Oceania Destination Research – start planning your trip from New Zealand to Papua New Guinea!
Oceania is a vast, arbitrarily defined expanse of the world where the Pacific Ocean – rather than land borders – connects the nations. It is home to glistening white beaches, coconut palms swaying in the breeze, beautiful coral reefs, and rugged volcanic islands rising out of the blue ocean. Its diverse nations have both some of the world’s most cosmopolitan and internationalized cities, and some of its most remote and culturally-isolated villages. Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea are by far the largest countries in this continent, with the first two being the most visited. Oceania also includes the vast island nation groupings of Polynesia to the far east, Melanesia in the west and Micronesia to the north. Ecologically, Oceania also includes the eastern parts of Indonesia as far as Lombok and Sulawesi.
All island groups are fascinating and with time and money you can spend months just traveling around. There are some stunningly beautiful islands (Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia), some intriguing cultures and festivals, and some wonderful diving and totally deserted beaches. Sports and recreation – to name a few – include snorkeling, scuba diving, ocean kayaking, hiking, fishing, golf, surfing and beach combing.
When to Visit
The climate of the South Pacific islands is tropical year round. There’s a hotter, more humid period from November to April, and a cooler, drier time from May to October. The countries closer to the equator (Samoa, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands) are generally warmer than those further south (Fiji, Tonga, New Caledonia, Cook Islands). November to April is the official hurricane season.
How to Choose a Trip
You will experience much more of the Pacific’s beauty and remote islands by booking with an adventure travel company operating small ship expedition type trips. Bird watching is a highly recommended pursuit for the serious Pacific traveler, as well as taking part in the world’s prime scuba and snorkeling locales. On a small ship or small group land expedition, you will learn more distinctive insights into daily island life, visit more unspoiled islands, with general exploring by sea and daily landings and zodiac cruising.
What to Expect Where
Polynesia – No other name quite conjures up images of paradise like this one. Stunning paradisiacal islands sprawling for thousands of miles across the remote South Pacific.
Micronesia – The tiny Micronesian islands fall on or north of the Equator, and see less tourist travel than the rest of the island groupings. If looking for a picturesque destination with lots of diving and snorkeling, aim for Palau.
New Zealand – A major destination, with well-developed facilities for travelers.
Papua New Guinea – Tropical rainforest, great scenery and culture. An adventurous, rarely visited, travel destination.
Australia – By far the largest and most populous country in Oceania.
Melanesia – Closely related to the ethno-cultural makeup of the oft-included Papua New Guinea, Melanesia is home to the always popular destination of Fiji.