tropical islands, the verdant shores of Tahiti’s Bora Bora come to mind. The French influence of Tahiti adds a pleasant element to the unique Polynesian culture which permeates most of the Pacific islands, and there are plenty to choose from.
Many visitors simply lounge on the powdery white sands and try to absorb the surreal beauty of the islands. But if you want to venture underwater you’ll discover some of the planet’s finest coral reefs in Fiji, the Solomons and Vanuatu.
At the other end of the spectrum is the enormous open space of Australia. With the rugged outback and mysterious Uluru Rock at its heart, Australia blends natural beauty with the best urban scene in Oceania. Cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Perth offer sophistication with an Aussie vibe of relaxation.
Everyone hangs out outside in Australia, surfing the waves or tanning along the beaches. The Gold Coast is home to the largest living organism on earth, the Great Barrier Reef, with its countless dive sites and colorful marine life.
New Zealand’s two islands are so beautiful that words fail to capture their majesty. The Southern Alps are one of the world’s greatest trekking and adventure sports sites, littered with glaciers and impossibly perfect scenery. Queenstown is the center for adrenaline, but don’t overlook Auckland, Christchurch and Nelson for some chilled out city time.
If you are seeking cultural exposure, the tattooed Maori of New Zealand are impressive. But the remote and tourist-free jungles of Papua New Guinea are where the real adventure lies. Trekking through virgin rainforest to visit indigenous tribes untouched by the outside world is a rare opportunity.
No matter where you go in Oceania you’ll find friendly people, a relaxed atmosphere and enough variation to keep you entertained for years. The hard part is choosing the first destination.