Micronesia is a region of Oceania composed of hundreds of small islands. It is in the Pacific Ocean west of Polynesia and east of Indonesia and the Philippines. The islands of Micronesia have had an interesting history--at various times, different islands were controlled by the United States, U.K., Germany and Australia. Today, Australia maintains close diplomatic and trade relations with several islands.
Nauru is the world's smallest island nation, with a population of just 10,000. The island is completely surrounded by a coral reef, so canals have been excavated to allow small boats to approach. Nauru was a trustee territory of Australia from 1923 to 1968. The country still relies heavily on Australia for aid and development money, and without an army, it has an informal understanding with Australia guaranteeing its defense. From 2001 to 2008, Nauru accepted money from Australia to operate a refugee/asylum-seeker processing facility on the island. Nauru uses the Australian dollar as its official currency and most broadcast radio comes direct from Australia.
There are only two hotels in Nauru, the Menen Hotel and the Od-N Aiwo Hotel. The Menen has better sea views, but the Od-N Aiwo has been recently refurnished and has more modern facilities.
The Republic of Kiribati is composed of one large island and 32 smaller atolls, bordering the international date line on the west. The islands were first surveyed in 1788 by a British seaman sailing from Australia to China. Known for their unique style of dance, called te mwaie, most residents of Kiribati still live in traditional thatched houses and support themselves by small-scale fishing. Visitors to Kiribati can go saltwater fly-fishing or deep sea fishing in the Pacific around the islands.
Australia and Kiribati have a close relationship. Like Nauru, Kiribati has its own small police force but relies on Australia for its defense. The Australian dollar is the official currency, and English is the official language. More recently, Kiribati has asked Australia to help resettle its 98,000 residents in case of a global warming-related "sinking." Kiribati has already lost two islands to rising water levels. If you'd like to visit Kiribati before it disappears, consider the government-run Otintaii Hotel or the Kiribati Hotel, both on the main island of Tarawa.
Menen District, Nauru
(+ 011) 674 444 3133
Main Road, Aiwo, Nauru
(+011) 674 555 4957
PO Box 270
Bikenibeu Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati
(+011) 686 28084
Betio, Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati
(+011) 686 26918
Article Written By Hailey Williams
Hailey Williams is a freelance writer and editor from Los Angeles, California. She has a particular interest in culture, lifestyle, health, and women's interest reporting, and her work has been published in magazines including TV Week and Sugar. She graduated from the University of Sydney.