Stretched across the Eastern and Western hemispheres, Oceania is the smallest continent by area and the second smallest by population. The region is divided into Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Inhabited since 6,000 years ago, the continent is a culturally and socially diverse unit.
Quick Facts About Oceania
Here is a rundown of Oceania’s main characteristics:
Number of countries
Biggest country (by area)
Most populated country
Number of languages spoken
Over 1,000 languages across the continent
Mount Wilhelm in Papua New Guinea
How Many Countries Are There in Oceania?
There are 14 sovereign countries in Oceania as listed below:
|Country||Capital||Area km²||Population (2021)|
|Federated States of Micronesia||Palikir||702||112,640|
|New Zealand||Wellington||268,680||4.8 million|
|Papua New Guinea||Port Moresby||462,840||9.1 million|
There are several other countries and territories geographically located in Oceania, however, politically they are under other states. For example, French Polynesia is a French overseas territory.
Map of Oceania
Languages Spoken in Oceania
|Language||Region||Number of speakers|
|Papua New Guinea|
|The Papuan Languages||New Guinea (and surrounding territories)||4 million|
The continent of Oceania is home to a large number of indigenous languages along with creoles and pidgins, but some of the most spoken languages in Oceania are listed below:
*While English is the official language of most countries in Oceania, it’s not widely spoken by natives. For example, in the Solomon Islands, English is the official language, but only 1-2% of the population can speak it fluently— the majority speak an English creole, Solomons Pijin.
Best Countries to Visit in Oceania
Some of the most visited countries in Oceania are the following:
- Australia. In 2019, Australia saw 8.7 million foreign visitors. This Oceanic country is highly popular with tourists due to its climate, diverse wildlife, and the Australian coastline. Additionally, Australia is an excellent destination for backpacking tourism, attracting many young people due to its favorable working holiday visa scheme.
- New Zealand. The second most popular tourist destination in Oceania, without a doubt, is New Zealand— with 3.8 million tourists only in 2019. Its main attraction is the vast green spaces it advertises to foreign visitors, while some of the most visited cities include Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, and Wellington.
- Fiji. Made up of 332 islands, there are plenty of places to visit in Fiji. This Melanesian country is a famous tourist spot, especially a honeymoon destination.
- Vanuatu. There are around 83 islands in Vanuatu, but most are not inhabited, making the archipelago a popular tourist hub for those who enjoy their privacy. Vanuatu is mainly known for its recreational diving opportunities along the coral reef. It’s also where divers can explore the remains of troop carrier SS President Coolidge that was wrecked during World War II.
- Samoa. Made up of two main islands and several other smaller islands, this Pacific territory is home to some of the best beaches in the region. Visitors can relax and enjoy a great holiday, but those interested in history can visit the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.
Oceania Famous Tourist Destinations
Oceania’s most attractive tourists spots include the following:
- Great Barrier Reef. Located in Queensland, Australia, this is one of the world’s biggest coral reefs— stretching over 2,300 km. This natural wonder is so big that it can be seen from outer space, and in 1981 it was labeled a World Heritage site. Diving and snorkeling are the biggest attractions, but some enjoy exploring the reef on a boat or cruise.
- Syndey Opera House. Another World Heritage site, the Sydney Opera House, was completed in 1973. It’s one of the most famous 20th-century architectural pieces globally that can sit over 5,000 people. The building is stretched from the Sydney Harbour, making it appear as if it’s floating on water but is in fact supported by several concrete piers.
- Hobbiton. New Zealand is home to the movie set where the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was mostly filmed. However, the biggest attraction for any fan is visiting Hobbiton— the hobbits’ shire depicted in the movies.
- Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Known for its best hiking trails in New Zealand, the Fiordland National park is another World Heritage site in Oceania. Visitors have several options to explore the fjords— the most popular being kayaking.
- Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple. Found in Nadi, Fiji, this is one of the biggest Hindu temples in the Pacific. The architecture is breathtaking with its delicate carvings and colorful patterns. But, visitors can also enjoy the many festivals held there and participate in celebrations.
- To Sua Ocean Trench. This pacific gem is located on Samoa’s main island, Upoha— and is highly popular with tourists. The ocean trench is a volcanic sinkhole formed above a lava tunnel that runs to the sea. Now, the trench is a fantastic saltwater swimming and afternoon picnic spot.
Getting a Visa to Oceania
If you want to visit any country in Oceania, you will need a specific visa for your destination country— find out how to get a visa for the Oceanic countries below: