Australia & Oceania

Geography

The region of Oceania and Australia includes the continent of Australia as well as many surrounding island countries in the South Pacific Ocean. It is dominated by the nation of Australia. The other two major landmasses of Oceania are the country of New Zealand and the nation of Papua New Guinea. Oceania also includes three island regions: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. The majority of Australia’s land mass is a desert but lush areas can also be found.

In general, north Australia is hot and tropical, while the south tends to be mild and temperate. The coast experiences most of the rainfall and much of the center is dry. The mountains and the ocean greatly affect the overall climate of New Zealand. Its northern part enjoys a temperate climate. However, it changes quickly across the country as often times weather fronts and tropical cyclones travel through this region. The warmest months are December, January, February and the coldest are June, July, and August.

Culture

Much like the United States, Australia has no single recognized religion. Its constitution pledges freedom of worship. Nevertheless, most of the population is predominantly Christian and other Christian religions. Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim make up a small percentage of the inhabitants of the region with the number Buddhists and Muslims on a steady climb. On the other hand, a substantial amount of Australians considers themselves as nonreligious. English is the primary language in Australia while other islands speak many native Melanesian-Polynesian languages. The most popular sport throughout Australia and Oceania is rugby.

Transportation

Air Travel

Australia is relatively a large island and domestic flights would be a more favorable option than traveling overland since duration might take you weeks rather than days. Australia’s popular domestic airlines are Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Tiger Airways, and Rex. Booking your flight in advance is advised to get great deals. Oceania can be accessed through international airports in major cities of Australia and New Zealand.

Buses and Rental Cars

Coach and bus travel in Australia is convenient and well-priced. Coaches for long travel usually have air conditioning, adjustable seats, and free Wi-Fi. Greyhound, Australia’s national coach operator, offers hop on hop off passes for popular routes, short trip passes, and flexible passes based on a number of kilometers a visitor wishes to travel. Car rental companies offer cars and motorbike rentals at the main airports and central city settings at a reasonable price.

Train

V-Line trains connect Melbourne with regional hubs in Victoria, Queensland Rail covers Queensland and TransWA crisscrosses through Western Australia. TrainLink has operations between Sydney and the regional centers of New South Wales and Australia’s east coast to Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. The Indian Pacific travels between Sydney and Perth, stopping at Broken Hill, Adelaide, and Kalgoorlie. There are also remarkable train rides such as The Ghan and Indian Pacific, which run across the continent, offering a scenic and memorable experience. The Indian Pacific travels between Sydney and Perth, stopping at Broken Hill, Adelaide, and Kalgoorlie.

Ferries

SeaLink ferries connect Cape Jervis in South Australia and Kangaroo Island offering a number of trips per day. The Spirit of Tasmania offers service between Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, and Devonport in Tasmania with additional comforts during peak periods. There are also ferry services in the capital cities, connecting suburbs around Sydney Harbour, on the Swan River in Perth, and on the Brisbane River.

Food

Australian cuisine has been strongly influenced by the immigrants from Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East which brought an array of new flavors and spices. Many Australian restaurants have incorporated Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Lebanese, French, African and Greek cuisine into their menus which mean visitors will have a plethora of awesome fusion style choices to satisfy their varied palettes. Generally, distinguished chefs in this region fuse traditional European and Asian cuisine.