8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About

8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
The Travel Tester takes you on a creative travel journey through Oceania!

Are you looking for a inspirational list of hands-on travel experiences in Oceania? Then you’ve come to the right place! 

Over the past years, there has been a big trend in tourism where travellers no longer want to participate in just the standard sightseeing tours and attend so-called ‘cultural shows’, but really feel the need to get involved in experiences that are characteristic to the destination that they are visiting. This is called Creative Travel.

In this article, you can find some of the best creative travel experiences in Oceania: Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. Keep coming back, because this list will keep growing!  



8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

Creative Travel Definition

According to the Creative Tourism Network, creative travel is considered “a new generation of tourism”, that offers visitors the opportunity to “develop their creative potential through active participation in courses and learning experiences, which are characteristic of the holiday destination where they are taken”.

From volunteer travel programs and language immersion programs to cultural immersion travel experiences and real community immersion, Creative Tourism is a way of travel that really is for everyone.

Whether you travel alone, as a couple or with a family or group of friends, there are many activities around the world where that offer educational courses and workshops, creative experiences where you get to learn different art forms or even adventure activities where you interact with the local nature and people in a fun, yet authentic way.

Complete Hands-on Travel in Oceania List


Take a Jackaroo/Jillaroo Course at Leconfield

The Leconfield Ranch east of Tamworth in New South Wales in Australia is THE place to learn about what it’s like to live and work as a so called ‘jackaroo’ or ‘jillaroo’, the Ozzie equivalent of a cowboy/cowgirl.

TIP BY: me! (read my story about my time on Leconfield in Australia >>) 

“From general farm duties such as fixing fences and feeding the animals, you also learn how to lasso down calves, sheer sheep and brand calves.

For the week, you’re assigned a horse depending on your experience and preferred temperament and with the group, you’ll go on long rides where you are not just able to enjoy the endless views over the stunning beautiful hilly region, but also help in bringing the sheep and cows back from the grazing fields to the farm. Definitely one of my favourite activities while at Leconfield!

The bonding with fellow course takers, the daily meals, cosy campfires and opportunity to sleep under the stars in a traditional ‘swag’, make this a creative experience never to forget!”


8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: thetraveltester.com

Go Fossicking in the Australian Outback

Looking for some adventure when in Australia and not scared of getting your hands a bit dirty? Go fossicking in the Outback!

TIP BY: Sinead Camplin, mapmadememories.com (<< read all about planning your East Coast Australia road trip)

“On our year long family round the world trip we endeavored to do as many creative and location unique activities as possible. One of the most rewarding experiences – but also the most challenging – was a guided fossicking trip in the dusty red earth of the Australian outback.

This activity can be enjoyed by people of any age with reasonable fitness and at any time of year though I would recommend avoiding the high heat of summer.

Driving along Australia’s east coast, we detoured into the outback to visit the gem town of Emerald. There we met with an experienced fossicker who led us deeper into the outback to a ‘worked area’. He showed us how to dig for sapphires, how to clean and sort the gravel and dirt and gave us tips on what to look for. And then he left us to it!

It was hot, hard work and we all got very dirty. We soon settled into a routine and spent several exhausting hours digging for sapphires. Unfortunately only one of our family of five got lucky – our daughter found $300 worth of sapphires which was a rewarding and fantastic souvenir of our creative activity!”


8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: mapmadememories.com (left) and Canva (top and bottom right)

Attend a Wine and Paint Evening

Wine and Paint Evenings, also known as “Paint and Sip Parties” are quite the thing in Australia right now.

TIP BY: Jan Robinson, budgettraveltalk.com (<< read all about her world travels!)

“The three events I’ve attended have all been held at Arc Yoga Studio in Townsville. Not being an artist I was quite nervous at first, but soon relaxed when I realised the friendly instructor was willing and able to salvage any slips of the hand.

The studio supplies everything except drinks. This includes plastic wine glasses, snacks, aprons and all art supplies. A couple of weeks before the event, a painting created by their artist in residence Cassie, is displayed on the Arc Yoga Facebook page and bookings are taken.

Events are held fortnightly on a Friday evening. With the already prepared painting on display, the instructor starts again with a blank canvas, creating the painting step by step and leading the room of up to 25 budding artists through the process. There is no need to adhere to the colours shown and individuality is applauded.

I’m always amazed at how different and interesting everyone’s end product is. Wine and Paint Evenings are relaxed and fun, with lots of chatter and banter plus you get to keep your masterpiece.”


8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: budgettraveltalk.com

Taste Tropical Fruit in Queensland

You’d be amazed just how many types of edible fruits there are in the world – most of which you probably never even heard of! Tropical Queensland is one of the best places to try some of the more unique varieties.

TIP BY: me! (read all about roadtripping Queensland >>)

“When you go to your local supermarket, you might find some tropical fruits, such as bananas, pineapples or dragon fruit, but there are hundreds and hundreds types of fruit species that you’ll never going to see, because their availability or expiration time is just simply to little to make it economically viably or practically impossible to transport them across the world.

That is why some fruits are only available in the countries where they grow. In the North of Australia, in the state of Queensland, you can find many tropical fruit farms that grow, besides most often bananas, many fruit species that are so unique of look, texture and/or taste that it can be a surprising experience to try them.

I visited Cape Trip Farm in 2006 and remember being so surprised by what was available to us! The guide of the day showed us around the farm and we tasted about 10 different fruits. In the area, there are also places where you can sample tropical fruit ice cream with unique flavours, for example at the Daintree Ice Cream Company, that I can also recommend to try out!”


8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: thetraveltester.com


The Travel Tester loves to review tours and activities all around the world to help you decide if it will be great for your next adventure.

From the main tourist attractions to bucket list experiences and from guided walks or drives to self-guided visits of historical places, interactive museums, viewpoints, local events and much more. If it looks interesting to us, we’ll test it!
No matter where you are going, with our reviews you’ll know exactly where to find a memorable activity to participate in.


Participate in Agricultural Show Competitions

Want to check out the regional vibe while sampling top quality produce, and matching your skills against the locals? Just head to the local agricultural show for that elusive experience most travellers never discover – the ‘real Australia’!

TIP BY: Marion Halliday, redzaustralia.com (<< read all about cool things to do in Kununurra)

“One of the best is the Kununurra Agricultural Show in north-western Australia’s Kimberley region where, along with livestock exhibits, equestrian events and produce displays, are novelty events and competitions open to anyone who’s filled out an entry form.

Pit yourself against the locals in the watermelon eating competition, or melon Olympics, where your ability to throw rockmelons into a bin while wearing specially devised watermelon ‘safety boots’ will be tested. Or take the Kimberley Cowboy Challenge – a series of tasks based on a typical day in a farmer’s life.

Then there’s the Haystacking event – to win your team must build the highest haystack in the shortest time, place a volunteer on top and keep it (and the volunteer!) upright for at least five seconds! Compete in a rural agricultural show to immerse yourself in regional culture, make new friends, and gain some serious traveller cred (and photos!). What’s not to like about that?!”


8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: redzaustralia.com


Attend a Local Kava Ceremony

Fijian culture is communal, so people are rarely alone and share everything! In the evening, it’s often time to share stories, music and laughter – over shared bowls of the islands’ native drink ‘Kava‘. It is an important part of Fijian culture and participating in a full Kava ceremony is an experience you won’t forget.

TIP BY: me! (read all about how I lost my backpack in Fiji >>)

“I had many bowls of kava (yaqona / grog) in Fiji during my time on VoroVoro island, which was part of the ‘TribeWanted‘ project (now called ‘Bridge the Gap Villages‘). This muddy water-looking drink is a mildly narcotic and sedative drink made from the crushed root of the yaqona trained with water.

The drink is served in a large communal bowl and when you drink it, you will feel a bit of a numb feeling around your mouth, lips and tongue. It makes you relaxed and really experience ‘Fiji Time’! 

The kava ceremony is a ritual in every village you will enter. In tradition, you present your host with a kava root (simply bought at any market) and then sit in a circle around the tanoa, the bowl which is placed in front of the leader and where the kava is made. After pounding the root (which would have been done before the ceremony), the pulp is placed into a cloth sack and mixed with water in the bowl. The liquid is then strained and ready for drinking.

The host will offer all guests either a bowl with ‘high tide‘ (full cup) or ‘low tide‘ (half cup). When you get the cup presented, you clap firmly once and say ‘Bula!‘ (Fijian for hello). You drink the kava in one gulp, clap three more times and end with the word ‘maca‘ (ma-tha) to thank.

In between the bowl going around, there is a lot of storytelling, singing and joking around happening so it’s definitely an experience that let’s you experience Fiji as a local. Most hotels/resorts will offer some form of Kava Ceremony, but if you can get to a local village, of course you get a better feel of what the comunual lifestyle is about.’



8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: thetraveltester.com


Learn about Maori traditions

Voted one of the top ten cultural experiences in the world, an evening tour of Rotorua’s Tamaki Maori Village is one activity you really can’t miss from any New Zealand itinerary!

TIP BY: Rhiannon, walestowherever.com (<< read all about this experience on the blog!)

“Tamaki Maori Village is the only indigenous tourism company to win New Zealand’s Supreme Tourism Award to date. What makes it so great compared to other Maori experiences in New Zealand, is that it’s more than just a reconstruction of how Maori people once lived. It’s the perfect representation of how Maori traditions have evolved over time and now seamlessly blend in with everyday life in New Zealand. The experience gives you the unique opportunity to learn about the culture in a respectful, informative and thoroughly enjoyable way.

As well as an up close look at intricate arts, crafts and textiles, the men will learn how to intimidate their enemies with the world-famous Haka and the women will learn (or at least attempt to – it’s super difficult!) how to dance with Poi.

There are also games that both genders can get involved with — the same games that young Maori warriors would play before they were ready to wield spears and other weapons.

I can’t forget to mention one of the highlights of the evening — a traditional Hangi meal, cooked in the ground in almost exactly the same way as hundreds of years ago. The most delicious way to end a perfect evening of culture and education!”


8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: walestowherever.com (bottom right) and Canva (left and top photos)

Learn Jade Carving

Jade carving in New Zealand is the perfect way to unleash your inner creativity by trying different techniques and learning about this part of New Zealand’s history and culture.

TIP BY: Suzy, suzystories.com (< read all about her world travels!)

“Jade, also known as greenstone or pounamu, is found on the South Island of New Zealand. It’s known for its multiple uses throughout generations within the Maori culture, and is now a highly valued type of rock.

At various locations around New Zealand’s South Island anyone, young or old, can carve your very own piece of jade into jewellery, creating a meaningful and personal memento of your visit to take home. Some of the best locations to try your hand at Jade carving are along the West Coast in towns such as Franz Josef and Hokitika.

Regardless of where you create your unique souvenir, you’ll have the chance to design, shape, polish, and finish your own piece of greenstone. What’s more, you don’t need to have existing jewellery-making knowledge. The helpful staff will show and guide you along the way to make a traditional pendant or your own original creation.

When I visit Lake Mahinapua Hotel’s jade carving class I went for a fern leaf for my piece to represent the natural beauty of New Zealand that I so appreciate!”


8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: suzystories.com (left and bottom right) and Canva (top right)

Do You Travel to Discover Hands-On Experiences?

Let us know in the comments below what your favourite activity in this list is – and if you have any great additions to share with us. We are always adding to this page, so keep your suggestions coming! Look below for more information about creative travel and where else in the world you can have great hands-on experiences:


There is so much to explore in the world, how do you decide where to go next?

The Travel Tester is all about mindful travel and we love matching your passions to destinations on the planet. So whether your travel for food, nature, family, creativity, history, culture, innovation, adrenaline, wellness, good karma or personal growth, we’ll have something for you to experience wherever you go. Click the button below to find out more:



Coronavirus / COVID-19

There are currently travel restrictions all over the world. For the current advice, see the website of the World Health Organization. Be sensible and don’t travel if you don’t really need to!

Creative Tourism Network

If you are looking for more creative tourism examples, then make sure to head over to the website of the Creative Tourism Network, as they are a fantastic source of information and inspiration for your upcoming travels. 

The Creative Tourism Network is the international organization for the Creative Tourism development worldwide. They offer consulting and training to tourism professionals and also host the Creative Tourism Awards to reward projects, companies and destinations that foster the new generation of tourism with the active participation of tourists in creative activities.


Map of Oceania Creative Travel and Tours

Creative Traveller’s Handbook

My travel blogger friend Elena wrote a wonderful book about creative travel that I can highly recommend reading. In this inspiring handbook, she answers not only the question who creative travel is for, but she gives practical tips on how to be creative on your own travels and how to plan your next creative trip down to all the details.

Read my full review of the Creative Traveller’s Handbook >>

The Creative Traveler's Handbook Review: How and Why You Travel is as Important as Where | Book Review by The Travel Tester

Creative Travel Around the World

Read our other articles:


8 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Oceania You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester



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