Underwater photography of wrecked monoplane in Oceania region. Photo by Milos Prelevic

“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands but a continent that joins to them.”

Francis Bacon

The Oceania geographic region is surrounded by the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans and includes the Australian mainland, which occupies 86% of the region’s area. New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and other smaller tropical islands that are scattered throughout the South Pacific also comprise the Oceania region, for a total of 14 independent countries and 11 dependent overseas territories.The countries that are included in the Oceania region are: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru , New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa , Solomon Islands, Tonga , Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The following overseas territories within Oceania are: American Samoa (USA), Cook Islands (New Zealand), French Polynesia (France), Guam (USA), New Caledonia (France), Niue (New Zealand), Norfolk Island (Australia) , Northern Mariana Islands (USA), Pitcairn Islands (UK), Tokelau (New Zealand), Wallis and Futuna (France).

Despite the small composition of the Oceania region there are hundreds of different tribal groups throughout that have shaped the cultural heritage of the various island nations and territories. For example, many present-day Oceania nations were populated by Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian peoples for thousands of years until European colonization. But on Papua New Guinea alone, there are over 700 different tribal groups within the population of 5 million residents.

  • Wollumbin is not the first site to be ‘renamed’ in Australia, and it certainly should not be the last.

  • Today we’re going to explore the land down under – Australia.  As an extra bonus we will also enjoy a listener’s favorite travel memory. What is it about Australia that captures our imagination? We had hoped to explore parts of Australia until COVID-19 forced a change in all of our plans. So we did the next best thing, we traveled vicariously through the stories of our Australian friend and fellow travel journalist, Amanda Kendle – host of The Thoughtful Travel podcast. Amanda gave us some insights into her West Coast city of Perth, and how Australia has handled COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter protests; especially as they relate to the Aboriginal population. There’s something so nourishing about revisiting a favorite travel memory and we think that we can all use a little boost to our spirits right now.  So we thought—since we can’t travel now—certainly not the way we use [...]

  • For many long-term backpackers, it has been a new adventure in survival and endurance as their usual fallback job opportunities have also been affected by the shut-down.

  • China is not happy with Australia after its prime minister extended its travel ban of foreign nationals leaving the country for seven additional days in the wake of a deepening Coronavirus crisis. There will be a weekly review of the China Travel ban, and its decision is the result of businesses warning that it could add to the damage of the domestic economy thanks to the virus and the communist regime’s protests. According to a Chinese embassy spokesperson, since the COVID-19 outbreak, China has taken broad, strict prevention and control measures that have surpassed the WHO and International Health Regulations’ recommendations. The spokesperson said this is leading to positive results, and the epidemic will soon be over. WHO does not feel it is necessary to put travel and trade limitations on China. Australia and a handful of other countries have gone to extremes, which many consider to be an overreaction. [...]

  • The Australian bushfire season for 2019/2020 has been the worst on record. Globally, news reports have tried to capture the enormity of the situation, often falling short. Red, orange, and black smother the traditional Australian green-and-gold. And yet, from the ashes, there is a sprout of new growth; as a few green shoots are found in the burnt-out bush, there are also seedlings of hope for the affected communities.  While the generous donations from around the world have contributed to immediate relief and rebuilding, many of the surviving towns are eager for visitors again. It’s not just about the tourism dollars; many towns simply want to see people again. They want the opportunity to show how strong and resilient they are. They want to show how supportive the community is.  That’s right, people. Australia is open and we would really like the company. So, is Australia safe to visit? The answer is [...]

  • As Australia’s wildfires continue to rage on, the massive blaze may have an impact on the entire world.  While the rainfall the area received was celebrated, NASA expects the fires’ smoke will make a complete circle around the world. It’s already being seen in the New Zealand region, turning the sky into an ashy color and discoloring glaciers. By Jan. 8, the smoke had made its way to South America, where skies became hazy with technicolor sunsets and sunrises.  NASA believes the clouds that developed will make its way all the way back to Australia.  For now, the fires don’t appear to be slowing down. To date, over 17 million acres of land have been scorched, nearly 30 people killed, endangered 500 million animals and destroyed hundreds to thousands of buildings (homes and businesses).  If you plan to visit Australia, there is no reason to cancel the trip. In fact, [...]

  • With the wildfires still raging something fierce, Australia's New South Wales (NSW) government declared a week-long emergency with the region ravaged by the bushfires and the number of deaths still climbing. And, the dangerous conditions will persist into the weekend with strong winds, low humidity and high temperatures expected. The NSW government issued a state of emergency under the 1989 Emergency and Rescue Management Act, which can be enacted under the threat of “significant and widespread danger to life and property.” With this state of emergency enacted in New South Wales Australia, people in the crossfire can expect road closures and evacuations. According to Gladys Berejiklian, NSW Premier, the emergency will begin Friday morning and last for seven days. Berejiklian said the weekend forecast and the unpredictability of the current fire situation led to the enactment of the seven day State of Emergency declaration. She said people are advised to [...]

  • A climbing ban on the sacred Uluru rocks in Australia brought hundreds of people to get in one last climb before enforcement takes effect. The ban, which was passed in 2017, recently went into effect after the Anangu aboriginal people claimed it was a sacred place for many thousands of years and should never have been considered a rock to climb. The problem began at the start of the early 20th century when more visitors came to the area.  The ban isn’t just about the sacrilegious nature; it’s also about keeping people safe. There have been more than a dozen deaths of people who climbed to the top of the formation with the most recent incident taking place in 2018 in Australia. The most common causes of death are dehydration and slipping and falling while trying to climb the steep parts. The rock is 1,142-feet tall.  Maruku Arts General Manager, [...]

  • For people planning to visit New Zealand, there are some extra hoops to jump through before one can be approved to enter the country. The New Zealand government said in March that it would be implementing a new tourism entry approval system called Electronic Travel Authority (ETA, for short). Beginning Oct. 1, 2019, travelers from any 60 visa waiver countries must have an ETA before coming into the country. This rule also applies to cruise travelers. This ETA will stay in effect for two years, and only cost $6 for mobile application requests and $8 for people making browser requests. An ETA is also required for people traveling through New Zealand, even if it’s not their final destination. Are There Any Exceptions To The ETA Rule? People who have a New Zealand passport or via do not have to get an ETA. And, Australian citizens are exempted from the requirement. [...]

  • Uluru is not just the geographical heart of Australia; it is considered by Indigenous Australians to be the spiritual heart as well.

  • Sydney comes to life in summer. It is a glorious city, no matter what time of year but in the summer, we have long days, warm nights, hot beaches, and the biggest party in all of Australia: The Sydney Festival.