Oceania

Travel through Oceania by country:

Australia, Indonesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Travel through Oceania by popular city:

Auckland, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Wellington

Travel through Oceania by popular things to do:

Cook Islands, Sydney Opera House

Travel through Oceania with our writers:

In the Corner of the World, Work and Play in Queensland


Pig in Australia Steals 18 Beers from Campers, Gets Drunk, Fights Cow

Craig ONeal, Flickr

Forget crocodiles and snakes, the real animal threat in Australia is wild pigs. At least if you’re camping.

At a campground in Western Australia over the weekend, a feral pig guzzled down 18 beers that had been left out improperly secured. And just like anyone 18 beers in at a rural dive bar, the pig got big-headed and decided to start a fight with a cow, resulting in the cow chasing the pig around a car.

“In the middle of the night these people camping opposite us heard a noise, so they got their torch out and shone it on the pig and there he was, scrunching away at their cans,” said a visitor.

The pig was later reported sleeping his hangover (and shame of trying to take down a cow?) off under a tree.

While feral pigs are considered an invasive pest in many parts of the country, it’s also a reminder to keep food and drink secured when camping. Just imagine if it had been a drunk kangaroo.

How Can Airline Websites Improve?

I recently visited the mobile website for midwest-based Sun Country Airlines, where I could check a flight status, view schedules or check my itinerary. Basically everything except what I came to do: book a flight. The confusing, unattractive, user-unfriendly design of airline websites is a common complaint of travelers, and a problem that the designers at Fi (Fantasy Interactive) have attempted to solve.

Their mock website and accompanying video highlights high-quality images, visual details such as weather temperatures, street maps and city sights, and a seamless, all-in-one-screen experience from flight booking to seat selection to flight status. Their design makes the airline more than a transportation company. It makes them a travel authority, tour guide and most importantly, a source of inspiration.

This wasn’t the first attempt at an airline website overhaul. In 2009, user interface designer Dustin Curtis published an open letter to American Airlines on his website, along with his idea of a website redesign. This was followed up by an anonymous response from one of AA’s designers, who was then fired for his message to Mr. Curtis. Funny enough, his vision of a new AA.com is pretty similar to what the airline unveiled this year with their new logo, with large images, links to deals and news and an overall streamlined look.

For something completely different, check out Anna Kovecses’ minimalist and vaguely retro design for American, along with a user-generated blog community where you might leave travel tips for frequent flyer miles.Delta relaunched its site last year with features including a travel “wallet” to store receipts to make their site more “customized” to travelers. Swedish designer Erik Linden’s gorgeous layout for a new Lufthansa site can be found online, but a visit to the German airline’s official site shows the same old crowded page. JetBlue.com has been consistently appealing and easy to use, touting the “jetting” experience rather than just a seat. Travel industry news site Skift has a nifty slideshow comparing booking sites now and from their early days. (The major innovation seems to be images over hyperlinks and text.)

One thing many of these designs have in common is suggestion and inspiration. Airlines seem to assume that most of us go to their website with a firm destination in mind, burying their route map deep in a sub-menu for us to hunt down. Yet if we are to be loyal to one brand or try to use frequent flyer miles, a map of their flights is the first destination. My husband is trying to make “million miler” status with American, and tries to book with them as much as possible, maximizing the distance and number of miles. While I can search for destinations from JFK, and even sort my number of miles, it’s harder to figure out what international destinations (such as Seoul) are served from another departure city. Shouldn’t the goal be for the airline to be one you want to return to, rather than a site you quit using out of frustration?

What matters to you in using an airline’s booking site?

Take As Many Selfies As You Want At This Instagram-Friendly Hotel

In the last year, travel and Instagram have grown to go hand in hand. Seriously, how many photos did you post during your last trip?

Banking on our selfie and hashtagging obsessions, the new boutique 1888 Hotel in Sydney, Australia has made Instagram a key part of its visitors’ experience. The lobby features a digital mural of Instagram shots, the front desk has a map of top picture taking spots that you should be sure to put on your to-do list, it offers a free night’s stay to anyone with more than 10,000 Instagram followers and there’s a specific booth for taking selfies when you check in, ensuring that you can make your friends jealous immediately.

The photo-friendly theme makes sense; 1888 is not only a reference to the year that the building was constructed, but also when Kodak launched the first box and roll camera, the kind of thing you didn’t need a vintage filter for.

But if you go, make sure you know how to take good pictures: each month the guest that snaps the best Instagram photo will get a free night’s stay.

How to Win Free Travel (Hint: You’ll Have to Get Creative)

Like free travel? Of course you do. There are a few contests you should enter, especially if you are a seasoned business traveler or a bubbly sociable traveler. Like most online contests, they will require social media savvy and some old-fashioned popularity contest-winning charm, but hey, you could win free travel!

-Jauntaroo’s Best Job Around the World: The vacation matchmaker site is looking for a “Chief World Explorer” to travel the world for one year (or at least a few exciting destinations like Berlin and the Maldives), with all expenses paid. You’ll be representing Jauntaroo and creating social content, and earning a $100k salary for your trouble. There’s also a “voluntourism” component, promoting the site’s partner charities and “travel with a cause” motto. To enter, upload a 60-second video detailing why you should win by September 15 and get your friends to like it, as only the final five will make it to the interview.

-”American Way” Road Warrior: Already been around the world, with an expertly-packed carry-on and the efficiency of George Clooney in “Up in the Air”? If you’re a true “road warrior” you know that “American Way” is the in-flight magazine of American Airlines, and they have an annual contest to award the ultimate business traveler. The grand prize includes a half million AAdvantage miles and a trip to Curacao, plus a slew of other prizes befitting a frequent flier, such as noise-canceling headphones. Fill out the application (sample question: what makes you a true road warrior?) by August 31, and the five finalists will be posted online for the public to vote on the top three winners.

Like a more honest day’s travel work? Check out a few unusual travel jobs.

Kangaroo Censorship Gets Internet Riled Up

Tourism Australia/Facebook

A cheeky tourism image of a kangaroo has got the internet buzzing after the animal was shown with its nether region censored out.

Tourism Australia posted the photo of the kangaroo at Featherdale Wildlife Park on its Facebook page, with the note that the image had been “censored for Facebook.” The animal –- which coincidentally is named “Big Baz” –- was shown lying on it’s back in such a way that its anatomy would have been fully exposed.

The joke was apparently lost on many Facebook users, who bombarded the tourism board with thousands of comments questioning the decision to censor the image. “Wtf. Political correctness gone mad. It’s a kangaroo,” said one user, while another remarked, “How ridiculous! What on earth is wrong with showing the kangaroo’s bits, it’s an animal.”This isn’t the first time a tourism organization has sparked controversy because of its promotional tactics. In fact, Australia came under the spotlight several years ago with it’s “where the bloody hell are you?” tourism slogan which was eventually ditched due to the controversy. And Air New Zealand was bombarded with complaints after it aired a television ad showing its cabin crew serving passengers while wearing little more than body paint.

What do you think? Was the decision to censor the kangaroo wrong or funny?