Australia and the Pacific
Volcanic islands and coral
reefs, trekking and diving, euphoric mud drinks and
French-inspired gourmet food.
Oceania offers everything from modern metropolitan cities
with world-class architecture to isolated small islands
where the locals live according to millennial traditions.
The skyscrapers rise to the sky in Auckland and Sydney, and
the coconut palms sway on the remote Pacific islands. In
Oceania you can visit some of the world's smallest states
and the country itself is a whole continent.
Area: 8.5 million kmē
Number of inhabitants: 36 million
Largest country (by population)
- Australia - 23 million
- Papua New Guinea - 5 Mill.
- New Zealand - 4 million
- Fiji - 850,000
- Solomon Islands - 500,000
The geography of the ocean
The continent of Oceania consists of three Pacific Island
Islands (Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia) as well as New
Zealand and Australia. Australia is so large that it is both
a state and an independent continent.
Australia is also the sixth largest country in the world,
and here you have plenty of time if you want to catch up
with everything. Urban life in Sydney and Melbourne,
kangaroos and aboriginal cave paintings in Mutawintji
National Park, the pleasure of feeding dolphins outside
Brisbane and the joy of getting the sea turtles really close
to the fascinating Great Barrier Reef.
The Pacific Islands hold many maritime adventures - from
the sight and sound of humpback whales raising their calves
in the warm waters off Tonga Islands, diving among huge
shipwrecks from the Second World War around the Marshall
Islands, Solomon Islands and Micronesia, to wonderful
relaxation in the lagoons of Kiribati and Tuvalu. It is also
worth exploring in Samoa where the great author and
adventurer Robert Louis Stevenson got his last rest. Or
follow Captain Cook's wake around the islands - the
legendary English captain made no less than three
exploration trips to Oceania.
Papua New Guinea
Nor should you forget Papua New Guinea, which is a true
laboratory of ancient, indigenous cultures, tribal
traditions and religions, and still one of the world's most
enigmatic countries. Here, more than 700 different languages
are spoken by about as many different tribes. Life in the
medieval villages of the rivers Sepik and Fly provides
insights into a world that one can seriously say is very
In addition to lots of coral reefs to snorkel around,
Oceania also has many volcanoes, several of which are still
highly active. This is also true in New Zealand, whose
fantastic nature received lots of publicity when the
director of the saga about the ring films chose to use
recording sites on both the North Island and the South
Island for the exciting filmization of the books.
Experience, for example, the Tongariro National Park, which
was the backdrop to the evil land of Mordor in the Sagan of
the Ring, and which the Maori chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV in
1877 donated to the State of New Zealand. The park is listed
on UNESCO's World Heritage list and is dominated by the
three major volcanoes Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and
Mount Tongariro, all of which emit sulfur. See also
Countryaah for New Zealand airports.
Geography of New Zealand
New Zealand consists of two major islands, North Island
(North Island), 114,690 km2, and South Island
(South Island), 150 460 km2, and several smaller
ones: Stewart Island just south of South Island, and
Chatham, Bounty, Kermadec Islands o.fl. islands further
New Zealand is part of the archipelago of volcanoes
around the Pacific. The oldest part of the bedrock comprises
fossil-bearing layers from Ordovician to Jurassic along with
crystalline shales, gneisses and magmatic rocks. In the time
between the Jurassic and Upper Cretaceous, these layers were
strongly folded. Discordant over these folds are layers of
upper chalk and tertiary, which in turn were folded by
crustal movements at the end of the tertiary, while volcanic
activity began. The youngest are flat, quaternary layers.
Active volcanoes and geysers indicate that there are still
movements in the earth's crust.
Cook Strait separates North Island from South Island. In
the southern part of North Island are northeast – southwest
walking mountain ranges that are between 1000 and 2000 m
high. Further west are several large, volcanic cones; some
are active, such as Ruapehu (2797 masl). North of this lies
the large Lake Taupo, 670 km2, in a district
with countless hot springs. At the far west just off the
seafront lies the extinct volcano Mt. Egmont (Taranaki),
2518 masl Along the seafront there are fertile lowlands both
in the east and west. To the northwest, a long narrow
On the South Island, the Southern Alps (Ka Tiriti o te
Moana) mountain range runs along almost the entire island
from southwest to northeast. The mountain range includes 16
peaks with heights above 3100 m. Highest when Aoraki/Mt.
Cook (3754 masl). Here are several great glaciers; one goes
down to 120 meters and the longest, Tasman Glacier, is 29 km
long. The Sutherland Falls have a total waterfall of 580 m.
The mountain range has served as an effective communication
barrier between east and west, and it creates a rain shadow
effect over a wide plain in the east. In the southwest there
is a plethora of long, deep fjords and narrow valleys with
waterfalls and lakes between high mountains.