The Heaven of All Heavens!
Despite being made up of 14 independent countries and thousands of islands, and although it is spread across the western and eastern hemisphere, Oceania is, in fact, the smallest continental landmass, as well as the second least populated after Antarctica.
However, although small or not populated, Oceania is one of the most popular destinations among surfers, divers, and all water-activities enthusiasts and lovers, all thanks to its gorgeous islands, pristine beaches, and incredibly unique marine life.
Among the 14 countries of which Oceania consists, the most popular and well-known are Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the French Polynesia region. If you are looking to be humbled by incredible natural beauty and some worldly famous natural attractions, Australia will not disappoint. However, if you are looking to challenge your inner adrenaline junkie and get closer to nature than you ever have, then New Zealand will be the place for you. Whatever it is that you look for in your getaway destinations, you can find it in this ultimate heaven of all heavens; Oceania.
Best time to visit
Oceania is in the Southern Hemisphere, therefore, winters and summers are the opposite of North America and Europe. Therefore, the ideal time to visit would be in spring or autumn weather, so from September to November, or from March to May. However, seeing how these months witness the best weather, they also witness the region’s peak tourist season. Therefore, you will probably face quite a few crowds trying to enjoy all that the area has to offer.
If you would like to avoid said crowds, you can visit Oceania from April to August when the temperatures start to drop, especially in Micronesia and Polynesia. Therefore, there are fewer crowds.
The Four Main Regions:
As previously mentioned, Oceania consists of 14 independent countries which we will go over in detail in just a bit. However, before we do, to better understand it, we have to go over the four main regions which comprise the continental landmass of Oceania.
Australasia: As you can probably tell from the name, Australasia, the continent’s biggest and most visited region, consists of Australia, New Zealand, and the neighboring Pacific Ocean islands. This region is both fun and easy to explore, especially for English speakers since English is widely spoken all over the region.
Australasia is also home to several amazing natural wonders such as the famous Great Barrier Reef. It is also home to some of the world’s best scuba diving spots.
Micronesia: Located in the northwest part of Oceania, Micronesia contains some of the world’s least touched island destinations such as Kiribati, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, and the Marshall Islands, as well as one of the world’s least-visited countries, Nauru. In Micronesia, English is also one of the most spoken languages, so English speakers won’t face a hard time exploring it, especially US citizens because the US dollar is accepted in more places around Micronesia.
Melanesia: Home to some of the world’s most breathtaking destinations, exotic nature, as well as culturally enriching experiences, Melanesia contains countries like New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.
The best and easiest way to reach this region is by taking flights from wherever you are to Australia or New Zealand, then taking connecting flights from there. There is also the option to take a direct flight to Fiji but from certain destinations in Asia and North America.
Polynesia: Occupying the entire eastern area of Oceania, Polynesia is home to the most famous islands in the Pacific, as well as some of the world’s most beautiful island destinations including the French Polynesian islands such as Bora Bora, Tahiti, Easter Island, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and more. English is also commonly spoken throughout this region, as well as French, Spanish, and other Polynesian languages.
Now that we have gone over the main regions of Oceania, let’s dive further into each country and the best experiences to be enjoyed when visiting it.
Not only is Austalia Oceania’s most famous and most-visited country, but the Land Down Under is also one of the most fascinating and popularly loved destinations in the world. And there are a lot of good reasons for that.
Australia is what can be easily called a complete and a stand-alone tourist destination. No matter what it is that you usually look for in a vacation spot, there is no doubt you can find it in this attraction-packed country.
For starters, Australia is an adventurer’s ultimate dream. Packed with breathtaking natural wonders, rare wildlife, one-of-a-kind beaches, as well as some of the world’s best diving conditions, Australia will provide you with that much-needed adrenaline rush you seek in your travels.
On top of the Australian natural wonders to keep on your bucket list comes Queensland’s one-and-only Great Barrier Reef, also known as the only living part of earth visible from space. Other wonders that you won’t want to miss while visiting Australia are the Pinnacles, the Uluru, the Fraser Island, the MacKenzie Falls, and the incredible Blue Mountains.
Planning a beach vacation? You can’t go wrong with a country that has 11,011 beaches stretching over a 37,000-km coastline! Whether you are dreaming of sunbathing on the whitest sand beach in the world or surfing some seriously challenging waves, there is no beach-related dream that can’t come true in the Land Down Under. Among the magnificent beaches of Australia are the incredible Cable Beach in Broome, the whitest sand beach in the world: Hymas Beach, the fascinating Kirra Beach, Port Douglas’s Four Mile Beach, Whitehaven beach which is close to the Great Barrier Reef, and Sydney’s popular Shelly Beach.
Another gem that shines brighter in Australia than in most places around the world is the incredible urban experiences found in its world-class cities. With a larger landmass than that in Europe and an amazingly low population density, 85% of Australians live in cities, and mostly along a coastline. The Aussie metropolitan areas offer experiences that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. From Sydney’s bustling atmosphere, culturally enriching experiences, freeing beach life to Melbourne’s Europe-like ambiance and oozing class, Australia gives its visitors a taste of the purest metropolitan life.
The temperature in Australia is warm mostly all year long so you can head there any time you like. However, the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is during the spring or summer months. Although these months witness the most rain, this season is less crowded than the drier months.
There is a reason why New Zealand is currently one of the world’s most popular destinations there is more than just one reason. New Zealand has some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world, from the breathtakingly colorful and full-of-life vast green spaces to the incredibly majestic mountain landscapes, mere sightseeing in New Zealand is a once-in-a-lifetime experience on its own. One thing that sticks out when it comes to the New Zealand landscape, is the diversity. New Zealand features extremely diverse and different natural environments, from snowy mountain tops and ancient glaciers to tropical rainforests and volcanic sand beaches, all in place, miraculously.
Another thing that makes the New Zealand landscape stand out is how well-maintained it all is. In fact, one-third of the New Zealand landscape is a protected conservation area, so the country’s national parks are perfectly conserved and unspoiled. Also, thanks to the low population density, New Zealand boasts a lot of untouched wide-open spaces that are fascinating to explore.
If that all didn’t push you to place New Zealand on the top of your bucket list, the following will. Something else that people come from all over the world to see in New Zealand is the incredible wildlife. New Zealand’s population is only 5% people because the rest of the country’s population is made up of a variety of wildlife. Everything your mind can fathom, from penguins and seals to dolphins and whales, New Zealand has it all. However, the most famous animal of all is the kiwi which is a flightless bird that is widely seen across New Zealand, so much so that it has become the country’s national symbol.
As breathtaking as New Zealand is, it is about more than just sightseeing, it offers a huge variety of unique to-die-for experiences that will definitely satisfy the adrenaline-junkie in you. For example, in Queenstown, you can take a jetboat ride across the water while being surrounded by magnificent peaks. But if you are feeling more dangerous, you can challenge yourself and go bungy jumping, zorbing, or even sky-diving! Even Walking, hiking, and other relatively regular activities are turned exotic and outstanding thanks to New Zealand’s exquisite nature and environment.
Another thing that has almost all New Zealand visitors coming back for more is the incredible foods and drinks scene that has everything from exotic seafood to an imminent variety of vegan dishes that cater to the tastes and culinary preferences of all.
Papua New Guinea
If you are sick of today’s busy life and fast pace and would like to strip yourself from all modern shackles and run back into the unspoiled embrace of nature, then Papua New Guinea is the place for your next escape. Whether it is the undiscovered and unexplored beauty, tribal traditions and complicated cultures, unique tropical wildlife, or various culinary delights, Papua New Guinea has everything you need for a complete soul cleanse.
Basically, everything you will do in Papua New Guinea can be turned into an adventure, even if you just go hiking. In Papua New Guinea, you can hike along the road surrounding an actual active volcano, and not just any volcano, the one found in Rabaul recorded the largest eruption in the world in the year 2006. There is also the Manam volcano which erupted in July 2015 and spewed a 12-mile high ash cloud.
If you choose to kick it up a notch and o diving, then you are in for a world of wonders, quite literally. Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s best diving locations. Its unspoiled exotic waters contain a collection of the most beautiful corals and tropical fish. In addition to some fascinating World War II plane wrecks. You can find the best diving spots at Kimba Bay, Tufi, Madang, and Kavieng.
The adventures you will go through in Papua New Guinea are not just physical, they are also cultural. Traveling around this exotic country, you will encounter a lot of different tribes, each with a different but equally fascinating set of traditions, language, and way of life. Spending time with any of Papua Guinea’s diverse tribes will definitely be an experience for the books.
Next on the list of can’t-miss destinations in the heaven of all heavens, Oceania is the ultimate honeymoon paradise, Fiji. Made up of over 300 islands, Fiji features some of the world’s most breathtaking beaches, exquisite underwater wonders, and of course, the ever-so-needed laid-back and friendly island culture.
Aside from having everything one seeks in a South Pacific getaway, Fiji is also globally considered as one of the world’s hottest honeymoon destinations and romantic getaways. Thanks to its secluded palm beaches, gorgeous private islands, luxurious world-class resorts and spas, and of course, unbelievably stunning water all around.
Although you may think by now that Fiji is only good for relaxing and getting away from stimulations by hiding out on an island beach in the shades of a towering palm tree. However, Fiji is not just about relaxing and unwinding, this archipelago offers its visitors some of the world’s best underwater adventures. In fact, Fiji was named the ‘soft coral capital of the world’ by oceanography Jacques Cousteau. With 5 meters of underwater visibility, the sights seen under Fiji’s water ranges from corals to tunnels and pinnacles. So aside from being a honeymoon paradise, Fiji is every diver or snorkeler’s ultimate dream destination regardless of the proficiency level. Fiji also boasts ideal surfing conditions as it has some of the world’s best waves, including the famous Cloudbreak.
In addition to the countless snorkeling, diving, and surfing opportunities, you can also practice white-water rafting along with the Rivers Fiji and enjoy some uncanny scenery along the way.
Naturally, thanks to the incredible natural conditions Fiji features, it has over 150 species of birds from exotic parrots and kula lorikeets to the Fiji flying fox and mastiff bat which are only found in Fiji, which makes it also ideal for an incredible bird-watching experience.
Made up of over 600 islands spread across thousands of miles in the Pacific ocean, Micronesia features some of the most diverse cultural and environmental conditions, as well as an incredibly gorgeous landscape and scenery. Thanks to its exquisite location and nature, Micronesia has some of the world’s best diving areas as well as ideal conditions for almost all water sports and activities.
In addition to the gorgeous water of the Pacific with its infinite possibilities, Micronesia also features an incredible history and historical attractions that will definitely tempt the history enthusiast in you. But don’t get too busy diving and exploring the underwater wonders without making time for exploring the on-land culinary wonder that is the Micronesian cuisine. Indulging yourself in the local Micronesian cuisine with all of its extremely unique delights is, for sure, going to be an adventure on its own.
The Marshall Islands
Located between Hawaii and the Philippines in the central Pacific Ocean, the Marshall Islands are made up of two long chains of volcanic islands that mount up to around 1,200 islands, coral atolls, and islets spanning over 750,000 square miles. With an exquisite location like this, it is no surprise that the Marshall Islands have been repeatedly named as one of the world’s best diving spots thanks to the incredible coral reefs and underwater life forms as well fascinating wrecks and ruins found there. Even if you are too intimidated to dive too deep, the Marshall Islands’ crystal clear waters will give you unbelievable visibility into the wild underwater world of the Pacific.
Aside from swimming, snorkeling, and diving, the Marshall Islands also offer perfect conditions for fishing as the water of the islands is home to over 1000 fish species, so fishing there, you are basically guaranteed a catch.
In case you didn’t feel like doing any type of activity in or on water, you can simply relax on any of the island’s many pristine beaches and let the waves of the pacific serenade you and wash away all of your every day worries. Just laying on any of the gorgeous sandy beaches of the Marshall Islands is a holistic experience on its own.
What good is vacation time if you don’t use it to discover one of this earth’s hidden and unexplored wonders? Kiribati is exactly that! Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Kiribati is one of the world’s most unspoiled and almost untouched destinations with exotic natural landscapes and gorgeous scenery all around.
Kiribati also offers some incredibly fascinating cultural experiences with several historic sites, especially in the capital of Kiribati, Tarawa, where the bloodiest World War II battles, the Battle of Tarawa, took place.
Because the Republic of Kiribati is basically formed of islands and atolls, it offers a huge variety of water activities such as fishing and canoeing. It is also a spectacular spot for underwater activities such as snorkeling and diving. Bird watching is also a fairly popular activity in Kiribati as it witnesses about 20 different bird species from the rare Bokikokiko or Kiritimati reed warbler to endangered species like the Phoenix Petrel. So regardless of what you choose to do, you are guaranteed an experience of a lifetime.
Located southwest of the Marshall Islands and northeast of the Solomon Islands, Nauru is a topical South Pacific jewel. With some of the most gorgeous sandy beaches, coral reefs, and crystal clear waters, Nauru is the ultimate remote haven for those who are looking to escape the city’s busy everyday life with all of its responsibilities and burdens.
The activities to enjoy on this South Pacific island vary. Naturally, all sorts of water activities and sports such as swimming, fishing, diving, and snorkeling are something else in Nauru thanks to the Pacific’s rich waters and spectacular waves. Nauru will also appeal to the adventurer and explorer in you as it is perfect for all sorts of outdoor activities such as hiking, exploring, and climbing. So no matter what your vacation expectations may be, Nauru will definitely deliver.
As made abundantly clear, Oceania is truly filled with infinite wonders and natural blessings that are hardly found anywhere else in the world, too many to cover in just one mere article. However, one thing we can summon out of the beauties displayed here is that Oceania is truly a worthy destination of a place on the top of your bucket list for more reasons than we can count.
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