Oceania Travel Guide
“Oceania is an amazing continent to visit. It has 14 countries with a total population of 37 million. The most spoken languages in Oceania are English, Fijian, Hindi, Maori and Samoan.”
💥 My Top Oceania
- Leleuvia Island, Fiji
- To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa
- Great Ocean Road, Australia
- Blue Mountains National Park, Australia
- Papapapaitai Waterfall, Samoa
- Pohutu Geyser in Rotorua, New Zealand
- Mapuaa Vaea Blowholes, Tonga
- Historical town of Levuka, Ovalau Island, Fiji
❤️ Inspiring Places to Visit in Oceania
On this page you have a list of Oceania Best Destinations
1- Visit Sydney, Commonwealth of Australia
Have you already heard that Sydney is probably the most beautiful city of all? Well, it’s probably true. Its cityscape is amazing. This multicultural place was built around the world’s largest natural harbors, which I’m sure you’ve seen before. The highlight here is the Sydney Opera House, an iconic building recognized everywhere.
In the Rocks harborside district, where the first Europeans arrived in 1788, the cobblestone streets show the age of the area. If you can, go to the weekend market. Other unmissable features of Sydney include the beaches and anything coast-related (Bondi Beach is a must for surfers), the Coathanger (Harbor Bridge), the art galleries and museums, Sydney Botanic Gardens, Government House Sydney, The Queen Victoria Building (an elegant mall), Sydney Tower, The National Maritime Museum,… Whatever you do in this city, don’t rush it.
2- Visit Nukuʻalofa, Kingdom of Tonga
In Tonga, a myth tells the story of the origin of Nukuʻalofa, its capital in the north coast of the island of Tongatapu. Nuku is said to mean abode, ʻalofa means love. Period. As the capital of the country, we might expect a modern place. It is, but you will also possibly find a few pigs peacefully enjoying the fresh air… White beaches are also there, and so are many many churches, looking to be more than houses.
Nukuʻalofa is a small city made to be discovered walking slowly. The wooden collapsing Royal Palace, built in 1867, was once the king’s official residence. A tortoise offered to the island by Captain Cook in the 18th century lived here until 1966! Before you head to the rest of the island, let time pass in the cafés and visit the main market where fresh fruit and vegetables are sold by locals on the first floor, while on the second you’ll be able to get handicrafts, jewellery, carvings,… A bit to the south of the city there is the Fanga’uta Lagoon and the Tonga National Cultural Center, where you’ll get to know about the kingdom’s history. The local dance shows are great.
3- Visit Great Ocean Road, Commonwealth of Australia
The Great Ocean Road isn’t simply a road. It’s a 243km / 151mi war memorial built between 1919 and 1932 by returned World War I soldiers who dedicated it to their companions killed in battle. Part of the Australian National Heritage list, the road covers the distance between the cities of Torquay and Allansford, in the south-eastern coast.
Unlike what I did in all the other texts I’ve been writing about the places I’ve visited in Oceania and the other continents, I feel like the Great Ocean Road deserves a close-to-complete list of all the places you will see just by driving its full extension. Here it goes: the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations, heathlands, the rainforest, tranquil coastal towns, dairy farms, isolated beaches and world-class surfing breaks, lighthouses, roadside eucalyptus forests packed with koalas, wineries,… Do you feel like driving?
4- Visit Levuka, Republic of Fiji
The small town of Levuka, on the eastern coast of the island of Ovalau, was the first colonial capital of Fiji, surrendered to the British only in 1874. Americans and Europeans alike helped develop it with the building of port facilities, warehouses, stores, residences and buildings for educational, religious and social institutions.
Being such a rare example of a late colonial port town influenced in its development by the indigenous community, Levuka was considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2013. The mixture of indigenous Fijians, Indo-Fijians, Chinese Fijians, part-European Fijians and a few foreigners will welcome you for sure.
5- Visit Sopoaga Waterfall, Independent State of Samoa
Sopoaga Waterfall is located off Le Mafa Pass Road, in the southeastern area of Upolu, Samoa’s second-largest and most populated island. It is well worth the stop and pay of a few talas (Samoan currency) to visit the beautiful garden.
While you perhaps have a picnic among the many different types of Samoan plants and vegetation, you can savor the view over to the waterfall. Wow! So much green around the waterfall!
6- Visit Rotorua, New Zealand
Rotorua city lies in Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand’s North Island, near a lake with the same name. The city and regions’s main feature is the thermal activity provided by the geysers, hot springs and exploding mud pools. Trust me, your nose will know as soon as you arrive. The Maori (today, only 35% of the population) have named one of Rotorua’s most astounding springs Wai-O-Tapu, meaning Sacred Waters.
The constant hydrothermal activity goes a long way in getting visitors to the city but the Maori traditions make us stay. Their values, traditions, dances and songs can be witnessed at concerts and hangi evenings by those wishing to plunge in the soul of New Zealand.
7- Visit Leleuvia Island, Republic of Fiji
Leleuvia island is the sort of place many would call paradise. Situated in the Moturiki Passage, south of Ovalu, this small coral Fiji island is dedicated especially for backpackers but really aims at all people wanting to have the choice of doing nothing for a few days. But if you decide to take the most of Leleuvia, you can start by scrolling the whole coast. It won’t take you long. It’s a white sand beach with palm trees of only 2km / 1.3mi.
To really take in this South Pacific island in all its aspects, you’ll have to go in the transparent water. When I say transparent, I mean crystal clear! It’s like it doesn’t exist! Either near the beach or farther away on a snorkeling or scuba diving trip there’s enough colorful soft coral reefs to go around. The nights on the islands are amazing too. All the stars in the sky above you shine.
8- Visit the Tsunami Rock, Kingdom of Tonga
There is a truly impressive huge coral rock on Tongatapu, Tonga’s main island. It is called Maka Sio’ata and what is really incredible about it (apart from its size) is its location. Researchers call it Tsunami Rock because they believe it was pushed to where it lies, together with other smaller rocks, by a giant wave triggered by a volcano eruption.
Everything happened 7,000 years ago, during the most recent ice age. Tsunami Rock is 15m / 50ft wide and now sits more than 100m / 30ft from the sea. So that we can have a notion of the dimension of that giant wave, the ones generated by the most powerful explosion in recorded history (on the Indonesian volcano Krakatau, 1883) were 40m / 130ft high and moved a rock the same distance… but only a third in size.
9- Visit Hobbiton, New Zealand
Imagine you are big, really big. Now, picture yourself in the pictures. More precisely in the ones that tell J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Hobbiton Movie Set transports us to The Shire, in Middle-earth, where Hobbits would run around, having fun and being part of nature.
The set was rebuilt and is now a permanent attraction. The tours start by showing the breathtaking views across to the Kaimai Ranges. We are taken to Bag End, the Green Dragon Inn, the mill, the double arched bridge, the beautiful gardens and the Party Tree. All places where Frodo and Bilbo Baggins have lived part of their adventures. Imagine Hobbits around you to boost your experience to an even greater level.
10- Visit Mapuaa Vaea Blowholes, Kingdom of Tonga
5km / 3.1mi along the coastline of the island of Tongatapu, Tonga, there is a great natural phenomenon. Rising as high as 30m / 100ft, a series of blowholes put on a show for us at high tide.
Tongatapu’s most rugged natural beauty is, in fact, quite easy to understand. The ocean water moves through tunnels in the coral reef underneath the surface and finally upsurges in a sort of whistling explosion. Get your camera ready!
11- Visit Lake Taupo, New Zealand
Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest freshwater lake. Located in the North Island of the country, it has a perimeter of 193km / 120mi and sits in the caldera of a volcano formed by a collapse during a massive eruption more than 26,000 years ago.
The lake and all the fantastic nature around it make this region a perfect place to enjoy the fresh air in an whole array of activities: fishing (mostly trouts), finding fascinating thermal hot spots, walking and hiking, golf, biking, watching the Huka falls and the Ariatiatia rapids, visiting the impressive Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay (over 10m / 33ft high and only accessible by water). Oh, and it’s a lake. Don’t forget all the water activities!
12- Visit Pohutu Geyser, New Zealand
Pohutu Geyser is situated in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, in Rotorua, North Island of New Zealand. Pohutu actually means “big splash” or “explosion”. So, its name is self-explanatory. This is the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere, reaching 30m / 100ft towards the sky up to twenty times a day. If you wait long enough, it will show itself to you.
Geysers such as this, according to Maori culture and traditions, are viewed as gifts from the gods. It is said that, in the thermal valley where Pohutu Geyser is found, two sisters named Te Pupu and Te Hoata, the Goddesses of Fire, went below the earth to search for their brother. Along the way, as they got closer to him, the sisters lifted their heads above the ground, creating geysers and other geothermal hotspots. Folk tales aside, or scientific explanations, the eruptions are quite a sight.
13- Visit Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is the most multicultural, and also the largest, city in New Zealand, populated by a big Asian community and the biggest Polynesian population in any city on earth. Aukland is not a “tall city”. It spreads as far as it can through land, since it is pretty much surrounded by two harbors (Manukau and Waitemata) and river estuaries. This means that glowing colored sails dot the waters, especially during summer.
Divided into several areas, Aukland offers a little bit of everything for everybody. Parnell is where we can find the oldest churches in the city and a few historical houses. Karangahape Road, near Queen Street, is the place to eat, shop and go clubbing. But farther west of the center, Ponsonby Road fits the same purpose. In The Domain, the Auckland Museum tells stories of the Maori and the Pacific Islands. On the south of the center, the views towards Auckland are great, especially from Mount Eden and One Tree Hill. At Pah Homestead, the Saturday’s Otara Market is a great place to visit.
14- Visit the Oceania Collection of Auckland Museum, New Zealand
Of course the best way to know a continent, a country or a city is to travel and meet the people, their ways and traditions, their markets,… But to know the past, and understand the present, we’d better visit a museum.
The Aukland Museum is the fastest route to learn about New Zealand and Oceania. Among many other galleries, you have to visit the ones that show: decorative arts, the diversity of island communities across the Pacific, the most beautiful and important Oceanic art and artefacts in the world, Maori treasures, Maori Natural History, the geological origins, the dramatic contrasts of New Zealand’s environment on land, the coastal areas, the oceans, the volcanoes,… Take a glimpse at Oceania in a couple of hours.
15- Visit Apia, Independent State of Samoa
Apia is not the most beautiful place in Samoa, but it’s certainly an interesting one to check out. This is the largest city in the country and its capital, located on the central north coast of the island of Opolu. In fact, Apia is the only settlement that can carry the name “city” in Samoa. In spite of this, it still maintains its own matai chiefly leaders and fa’alupega (geneaology & customary greetings).
Before you head out to discover the rest of Samoa, don’t leave Apia without visiting Mulinu’u, the old ceremonial capital, at the city’s western end, where the Maota Fono (Parliament House) is. Also see the Fiame Mataafa Faumuina Mulinuu II governmental building by the harbor. In the center of the city, there is a war memorial clock tower. In the area of Fugalei, make sure you visit the Maketi Fou, the new market. I love markets. When you wander around Apia, you will notice a few wooden colonial buildings, the most interesting being the old courthouse, which has a museum.
16- Visit a Fire Dance Show, Kingdom of Tonga
Dance is a strong aspect of the culture in Tonga. Women elegantly and smoothly perform the beautiful Lakalaka. Men, on the other hand, are all about showing the fierce warrior spirit of Tongans. They do the Kailao, the war dance where rapid movements are meant to simulate violent attacks.
The fire dance is also extremely famous for the strong impression it leaves on the audience. One or two dancers spin and jump while juggling flaming knives. If you add the sound of the traditional drums and the effect of darkness on the background (if the performance is held at night), you are in for a great show. I know they impressed me.
17- Visit Melbourne, Commonwealth of Australia
Melbourne is, without a doubt, Australia’s cultural capital. Mostly everything in this city screams culture. Its diversity, its architecture, its great museums, its exciting street art, its many music venues.
The city center of Melbourne can be fully covered on foot to get a glimpse of the Victorian architecture lively animated by shops, theaters, cafés and laneway eateries, art galleries. Places not to miss are Melbourne Docklands, Flinders Street Railway Station, Eureka Tower, the enormous and colorful Queen Victoria Market, Southgate, Federation Square, Old Melbourne Gaol (prison). In the Carlton district you will find the Melbourne Museum (the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere). Take the time to catch up on what’s on in the other districts of Parkville, St Kilda, South Yarra, Prahran,… Merlbourne is a big city. Make the most of your stay.
18- Visit Blue Mountains National Park, Commonwealth of Australia
The Blue Mountains National Park is only about 80km / 50mi west of Sydney, in the region of New South Wales. The national park is one of the eight protected spaces in the Greater Blue Mountains Area that were inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage because of sandstone plateaux and gorges embellished with eucalyptus forest.
Only 6km / 3.7mi into the park, Mt Portal Lookout gives us the amazing scenery of Glenbrook Gorge, the Nepean River and Sydney itself in the distance. Then comes the town of Wentworth Falls and the Jamison Valley… and Wentworth Falls… a network of 140km / 87mi of trails and walking tracks… and a whole lot more rock formations and invitations for adventure sports. I really liked all the wilderness in the Blue Mountains National Park. It made me feel small. But happy to be alive.
19- Visit Grampians National Park, Commonwealth of Australia
The Grampians National Park (aka Gariwerd or The Grampians) is situated in the region of Victoria, Australia. The whole park is a display of nature’s gorgeous creations. It has a series of rugged sandstone mountain range, forests and one of the richest indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia.
It offers many of the activities wilderness lovers look for in a park like this: climbing, camping, bush walks, scenic drives. It won’t be difficult to find panoramic views (like the ones you can see from Boroka Lookout) and waterfalls (don’t miss the spectacular MacKenzie Falls). Also, be sure to visit the Aboriginal Cultural Center.
20- Visit Parliament of Australia, Commonwealth of Australia
The Parliament of Australia, officially called The Parliament of the Commonwealth is where the legislative branch of the government of Australia meets to make laws, in the nation’s capital, Canberra. Obviously. But this political building located on Capital Hill is also open to the public.
The building of Parliament House shows a very cool and modern architecture when you look at it from a distance. You have the opportunity to visit the inside Chambers and view historic documents, such as the Magna Carta. I liked the clean lines of the architecture and the layout of the interior.
All countries of Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.