By most measures, the three giant islands of Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica are very different from one another. Australia is home to the world’s largest barrier reef, dingos, koalas, and kangaroos, the vast, ruddy-red outback, and Aboriginal peoples whose many contributions to world culture include digeridoos, boomerangs, and the oldest examples of human art on the planet. In New Zealand, you’ll find volcanoes, geysers, and hot springs, the fascinating Maori culture, Hobbit homes in Middle-earth landscapes, and flightless species of birds such as Wekas, Takahes, Kiwis, and Kakapos. Antarctica is probably best known for its penguins and its ice. Some of its penguin colonies contain millions of individuals that blanket several square miles of rocky real estate; it births icebergs the size of small US states; and its glaciers hold 90 percent of all the fresh water on Earth. But, for all their differences, these islands do share one very prominent feature: space. Nowhere will you find more room to roam than in New Zealand, Australia, and Antarctica. Indeed, wild spaces in this region exist on a scale unknown anywhere else on Earth. If you’re looking to leave the crowds behind, this is your part of the world.
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