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Chapter 15 Australia, New Zealand, and the Islands of the South Pacific.


* The South Pacific region consists of three island groups: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia; and Australia and New Zealand.

* The islands of the Pacific can be divided into the high volcanic islands and the low coral islands.

* The Pacific region covers the largest area of any world travel region, yet has a very small land area.

* Australia and New Zealand have strong economic and cultural ties to Europe.

* The economies of Australia and New Zealand rely heavily upon agriculture and natural resources.


* The area is remote from the population and industrial centers of the world requiring long-haul visitors.

* The Pacific Islands are perceived as both culturally and physically exotic.

* Australia and New Zealand have some of the longest lengths of stay for visitors.

* Tourism to Australia and New Zealand is highly associated with their cultural linkage to Europe and North America.

* The growth in numbers of Japanese tourists to the area reflects honeymooners, office ladies, and visits to World War II sites.






Auckland, New Zealand

Rotorua, New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand

Southern Alps

Queensland and Milford Sand

Southeast coastal area between Sydney and Melbourne

Coastal areas of Queensland (Great Barrier Reef)

Alice Springs, Australia






Continental Islands

Coral Atolls

Coral Reef


Great Barrier Reef

Great Dividing Range







Office Ladies (OL)

Orogaphic Precipitation



Southern Alps

Tropical Rain Forest

Volcanic Islands


The South Pacific is one of the fastest-growing areas for tourist arrivals. However, it must be kept in mind that the numbers are relatively small. The islands of the Pacific (other than Hawaii, which is part of North America because of political ties), Australia, and New Zealand are isolated due to their long distances from the rest of the world, Figure 15-1. The Pacific Islands are further handicapped because their isolation is compounded by their small size. Their small size hinders development of major manufacturing, resources, and agricultural commodities to justify more transportation links with the rest of the world, which would be helpful in increasing development of tourism.


Australia and New Zealand have benefited from their larger size and close cultural and economic ties to Europe and North America. While isolated from their European cultural hearth, the first European settlers developed towns, governments, and societal values reflecting their European origins. Both Australia's and New Zealand's earliest European inhabitants were English, and they consciously developed societies that replicated their perception of their homeland. Both nations have highly developed economies that have all the characteristics of developed nations. They have high literacy levels, high incomes, large amounts of leisure time, and the individualism and materialism found in other regions of the industrialized world.

Australia and New Zealand are different in physical geography, with one large and the other small, one mineral-rich and the other with few mineral resources, one an island nation and the other occupying a continent, and one reliant upon agricultural exports almost exclusively and the other reliant upon both mineral and agricultural exports.


The islands of the South Pacific region (often referred to as Oceania) can be divided into three island groups: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Melanesia is closest to the Southeast Asian archipelago, and the islands are larger and have a tropical climate similar to that of the Southeast Asian mainland and the Indonesian archipelago. Melanesia extends from the Southeast Asian mainland to Australia and consists of a number of large islands, the largest being New Guinea. The size of the islands in Melanesia has led some geographers to refer to them as continental islands, to distinguish them from the much smaller islands of Micronesia and Polynesia. The mountains of the large islands of Melanesia are extremely rugged, with plateaus and precipitous interior valleys. The lower and coastal areas are divided by rivers with alternating swampy areas and coastal plains.

Micronesia is a complex of a few high mountainous volcanic islands and many tiny coral atolls. Atolls consist of a coral island or islands with a coral reef surrounding a lagoon. Coral atolls are low, and many rise only a few feet above the high-tide level. Volcanic islands, such as Guam, can reach elevations of over 2,600 feet (800 meters). The low atolls have a shortage of fresh water, which restricts tourism. The higher volcanic islands receive more precipitation, especially on their higher slopes.

Polynesia covers the largest area of the South Pacific, but its total land area is extremely small. Physically, this region includes both low coral atolls and volcanic islands. Many of these high volcanic islands have steep cliffs and mountain ranges divided by deep valleys. As air masses cross these mountains, cooling associated with higher elevations results in condensation, clouds, and precipitation in a process known as orographic precipitation. The heavy precipitation provides a source of fresh water. In some cases the volcanic islands are surrounded by fringing reefs that provide good fishing. While atolls are found throughout the Pacific, most of Micronesia is atolls. The atolls are extremely vulnerable to severe weather disturbances such as typhoons, unusually high seas, or droughts.

With the exception of Easter Island and New Zealand, the climate of the islands of the South Pacific is tropical rain forest with year-round precipitation and warm-to-hot temperatures with seasonal winds to temper the high humidity. Most of the islands in the South Pacific have a uniformly warm year-round temperature, ranging from nighttime lows near 68 degrees Fahrenheit to highs in the mid to high 80s. On the windward side of the high islands and on atolls, the warm temperatures and high humidity are offset by the cooling of the trade winds. On the leeward side and in the interior of the mountainous islands, humidity can make it very uncomfortable. In the highlands of the Melanesian Islands, particularly New Guinea, it can be quite cool, with very rare frost.

While there are no real seasonal changes as in the mid-latitudes, the year can be divided into rainy and dry seasons, especially in the savanna climate. North of the equator, the heaviest rainfall occurs from June to October, and south of the equator, from November to March. In the westernmost Pacific, monsoon winds produce heavy seasonal rains in the western Carolinas, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands of Melanesia.

The most severe storms in the Pacific are cyclonic storms known as typhoons (hurricanes). They begin in the east and move westward. They can occur at any time of the year, but they are most frequent during the rainy season and cause great destruction and often denude and reshape the configuration of entire atolls.

The coral atolls, volcanic islands, and tropical climate combine to create a setting perceived as exotic by residents of the industrialized nations.



Most of Australia has an arid (desert or steppe) climate, which limits agricultural activities and settlement, but its large landmass includes five general climatic regions.

The eastern coastal area from Brisbane south to Melbourne has abundant precipitation year-round. The climatic types range from humid subtropical in the Brisbane area, which is a major tourist region similar to Miami, to the marine west coast in the south around Melbourne and Canberra, where the tourist season is shorter. The major highland of Australia, the Great Dividing Range, extends along this eastern coast in a belt 100 to 250 miles wide. These rugged but low mountains rarely exceed 3,000 feet in elevation. The highest point, Mount Kosciusko, is at only 7,316 feet, which is also the highest elevation in Australia. It is in this region that the film Man from Snowy River was filmed, which increased international tourism interest. It is the eastern and southeastern portions of Australia that are the centers of population for Australia. The two largest cities alone, Sydney and Melbourne, account for 40 percent of the total population of the nation.

The southwestern and southern parts of Australia have a Mediterranean-type climate characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, moist winters, similar to that of Southern California. Since it is in the Southern Hemisphere, the summer dry season is from October to April and the winter wet season is from June to September. This area of Australia is an important producer of grapes and other crops typical of the Mediterranean climates of Southern Europe and Southern California. The combination of summer drought and the region's remoteness from population centers has limited the development of truck farming on a scale similar to that found in Southern California and Southern Europe. The northern coastal regions of Australia have a savanna climate with rainy summers and dry winters. Precipitation exceeds 20 inches throughout most of this northern region, but a dry season and high temperatures handicap agriculture. The northeast region does have the internationally known Great Barrier Reef, which has led to the development of one of the better tourist regions of Australia.

The majority of Australia is arid and semiarid. The central portion receives less than 10 inches of rainfall per year and is surrounded by a steppe land that receives 10 to 20 inches. This great, dry interior is referred to by Australians as the Outback and covers more than one-half of the total continent.

New Zealand

New Zealand consists of two large and a number of small islands. North Island contains the majority of the 3.6 million residents of New Zealand, while the larger South Island and the small islands have fewer people. The population is centered on the Canterbury Plain of the east central portion of South Island and the coastal plains and the lower slopes of the uplands of North Island. New Zealand's landforms are dominated by high mountain ranges, particularly the Southern Alps of South Island, which reach 12,349 feet at Mt. Cook. The mountainous nature of New Zealand provides for an extensive park system in the Southern Alps and the major tourist attraction of its highest peak, Mt. Cook. With active glaciation and many waterfalls, cirques, matterhorns, and fjords along the southwest coast, it is an area of outstanding scenic beauty.

The climate of New Zealand is a marine west-coast climate, and half of the nation is suitable for intensive grazing. The production of wool and mutton for export to Europe has been the major economic activity from the time of the first European settlements. The island character of New Zealand influences the climate. Although New Zealand lies in latitudes similar to those between San Luis Obispo, California, and the mouth of the Columbia River, its climate is cooler and more moderate because of the surrounding water. Precipitation is well distributed seasonally and varies from more than 120 inches annually along the southwest coast to less than 30 inches on the east-coast lowlands.


As indicated, tourism to this region experienced a rapid rate of growth (Figure 15-2a and Figure 15-2b). However, this rate is misleading since it occurred from a relatively small base that makes small numerical increases result in a large percentage increase. The increase in tourists to the islands of the South and Central Pacific, from 682,629 tourists in 1975 to 3,066,535 in 1999 creates an annual average growth rate of more than 13 percent. The change in Australia/New Zealand from 1.3 million in 1980 to nearly 5.8 million in 1999 represents a growth of over 9 percent per year. While the percentages demonstrate a rapid growth rate, this rate will probably slow as the numbers of tourists reach the level that tourism development in the South Pacific islands can support.


The area can be characterized by its isolation, great distances from the major tourist-generating countries of the world, poor airline connections to most of the islands, the low level of both economic and tourism development, and the intervening opportunities of tropical environments closer to the major industrialized countries of North America and Western Europe. Tourism to the region reflects the combination of distance and cultural linkages with former colonial ties. Tourists will go to the closest place for a tropical experience unless long distances are overcome by cultural linkages between a specific area and its former colonial master. This is reflected in the region of origin of visitors. Most of the visitors are from the more adjacent Pacific region, which includes Asia and Southeast Asia. The three major origin countries of Oceania are the industrialized countries of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, Table 15-1.


Tourism Characteristics

The perception of the South Pacific by the residents of the industrialized world is of islands that are of extraordinary and exotic natural beauty with mountains and South Sea vegetation interspersed along the beaches and lagoons. These tropical islands have a pleasant climate, beautiful sunsets, good beaches, and friendly citizens. Europeans also perceive the region as having a variety of South Pacific cultures with many native arts and crafts that are very beautiful and interesting. The perceived characteristics are particularly true for the South Pacific islands. Tourism is viewed by many of the Pacific Island states as an opportunity to reduce their dependency on uncertain aid income. It is estimated that for every 13 international tourists who visit the islands, one full-time tourist job is generated. This would mean that the 2 million visitors to the islands would generate 150,000 jobs or approximately 12 percent of the region's total employment.

The three major origins of tourism to the Pacific Islands are the United States, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand. The Japanese dominate the trade to Guam, Northern Marianas, and New Caledonia; Australia and New Zealand dominate tourism to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and the Cook Islands. Tahiti receives the largest number of their visitors from the United States, which accounts for 32.7 percent of the total visitors. The percentage of visitors from the United States declined in the 1990s, largely because of an increased use of more efficient airplanes allowing nonstop flights to Australia and New Zealand from the United States. The second largest group of visitors to Tahiti is from France (27.8 percent), reflecting its former colonial linkage.

Other than the direct linkages from a few islands, such as Guam, Fiji, and Tahiti, there are poor international connections and even less inter-island transportation. Fewer ships call at most of the islands of the Pacific today than did fifty years ago. Combined with the lack of transportation service is the poor tourist infrastructure. The small size of the islands also provides a less diverse resource base to attract international tourists. The high degree of dependency upon sun-sea-sand created by the tropical environment leaves the region vulnerable to competitive locations that have the same tropical environment but are closer to the major tourist-generating countries of North America and Western Europe.

The average length of stay is relatively long for the islands, with the exception of Guam. The majority of tourists to Guam come from Japan for either a honeymoon or the short traditional vacations taken by the Japanese. The longer length of stay in the rest of the region indicates that most of the islands are major destinations rather than part of a group of islands visited like the Caribbean. A growing trend in the Pacific is the travel in and throughout the region by the Japanese for the purpose of visiting places where either they or relatives were involved in World War II.


Country               Capital              Status

American Samoa       Pago Pago     Unincorporated United
                                     States Territory
Cook Islands         Avarua        Self-governing
French Polynesia     Papeete       Territory of France
Pitcairn             Adamstown     Dependent of Britain
Tonga                Nuku'alofa    Constitutional Monarchy
Tuvalu               Funafuti      Independent State
Wallis and Futuna    Mata Utu      Territory of France
Western Samoa        Apia          Independent State

                         Population        Area in
Country                2001 (millions)   Square Miles   Currency

American Samoa              0.5                76         U.S. $

Cook Islands                0.02               93         N.Z. $
French Polynesia            0.2             1,545         C.F.P.
Pitcairn                    --                  1.7        N.Z. $
Tonga                       0.1               260          T.P.
Tuvalu                      0.01               10          AS. $
Wallis and Futuna           0.0015             48         C.F.P.
Western Samoa               0.2             1,141          W.S.T.

French Polynesia (Tahiti)


Entry: A visa is not required, but a passport is. Transportation:
International connections are excellent from North America,
Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. Some carriers between
North America and Australia and New Zealand stop in Papeete.
However, with the introduction of more long-haul aircraft, some
carriers are beginning to bypass Tahiti on their way from the West
Coast to Australia and New Zealand. Transportation between islands
is by air and ship. Local transportation is by "le truck," which
carries people throughout Tahiti on a regular schedule.

Shopping: Common items include French perfumes, lingerie, and
bathing suits. Tahitian items include tiki effigies and fabrics.


While the majority of the population is Polynesian (78 percent),
there is considerable mixing with Chinese or European. About 10
percent of the population is French, and another 12 percent is
Chinese. French is the official language and is taught in the
schools. Tahitian is a regional language for the Society Islands
and is the language for the majority of the people as it is the
language spoken in the home. The Chinese speak either the Hakka
dialect of Chinese or French. English is understood in tourist
areas. Each of the island groups in French Polynesia has its own
language. Missionaries brought Christianity in the eighteenth
century and currently almost 55 percent are Protestant (Evangelical
Church), 30 percent are Roman Catholic, and the other 16 percent
are divided between a number of religions including Judaism and

The population of French Polynesia is approximately 200,000 people.
Over half (120,000) live on the island of Tahiti in the Society
Islands. The capital, Papeete, is the largest city, with over
80,000 people living in the urbanized area. The balance of the
population is scattered over five archipelagos that comprise French
Polynesia. The Society Islands, the Tuamotu Islands, and the
Marquesas Islands are the largest of these. Tahiti, Papeete, and
the Society Islands in general are the major tourism destinations.
The visitors enjoy the blend of volcanic peaks and lush tropical
forests, with white, sandy beaches surrounding each island.

Cultural Hints:

* Tips are expected on the islands.

* Pointing with the index finger is considered rude.

* A handshake is a common greeting. (Shake hands with all in a

* Remove shoes before entering a Tahitian home.

* To stop "le truck" (local transportation), hold out your hand.

* Food and eating:

  Wash hands before eating as Tahitians usually eat with their hands.

  Typical food consists of fish, other seafood, chicken, pork, sweet
   potatoes, breadfruit, fruits, and vegetables. There is a strong
   French influence in the tourist facilities.

Physical Characteristics

French Polynesia consists of five archipelagoes scattered over 1.5 square miles. Most of the islands are extinct volcanoes with high mountainous formations and deep, well-watered valleys. The islands are surrounded by coral reefs forming sheltered lagoons. The Tuamotu archipelago consists of mostly low, flat atolls. The Tuamotu island groups are not important for tourism. The climate is tropical, but moderate. While the rain falls throughout the year, the rainy season is between November and March.

Tourism Characteristics

French Polynesia has benefitted from its location as a stopover between North America and Australia and New Zealand. However, as indicated, more flights are now going directly between the two regions. While worldwide arrivals have increased, arrivals from North America have declined. Consequently, the Tahiti Tourist Promotion Board has begun a campaign on the West Coast of the United States designed to increase interest in Tahiti.

Tourism Destinations and Attractions

French Polynesia is made up of exotic mountain islands with deep valleys, sandy beaches, and beautiful lagoons. Its capital is on the island of Tahiti in Papeete (Figure 15-3). The island is highly dependent upon tourism and an annual subsidy from France. Most of the jobs are generated by tourism. Many consider the islands of French Polynesia to be the "Pearl of the Pacific." There are six major islands for tourism in the group: Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Tahaa, and Huahine. Tahiti and its capital, Papeete, attract the largest number of tourists (Figure 15-4). Many of the island's sandy beaches consist of broad expanses of black sand. The island is ringed by a road passing picturesque clusters of native straw- or tin-roofed huts. The interior is a mountain of sheer cliffs, verdant valleys, and plunging waterfalls.


Moorea, a short 90-minute ferry ride from Papeete, is less developed and less populated than Tahiti. It represents the remains of a volcano and offers a lush landscape of mountains and beautiful beaches with many resorts spread around the island. Bora Bora, about 140 miles from Tahiti, is ringed with atolls, turquoise waters, and palm-studded beaches. The flora and fauna of the ocean are spectacular. Bora Bora is one of the most picturesque islands of the Pacific. James Michener described it as the most beautiful island in the world. Raiatea, a tall volcanic island of some 6,500 inhabitants, and Tahaa are even less developed than Moorea and they are an underwater delight for fishing and photography. The islands' mountains and lagoons are most picturesque and further development will likely continue. Huahine, the most isolated and least developed island, is beginning to attract visitors and development. In addition to the volcanic mountains and lagoons, there are many archaeological relics on the islands.


American and Western Samoa


Entry: A visa is not required for stays up to 30 days. Proof of
onward or return transportation is required.

Transportation: International connections are available (usually
weekly) with New Zealand, Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, and Vanuatu.
Within the countries there is daily air and ferry service. Public
transportation is available by bus, taxi, and rental car.

Health: Visitors to Western Samoa should not drink tap water. In
American Samoa water is generally safe to drink.

Shopping: Common items include local handwoven tapa cloth,
lava-lavas and traditional men's and women's costumes, shells,
laufala mats and carvings, baskets, bags, and teak bowls.


Over 2,000 years ago, waves of Polynesians migrated from Southeast
Asia to the Samoan Islands. Samoans are the second largest
Polynesian group, after the Maoris of New Zealand, and speak a
Polynesian dialect. The majority of the people are ethnic Samoan,
of Polynesian descent (90 percent). About 7 percent are
Euronesians, or people of mixed European and Polynesian descents.
Two percent are Caucasian and 2 percent Tongan.

Samoans have tended to retain their traditional ways despite
exposure to European influences. Most Samoans live within the
traditional social system based on the aiga, or extended family
group, headed by a matai, or chief.

Both nations of Samoa speak Samoan, a language related to Hawaiian
and other Polynesian languages. In American Samoa, English is the
second official language. Nearly all of the people are Christian,
with the Congregational Church representing about half of the
population. Forty percent are divided between Roman Catholics and
Methodists. Cultural Hints:

* Greetings are usually formal and effusive.

* A handshake is an acceptable greeting.

* When visiting a home, wait for an invitation to enter from the
host and remove shoes.

* Accepting and giving gifts is common when visiting.

* To beckon another person hold the palm face down and wave all

* Pointing with the index finger is impolite.

* Swaying from side to side indicates contempt or anger.

* Eating and foods:

  Do not eat while walking in the roads and streets.

  Samoan foods are eaten with the fingers.

  Take a small amount of all food offered. When offered Kava (the
   national drink) spill a few drops before drinking.

  Typical foods are bananas, breadfruit, pineapples, papayas,
   coconuts, copra, yams, taro, pork, chicken, and fish.

Physical Characteristics

The island groups of American and Western Samoa are volcanic, providing mountain ranges with some small coral atolls in American Samoa. The climate is pleasant because of trade winds, and has frequent rains falling mostly between December and March.

Tourism Characteristics

Western Samoa receives nearly four times the number of visitors as American Samoa--85,000 to 21,000. The origin of the visitors is different as Western Samoa's market is more regional, while the visitors from the United States dominate travel to American Samoa. The United States accounts for 69.3 percent of the visitors to American Samoa, while the largest percentage of visitors to Western Samoa is from American Samoa, accounting for 36.5 percent of its visitors. Australia and New Zealand generate over 38 percent of the visitors to each of the countries.

Tourism Destinations and Attractions

American and Western Samoa are both Polynesian and are reported to have some of the world's friendliest people. Periodic markets with colorful Samoan handicraft add to the sun-sea-sand attraction. Like the French Polynesia Islands, the natural sights are spectacular. Tourism is centered around the capitals, Pago Pago on American Samoa and Apia on Western Samoa.

Pago Pago is located on a scenic harbor and is the center for exploring the island of Tutuila. This island has lush, densely wooded mountains and beautiful villages. Apia offers both a beach setting and some architecture indicative of its history. The home and tomb of Robert Louis Stevenson are here. Excursions from Apia take visitors through picturesque Samoan villages, delightful beaches, and scenic waterfalls.



Entry: A visa is not required for stays up to 30 days, but a
passport is. Proof of onward or return transportation is required.

Transportation: Four international airlines link Tonga with Fiji,
New Zealand, and Western Samoa. Public buses and taxis serve the
island of Tongatapu but are limited on the other islands. Ferries
travel between the island groups.

Health: Tonga is free from most tropical diseases, and drinking
water is safe in the capital and in tourist resorts.

Shopping: Common items include woven mats, shells and bamboo
curtains, stuffed-animal toys, shell jewelry, slippers, grass
skirts, woven hats, tapa cloth, wooden carvings, and other native


Nearly two-thirds of the population live on its main island,
Tongatapu. Tongans, a Polynesian group with a very small mixture of
Melanesian, represent more than 98 percent of the people. The rest
are European, mixed European, and other Pacific Islanders. Everyday
life is heavily influenced by Polynesian traditions and especially
by the Christian faith. For example, all commerce and entertainment
activities cease from midnight Saturday until midnight Sunday. The
two major religions are the Free Wesleyan (Methodist) Church and
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Tongan
and English are both official languages. Government documents are
in both languages, but Tongan is the most common language of daily

Cultural Hints:

* A handshake is a common greeting.

* Tongans usually call people by their first names.

* A raised eyebrow means yes or that you agree.

* Do not use hand motions to call anyone other than children.

* A downward wave of the arm means come here.

* Eating and food:

It is not customary to leave a tip for service.

Eating and drinking while standing is not appropriate.

Typical foods include yams, taro leaves, sweet potatoes, cassava,
fish, fruits, and pork.

Physical Characteristics

Tonga consists of about 150 islands, but only 45 are inhabited. The islands are a combination of extinct volcanoes and raised coral. The climate varies from the cooler, drier southern islands to the wetter, hot, and hurricane-prone northern islands.

Tourism Characteristics, Destinations, and Attractions

Tonga receives from 20,000 to 30,000 visitors per year. Its visitors' market is relatively dispersed, with 18.5 percent from the United States, 13 percent from Australia and New Zealand, and 22 percent from Europe. The proximity of Australia and New Zealand is an important factor in the large percentage of visitors from those two countries. There is a significant Tongan population in the United States that helps account for the strong percentage of visitors from the United States.

As in Samoa, the residents are extremely friendly. Unlike Tahiti, the islands are mostly coral atolls with only a few of volcanic origin. Tonga is still ruled by a native form of government of kings and queens. Of the three major groups, Tonga has the smallest tourism trade. The main island of Tongatapu is the tourist center. However, there are a number of attractions, including a Victorian white-framed royal palace and chapel in Nuku'alofa, famous blow holes at Houma, and scenic areas, such as Hufangalupe with its huge natural coral bridge under which seawater churns, towering cliffs overlooking the sea, and a beautiful beach at the bottom of a steep downhill trail. The ancient remains of the Haamonga trilithon enabled the early people to identify the seasons. It consists of two 40-ton upright coral stones topped by a horizontal connecting stone. The Port of Refuge in the Vava'u Islands is one of the most picturesque harbors in the Pacific.

Cook Islands


Entry: A visa is not required for stays up to 31 days. Proof of
sufficient funds and onward transportation is required.

Transportation: International connections from New Zealand are
provided on a weekly basis.


The population is 82 percent Polynesian, 7.7 percent mixed
Polynesian and European, and 7.7 percent Polynesian and other. The
majority of the people belong to the Christian Church. English is
the official language, and Maori is spoken widely.

Physical Characteristics

The Cook Islands incorporate a variety of geographic settings. The northern atolls are submerged volcanic peaks covered with coral and the steep, raised volcanic peaks of Rarotonga with its narrow, fringing reef. The islands of the northern group, including Manuae and Takutea, are coral atolls, while the remaining six islands of the southern group are mountainous. The climate is warm and humid from December to March. It is milder from April to November.

Tourism Characteristics, Destinations, and Attractions

Only the Cook Islands of the remaining Polynesian islands have any tourist industry of consequence and even then it is small, attracting most of its visitors from Australia and New Zealand (43 percent of visitors). Visitors from the United States and Europe increased in numbers in the 1990s. As of 1999, only four of the fifteen islands had any kind of tourist facilities. Accommodations are somewhat limited, but locations are increasing. Currently, there are 885 rooms in all hotels, motels, guesthouses, and hostels combined. Like the rest of Polynesia, the Cook Islands are known for their volcanic mountains, beautiful beaches, and crystal-clear lagoons. Tourism centers around the capital, Rarotonga, with a slow-paced, Polynesian, friendly tourist industry. The coral reef and lagoons are centers of interest for snorkeling and scuba diving. The history of the islands can be observed in the historical road of Ara Metua and stone seats near the road. Cook Islands' Christian Church and the Mission House, which is a restored church museum, add to the historical understanding of the Cook Islands.

Other Polynesian Islands

The other Polynesian Islands of Pitcairn, Tuvalu, and Wallis and Futuna have little tourism. They have poor communication and transportation facilities.

Of the Melanesian Islands only Fiji, New Caledonia, and the Solomon Islands have a significant number of visitors.


It is a region that has not developed economically and has poor visitor access. Other specific island nations are more exotic in the minds of travelers.

Country             Capital         Status

Fiji                Suva            Independent State
New Caledonia       Noumea          Territory of France
Papua New Guinea    Port Moresby    Independent State
Solomon Islands     Honiara         Independent State
Vanuatu             Port-Vila       Independent Republic

                      Population        Area in
Country             2001 (millions)   Square Miles   Currency

Fiji                      0.8            7,055        Fiji $
New Caledonia             0.2            7,476        C.F.P.
Papua New Guinea          5.0          178,258          K.
Solomon Islands           0.5           11,496          S.
Vanuatu                   0.2            4,587        N.F.H.


Physical Characteristics

Fiji is composed of some 320 islands of varying size. The larger islands and tourist centers of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are volcanic mountains offering scenic views of old volcanic landscapes. The climate is tropical with December to April being humid and hot. Destructive hurricanes occur in this period from time to time.


Entry: A visa is not required for stays up to 4 months. Proof of
sufficient funds and onward transportation is required.

Transportation: International connections are good between Fiji and
New Zealand, Australia, North and South America, and a number of
other Pacific Islands. Fiji has been a stop for some airlines on
travel between North America and Australia and New Zealand. Air
transportation is available for service between major centers of
Fiji. Public transportation is by an open-air bus.

Health: Fiji is free from most tropical diseases, and drinking
water is safe in cities and major tourist centers.

Shopping: Common items include tortoiseshell jewelry, Indian silk
saris, and an array of spices.


Indigenous Fijians are a mixture of Polynesian and Melanesian,
resulting from the original migrations to the South Pacific many
centuries ago. The Indian population has grown rapidly since being
brought in from India between 1879 and 1916 to work in the
sugarcane fields. The rest of the population includes Pacific
Islanders, Chinese, Europeans, and other ethnic groups. Fijians are
Christian, 78 percent of them Methodist. Roman Catholics account
for about 8.5 percent. Indians are either Hindu or Muslim, and the
Chinese are either Christian or Buddhist. The Fijians are generous,
friendly, and easygoing. They are relaxed and casual. Ethnic
tension does exist between Fijians and the Indians. English is the
official language. Bauan, a Fijian dialect, is spoken by most
indigenous Fijians. Hindustani, a dialect of Hindi, is spoken by
many Indians.

Cultural Hints:

* A handshake is a common greeting with visitors.

* Remove shoes when entering a home.

* Eye contact is important when talking with someone.

* To beckon someone hold palm down and wave the fingers.

* It is impolite to touch a Fijian's head.

* Eating and food:

Tips are not expected, but will be accepted.

Visitors should accept food that is offered them.

Typical foods include seafood, coconut milk, chicken, pork,
tapioca, and Indian cuisine. Foods are rarely deep fried.

Tourism Characteristics

Fiji vies with Northern Marianas for the largest tourist industry of the South Pacific Islands. Its location close to Australia and New Zealand provides it with an excellent market, with the two countries accounting for over 46 percent of Fiji's visitors. In addition, it is somewhat of a crossroads for visits to other islands of the Pacific. It is a major stopover for airlines from North America to Australia and New Zealand.

Periodically, Fiji has had some political conflict between the Indians and the Fijians that has hurt tourism. However, the tourism arrivals began to increase, reaching approximately 410,000 in 1999. The United States accounts for 15 percent of the visitors, a decrease from 17 percent in 1986. The change in aircraft allowing nonstop trips between the United States and Australia and New Zealand is an important factor in this decline. Most of the American market is comprised of travelers to Australia and New Zealand stopping off en route or returning from these two destinations. Its attractions are similar to other Pacific Islands. It offers sandy coral and volcanic islands. The high number of Asians provides a unique cuisine that combines Chinese and Indian cooking. Tourism is centered in Suva, the capital and point of origin for trips to other Pacific Islands, and the west coast of Fiji, with its excellent water and beaches. A number of cruises depart from Suva to the surrounding islands. There are a number of resorts and two major cultural centers to entertain visitors, Figures 15-5 and 15-6. The nightlife is lively and the tropical climate is moderate most of the year.



New Caledonia


Cultural Characteristics

New Caledonia is an overseas territory of France. The ethnic character is 42.5 percent Melanesian, 37.1 percent European, and 8.5 percent Wallisian, with small groups of Polynesian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and others. The official language is French. There are approximately 28 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects spoken. Sixty percent are Roman Catholic, and 30 percent are Protestant.

Physical Destinations and Characteristics

New Caledonia is a mountainous island with coastal plains. The climate is tropical, with the wet season from December to March. The eastern side is a lush green landscape and the western side an arid coastal plain.

Tourism Characteristics, Destinations, and Attractions

New Caledonia's tourism also suffered from political unrest. Tourism declined to only about 60,000 visitors annually, which was only one-half of its peak visitor year. However, like Fiji's tourism, it began increasing, with 90,000 visitors annually in the 1990s. The two major contributors of tourists to New Caledonia are Japan (31.1 percent) and Australia (14.6 percent). The United States accounts for only 1 percent of the tourists. Because of political ties with France, New Caledonia has enjoyed good airline connections to the West. The French flavor is abundant in New Caledonia. Noumea, the capital, is considered the "Paris" of the South Pacific, although in spite of containing one-half of the total population of the nation, it is still a small city. Its streets, nightlife, and foods provide a French flavor set in a South Pacific physical and cultural environment of native handicrafts and art. New Caledonia is surrounded by the second largest coral reef in the world, providing clear blue, fish-filled waters for fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and sailing.


Cultural Characteristics

The population is 94 percent indigenous Melanesian. Christianity is very important, and the majority are Protestant, belonging to the Anglican Church. A local pidgin, Bislama, is the national language. (Pidgin is a language that is simplified and modified through contact with other languages.) English and French are also official languages.

Physical Characteristics

The Vanuatu Islands are rocky and mountainous with only limited plains. The climate can be cool May to September, while in the southern hemisphere summer from December to April, there are frequent heavy storms.

Tourism Characteristics, Destinations, and Attractions

Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides) and the Solomon Islands have a small regionalized tourist trade. Vanuatu had only 50,000 tourists in 1999, but this represented a 47 percent increase over 1990. Most of the tourists are from Australia and New Zealand (88 percent). About 20 percent of visitors to Vanuatu are from other South Pacific countries. There is presently little prospect for the islands being "discovered" because of their isolated location and lack of tourist infrastructure. If development occurs, it has some excellent attractions. The mixture of French and British institutions and some water sports and scenic volcanoes could provide the base for a tourism industry. It has been suggested that bungee jumping is based on the age-old ritual practiced by "land divers" of Vanuatu's Pentecost Island. Villagers collect vines and wind them into long cords, climb high wooden towers, tighten the vines around their ankles, and jump. This practice was adapted on the South Island of New Zealand to become "bungee jumping."

Solomon Islands

Cultural Characteristics

The Solomon Islands are a parliamentary democracy within the British Commonwealth. (A commonwealth is a voluntary association of countries.) The population is overwhelmingly Melanesian (93.3 percent), but there are some Polynesians (4 percent) and Micronesians (1.5 percent). In addition, there are small numbers of Europeans and Chinese. Most people reside in widely dispersed settlements along the coasts.

Most Solomon Islanders are Christian, with the Anglican, Roman Catholic, South Seas Evangelical, and Seventh-Day Adventists faiths predominating. Most Solomon Islanders maintain their traditional social structure, which is rooted in family and village life.

Physical Characteristics

The major islands of the Solomons are rugged and mountainous. Many of the outer islands of the group are coral atolls and raised coral reefs. The climate is tropical, with the most comfortable time between May and October when southeast trade winds occur.

Tourism Characteristics, Destinations, and Attractions

The Solomons receive only a few tourists each year. Since 1995, they have averaged 10,000 visitors per year. Most of their visitors are from Australia and New Zealand, with the United States accounting for about 8 percent of the total visitors. The major interests for most are the World War II sites. For example, at Guadalcanal one of the fiercest battles of the war occurred. There are war relics and major battle sites.

Papua New Guinea


Cultural Characteristics

The indigenous population of Papua New Guinea is extremely heterogeneous. It has several thousand separate communities, most with only a few hundred people. Divided by language, customs, and tradition, some of these communities have engaged in tribal warfare with their neighbors for centuries. Melanesian Pidgin (based on English) and, in Papua, Motu serve as lingua francas. Pidgin has tended to supplant Motu. English is spoken by educated people and in Milne Bay Province. Almost two-thirds of the population is nominally Christian. The two major Christian faiths are Roman Catholic and Lutheran.

The people feel a strong attachment to the land. Most Papua New Guineans still adhere strongly to the traditional social structure, with its roots in family and village life.

Physical Characteristics

Papua New Guinea has one of the most impressive mountain systems in the world. Parts of the lowland areas are swampy. Other than the Port Moresby area, which is in a rain shadow, the climate is hot and humid. The driest season is between May and October. The monsoon season is between December and March.

Tourism Characteristics, Destinations, and Attractions

Papua New Guinea has a small tourist industry, attracting some 70,000 visitors to the island in 1999. About 55 percent of all visitors are from Australia and New Zealand, with the United States accounting for 8.3 percent of the total visitors. Although the country had visitors for much of the 1900s, the government began to see in the 1980s that tourism might be a significant element in the future.

Papua New Guinea offers vast contrasts in climate, scenery, and terrain. Festivals have become a major attraction. Some of the most popular are at Goroka, Eastern Highlands, and Mountain Hagen. They rotate location from year to year with dancing, feasts, and group singing. World War II cemeteries at Bomana, Lae, and Bita Paka are impressive and serve as reminders of the war. Located along a beach, Port Moresby, the capital, has a colorful market, a town museum, and a nearby stilt village of Hanuobaba. The Rouna Falls and Louki Gorge are nearby. Goroka is the gateway to the highlands for views of scenic tropical forests, sunken gardens, rivers, and native villages with their thatched-roof stilt houses and group singing.

Micronesia, or "little islands," is a group of coral atolls and volcanic islands scattered across the western Pacific. Of the main island groups, the Carolina Islands, the Gilbert Islands, Northern Mariana and Guam, the Marshall Islands, and Nauru, only the Northern Marianas and Guam have a significant tourist industry. Both are commonwealths of the United States, thus enjoying the resources of development from an industrialized country. The bulk of their tourists are from Japan, with Guam receiving 82 percent and Northern Marianas receiving 75 percent of their respective visitors from Japan. Of the Pacific Islands, Guam has the best tourist facilities, with more hotel beds available than any other island, while the Northern Marianas rank fourth in availability of hotel beds in the islands of the Pacific. Both spend more money advertising their islands than any other Pacific islands.

Guam is somewhat special, as it is an important destination for Japanese honeymoons. It has large, well-designed hotels, and its attractions include beautiful beaches that are ideal for water sports such as skindiving and snorkeling on the coral reefs surrounding the island. It has some remarkable rock formations and a spectacular cliff. The Northern Marianas, in addition to their close proximity to Japan, were important during World War II, and there is significant travel for the purpose of visiting war sites and identifying places where relatives died.


Other Pacific Islands

There are a number of Pacific islands not discussed in this book. They have little tourism or facilities to support tourism. Easter Island, however, deserves some mention. Its location and ties to Chile cause some books to list Easter Island as part of South America. It has a small tourist industry, attracted primarily to the giant stone statues carved by early inhabitants of the island.

Country            Capital    Status 2001

Guam               Agana      Unincorporated U.S. Territory
Kiribati           Tarawa     Independent Republic
Kosrae             Kosrae     Federated States of Micronesia
Mariana Islands    Saipan     In Association with the U.S.
Nauru              Yaren      Independent Republic
Ponape             Kolonia    Federated States of Micronesia
Truk               Moen       Federated States of Micronesia

                     Population         Area in
Country              (millions)       Square Miles      Currency

Guam                     0.2               21            U.S. $
Kiribati                 0.1              378            Aus. $
Kosrae                   --                42            U.S. $
Mariana Islands          --               182            U.S. $
Nauru                   0.01                8.5          Aus. $
Ponape                   --               145            U.S. $
Truk                     --                45.5          U.S. $

New Zealand

Physical Characteristics

The islands are predominantly mountainous with some large coastal plains. The climate is temperate, with both sharp regional and altitudinal contrasts.

Tourism Characteristics

Although New Zealand is remote from the leading world population centers, tourism is one of its fastest-growing industries. In 1992 it surpassed the million mark for annual visitors. The government actively promotes tourism, with offices in many of the industrialized nations of the world (Figure 15-7). North Island and South Island, the major populated areas, are the focus of tourism.

New Zealand's strong ties with the United Kingdom since the early 1800s resulted in colonization by British settlers. This strong tie is expressed in the high numbers of visitors from the United Kingdom arriving for the purpose of visiting friends and relatives, Table 15-2. Nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of all visitors come to New Zealand for this reason.


Capital: Wellington

Government: Independent State within the British Commonwealth

Size: 103,515 square miles (same as Colorado)

Language: English

Ethnic Division: 88% European, 8.9% Maori, 2.9% Pacific Islander

Religion: 77% Christian, 23% none or unspecified

Tourist Season: Year-round

Peak Tourist Season: November and December

Currency: New Zealand dollar

Population: 3.9 million (2001)

Entry: A visa is not required. Proof of onward or round-trip
transportation and visa are required at next stop. Proof of
sufficient funds is required.

Transportation: Major international airlines serve New Zealand
mostly from Auckland with some flights to Christchurch. Bus and
rail service are available also. A ferry connects the two main
islands with frequent daily service. Excellent international air
transportation is available. Public transportation within cities is

Health: No special food or drink precautions are needed.

Shopping: Common items include jewelry made from the iridescent
paua shell, Maori handicrafts such as wood carving and ornaments
made of greenstone, sheepskin rugs, and knitted garments.


The majority of the people are of British ancestry. The British and
other Europeans comprise about 88 percent of the population. Nine
percent are Maori (Polynesian). Close to 3 percent are other
Polynesians, mostly from Tonga, Samoa, and the Cook Islands.
Auckland has the largest urban Polynesian population in the world.
Most of the people live on the North Island. English and Maori are
official languages, but almost all Maoris speak English. The
population is 81 percent Christian, with the Anglican Church the
largest. Other Christian faiths include Presbyterians, Roman
Catholics, and Methodists, but about 1 percent of the people are
Hindu or Buddhist.

In 1840, the United Kingdom annexed New Zealand and, through the
Treaty of Waitangi signed that year with Maori tribes, established
British sovereignty. Early European settlers were attracted to New
Zealand for lumbering, seal hunting, and whaling.

Cultural Hints:

* A firm handshake with good eye contact is the common greeting.

* After greeting, first names are used frequently.

* Loud speech and excessively demonstrative behavior are

* Cover the mouth when yawning.

* Chewing gum or using a toothpick in public is offensive.

* Eating and food:

  Hands should be kept above the table. Ice is not served with
   drinks. Water is served only on request.

  Tipping is not expected.

  Typical foods are traditionally British, consisting of meat (beef,
   pork, mutton), potatoes, seafood, vegetables, fruits, sausage,
   cheese, and ice cream.


The average length of stay is long, 20 days, reflecting the long distances as well as the high percentage of people visiting friends and relatives. Arrivals are highest in the summer months (October to April), but those traveling to visit friends and relatives prefer December and January during the holiday period.

The major markets are Australia, both because of proximity and cultural linkages; the United States, with about 80 percent from the state of California, where promotional activities are concentrated; the United Kingdom; and Japan. Australia is the most important market for New Zealand, accounting for approximately 33 percent of its visitors. However, there has been a decline since 1977, when the percentage of visitors from Australia was a little over 55 percent. This reflects the growing interest in New Zealand by tourists from other population and industrial centers of the world. During the 1980s and early 1990s, growth rates for visitors from Japan and the United States were significantly higher (68 and 43 percent respectively) than from Australia, which had only a 20 percent increase (New Zealand Official Yearbook, 1995).

Both Japanese and United States travelers represent larger potential markets than does Australia. The growing Japanese market is a combination of honeymooners and single, female office workers, who are referred to as office ladies. Both come in tour groups. The honeymooners tend to prefer a highly organized tour, while the office ladies desire to be slightly more flexible. Both groups stay the shortest period of time (seven days), reflecting one week off from work.

Travelers from the United States stay longer, averaging seventeen days. The primary reason for United States visits to New Zealand is reported to be vacation. Visitors from the United States are more independent than the Japanese, using both tours and fly-drive programs, which are increasingly popular. Visitors from the United Kingdom increased in the 1980s and 1990s, with 50 percent of those arriving coming for the purpose of visiting friends and relatives (New Zealand Official Yearbook, 1995). Increased numbers of tourists from the populated, industrial countries of the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom reflect in part an increased promotional campaign and the adoption of larger aircraft that make travel more comfortable.

The future of tourism to New Zealand is bright as long as the general world economy is strong. The government has increased its promotional budget significantly and has overseas offices in London, Frankfurt, Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka, Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane. The efforts of the New Zealand Tourist Publicity Department have diversified and broadened the visitor base to New Zealand and improved its image as a destination, accounting for the growing numbers visiting on vacations. The government Development Finance Corporation (DFC), set up to support high-risk ventures, has provided substantial funds to the tourism industry. Tourism follows manufacturing as the second largest sector for investment by the DFC. Air New Zealand, formerly a state-owned airline, has been sold to a consortium of investors including Qantas, American Airlines, Japan Airlines, and various New Zealand investors. Domestic tourism has been declining, in part due to the stagnant economy plus the large outflow of travel to overseas destinations. A problem has been that many places are closed on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, decreasing the opportunity for day trips for recreation and shopping.

Tourist Destinations and Attractions

There are a wide variety of attractions on New Zealand's two main islands. New Zealand has encouraged ecotourism both for preservation and as a major source of attractiveness for visitors. Also, throughout the country the Maori culture is a major tourist attraction and is well presented for the visitor. The major museum, which is at Auckland, emphasizes Maori history and culture; Rotorua, one of the major destination areas, has a fortified Maori village with displays and a small museum. Hotels throughout the country offer Maori music and dancing.

New Zealand has a diverse, scenic physical environment, from subtropical beaches in the north through the North Island's volcanic and thermal belt, to the impressive Southern Alps and fjords of the South Island. Four major tourism regions can be identified in New Zealand. Auckland is the first region. It is the largest city and has the major international airport for New Zealand. Auckland is built on two hills with two harbors and is surrounded by forests that provide scenic drives through the city and its nearby environs. Auckland has the world's first walk-through aquarium. Parnell Village, a delightful collection of restored colonial-style shops, the Victoria Street Market, and various craft markets are all popular shopping attractions for visitors, Figure 15-8.

To the north of Auckland are the Bay Islands, a subtropical area that is a center for waterspouts. The Bay Islands Maritime and Historic Park administers a number of scenic, historic, and recreational reserves. Across the waters of the bay is Russell, the first capital of New Zealand. It is a charming Victorian town with a preserved waterfront where nineteenth-century buildings have been maintained. In the north of New Zealand, Ninety Mile Beach to Cape Reinga is an area of South Pacific beach with incredible coastal scenery and beautiful sandy beaches. South of Auckland is the village of Waitomo, known for its caves, particularly the Glow Worm Grotto, which is one of the most spectacular cave experiences in the world.

Rotorua on North Island is the largest tourist attraction in New Zealand, attracting approximately 60 percent of all holiday visitors to the country. It is the center of the Maori culture and has a model village, museum, and shop selling Maori handicrafts. Programs that emphasize the history and music of the Maori are presented daily. Rotorua is a large thermal area, much like Yellowstone Park in the United States, with geysers, boiling mud, hot springs, and steam geysers. A number of other tourist attractions have been developed in the area, such as the sheep demonstration farm, which provides visitors with examples of the various breeds of sheep and their habitats, sheep dogs at work, and shearing demonstrations, Figure 15-9 page 492. North of Rotorua is Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty. Tauranga's attractions include a number of pleasant gardens, a historic village, mineral pools, a kiwi-fruit winery, a mission house, and an exotic bird garden.


Wellington, the capital, and its harbor serve as the major link to the South Island. Its attractive harbor, wooden houses, and the surrounding forested hillsides add to unusual museum and botanical gardens to provide an interesting attraction. Within easy driving of Wellington are the mountains and lakes of the North Island. About 130 miles to the north of Wellington, just past Lake Taupo (which is close to Rotorua, New Zealand's largest lake) is Petone, a restored village displaying early settlement in New Zealand. Lake Taupo is the geographical center of the North Island and is the largest lake in New Zealand. It is extremely popular for trout fishing, and there is no closed fishing season, allowing fishermen to try their luck year-round. Huka Falls, Aratiatia Rapids, Cherry Island, Honey Center, and Acacia Bay Deer Park and Rabbit Ranch are other popular attractions in the Taupo area.

Christchurch on the South Island is considered the most English city outside of England. It is a garden city and has an international airport. Christchurch's similarity to England includes a Gothic cathedral built in the nineteenth century, a stream through town called the Avon, a beach called New Brighton, and a university named Canterbury. Queensland, on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, and the nearby old goldmining town of Arrowtown are the second-most-visited areas in New Zealand. Queensland's year-round appeal includes summer activities associated with the lake and the rugged Remarkable Mountains surrounding the city and lake for winter skiing. Near Queenstown is the historic and picturesque settlement of Arrowtown, where many of the original gold-rush buildings remain.

The southern Alps centered on Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in Australia and New Zealand, offer spectacular alpine scenery. Fjordland National Park, with its Norwegian-like fjords, forests, and lakes, is easily accessible. Milford Sound is the favorite destination to enjoy the fjords. The southern lake district, which provides the entrance to Milford Sound, is varied and beautiful. Lake Te Anau is one of the best freshwater fishing areas in the world. From Lake Te Anau to Fjordland, a visitor will pass through the spectacular forest of Eglinton and Hollyford valleys, past Lakes Gunn and Fergus and Mount Christina through a long man-made tunnel (Homer Tunnel) to a road that drops down through the Cleddau Valley, crossing some 80 bridges with outstanding vistas along the route.

Dunedin is called the "Edinburgh of the South," with such Scottish names as Glenfalloch Gardens, Larnach's Castle, Macandrew's Bay, and Princes Street and a statue of Robert Burns. Dunedin is a city of architectural eye-catchers where spires, turrets, towers, and gables adorn the roofs of many of the gracious stone buildings. Not far from and just north of Dunedin, near the fishing village of Moerake, are the intriguing Moeraki boulders--huge, strange spherically shaped rocks that weigh several tons and are up to 6 yards in circumference.



Physical Characteristics

Most of Australia is a low irregular plateau. The center is generally flat, barren, and arid. The southeastern quarter of the country is a fertile plain. The mountains lie roughly parallel to the east coast, in the center of the continent, and in western Australia.

Australia lies within the zones of prevailing westerly winds and the southeast trades, which provide plentiful rainfall on the coast but a very dry interior. Parts of the north are tropical with high annual rainfall.

Tourism Characteristics

Like New Zealand, Australia has had rapid growth in both tourism numbers and diversity. Australia benefited from international events such as the America's Cup yachting race held there (1986), the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sidney, a strong overseas tourism promotion, devaluation of the Australian dollar (1985-1986), and internationally acclaimed Australian films, such as Crocodile Dundee. Australia's bicentennial celebration (1988) also focused attention on the country.


Capital: Canberra

Government: Democratic, federal-state system

Size: 2.9 million square miles (slightly smaller than United States)

Language: English, Native

Ethnic Division: 95% European, 4% Asian, 1% Aboriginal

Religion: 26% Anglican, 26% Roman Catholic

Tourist Season: Year-round

Peak Tourist Season: December

Currency: Australian dollar

Population: 19.4 million (2001)

Entry: Visa is required. Proof of onward or round-trip ticket is
required. There is an airport departure tax collected.

Transportation: Excellent international connections exist between
Australia and North America, New Zealand, South America, Europe,
and other Pacific Asian countries. Internal transportation is
excellent by air, rail, and bus. Cities have excellent public

Health: Australia has no health problems, and no special health
precautions are necessary.

Shopping: Common items include opals and gems, sheepskin hats and
coats, toy koalas, and boomerangs made by Aborigines.


Captain Cook claimed Australia for the United Kingdom in 1770. At
that time the native population numbered some 300,000 in as many as
500 tribes speaking many different languages. Today the aboriginal
population numbers about 230,000 representing about 1.4 percent of
the population. Today 95 percent of the people are Caucasian. Sixty
percent of them are of Anglo-Celtic heritage. The Asian population
represents about 4 percent of the population. In addition the
cultural mosaic is enriched by people of Vietnamese, Polynesian,
Polish, Lithuanian, Latvia, Italian, Greek, German, French,
Estonian, Dutch, and Cambodian ancestry.

Today, tribal aboriginals lead a settled but traditional life in
remote areas of northern, central, and western Australia. English
is the national language. Only about 50 Aboriginal languages have

Approximately 76 percent are Christians, divided among the
Anglicans (24 percent), the Catholics (26 percent), and other
denominations. Religion does not play a strong role in Australian

Cultural Hints:

* A warm, friendly handshake is a common greeting.

* Exchanging of business cards is common.

* Winking at women is considered inappropriate.

* Cover the mouth when yawning.

* The thumbs-up gesture is considered rude.

* The V with the index and middle finger and palm facing in is vulgar.

* Respect for queues or lines is important.

* Common North American gestures are understood.

* Eating and food:

  In homes a guest receives a plate with food already served on it.

  To beckon the waiter a polite hand wave is used.

  Ask for water if desired.

  The entree is an appetizer rather than a main dish. Tipping is
   common (15 percent).

  Typical foods are fish, mutton, beef, seafood, vegetables, and

Australia is a large country, nearly as large as the United States. It consists of a federation of six states and two territories with dependencies, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Heard and MacDonald Islands, Lord Howe Islands, Macquarie Island, and Norfolk Island. The federal government has long recognized the importance of tourism and early established the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC). The ATC is responsible for coordinating the planning and development of the travel and tourist industry in both the public and private sectors. It has overseas offices in London, Frankfurt, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Singapore, and Wellington.

The average length of stay of visitors is 23 days, largely due to its remoteness from major population and industrial centers of the world. Visiting friends and relatives accounts for nearly 24 percent of all visitors, mostly from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Oceania, and Canada.

The rapid growth of the Japanese market has moved Japan into second place in number of visitors as Japanese tourists increased nearly 900 percent in the 1980s. Because of its proximity and common culture, New Zealand is historically the source for the largest number of tourists (Figure 15-10). Tourism remains high from New Zealand, but is declining, totaling 16 percent of visitors to Australia in 1999. The decline in percentage from New Zealand is offset by an increase from Asian nations such as Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan, and Europe (other than the United Kingdom), and the United States.


Tourist Destinations and Attractions

The major regions visited by tourists to Australia are shown in Table 15-3.

Sydney and Melbourne, the two largest cities, have international airports and account for 55 percent of all arrivals in the country.

The seasonal shift from the Northern Hemisphere's winter to the Southern Hemisphere's summer is a major attraction. Australia has a variety and diversity of attractions resulting from its size and history. Nature has provided some unique animals, which make the zoos and botanical gardens of Australia most interesting, showing kangaroos, koalas, emus, and platypuses.

The southeast of Australia, represented by Sydney and Melbourne, are the two poles of attraction for tourists. Sydney, Australia's oldest city, is attractive, in some ways resembling London, but on a smaller scale. Its Opera House adorns many calendars and pictures promoting Australia. Many of the historical sites have been renovated and redeveloped into excellent tourist markets, such as the Rocks. The Jenolan caves, with ancient aboriginal paintings, and a number of game park reserves are a short distance from Sydney and Melbourne.

Australia's second largest city, and the capital of Victoria, is the original capital, Melbourne (Figure 15-11). It has stately homes and major sights such as the Victoria Cultural Center, the War Memorial Shrine, Botanical Gardens, and a variety of neighborhoods along the rivers cutting through the city. Many think it is Australia's most beautiful city. Short trips from Melbourne take visitors to old gold-rush towns and Phillip Island, home of penguins and seals.

Between Sydney and Melbourne is Canberra, the capital of Australia. It is a modern planned city focusing on Australia's House of Parliament. Canberra is coiled around a man-made lake and has more than twelve million trees and shrubs lining the avenues, circles, and crescents.

An hour's plane ride south of Melbourne is Hobard, the capital of the island state of Tasmania. Hobard has old, narrow, winding, hilly streets. Tasmania itself is a land of plateaus and precipitous mountains set in a green meadow landscape. It is a treasury of outdoor activities. One can fish for trout in beautiful inland lakes and rivers or for huge bluefin tuna offshore; take a bush-walk in wild and wonderful country, some of which is still unexplored; shoot the white-water rapids in a canoe; or brave Tasmania's challenging peaks and ski.

Queensland has Australia's greatest attraction, the Great Barrier Reef, stretching for 1,200 miles along the eastern coast. A series of islands and cities provide excellent access to the spectacular underwater views of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is made up of some 2,500 individual coral reefs ranging in size from less than two acres to 100 square kilometers. There is a rich and diverse ecosystem along the reef, containing more than 300 species of hard corals and 1,500 species of fish. It is also rich in birdlife. In 1975, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was created to protect the future of the park while providing for local and tourist use.


Located on the east coast just south of Brisbane, with easy access to the population centers of Sydney and Brisbane, Queensland has the greatest tourist development in such towns as the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. It is comparable to the coastal resort developments in Spain and could be similar to Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. The Gold Coast is a strip of white sandy beach nineteen miles long and has a number of major attractions such as Dreamworld and Sea World. Surfer's Paradise is a must for those who want to challenge the waves. To the north, Cairns has a tropical environment, and the government has established an international airport in order to draw more visitors to the region.

South of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory is the memorable Ayers Rock, Figure 15-12, which is part of Uluru National Park. Uluru National Park includes includes both Ayers Rock and Mount Olga. They are famous peaks of an otherwise buried mountain range and dominate an open landscape of sandplains, dunes, and Mulga woodland. Both are colorful and impressive formations that, together with the surrounding country, have always held great significance for Aborigines. The rock is a sacred mountain for the Aborigines. It has been given back to the Aborigines, but is leased to the park service for maintenance. In addition to the area's natural beauty, visitors can see sites, rock formations, and paintings that form an important part of Central Australian Aboriginal mythology. Alice Springs is an oasis in the remote Outback, accounting for the low number of tourists to the Northern Territory.


Darwin, the Northern Territory capital, is the base for either short or extended tours into Kakadu National Park, a vast wilderness east of Darwin that abounds with wildlife and Aboriginal rock paintings unique to Australia.

Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is the center of the country's wine-making industry due to its Mediterranean climate. Adelaide is near numerous nature reserves and opal mines, which provide nice day trips from the city. Adelaide has wide European-style boulevards, magnificent green parklands, and a number of interesting buildings such as the Parliament House, Constitution Museum, and Government House.

Perth in Western Australia has become well known because of the America's Cup. Its climate is similar to that of Southern California, and it is the center of agriculture, mining, and industry for Western Australia. Perth is a delightful city for strolling and people watching. London Court, a sixteenth-century Tudor-style arcade, is a reminder of England. The Western Australia Museum includes a fine Aboriginal gallery as well as vintage cars, World War II memorabilia, meteorites, and the skeleton of a huge blue whale. While it offers a far better climate, water sports, and a large wildlife reserve within the city limits, its distance from population centers and major international airports handicap its tourist industry.



Depart Los Angeles for a South Pacific Odyssey.


Arrive in Suva, the capital of the Fiji Islands. The evening can be
spent at the nightclubs such as the Golden Dragon, Lucky Eddie's,
and Rockefeller's, dancing the night away.


This morning we will see the South Sea port at Viti Le'vui, Suva.
Fast-cruising liners lie alongside trading schooners busy unloading
bananas and other products. This port is very fast-paced and
interesting to observe. This afternoon, we will visit the Fijian
Cultural Center, after which you can spend the remainder of the day
swimming, sunbathing, and scuba diving on the beach, with the
temperature in the low 80s. The beaches are like a tropical
paradise. The palms, reefs, sand, lagoons, quiet surf, and friendly
people make up the relaxing atmosphere. After getting plenty of
sun, we are off to shop in Suva's largest department stores. In the
evening, we will be entertained while we watch a unique Fijian
Indian religious firewalking activity held in the temples. Then we
will attend a luau and enjoy delicious food and entertainment.
Before retiring for the evening, a walk along the beach listening
to flower-covered islanders strum their guitars and sing songs of
the islands will end a memorable day.


Visit Vanua Levu. This is the second largest of the Fijian Islands,
a 45-minute flight from Suva. We will indulge in water sports,
including spear and big game fishing, visit sugarcane and copra
plantations, and enjoy a tropical feast. Southeast of Vanua Levu is
the beautiful island of Taveuni. We will sightsee and admire its
volcanic cones and tropical plantations and fruits. West of both
Viti Levu and Vanau Levu there are more volcanic islands, with many
beaches containing beautiful rare shells. This evening we will
attend a folk singing and dancing program.


We will fly to Tahiti. Tahiti is the main island in French
Polynesia and the site of Papeete, the administrative capital and
largest city. Papeete is a sandy banana-palm town. It's what a
tropical town should look like. In the afternoon, we will visit
such sites as the Tiare Hotel, where Lovaina was an "uncrowned
queen"; Motu Uta, the tiny island in the lagoon where the old kings
held their revel; vanilla plantations; and the Chinese shrine and
village. The late afternoon can be spent on the coral-free sea
beach, Arue. This is an undeveloped Waikiki-type beach. There is no
coral on the smooth sand floor, and the waves come in at high tide
in low swells. Later in the evening, around midnight, Papeete comes
alive; for the adventuresome a trip to Lafayette, where the dancing
is wild, will be in order.


A day free to visit Moorea. This volcanic island has spectacular
peaks and the famous double bays--Cook's and Opanohou. Moorea is
the closest island to Tahiti and easy to reach by ferry or plane.
It is easy to rent a motor bike or a small jeep and ride around the
island. You will observe the lush mountain valleys, coffee
plantations, and pineapple fields. The Tahitian village portrays
the life and customs of the people. Stops along the road to snorkel
and swim in the clear multicolored lagoons combine with shopping to
make the day most enjoyable.


On to Bora Bora. This high volcanic island is surrounded by a calm
turquoise lagoon. Scattered along the reef are small, sandy islets
in which we can comb the beaches. The small villages along the road
that encircle the island are ideal for a jeep tour. Late in the
afternoon, we will visit the lagoonarium and take a coral-watching
trip in a glass-bottomed boat.


Return home to the states, after an enjoyable vacation in the
Pacific islands.


1. Describe the three major cultural groups of the Pacific Islands.

2. Why is tourism to the Pacific relatively small?

3. On which island groups in the South Pacific is tourism the most developed? How do you explain this?

4. On which island groups in the South Pacific is tourism the least developed? Why?

5. Describe the physical characteristics of the two different types of islands in the South Pacific.

6. Where are the four major market regions of visitors to Australia? Why?

7. What are the major categories of visitors to the South Pacific from Japan?

8. Where are the major population centers of Australia? Why?

9. Discuss the Aborigines of Australia and the Maoris of New Zealand and their importance to the tourist industry of their respective countries.

10. What impact have the Chinese and Indians had on the islands of the Pacific?


1. If a client only had a week and wanted to visit either New Zealand or Australia (not both), which would you suggest the client visit to provide the most diverse experience in the least amount of time? Why?

2. Of the Cook Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu, which has the best potential to develop a strong tourist industry? Why?

3. Which of the South Pacific islands has the best location for tourism? Why?

4. Which islands would you suggest a client visit on a two-week circle tour of the Pacific Islands? (Assume connectivity is not an issue.) Explain your selection.

5. If a client has visited Hawaii a number of times, what advantage would there be in visiting one of the Islands of the Pacific?


Provides tourism information and links for South Pacific countries.

Through Visitors' Eyes

Down Under!

Located almost exactly in the geographical center of Australia, the town of Alice Springs has a population of some 24,000 and is an oasis in the predominantly desertlike land surrounding it on all sides.

Settled in the mid-1860s as a telegraph station along the only route between North and South Australia, it became Alice Springs almost by default: a nearby waterhole was named for Lady Alice Todd, wife of the telegraph superintendent. The waterhole is still there and so are examples of the original structures close by, but times have brought tremendous change to this part of Central Australia.

Today, modern hotels are replacing the rickety old buildings, the unpaved streets when I first visited years ago are now paved, the tourism industry is booming, and oil has even been discovered about 140 miles west of the town.

One out of every four people in Central Australia is an Aborigine descendant of the original Black inhabitants of the area, and these people now are successfully developing their own arts and crafts industry.

Besides paying a visit to the site of the original village and the aforementioned waterhole, I took this opportunity to watch a broadcast from the local "school of the air," where educators reach children in remote areas by radio to conduct classes.

Other attractions here include a base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a camel farm where you actually can ride one of these "ships of the desert," and Anzac Hill, where you get a superb sunrise or sunset view of Alice Springs and the surrounding hills.

Alice Springs seems to give me the "mood" of this part of Australia--a speck of civilization in the center of more than one million square miles of harsh, unforgiving land known as the Outback.

Special events have been devised by the townsfolk to keep your interest, including the now famous Henley-on-Todd Regatta on a dry riverbed. In this one, competitors stand within a bottomless boat and hold up the hull as they run against other such "vessels." There are camel races, beer festivals, rodeos, balloon flights, and Aboriginal bush dances--something for one and all.

Oh yes, if all this fails, there are some good shops in the downtown area!

But for me, the great attraction of this entire area lies about 275 miles southwest of Alice Springs: it's the gigantic mountain of stone known as Ayers Rock, which rises suddenly from the desert floor like some monolithic tumor.

As tall as the Empire State Building and some five miles in circumference, this geological wonder is sacred to the Aborigine and has been the focus of awe and attention since its discovery. At sunrise or sunset, visitors stand or sit and watch it change color with the first or last light of day ... and more than 185,000 folks did just that last year!

Up until 1946, only 24 hardy climbers had managed to scale this monolith to the top ... and nineteen have died since in similar tries. Today thanks to heavy chain-rope attached to the smooth surface in places, the climb is less formidable but still quite difficult, with many having to be rescued or assisted to safety....

Several miles from famous Ayers Rock in the Australian Outback, a new resort area has sprung up to accommodate the thousands of visitors who come to the center of this country to view--and perhaps climb--this giant mountain of stone.

Yulara Resort, an oasis of comfort in this harsh land, has several hotels and campgrounds plus most of the modern-day amenities to make a stopover quite comfortable. I recently stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel, which can match most Stateside accommodations for the above, although the staff left something to be desired in the way of service and friendliness.

No matter, I was here to see and climb Ayers Rock and to view the magnificent Olgas, a nearby clump of smooth-topped redrock mountains that somehow seemed to resemble a large herd of elephants in retreat. Both of these incredible sights are a must for any visitor to Australia and somehow manage to put such a gigantic and contrasting land into proper perspective. It is as if they have been set here to remind us that nature--not man--is in control of this area of the world....

In Aboriginal lore, Ayers Rock is named Uluru and carries a heavy spiritual as well as physical impact.

Bus tours to Ayers Rock and the Olgas are available at any of the hotels in Yulara and offer several different possibilities, including a descriptive tour of some of the caves in this mountain of stone plus the accompanying Aboriginal folklore. You also may get a closer look at the Olgas by hiking down Mt. Olga Gorge, a fascinating cleft through towering borders of red-colored mountains of rock.

Whatever you do, take at least a day or more to explore this part of Australia as fully as you can. It will provide memories that will endure long after you have returned home.

The Down Under wonder is a fascinating destination, from its sunny beaches and the Great Barrier Reef to tropical rainforests, strange animals, and the desolate Outback. You really do owe it to yourself to savor the experience of a visit.

For me, it's like a step back in time to the frontier days of America. With all the comforts of the present day. Truly, this is a land of great adventure--one of the last frontiers.

Source: Carter Clements, "Dead Center Down Under." Sacramento, California International Travel News, Feb. 1987, pp. 46-47.
Table 15-1 Origin of Visitors to the South
Pacific (1999 Market Share)

                      United     Asia/
Country               States    Pacific    Europe    Other

American Samoa         64.3       30.9       2.5      2.3
Australia               9.4       61.3      24.0      5.3
Cook Islands           10.5       46.7      33.1      9.7
Fiji                   15.2       64.4      16.8      3.6
Guam                    3.5       95.2       0.1      1.2
New Caledonia           1.1       64.8      32.2      1.9
New Zealand            11.3       61.1      19.5      8.1
Northern Marianas       6.8       90.8       0.5      1.9
Papua New Guinea        8.3       78.8      10.8      2.1
Solomon Islands         8.4       83.4       7.4      0.8
Tahiti                 32.7       18.0      43.5      5.8
Tonga                  18.6       64.2      15.7      1.5
Vanuatu                 3.3       89.7       5.5      1.5
Samoa                   9.3       82.9       6.4      1.4

Source: Adapted from Annual Statistical Report, Pacific Asia Travel
Association, 1999.

Table 15-2 Purposes of Visits to New Zealand
(in percentages)

Purpose                              1980      1985      1994

Holiday                              59.6      57.3      57.9
Visiting Friends and Relatives       21.6      21.4      22.5
Business                             10.5      11.4      10.0
Other                                13.3       8.9       9.6
Total                               100       100       100

Source: Adapted from New Zealand Yearbook 1992. Wellington:
Department Statistics.

Table 15-3 Regions of International
Tourist Nights, 1993

                                  Percentage of Tourist
Region                             Nights in Australia

New South Wales                            33
Queensland                                 26
Victoria                                   16
Western Australia                          12
South Australia                             5
Northern Territory                          4
Tasmania                                    2
Australian Capital Territory                2

Source: Adapted from Bureau of Tourism Research, International
Visitors Survey. 1993
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Publication:Geography of Travel & Tourism, 4th ed.
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Previous Article:Chapter 14 Geography and tourism in South and Southeast Asia.
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