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The beauty of Oceania rivals that of just about any other region on Earth. Your daydreams of swaying palm fronds, sugar-sand beaches, and brightly blooming hibiscus buds come to sun-kissed life here. Some of the world’s best-known tropical destinations are found in this region. Bora Bora, Moorea, and Fiji are contained within Oceania, along with a laundry list of the globe’s finest beaches. Tall volcanic peaks, sprawling plantations, sweet-salt air, and some of the world’s friendliest residents all contribute to the South Pacific charm. Whether your bliss involves long jungle treks, lofty hill climbs, surfing, sailing, or simply sun-worshipping, you will find all manners of outdoor activities here in multitudes.
Those who travel this region are often blown away by the sheer diversity of things to see and do here. From the brightly-lit metropolises of Australia (think: Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne) to the far-flung beaches of Tahiti, with every charming colonial holdover, barrier reef, and isolated village in between.
Oceania Top Sights
The Fijian capital is situated on Viti Levu, the “big island.” Take a stroll through the market and pick up some carved wooden handicrafts for souvenirs, or scoop up some fresh fruits or veggies for lunch! Of course, no trip to Fiji would be complete without some sunny outdoor fun. Hike to the waterfalls and crisp, clear pools of Colo-i-Suva Forest Reserve—don’t forget to try the rope swing!—and take in a local rugby match. Surrounded by lush rainforests, coconut plantations, and warm, tropical waters, it is easily to be seduced by Fiji’s magic. Relax and let it wash over you.
Australia’s capital city is enormous and vibrant, at once a sunwashed beach paradise and a dynamic, high-energy city. There are countless paths through huge Australia, but the ones that lead through Sydney are most popular for a reason! Bondi and Manly Beaches are equally popular with sunworshippers. The historic Rocks are replete with sandstone churches and some of the oldest buildings around. The wine here is fabulous, the surfing is nonpareil, and the nearby Blue Mountains offer brisk hikes and breathtaking views of the city spread out below you. Want an eyeful of Sydney’s signature attraction? Get the best view of the iconic sails of the Opera House with a sail over the harbor.
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is, by far, the biggest city in peaceful New Zealand. Maori tradition is still heavily ingrained in the culture, making a visit here both unique and educational for the first-timer. While most of New Zealand is unspoiled and wild, Auckland is a sprawling, vibrant big city—with every attendant convenience and attraction you’d expect. Sip some Pinot Noir (it’s outstanding here!), take a bush walk out on the Waitakere Ranges, check out Sky Tower, or take the ferry to Devonport for lunch. In the land of the Kiwis, you must take a go at zorbing! Rolling head over heels in a giant, translucent ball may seem crazy, but it’s heaps of fun!
Tahiti, French Polynesia
Everything wonderful you’ve heard about Tahiti is true. It’s really that beautiful, that unspoiled, and that indescribably magical. The very atmosphere is charged with sensuality, and the pace of life is carefree. Although this land has been long regarded as one of the world’s most mind-blowingly romantic tropical getaways, Tahiti is still very much in the throes of nature. The black beaches are made of volcanic sand and the teal ocean waves curl over expansive natural reefs. Scuba and snorkeling are exceptional here, along with boating, fishing, and just about any other water-related activity you could imagine.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is still very much a growing center of tourism, but visitors to this exotic Oceanic outpost will be richly rewarded in many ways. Port Moresby, the capital of PNG, is a city planned around nature: the old colonial town was built alongside the sea, the central hills are inhabited by some of the island’s richest residents, and the more modern township is located on the other side. Here, you’ll find both flora and fauna different from any you’ve ever seen, including bright birds-of-paradise and strange marsupials like the tree kangaroo! Scuba diving is outstanding here, with several notable wrecks just a short boat ride away.
Australia & New Zealand Travel Reviews
Tramping through New Zealand
In college, I had the opportunity to study abroad in New Zealand for a semester. When I arrived, I was overwhelmed by the scenes of natural beauty and tranquility which I knew New Zealand was famous for. Over the course of my stay in the ‘Land Down Under’ I traveled to multiple localities including Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, the Bay of Islands, the Milford Sound, and many others. Each city has its own unique charm: Wellington has a large college population to fuel an active night life, Dunedin is home to one of New Zealand’s oldest and largest Breweries, Speight, and Queenstown is the hub of adventure sports, from street luge to bungee jumping. These attractions, however, pale in comparison to the gorgeous displays of nature in the country. New Zealand contains the Milford Sound (considered to be the 8th World Wonder), rain forests, black sand beaches, an impressive mountain range, a large inland glacier, and many other unique natural quirks such as the silver fern. With a dedicated tourism industry unlike any other I’ve experienced, it is easy to see everything the country has to offer. If you’re comfortable traveling in large groups, The Kiwi Experience bus tours are an excellent option. If, however, you prefer to travel with friends or desire more flexibility, there is abundance of van rental companies and ‘freedom camps’ scattered about the country which make exploring easy. However you choose to explore New Zealand, I guarantee you’ll have a remarkable time.