Here are a few suggestions of things to see and do in my favourite places in Oceania.
Take heed, my lists are not intended as essential bucket lists and nor are they written in any particular order. To protect our sanity, I’ve limited each country to only ten suggestions. While there may be more worthy sights to see first, you don’t need to worry because you’ll hear all about those as soon as you arrive.
Australia - Destination guide
It’s isolated, it’s big, it has cuddly bears living in trees, otters with faces like ducks and man-sized rodents affectionately named Skippy. You probably already know about Ayers Rock, the Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef, so here are a few les know destinations that are worth adding to your list of things to see and do. Oh, while there, act like a local and avoid the Fosters beer – if you can find any.
Visit Stonehenge. Unlike the original, this full-size recreation’s blocks are all shiny and new – Esperance Western Australia.
Sydney harbour bridge climbing
Cure your vertigo in two hours by climbing the Sydney harbour bridge – New South Wales.
See the top of the food chain up close
Face the top of the food chain and cage dive with Great White Sharks – Port Lincoln, South Australia.
Snorkel the amazingly close to shore Ningaloo Reef and swim with Whale Sharks – Coral Bay Western Australia.
Watch furniture mysteriously move about upon request, seek out and even chat with Ghosts using an EMF meter on, what may be, the world’s premier ghost tour in the Midland Town Hall – Western Australia.
World's steepest railway
Ride the world's steepest railway and visit one of the few places in the world where you may walk into a cave full of glow worms – Blue Mountains, New south Wales.
Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest & Dugout
Step into Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest & Dugout in a place so hot all the homes and businesses are dug into the ground. If that’s not quite enough, Harry’s cave-like residence also doubled as the set of the movie Mad Max Thunderdome and contains various quirky collections and displays of Aboriginal art – Coober Pedy South Australia.
Watch a parade of penguins waddle and squawk their way home after their big day in the ocean dodging sharks and hunting for food - Phillip Island Victoria.
Great Ocean Road
Road trip along the Great Ocean road to the Twelve Apostles, tall rock formations that occasionally collapse. There are only eight left at the time of writing so best not get too close – Victoria.
See where friendly garden gnomes come from in Gnomesville. Here, at the side of a country road roundabout, is a bush community of thousands and thousands of gnomes. It’s an amazing site and one that may be equally perplexing to any archaeologist who digs up this place in 2,000 years from now – Wellington Mill, Western Australia.
New Zealand - Destination guide
Despite overwhelming international lore, it’s not all about the South Island. New Zealand is about glow worms, hobbits, volcanos, adventures outdoors and pronouncing vowels in new and strange ways to baffle the visitors.
Make like a Hobbit for a day, walk the outdoor set of Lord of the Rings and have a drink in the Green Dragon – Hobbiton, Matamata, North Island.
Enjoy a bioluminescent cosmos like no other in the delightful Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, North Island.
Cruise the unforgettable Milford Sound – South Island.
Spiritual Centre of the Universe
Get amongst the giant boulder field the Dalai Lama once described as a ‘spiritual Centre of the Universe’ - Castle Hill, South Island.
Trek to stunning Ice caves on a glacier surrounded by a rainforest - Fox Glacier, Westlan Tai Poutini National Park.
The Colossal Squid
Fishermen spoke of it, science fiction authors wrote about it, now you can finally see and believe it when you come face to face with the colossal Squid - Te Papa, Wellington, North Island. Next day take a drive up to see New Zealand’s Stonehenge.
See the Pancake Rocks, heavily eroded limestone and vertical geyser-like blowholes during high tide. If you have the time, allow yourself a whole day so you may explore the rocks during low tide as well - Punakaiki, South Island.
See what trees would do if they could use hair spray at the most southernly point on New Zealand’s Slope Point, South Island.
Spend a day on the beach, Cathedral Cove Beach – North Island
Take a jet boat to the bridge to nowhere and canoe back through rapids – Whanganui, North Island.