Oceania is one of the easiest places in the world to organise transport.
As its name suggests, Oceania is predominantly made up of island nations, some of which are thousands of miles apart, so you’ll almost certainly have to use planes at some point to get around. You should aim to cover as many flights as you can in your initial round the world ticket because this will be cheaper than buying individual tickets. From the major cities of Australia and New Zealand you can fly pretty much anywhere in Oceania that has an international airport.
Also, don’t underestimate the size of Australia: this mammoth island is considerably larger than all the countries in Western Europe combined, and to travel from one side to the other overland takes weeks rather than days. If you are tight on time but want to see as much of the country as possible, you’ll probably have to look into domestic flights.
The vast majority of backpackers use buses to travel through Australia and New Zealand. Both countries have well-kept roads and many bus companies to choose from – your choice will be determined by the experience you want to have.
In Australia two bus companies dominate the market: Oz Experience and Greyhound. The former is best for first time and or solo travellers who want to meet people and have organised adventures along the way. The latter is better for independent travellers who just want to get from A to B, quietly and quickly.
In New Zealand, too, there is a multitude of bus companies to choose from. The Kiwi Experience and Stray Travel buses are New Zealand’s answer to Oz Experience, best for young and or solo backpackers, while companies like InterCity Coachlines are best for just getting you to where you need to be.
You won’t find any trains on Fiji and the other Pacific Islands (they’re too small for it to be worth building railways), but Australia and New Zealand both have some great journeys to be had by train.
Apart from the standard railways on the east coast, Australia has two epic routes to take by train. The first is the Ghan, which travels from one end of the country to the other, between Adelaide in the south and Darwin in the north, and takes about 54 hours. The second is the Indian Pacific, which travels from one side of the country to the other, between Sydney in the east and Perth in the west, and takes about 65 hours.
In New Zealand, trains are probably the easiest way to travel between the main cities of Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington. There also ‘tourist’ lines, which take you through scenic parts of the country (of which there certainly isn’t a shortage), and for these you can get special passes which last between one and two weeks.
Along with the USA, Australia and New Zealand are the best countries in the world to explore by campervan. Unlike buses, with a camper you’re completely independent and, of course, there’s the small convenience of having a home on wheels, saving you tons of cash on hostels. Both Australia and New Zealand have many, many sites where you can park up for the night, usually costing between £5-15, depending on how good the campsite is.
It’s almost impossible to travel around Oceania and not hop on a boat at some point – even if it’s only to immerse yourself in that incredible coastal scenery. Boats are rarely used in Australia and New Zealand to get from A to B, rather for special tours to see places like the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef and Milford Sound.
To reach some of the more remote Pacific Islands you’ll have to rely on boats – these are the only things that can get you there. Also, if visiting Fiji, you’ll fly onto the main island where the airport is, but then you’ll probably head to somewhere like the Yasawa Islands and you’ll need to hop on a boat to do this.