Melanesia: where is it, anyway?


Melanesia is relatively unknown in the North American travel market—so much so, that people are often surprised to hear Melanesia is a where, not a what.

You’ve probably heard of Polynesia? Ah yes, images of palm trees, over-water bungalows and fruity drinks on the beach are probably coming into focus now. Well, Melanesia isn’t much different in terms of being a bit of paradise in the South Pacific Ocean.

Along with Polynesia and Micronesia, Melanesia makes up one of the south Pacific Ocean’s three cultural areas.

Melanesia is actually significantly closer to Australia and New Zealand—where it’s a well-known adventure destination—and comprises many places you probably have heard of: Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Guinea (including Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua), New Caledonia, Santa Cruz Islands, and the island archipelago, Vanuatu.

Guinea (1)Does Melanesia sound a little more attractive now that you know what, and where, it is?

The history of Melanesia actually makes for some great discussions as the ethnicity, wildlife and geography of these islands are quite different from those further east in the Pacific.

Most notably, there are more than 1,300 languages spoken in Melanesia – making it the most diverse land area on Earth in terms of languages and religions.

If birds are more your thing, Melanesia has recorded more than 500 species, with 200+ of those being endemic.

Guinea (7)

If you think of Polynesia as a popular beach paradise, then think of Melanesia as its lesser known, more adventurous, little sibling. Just the kind of travel destination we love. See you there in 2014?

Adventure Canada offers two excursions to Melanesia: Secrets of Melanesia and Melanesia Discoverer.
Expedition leader Aaron Russ will present both trips, Tuesday June 25, at Pangaea Restaurant in Toronto.
UPDATE: This presentation has been cancelled due to illness. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Red Hunt has worked in many aspects of the travel industry and is the passionate voice behind Red has just joined our team at Adventure Canada and will be sharing some of his experiences and perspective in this space. Welcome, Red! -ed.