I have visited every country in the world (before turning 28) and more than 1,500 destinations since I went alone to Egypt at the age of 17. It is difficult to make a top list of the best countries to visit in Oceania, but below are five of my favourite countries based on my experiences with more than 3,500 days of travel so far.
New Zealand is an extraordinary country with stunning nature, great food and relaxed culture. I’ve had some great hitchhiking adventures here, including my first big trip, almost 200 kilometres with six different cars, before finally reaching the beautiful remote Grasmere Lodge.
Queenstown is stunning and one of my favourite towns in the world, but it is the extraordinary nature experiences that make me rank New Zealand among the best countries to travel to. Since this is a list of favourite countries, not separating territories, I would also like to mention the Cook Islands, which is technically part of New Zealand. I especially liked the island of Aitutaki, which I consider one of the most beautiful in the world.
In 2009 I visited Australia for the first time using primarily Couchsurfing and Tiger Airways, the low-cost carrier to get between different destinations in the country. On my first trip, I visited Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Tasmania, Sydney, Canberra, Gold Coast Brisbane and other places in Queensland. I loved the laid-back culture, food, nature and the fantastic cities of Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, which are four of my favourite cities.
Unfortunately, it is a costly destination but an extraordinary country to visit. I returned to Australia in 2011, 2015 and 2018 and had more amazing experiences. I visited their stunning Indian Ocean territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, where I was especially impressed with Direction Island (photo above), which beach was voted the best in Australia in 2017.
With a population of just over 18,000, Palau is one of the smallest countries in the world after gaining independence from the United States in 1994. Palau turned out to be a fantastic experience with stunning natural beauty and with a friendly, trustful population. It was probably the easiest country in the world to hitchhike, and it was a great way to get around. I might never get to go back to Palau (it’s remote and expensive to get to), but I was impressed with my visit, which left me with great memories.
Vanuatu is one of my favourite countries in the Pacific. It’s naturally beautiful, has some of the friendliest people, and stunning nature, including fantastic beaches. Besides visiting Efate (the island of the capital, Port Vila), I took a domestic flight to Espiritu Santo and visited the remote Ratua Private Island, which was an extraordinary experience.
Fiji is a stunning country I have visited several times. It has friendly people, beautiful islands and stunning beaches. Fiji comprises approximately 330 islands, and about one-third are inhabited. It covers about 1.3 million square kilometres of the South Pacific Ocean.