As the world of international travel creeps ever so slowly closer to returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, would-be travellers standby, eagerly awaiting updates and further announcements letting them know where they might be able to visit in the near future.
Covid-19 continues to have an impact on all aspects of life for billions of people around the world, and unfortunately, will continue to do so. As long as the virus remains active in a country, then the country will continue to be subject to scrutiny and restrictions on travel and movement, and that applies to those wishing to travel there also.
But are there countries that have reported no confirmed cases of Covid-19? Well yes, but whereas many of us won’t be taking the claims of North Korea or Turkmenistan very seriously, there are a fair few destinations which have managed to either bypass or phase out any cases of the pandemic.
The following destinations are a list of countries which are crying out for tourists to visit them as soon as international travel resumes and have recorded no cases of COVID-19.
Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world and ranking rather low on the global development index, Kiribati is home to some of the most beautiful islands in the world, with a territory of over 4000km spanning 33 beautiful coral atolls.
Travelling to Kirabati is an adventure in itself, with the capital of Tarawa located about halfway between Australia and Hawaii. Local airlines and a catamaran provide travel services for tourists to visit the atolls and the island of Banaba. Travellers can expect to find fish in abundance as unsurprisingly for such a remote location, the fruits of the Pacific make up almost the entirety of the local cuisine along with coconuts!
Kiribati is home to the wrecks and ruins of ships, aircraft and bunkers that have been left to rust since the end of WW2, providing many opportunities for exploration for any visitors. But for those who aren't up for spending their days exploring, fishing or diving, then you have no shortage of sunbathing opportunities on the many postcard-worthy beaches.
Australian citizens are included in a visa waiver program that permits stays of up to 120 days. However, visiting Kiribati for any longer than this during the year will require a visa. Travel to Kiribati is possible on Air Kiribati from Brisbane via Nauru and Honiara and from Fiji with Air Pacific.
Shark lovers will find the Marshall Islands a must-visit thanks to it boasting the world's largest shark sanctuary! Over 2,000,000km of the ocean is protected against shark fishing or hunting and any fishing which is carried out must be on a catch-and-release basis.
Home to former nuclear test sites of the U.S military such as Bikini Atoll, as well as multiple wrecks from WW2, there is no shortage of underwater adventures for those wishing to visit this nation of coral-rich islands halfway between Hawaii and Papua New Guinea. With only 70 square kilometres of land to its name, this is not a destination for those who aren't a fan of water-based activities!
Like many of the pacific islands, embracing the local culture is essential to making the most of your trip. Access to some of the more remote atolls will require your best efforts to charm the local's thanks to a lack of water-taxis and ferry services, as well as requiring permission to set foot on a families land. The Marshallese were once some of the worlds most accomplished navigators when it comes it comes to sea-faring. The chance to take to the water on one of their signature canoes cannot be passed up.
Citizens of every country with the exception of those from the U.S. need a visa to visit The Marshall Islands. Australian citizens are among those who need to apply for a visa on arrival, with proof of a return flight in addition to their passport, for a stay of up to 30 days. Travelling from Australia using Cairns Airways to Guam and then onward via United Airlines, is the best way to visit.
There is a tendency to confuse the Federated States Of Micronesia with the wider region of Pacific islands referred to as Micronesia. Some of the destinations we have already covered are actually located in the region of Micronesia, but we will now be covering the country of the same name as its own entity.
Whilst the tourism industry is fledgling at best in Micronesia it is not short of things to see. Hundreds of beautiful deserted islands and atolls provide travellers with rich rewards for any who are savvy enough to venture out onto the water to find them. The water itself is home to not only exotic marine life but imposing sites such as the sunken Japanese battleship, the Fujikawa Maru, in Chuuk’s Truk Lagoon.
Pohnpei boasts a 1000-year-old city in Nan Madol as well as world-class waves for travelling surfers. Take a trip to Kosrae and hike the slopes of Mount Finkol or travel through either of its beautiful marine parks. Kayaking through the mangrove channels on Yap is an insightful experience in keeping with the island's cultural heritage. Stay in luxury beach resorts or more authentic cottages inspired by the locals' efforts.
Reaching Micronesia from Australia requires travel via Papua New Guinea. Australian citizens can enter and stay in Micronesia for free, for up to 30 days with a possible extension of up to 60 days.
Nauru is an island with a tragic history. Following decades of phosphate mining which dealt irreparable damage, the chances of the island remaining habitable were so low the Australian government offered to relocate the population during the 1960s. Unwilling to abandon their home, the natives of the island refused and sought to declare themselves a sovereign nation.
To that end, Nauru is the smallest independent country in the world, with a population of just over 10,000 people. The island is a meagre 21km squared, has no rivers or streams, and only one beach where you can swim safely at Anibare harbour. But the ocean makes up for whatever shortcomings Nauru has from its size.
The coral reef surrounding the island of Nauru is one of the most immaculate you might see anywhere in the world. You can spend your days diving or fishing, venturing out to the beautiful Buada lagoon, explore the caverns of the underground Moqua Well Lake, and admire the view of the whole island from its summit at Command Ridge. The phosphate mines of the central plateau may have proven to be the island's demise, but their eerie lunar-like landscape is definitely worth exploring.
Travel to Nauru comes in the form of a five-hour flight from Brisbane via a stop in the Solomon Islands. You need to fill out a visa application in advance before travelling to the island, but Australian citizens are among those who benefit from an easy fill visa without many of the usual requirements.
If you're into scuba diving, you will most likely have seen a picture or two of this diver's paradise. The archipelago that is the republic of Palau is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations for activities both above and below the surface of the water.
The most enduring image of Palau is perhaps that of its famous Rock Islands. These beautiful green mounds are perhaps the most visited part of the Palau archipelago. Popular sites include Dolphin Bay, which is the only inhabited part of the islands and the marvel that is Jellyfish Lake, home to three different types of stingless jellyfish that you can dive with!
Palau's tourism industry has developed at a faster rate than many of its neighbours like Micronesia. That being said, it is not any easier to get too and accommodation is considerably expensive when compared to other destinations around the world.
All citizens visiting Palau arriving from Australia must purchase a visa on arrival to be allowed to enter the country. The visa is for 30 days and can be extended twice for a fee. To get to Palau from Australia, you must travel via Guam. Flights from Cairns to Guam last 4 and a half hours, followed by an additional 2-hour flight from Guam to Palau. Alternatively, you can also reach Palau from Manila via direct flight.
Samoa is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Pacific thanks to a growth of interest in visiting the islands in the last two decades. Its two main islands of Savai'i and Upolu are considerably larger than most other islands in the Pacific and as such, has increased its capacity for development, as well as boosting tourism with more accommodation available.
There are several national parks located in Samoa which boast some impressive waterfalls, but none can compare to the roaring, 300ft- high-majesty of the Papapapai-Tai Falls. Secluded beaches and dive-spots in abundance have helped craft the image of Samoa as a natural paradise in the eyes of tourists.
Flights usually depart to Samoa on a daily basis from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. You can fly directly from Sydney to Samoa in just under six hours. To travel around the islands, you can take advantage of a host of ferry services and boat hire options to make the most of your trip and see as much of Samoa's archipelago as possible.
All nationalities are able to visit Samoa without a visa. You must have six months valid on your passport before you travel the country and have committed no prior criminal or travel-related offences.
The Solomon Islands have undergone a radical transformation in the decades following the end of the Second World War. After gaining independence in 1976, the country was rocked by ethnic related violence from 1998-2003 before international intervention restored order and suffered further damage from an earthquake in 2007 that left thousands of people homeless. In the aftermath of these tragic events, the Solomon Islands has slowly but surely, begun to recover and rebuild its paradisial pacific island image.
The impact of WW2 is still visible on the island, with a great deal of tourism catered towards exploring the wrecks of sunken ships and aircraft, as well as leftovers from battles on the islands themselves. The Riba caves and natural waterfalls are some of the best attractions that the island has to offer for nature lovers, but there is plenty to marvel at from all the islands stunning natural beauty.
Accommodation and travel as you might expect for such a large island group is quite convenient. There are a host of accommodation options for anyone wishing to stay on the islands, with no shortage of picturesque beach resorts, or dining and nightlife options. Thanks to the variety of options available, this also means the island is not too expensive to stay on. Flight time from Brisbane is only three hours, and numerous airports across Australia offer services to the islands.
Citizens travelling from Australia to the Solomon Islands may enter the country with a free visa, issued on arrival and stay up to three months within a one-year period. Any plans to stay longer will require applying for a long-term visa in advance.
Historically, Tonga is one of the most visited islands in the Pacific, with 52 of its 176 islands being inhabited and home to frequent visitors from many other islands in the Pacific for thousands of years.
Things haven't changed much since then! Tonga is a destination with growing popularity for tourists in both the wet and dry season. You can whale watch during the wettest months of the year off the island of Vava'u which is a popular location for birthing Humpback whales! During the drier months, you can explore hundreds of hidden coves and beaches across the islands of Tonga.
Thanks to the secluded nature of many of Tonga’s islands there is no shortage of amazing places to relax. Accommodation options are plentiful and to a high standard. You will find more hotels on the main island of Tongatapu whilst the smaller islands have either resorts or more modest hotel offerings, but with the same high quality of service.
Flights to Tonga from Sydney take approximately four and a half hours. Australian citizens arriving in Tonga need to complete a free visa form on arrival, which is extendable for up to six months.
Few countries are as remote or as affected by the ongoing challenges facing the world as much as Tuvalu. The group of nine islands is at imminent risk of becoming one of the first casualties of rising sea levels, risking the lives and livelihoods of its 12,000 or so inhabitants.
For this reason itself, it is worth visiting Tuvalu, as there are few countries which one can claim they have been able to visit before disappearing entirely! On a slightly more positive note, the islands contain beautiful diving spots, spotless sandy beaches and amazing fishing opportunities. You can scavenge for rusted souvenirs around the islands former WW2 military basis as there is no shortage of abandoned equipment courtesy of the U.S. military.
Travelling around the islands is easily done thanks to the number of boats there are available to hire. If you're not the seafaring type, two islands ferries will provide you with less responsibility for exploring the islands, but less flexibility also. Additionally, accommodation options are quite limited due to the smaller size of the islands and can fill up quite quickly in advance.
For Australian citizens wishing to travel to Tuvalu the only way to do so is flying in via Fiji. You will have to pay a visa entry of U.S. $100 upon arrival which is valid for up to a month once issued.
One of the most famous images associated with the islands of Vanuatu is one of the death-defying bravery that comes from a ritual that takes place on Pentecost island. The men of the island take part in the same event every year, where they dive from a 90ft high drop with only a tree vine tied to their legs for safety. It’s a terrifying but exhilarating spectacle to witness.
Vanuatu offers travellers beautiful stretches of sandy beach, sparkling turquoise waters that are perfect for snorkelling or diving, dense jungles to trek through and much, much more. As the islands are already quite popular with tourists, a string of local tour operators can offer you more experiences and guides to make your stay on the islands that much more memorable.
There are good accommodation and travel options for Vanuatu. There are numerous flights from Australia and New Zealand available thanks to frequent tourism, which as a result means there are plentiful accommodation options. Hotels are usually more common in the larger towns, especially on the main island, but there are a few local stays and resorts to take advantage of depending on what kind of trip you are taking. Visa-free travel is offered to Australian Citizens to Vanuatu. You can stay for up to 30 days with the possibility of extending your visa for a fee.
If you’re looking for more helpful information such as how to travel safely or, you want to know how travel could change as a result of events like COVID-19, you can find more helpful information in our other resources. For any visa related inquiries or questions you have, please feel free to contact us via messenger.