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Oceania, a vast region encompassing Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, offers a unique blend of cultures, landscapes, and experiences. This Oceania travel guide will provide essential information for your visit, including top things to do, places to stay, and valuable travel tips.
So, buckle up and get ready to explore the wonders of Oceania.
- Our Travel Guides to Oceania
- Best Things to Do in Oceania
- 1. Explore Sydney, Australia
- 2. Discover New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park
- 3. Dive into the Great Barrier Reef
- 4. Experience Polynesian Culture in Samoa
- 5. Stargaze at the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand
- 6. Backpacking the North Island of New Zealand
- 7. Experience New Caledonia
- 8. Explore Perth, Australia
- 9. Visit Papua New Guinea
- Where to stay in Oceania
- How to Get Around in Oceania
- Travel Tips for Visiting Oceania
- Get Travel Insurance
- Be Mindful of the Climate
- Respect Local Customs and Traditions
- Plan for Visas and Entry Requirements
- Protect the Environment
Our Travel Guides to Oceania
If you’d like to dive deeper into a particular country, here are the locations that we’ve covered:
Best Things to Do in Oceania
1. Explore Sydney, Australia
Sydney, the vibrant capital of New South Wales, is a must-see destination for any Oceania travel guide. This bustling metropolis is brimming with world-famous landmarks, diverse neighborhoods, and picturesque beaches. The iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are the city’s most recognizable attractions.
The Sydney Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage site, hosts a variety of performances, including opera, theater, and dance. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, affectionately known as the “Coathanger,” offers daring visitors the opportunity to climb to its summit for unparalleled views of the city and harbor.
Another top destination in Sydney is Bondi Beach, a popular spot for surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, a 6-kilometer trail, offers breathtaking views of Sydney’s coastline and picturesque beaches. Other notable attractions include the Royal Botanic Garden, Darling Harbour, and Taronga Zoo, which houses more than 4,000 animals from around the globe.
Sydney’s diverse neighborhoods, such as Paddington, Newtown, and Surry Hills, showcase its rich cultural tapestry through its unique shops, cafes, and art galleries. The city’s vibrant culinary scene also features flavors from around the world, making it a food lover’s paradise.
2. Discover New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park
New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park on the South Island is a breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage site that should not be missed on any Oceania travel guide. This vast wilderness area is renowned for its dramatic landscapes, which include cliffs, deep coves, cascading waterfalls, and dense rainforests.
Milford Sound, often called the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” is one of the park’s most famous attractions. A boat cruise through the fiord will reveal towering peaks, including the iconic Mitre Peak and stunning waterfalls like Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls.
Doubtful Sound, another highlight of Fiordland National Park, is a remote and serene fiord that offers visitors the chance to experience the region’s untouched beauty. Activities in Doubtful Sound include kayaking, wildlife watching, and scenic cruises.
Fiordland National Park boasts numerous hiking trails for the more adventurous, including the world-renowned Kepler Track, a 60-kilometer loop that traverses alpine ridges, dense forests, and tranquil lakeshores. Other popular routes include the Routeburn Track and the Milford Track, both of which showcase the park’s awe-inspiring scenery and diverse ecosystems.
When planning your Oceania adventure, include Fiordland National Park on your list of things to do, as it offers an unparalleled experience in one of the world’s most stunning natural environments.
3. Dive into the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, is the world’s most extensive coral reef system and a must-visit destination for any Oceania travel guide.
This natural wonder stretches over 2,300 kilometers and is home to an astounding array of marine life, including over 1,500 species of fish, 600 types of coral, and countless mollusks, sharks, and rays. The reef’s crystal-clear waters and vibrant corals make it an ideal location for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Several gateway towns, such as Cairns and Port Douglas, offer easy access to the reef and its numerous dive sites. Popular spots for underwater exploration include the Outer Barrier Reef, Ribbon Reefs, and the Coral Sea. Several tour operators offer guided dive trips, liveaboard experiences, and introductory scuba courses for beginners.
Aside from diving and snorkeling, visitors can explore the reef’s stunning beauty through various other activities, such as glass-bottom boat tours, semi-submersible submarine rides, and scenic helicopter flights. The Great Barrier Reef is also home to numerous islands, like the Whitsunday Islands and Lizard Island, which offer luxurious accommodations and pristine beaches for relaxation.
See Related: Best Black Sand Beaches in the World
4. Experience Polynesian Culture in Samoa
Samoa, a group of islands in the South Pacific, offers a unique opportunity to experience authentic Polynesian culture and breathtaking natural beauty.
This Oceania travel guide would be incomplete without mentioning the must-visit spots in Samoa, such as the To Sua Ocean Trench, an impressive swimming hole surrounded by lush gardens, and the pristine Lalomanu Beach, known for its crystal-clear waters and white sands.
The Samoa Cultural Village in Apia, the country’s capital, provides a fascinating insight into traditional customs, crafts, and daily life. Visitors can participate in various activities, including conventional Samoan cooking, wood carving, and the ava ceremony, a significant social ritual in Polynesian culture.
Samoa’s natural wonders extend beyond its beautiful beaches, including lush rainforests, volcanic landscapes, and cascading waterfalls. The O Le Pupu-Pue National Park offers excellent hiking trails and bird-watching opportunities, while the Alofaaga Blowholes showcase the power of nature as seawater is forced through volcanic tubes, creating impressive water spouts.
5. Stargaze at the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand
The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve on New Zealand’s South Island is one of the best places to visit in Oceania for stargazing enthusiasts. This reserve spans over 4,300 square kilometers and is renowned for its minimal light pollution and clear skies, making it a premier destination for astronomical observation.
Stargazing opportunities abound in the reserve, with popular spots including the Mount John Observatory, which offers guided night tours and houses some of the country’s most powerful telescopes.
The Church of the Good Shepherd, located on the shores of Lake Tekapo, provides a picturesque setting for stargazing and photography, with the Southern Cross, Magellanic Clouds, and the Milky Way all visible to the naked eye.
Aside from stargazing, the reserve also offers daytime activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and scenic flights, allowing visitors to appreciate the region’s stunning landscapes and diverse flora and fauna.
6. Backpacking the North Island of New Zealand
Backpacking the North Island of New Zealand offers incredible scenery, diverse landscapes, and many adventure activities. New Zealand’s North Island is home to cities like Auckland, which provides a great starting point for any backpacking trip.
From there, exploring the island’s natural wonders, like the Coromandel Peninsula, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and Tongariro National Park, is a must. Hiking, surfing, kayaking, and bungee jumping are just a few of the many outdoor activities available in this area.
The friendly locals, fantastic food, and vibrant culture of the Maori people make backpacking on the North Island of New Zealand an unforgettable experience. With great accessibility and various backpacking routes, this region is a perfect destination for any traveler.
See Related: Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand
7. Experience New Caledonia
New Caledonia is a beautiful French territory in the Pacific Islands, known for its scenic landscapes and rich cultural heritage. The archipelago comprises the main island, Grande Terre, and numerous smaller islands and atolls, all surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Pacific Ocean.
With its tropical climate, New Caledonia boasts an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, from lush rainforests to coral reefs teeming with marine life. The island also has a unique cultural mix, reflecting its rich history of indigenous Melanesian and European colonial influences.
Visitors to New Caledonia can experience this diverse culture through traditional ceremonies and festivals and sampling the local cuisine, which blends French and Oceanic flavors.
Overall, New Caledonia is a must-see destination for anyone looking to explore the beauty and diversity of the Pacific Islands.
8. Explore Perth, Australia
Perth, the capital of Western Australia, should undoubtedly be on your list of must-visit destinations by 2023. As the most isolated capital city in the world, nestled between the Indian Ocean and the vast Australian Outback, Perth offers a diverse range of experiences to cater to all tastes.
One essential stop during your Perth adventure is Rottnest Island, an unspoiled natural reserve teeming with unique flora and marine biodiversity. Visitors can explore the island on foot, bike, or even on a Segway tour, taking in the breathtaking scenery and diverse wildlife.
Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the adorable quokka, the island’s most famous inhabitant! To reach Rottnest Island, take a ferry from Queen’s Quay or Fremantle.
Another must-see attraction in Perth is the picturesque Cottesloe Beach, where you can catch a mesmerizing sunset over the Indian Ocean. Known for its pristine sands and crystal-clear waters, Cottesloe Beach is the perfect spot to relax, swim, or stroll along the shore.
When planning your Oceania travel itinerary, consider Perth, Australia, for an unforgettable experience combining the best coastal living and natural beauty.
See Related: Best Spring Break Destinations for Families
9. Visit Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is located in the South Pacific Islands and attracts visitors from all around the world. It is a place of diverse culture, vibrant traditions, and natural beauty. There are many things to do in Papua New Guinea, including scuba diving, trekking, bird watching, and cultural tours.
The country boasts a unique flora and fauna, with more than 700 different tribes who still practice their traditional customs. Some popular attractions in Papua New Guinea include Mount Wilhelm, Kokoda Trail, Rabaul, and Tufi Dive Resort.
The country is known for its friendly locals who are always happy to share their culture and history with visitors. Papua New Guinea is a place for adventure, relaxation, and an immersive cultural experience.
Where to stay in Oceania
Oceania offers a wide range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. Here are some of the top places to stay in the region:
- Park Hyatt Sydney
- The Langham, Auckland
- InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa
- Longitude 131°, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
- The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
- Qualia, Hamilton Island
- Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort
- Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Queenstown
- Six Senses Fiji
These accommodations offer exceptional amenities and service to ensure a comfortable and memorable stay during your Oceania adventure.
How to Get Around in Oceania
Oceania’s vastness and diverse landscapes require various modes of transportation to get around. Flying is the most convenient way to travel long distances, with numerous airlines connecting major cities and islands.
For shorter trips, renting a car is a popular option, allowing you to explore at your own pace. RentalCars.com is a reliable platform for booking your rental car in advance.
Travel Tips for Visiting Oceania
Oceania’s unique dynamics, from its remote islands to bustling urban centers, make for a one-of-a-kind travel experience. Here are some essential travel tips to make the most of your visit to Oceania.
Get Travel Insurance
One crucial travel tip is to invest in comprehensive travel insurance. Unforeseen events or accidents can occur during your trip, and having insurance coverage will give you peace of mind. Consider purchasing a plan from VisitorsCoverage.com to stay safe when you visit Oceania.
Be Mindful of the Climate
Oceania’s climate varies greatly, from tropical regions to temperate zones. Research the weather conditions of your destinations and pack accordingly. Layering is key for adapting to changing temperatures.
Respect Local Customs and Traditions
Oceania is home to diverse cultures, each with its customs and traditions. Learn about the local practices, and be respectful when interacting with locals or visiting cultural sites.
Plan for Visas and Entry Requirements
Some countries in Oceania, like Australia and New Zealand, require visitor visas. Check the entry requirements for your destination well in advance and ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates.
Protect the Environment
Oceania’s natural beauty is one of its greatest assets. Practice responsible tourism by minimizing waste, avoiding single-use plastics, and respecting wildlife and natural habitats.
This Oceania travel guide gives you the essential information to plan and enjoy a memorable trip. Discover the region’s diverse attractions, comfortable accommodations, and crucial travel tips to make your visit to Oceania a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.