How to visit every country in the Pacific

You might also be one of the very few visitors on the island.

If you plan to visit every country in the Pacific, this guide is just for you.

Update 2024: This guide on how to visit every country in the Pacific was initially researched and written in 2020 to help travellers plan their trip. We’ve made updates as per real-time information from other travellers who have since travelled this route in 2023.

How to Visit Every Country in the Pacific – The Ultimate Guide

Visiting countries or territories in the Pacific – know the difference

There are many islands in the Pacific. Some islands are independent countries; others are overseas territories.

Here is a little list to help you understand the difference.

Every country in the Pacific – There are officially 14 countries in the region known as Oceania: 

  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. Fiji
  4. Kiribati
  5. The Marshall Islands,
  6. Micronesia (the Federated States of)
  7. Nauru
  8. Palau
  9. Papua New Guinea,
  10. Samoa
  11. The Solomon Islands
  12. Tonga
  13. Tuvalu
  14. Vanuatu

These are the dependent territories of five countries:

  • USA: American SamoaGuamNorthern Mariana Islands, Wake Island
  • New Zealand: Cook IslandsNiueTokelau
  • France: French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna
  • Australia: Norfolk Island
  • United Kingdom: Pitcairn Islands

PS: Don’t forget that there is also Hawaii. It is not a territory but the 50th state of the USA.

This article focuses more on countries in the Pacific, rather than on the territories. There seem to be a few articles dedicated to the Cook Islands and French Polynesia, so I will try to focus on the countries as it’s harder to find more info.

Which countries in Oceania are developed for tourism?

Regarding infrastructure for tourism and visitors, you would find plenty in some countries. Australia, New Zealand and Fiji lead in the region and are visited by many people yearly.

You will find everything from tour operators to extensive options for accommodation. Check out Viator or GetYourGuide to book the best day trips and extraordinary experiences in this region.

Our blog about the best travel websites to save money may be helpful to help you plan. And if you’re up for it, why not do the Big Lap of Oz?

Here are our 9 best tips for travelling the whole lap of Australia

Don’t forget to try these 12 Classic Australian foods while you’re there.

Australia - Uluru is far from everywhere

Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga would come second, and you can find plenty to do here. There is a wide range of accommodation as well.

We recommend using Booking.com in this part of the world.

Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have been focusing on building tourism in the past few years. Especially considering the proximity to Australia these islands could see a rise in visitors as long as the infrastructure is there.

Don’t forget that the real gems are located outside the capital city and require another domestic flight.

When it comes to the remaining countries – the infrastructure is more limited as there are very few travellers or tourists here. That includes Tuvalu, Kiribati, NauruMarshall Islands and Micronesia.

This means limited flights and limited accommodation.

Of course, let’s not forget Hawaii which is a very popular destination in the Pacific for the US as well as international tourists.

Which territories should you visit in the Pacific?

When it comes to the territories, the easiest to visit would be French Caledonia (Tahiti and Bora Bora), the Cook Islands and New Caledonia. The rest of the territories are somewhat undiscovered.

Where should you go first? 

This depends if you are planning to visit one country, or multiple islands or try to see all of them in one trip. It’s probably best to look at flight connections for multiple country trips and follow those.

For example, you might visit Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands with Vanuatu. Or use Fiji as a base to see Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu.

If you are planning to visit all the countries in one trip, then careful planning and flexibility is the key—more on that below in our suggested itinerary.

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How to Visit Every Country in the Pacific – By Plane, Cruise or Ship

how to visit every country in the pacific hammock

Airlines in the Pacific:

Numerous airlines connect the Pacific with major air hubs:

The main players are Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, Nauru Air, Air Niugini and United Airlines.

We used Skyscanner to plan and book flights for our itinerary around the Pacific. 

From Australia, you will find direct flights to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Nauru.

If you are in New Zealand, you can quickly get to Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Cook Islands.

Finally, when travelling from the USA, you can fly to Fiji, and Australia and connect to the rest.

But more importantly, the so-called United Island Hopper connects Hawaii with the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Guam and then flies onto Manila.

United is the only airline that currently connects the Marshall Islands and Micronesia, and many choose to fly to Palau with United Airlines as well.

Please note this flight connects via Guam. Guam is a US territory so unless you are one of the lucky nationalities that qualify for the Guam Waiver (CLICK HERE for info) you will need ESTA or USA visa to transit.

Airlines Pacific

Cruise Ships in the Pacific

The obvious option to see islands is to search for a cruise in the Pacific.

While cruising might not be for everyone, some can find a pretty good deal when signing up online. It can be practical if you are also planning to see a bit of Australia or New Zealand, as many cruise companies incorporate these two destinations with a few other islands, usually Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and Samoa.

Also, many cruises usually visit more territories than countries.

The cruise that seems to cover a few of the islands for a great price is the Norwegian Jewel from Sydney to Papeete. You can check the best deals on this cruise and many more by searching on CruiseCritic and these

Cruise Ships