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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

Oceania in a Nutshell

Not many people have experienced a sunrise in Kiribati, the world’s 9th least visited country.

More and more people aspire to visit every country in the world (whether you count 193, 196 or 198 – like I do). I believe that is a good thing, given that travellers take the opportunity to actually spend time in each country, meet those who live there and try to understand the challenges that they face there. And believe me, everyone has challenges. (In my country Norway, one of the world’s wealthiest, the one overshadowing problem these days doesn’t seem to be the climate crisis, an explosion of people being forced to flee their countries, diminishing education levels, the rise of populist parties or increasing amounts of propaganda disguised as news. The main challenge to Norwegians these days is, judging by media coverage, toll roads. We pump up 2.5 percent of the world’s oil and gas and have higher incomes than most but the prospect to having to pay a few dollars to drive on motorways or cross bridges really drive us mad. So, if you come to Norway, that may be one of the “challenges” you want to find out more about.)

In order to do so, I would strongly recommend to stay several days or weeks in each country – and at the very least to stay a day and a night. I do however understand the problem of too little holiday quite well, and that compromises must be made. To visit the 14 countries in Oceania, the continent of the Pacific, can be quite a daunting task, primarily due to a lack of flights and minimal, if any, competition between airlines. So, how can these countries be visited on a vacation?

Small boats are by far the most common mode of transport in the Federated States of Micronesia.

I have made a suggested itinerary of how all 14 countries can be visited, with at least one night in each, in only 19 days. Again, I would recommend you to spend much more time in these incredible countries, so consider this an exercise in logistics rather than the optimal itinerary. And do note, should you follow this itinerary, and there is one flight cancellation or delay (which happens quite often in the Pacific), then you may be stuck in an island nation for days or weeks. The next available flight might be full (propeller planes are not uncommon), or will arrive too late for you to reach your next flight (which means your onward ticket is no longer valid unless you have been able to afford flexible tickets). Tuvalu is the most difficult country to reach, with only 3-4 flights per week. These are operated by only two carriers (Air Kiribati to Tawara, Fiji Airways to Suva), both flying propeller planes. Nauru has more flights, all jet powered, but is only served by Nauru Airlines.

Due to the lack of flights it isn’t straightforward to make an itinerary for those with limited holiday, but I’ve given it a go. See the flights on a map below the table. WeekdayTimeRouteCountry to stay the nightMonday (or earlier)10:00-14:15Brisbane-HoniaraSolomon IslandsTuesday11:55-14:50Honiara-NauruNauruWednesday14:20-17:30Nauru-NadiFijiThursday13:30-15:55Nadi-Nuku’alofaTongaFriday14:50-16:55Nuku’alofa-AucklandNew Zealand (1 or 2 nights)Saturday or Sunday08:45-13:30 or 15:40-20:35Auckland-ApiaSamoa (1 or 2 nights)Monday16:55-21:00Apia-SuvaFiji (again)Tuesday09:00-11:35Suva-FunafutiTuvaluWednesday14:00-17:25Funafuti-TarawaKiribati (2 nights)Friday07:15-08:30Tarawa-MajuroMarshall IslandsSaturday11:20-14:50/15:47Majuro-Pohnpei/ChuukFederated States of MicronesiaSunday08:00/09:00-12:00 Pohnpei/Chuuk- Port Moresby Papua New Guinea (2 nights)Tuesday08:55-15:05Port Moresby- Port VilaVanuatuWednesday15:05-17:15Port Vila-BrisbaneAustraliaThursday22:50-18:15 (+1)Brisbane-KororPalau

Many carriers will get you to Brisbane, Australia to start this trip, whereas there are direct flights to Manila, Taipei, Seoul and Guam from Koror, Palau to get you back home. You can find and book most flights on sites like Kayak, Skyscanner or Momondo, although you may in some cases have to book from the airline’s website.

Flight changes are NOT uncommon, so please double check that all flights are still scheduled to fly at the times specified above before booking any tickets.

Start in Australia, finish in Palau. Map from Bridgat.

How about running around a country? The road around Nauru measures 19 kilometers.

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