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Crystal blue sea off the coast of Samoa.
Map of Oceania

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 some of the world's most international cities, and some of its most remote villages.

Often referred to as the South Pacific, Oceania is one of the most diverse and fascinating areas on the planet encompassing Australia, New Zealand and the vast collection of volcanic island nations and coral atolls. This region between Asia and the Americas includes island nations as far flung as Tonga, French Polynesia and Fiji. Private islands for sale in Oceania are some of the most beautiful and remote places on Earth. Nothing resembles Eden more than a South Pacific island paradise.[1]

Oceania incorporates Polynesia to the east, Melanesia to the west and Micronesia to the north, as well as Australia and New Zealand.


  • Australia - The largest and most populous country in Oceania.
  • Cook Islands - Fifteen islands spread out over 2.2mn kilometers.
  • Federated States of Micronesia in the northwestern Pacific
  • Fiji - A major island tourist destination. Resorts, coral reefs and beaches.
  • French Polynesia – Technically, part of France. Includes three islands with a strong claim to being the most beautiful island in the world, Bora Bora, Tahiti and Moorea, but also Mururoa where the French carried out nuclear tests until 1996.
  • Kiribati, pronounced Kiribass. Remote and poor. The sun rises first here every day.
  • Marshall Islands in the north Pacific. Site of US nuclear tests on Bikini atoll.
  • Nauru – an island of phosphate. The world’s smallest independent republic.
  • New Zealand - A major destination, second to Australia in size. Well-developed facilities for travelers.
  • New Caledonia - A piece of France in the tropics. A short flight from Australia.
  • Niue – just one flight a week, from Auckland
  • Palau – a lake full of jellyfish, and much more.
  • Papua New Guinea – Tropical rainforest, great scenery and culture. An adventurous, but risky, travel destination.
  • Samoa – two main volcanic islands with luxuriant vegetation, traditional culture and wonderful open-sided houses. See also neighboring American Samoa.
  • Solomon Islands – site of major Second World War battles with main island of Guadalcanal.
  • Tonga – the so-called “Friendly islands” and a Kingdom. But traditional and modern cultures are clashing.
  • Tuvalu - One of the smallest countries in the world in terms of population.
  • Vanuatu - Well-developed island destination.

Other destinations

Uninhabited small islands


European influence

Australia and New Zealand are both former British colonies. At one time it was envisaged that the two colonies would become a single country.

Papua New Guinea was, at one time, a United Nations trusteeship, administered by Australia.

Various islands have been annexed by the Britain, Portugal, Germany, France and the United States.

This has had an influence of aspects of culture. Many areas speak both an indigenous language, and the language of the colonial power, often mixing in interesting blends. There has also been an influence on the food and architecture.

Common cultural heritage


Ecologically, Oceania also includes the eastern parts of Indonesia as far as Lombok and Sulawesi.

Get in

By plane

See the country articles for detailed information on how to Get in.

The major countries of Australia and New Zealand do of course offer extensive connections to all continents. There are some other gateways offering other opportunities to get in to Oceania, and for interesting itineraries. Air France connects New Caledonia direct with Tokyo and Paris]. Onward connections to Sydney and Auckland are possible. Air Pacific connect Fiji with Los Angeles with connections through to Sydney, Auckland and Tahiti. Tahiti is connected to Los Angeles, and you can fly to the Cook Islands direct from there.

Guam and Honolulu offer a gateway to many smaller Pacific Islands.

The smallest islands with less tourism present additional challenges to get to. Many are entirely deserted, and some have restictions on access.

By boat

A South Pacific cruise.

Get around

By plane

Without a yacht, or a lot of time, the only way for travelers to get around between the main destinations of Oceania is by plane. Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, and Los Angeles have good connectivity to the region.It is usually possible to fly from the west coast of the United States through to Sydney or Auckland via Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji or even the Cook Islands.

However, air routes tend to come and go depending on whether the airlines find them profitable or not. Much of Micronesia, having been under US Administration, is serviced by Continental Airlines. Much of English-speaking Polynesia receives regular flights from Air New Zealand. Melanesia is mainly serviced by national and Australian airlines. Don't expect daily flights. Patience is required.

Flying between Micronesia and the other two areas is problematic and may involve flying all the way to Honolulu or a complicated route through Manila, Sydney and Auckland.

Some flight options, amongst others, are:

By ship

There are some options for boats, cruise ships, private yachts, adventure cruises, and even cargo ships.

Consult the guide for the destination you are visiting.


All island groups are fascinating and with time and money you can spend months just travelling around. There are some stunningly beautiful islands (Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia), some fascinating cultures and festivals, some wonderful diving and totally deserted beaches. Check the individual country sections for details.


In the water

  • Coral and Tropical Fish. There are locations for diving throughout Oceania, for coral and tropical fish, explore the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, Fiji has some reef around Nadi, and specular unspoilt brightly coloured coral on the more remote islands. Samoa is favoured by scubu divers. Cook Islands has accessible reef just off the beach on the main islands. Vanuatu has accessible some accessible reef too, but the facilities there make it more challenging to access than Fiji.
  • Sail
  • Sub-tropical diving - Diving and snorkelling opportunities still exist even without a tropical reef. Tasmania has some diving spots.

On land

Skiing and snow sports. New Zealand has reliable winter snowfalls, mostly on the South Island in winter. The Snowy Mountains in New South Wales have the largest ski resorts in the southern hemisphere.



Kava is a drink produced from the roots of a plant related to the pepper plant and found mainly in Polynesia as well as Fiji and Vanuatu. It has a mildly narcotic effect. Other names include 'awa (Hawai'i), 'ava (Samoa), yaqona (Fiji), and sakau (Pohnpei). Traditionally it is prepared by chewing, grinding or pounding the roots of the kava plant. In Tonga, chewing has to be done by female virgins. Pounding is done in a large stone with a small log. The product is then added to cold water and consumed as quickly as possible, invariably as part of a group of people sitting around and sharing the cup. Check the rules before taking any out of the country, however, as importing kava can be can be illegal.

Stay safe

Stay healthy

Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea all have malaria risk in parts. Fiji, New Caledonia, the Cook Islands and Samoa are malaria free.

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