The climate throughout most of the continent is pleasant year-round; winters are mild and almost non-existent in most countries and summers are hot, but not unbearably scorching.
When to fly to Oceania
Australia and New Zealand enjoy their summer from December to February when temperatures are hot but ideal for the beach. Unfortunately this is also peak season when you’ll end up paying top dollar for Oceania flights and accommodations. Winter runs from June to August and is an ideal time to go skiing in both countries.
The islands in the South Pacific including French Polynesia, Fiji and the Cook Islands can be visited any time of year but from May to October, their dry period, the weather’s especially mellow. The rainy season is generally from December to March and tropical cyclones aren’t uncommon at this time.
Papa New Guinea’s climate is monsoonal: wet from December to March and hot and humid between May and October. Guam, on the other hand, is wet throughout the year and typhoons tend to come round between the months of July and November.
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Getting around Oceania
Although Oceania is a small continent, it’s widespread which means distances are great and flying is the best option in most cases. Australia has two main domestic carriers: Qantas’ subsidiary Jetstar and Virgin Blue. In New Zealand the main regional airlines are Air New Zealand and Origin Pacific.
Buses are another option for long-distance travel in both countries. They’re comfortable, reliable and not as expensive as air travel. But if you’d rather explore the country at your own pace then hiring a car or even a bicycle is also an option.
The easiest way to travel between the islands is by plane and taking domestic Oceania flights is easy. In Fiji, Air Pacific is the national carrier, in the Cook Islands it’s Air Rarotonga and in Papa New Guinea the main airline is Air Niugini. In American Samoa, domestic airline Inter-Island Airways flies between Pago Pago and the Manu'a Islands.
Taxis are readily available in Guam, the Cook Islands, Papa New Guinea and Fiji, however they’re not always metered so it’s best to settle on a fare to your destination before setting out.
Oceania insider information
- Australia has so much to offer visitors but one place that most tourists won’t read about in their guide books is the Grampians region, a three hour drive from Melbourne. The region is rich in culture and has some of Victoria’s finest art galleries and fascinating Aboriginal rock art.
- If you’ve ever wanted to explore the deep blue without actually having to dive then head to Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World in Auckland, New Zealand where you can travel through a transparent acrylic tunnel on a conveyor belt and watch as the fish, sharks and stingrays, swim around you.
- While visiting the Cook Islands pick up some unique pieces of island jewelry, craftwork and art at the Beachcomber Gallery, a restored 1845 building once used for Sunday school.
- Visit the Musée Gauguin in Tahiti. The museum is dedicated to the French artist who lived there and produced some stunning paintings depicting Tahitian life.
- In Fiji, make sure you see a meke – a traditional Fijian feast, and a dance performed to music by bamboo tubes and the lali, a wooden drum.
- At the top of a 125m limestone cliff in Guam is Two Lovers Point, the site of an ancient Chamorro legend about two lovers, forbidden from being together, leapt to their deaths from the cliff. There’s a gilded statue of the lovers sitting on a pedestal, reminding visitors of their ill-fated love.
- Swim among the rare species of fish and watch the butterflies flutter by in Papa New Guinea’s Lake Kutubu. The area has one of just five national parks and the most beautiful scenery in the country.
- The National Park of American Samoa (Ta'u) is definitely worth a visit. Occupying more than 8,000 acres of land, the park features a paleotropical rainforest, flying foxes and other tropical wildlife.