With more than 18,000 islands Indonesia is the largest and most varied archipelago on Earth. Here islands rise from the abyssal depths covered in dense tropical rainforests and fringed by colourful coral reefs. The island names themselves conjure up images of exotic and unknown destinations; Bali, Komodo, West Papua, Sulawesi and the Spice Islands. From frozen glaciers to coral reefs, the sheer diversity of island scenes and life defies the imagination.
Borneo has lured scientists and adventurers for over 150 years, and has played a key role in the discovery of evolution. Alfred Russel Wallace's theories of natural selection were inspired by his travels on the island in the 19th century. Since that time, scientists have busied themselves discovering and naming new species, and the latest research suggests that they will continue doing so for decades to come - if the forests are not wiped out by deforestation.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The striking natural beauty and myriad complex cultures offer some riveting and truly life-affirming experiences. Nearly 85% of the main island is carpeted with tropical rain forest, containing vegetation that is a combination of Asian and Australian species. The country is also home to an impressive variety of exotic birds, including virtually all of the known species of birds of paradise, and it is blessed with more kinds of orchids than any other country.
The island groups are typified as being high volcanic islands with dense tropical rainforests fringed by clear waters and coral reefs. From the famous Mt Yasur volcano on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu to the spectacular Marovo Lagoon in the Western Solomon Islands, Melanesia is a region that overflows with natural beauty and wonders. There are believed to be over 1,300 tribal groups speaking an equivalent number of dialects throughout the region making for a colourful cultural patchwork that will enthral any amateur anthropologist or enquiring traveller.
The tropical regions of Australia are some of the last great wilderness areas of our planet. From the rainforest pockets of Cape York Peninsula, through the ancient landscapes of Arnhem land to the spectacular gorges of the Kimberley coastline, there is nowhere else like it on our planet.
Aotearoa (The land of the long white cloud) is a country of stunning and diverse natural beauty: snow-capped mountain ranges, rolling pasture land, steep fiords, raging rivers, spectacular beaches and active volcanoes. It is one of Earth's most peculiar bioregions, inhabited by flightless birds such as Kiwis and the amazing nocturnal, burrowing kakapo. Māori culture is strong with abundant opportunities for visitors to understand and experience both the history and present day forms of Māori life.